03-27-2017 11:23 PM - edited 03-27-2017 11:46 PM
On March 20, I called Spectrum to order 60mbps internet, as advertised in a flyer mailed to me. The sales rep immediately turned the conversation to my TV service, asking what I had now, and what I spend for it. He offered to package everything I have now, plus 60mbps internet plus HBO for $136, which included tax. He even went on about how the on-demand service would allow me to cancel Hulu! I asked for a channel lineup and he walked me through the website to the channel lineup page, and told me he packaged a combination of Select and Gold. This didn't make much sense, since everything in Select is included in Gold. I assumed his phrasing had something to do with the administration on his end, and let it go. I signed on and received the equipment on March 22. I installed it, but had some problems with the cable box, so they sent a tech over on March 23 to resolve it. I set my channel favorites and all was hunky dory for a few days.
On March 26, I turned to one of my favorites, only to get an instruction to call customer care to access the channel. At the prompt, I asked for "channel lineup." The care ep told me Spectrum doesn't have "select" or "gold" packages the salesman told me about. Instead they have "digital tier" packages. I asked for the channel lineup for the tiers, and she was unable to produce it. However, she said sales had failed to add the requested channel to my tier, and she added it on the spot. She kept asking if this was the only channel I had problems with. I couldn't answer without walking through every channel. So she suggested I recite each channel in my favorites list, and she would be sure they had been properly added to my tier - a reasonable approach. She confirmed every one of my favorites was activated.
Tonight, another favorite channel - this time one I had watched previously - disappeared. I called Spectrum again, as instructed on the screen. Again, I asked for "channel lineup," and experienced my nightmare in the next series of conversations.
The rep told me I wasn't getting the channel because it wasn't included in my tier (recall all of my favorites were confirmed the night before), and I had to upgrade if I wanted it. When I objected, explaining the history, the rep told me she couldn't fix it, because her department only handled video quality issues. She transferred me to sales.
There, the rep told me, over a scratchy phone connection, that I had tier 1 and tier 2, and I should be receiving the missing channel. She put me on hold for several minutes, came back, and apparently hung up the call because we were disconnected.
I called back and a male rep answered (over a scratchy connection again). Since I didn't catch the woman rep's name, I had to start over. The man tells me I have the "select" package (recall Spectrum does "tiers," not "select," "silver," or "gold"), and certainly not the "gold" package. He couldn't help me without upgrading at additional cost. Again I objected. I asked for the original salesman's name - his records don't include that information. I asked for the sales supervisor - she was busy. He told me all he could do was to transfer me to customer care. Now I'm dizzy from being tossed in circles.
This time I get a name - Kaylen, if I've spelled it right. I re-tell the entire story. Her response went something like this. "The salesman misinformed you about your offering and price. You can upgrade your service with a higher priced package to get the channels you want, and we'll give you a one-time credit for your inconvenience." I asked about stand-alone 60mbps internet service. The price would be $69.99, or $70.15 with tax - note that means the tax was 16 cents. I pointed that out, and she re-checked, only to give me the same answer. With all due respect, there is very little in life that one pays 16 cents in tax for. Credibility shot.
I told her I'd call back once I checked the internet speed, so I could decide if I would just keep that part of the service. Guess what - the "60mbps" clocked in at 30/5. I should also mention I checked my credit card, and I was charged $149 vs. the promised $136.
I'm madder than a hornet at the moment, as I figure out next steps. Thank goodness I didn't cancel my DirectTV streaming service. For all its warts, at least I know what I'm paying for.
03-28-2017 05:42 AM - edited 03-28-2017 05:45 AM
YvonneB wrote:I called back and a male rep answered (over a scratchy connection again). Since I didn't catch the woman rep's name, I had to start over. The man tells me I have the "select" package (recall Spectrum does "tiers," not "select," "silver," or "gold"), and certainly not the "gold" package.
Spectrum offers four tiers of video service. These are "buy-through", meaning you will need to pay for the lower tier before you can buy the higher tier. (Prices are from my retail rate card for my market)
1. Broadcast Basic. The barebones local stations in your market (and maybe a payTV network or two. Don't forget to add the Broadcast TV surcharge to the advertised price. ($19.99 + $6.05 = $26.04 / mo.)
2. Select. This is the "standard" tier, which includes Broadcast Basic plus a good amount of PayTV networks, and typcally your RSN(s). ( $64.99 + $6.05 = $71.04 / mo)
3. Silver. This includes "Select" and adds HBO, MAX, SHO, and DigiTier 1. ( $84.99 + 6.05 = $91.04)
4. Gold. This inclides "Select" + "Silver", and adds TMC, Starz!, Starz! Encore, Epix, and Digi Tier 2. ( $104.99 + $6.05 = $111.04 / mo.)
But.... these aren't the only ways you can get your video services.. Once you subscribe to Select, you can add each Digi-Tier for $12 each / mo. However, if youi are a fan of the premiums, it makes sense go Silver or Gold. Each premium by itself is $15 / mo a-la-carte. Spectrum offers a significant discount for going silver or gold.
I don't know what package would work for you.
No other video discounts are offered in my market. I will get discounts on internet and phone (off those retail rates), but not on the video. So I'd get a $20 / mo discount for video + phone, or a $40 discount on a triple play off retial rates.
One thing that the CSR Reps NEVER disclose, is the impact of:
1. The change you are about to make is one-way, and cannot be reversed, no matter what. Period.
2. The BroadcastTV Surcharge, which is a way for them to charge a higher amount without raising rates across the board. I get it. TV programming costs money, but if this "surcharge" cannot be avoided, it should be included in the listed price for Broadcast Basic (and every other package of video service).
3. The cost of equipment, which of course, will vary from person to person, but if you NEED equipment to watch on at least one set, the cost of one Set Top Box should be included in the price of every package. Credits would be given for surrendering the equipment (i.e. - using a Roku for TV), or for using your own equipment (i.e. - Bring your own Tivo and use a CableCard).
When I read of these complaints about pricing, it's all about disclosure and advertising. People don't like hidden / forces fees. And when they are quoted a price by a CSR rep on teh phone, and the bill later shows a different amount, they feel outright robbed.
At a minimum, the CSR rep should be able to put a sales order together, and send it IN WRITING (paper or email) to the customer for their review BEFORE any change is made, with all taxes, fees, surcharges detailed in the bill so the customer knows what they are getting into. If the customer is happy, then that customer can execute the work / change order.
Sorry doesn't cut it. Sales personnel need to be responsible for the information they disclose. In my line of work, if I gave out false information, I'd be resposnible to "make it right" and the difference would come out of my pocket.
03-29-2017 03:57 AM
Thank you for this explanation.
I called sales again and spoke with a very helpful woman who provided me with detailed information about my sales order. It aligned well with your explanation.
I also asked for information about the original salesperson and learned it was a 3rd party vendor - one that had generated many complaints.