Saturday, December 08, 2007

Fighting The Evil Cable Company

I have been having issues with my cable box for a while now and everything seemed to come to a head today.

For the past few weeks, a few channels have slowly gotten worse in terms of quality (think snow). I called the customer service line and they suggested I go exchange my cable box to try and fix the problem. I was finally able to head out this morning to do that. So I had the address in my head and Jake and I started our errands. Before heading to the cable office, I had to stop at the bank and I had promised Jake a stop at Starbucks for a hot chocolate. I knew from the map that a particular Starbucks in a strip mall was around the cable office so I opted to take him there. We get back in the car and start driving. Going back and forth on the road for about 10 minutes, I couldn't seem to find this cable office. I finally call the cable company to ask them where it was. "They say "oh its behind the Wells Fargo Bank." Um, that Wells Fargo bank is about 20 yards away from the Starbucks we were just at. I seriously didn't believe the representative, but sure enough - thats where the cable office was. And yes, I felt like an idiot.

So I get my cable box and head home to get it hooked up since I had invited my uncle and cousins over for the Mayweather/Hatton fight. I hook it up and I can't see any On Demand channels or the Pay Per View option to order the fight. I figure its because I just changed the box, so I call the customer service line. They tell me that I have a past due balance that I have to pay in order to get the fight. Um, ok - so I pay the balance and they said that everything would be ready to go in about 2 hours while they process the payment. This was at 1pm.

I was busy getting ready for the family to come over and at about 5pm, I call the cable company to order the fight. I finally speak to a human being at 5:15pm. This was our conversation:

Me: Hi I'm interested in order the Mayweather/Hatton fight and I can't do it through my cable box for some reason.
CSR: Yes, I see here that you have a balance.
Me: Well, I took care of the past due balance this afternoon and they said to call back a couple of hours to wait for it to post to my account.
CSR: Maybe you have to wait 24 hours.
Me: What? Thats not what they told me earlier. They said that its all resolved and I just had to wait a couple hours.
CSR: Well, you have to take care of this balance.
Me: But that balance is my December bill. I'm current on the account.
CSR: I don't know what to tell you ma'am. You have to pay this amount to get the Pay Per View to work.
Me: That doesnt make any sense, the account isnt due until the end of December.
CSR: Yes and after you pay it, I will process the payment and have the fight turned on. That will take 1-2 hours.
Me: No! I already waited my 1-2 hours for the payment to post. I want you to turn on the fight right now. Are you guarantee me that the fight will be on in 1-2 hours?
CSR: Yes
Me: Then why can't you just turn on the fight now? It makes no sense.
CSR: What? You can't wait 2 hours?
Me: Excuse me?
CSR: Its what the process is ma'am (and in a sarcastic tone). I'm sorry.
Me: I'd like to talk to your supervisor please.
CSR: Fine, please hold. God bless you.

I'm put on hold for about 5 minutes and nothing. So I hang up and call again.

Me: Hi, I'm having trouble ordering the fight and I was wondering if you could help me.
New CSR: Sure, let me double check your account.
Me: Thanks
New CSR: Ok - the price of the event is $54.99. Can you check channel 802 please.
Me: Um, ok
New CSR: Let me process your request. Please hold a moment.

The undercard fights comes on the television

New CSR: Well that should do it - anything else I can do for you.
Me: Uh, you have been great. Thank you!
New CSR: Thank you and enjoy the fight!

So the family and I are cooking our hot dogs and hamburgers and watching the fight. At around 7:30pm, the picture gets all wonky; cutting out, freezing, and only hearing the audio at times. At 7:45pm, the picture goes out completely and I'm left with a black screen. We turn off the cable box a few times and wait it out in case its a temporary thing. At 8:15pm, I call the cable company (again). And after being on hold for 20 minutes, I get this conversation going:

Me: Hi, I ordered the Mayweather/Hatton fight and it went out about 30 minutes ago.
CSR: Ok, let me check your area for outages.
Me: Thank you.
CSR: I can't see any problems in your area. Do you have any other problems with other channels?
Me: Nope, everything is fine. Its just that one channel.
CSR: Are you sure you are on the right channel?
Me: Uh, yes. We were watching it and it just went out.
CSR: I just sent a signal to your box, did anything happen?
Me: Nope, nothing. Still out.
CSR: Ok, I really don't know what to tell you. Let me send out another signal and if nothing happens in 10 minutes, please call us back.
Me: You know, can I just stay on the phone for 10 minutes because if hang up, its going to be another 20 minutes being on hold.
CSR: Sorry, ma'am. Just call back in 10 minutes if you have any issue.

Now, during this call my cousins and I were joking that it was probably that first CSR that helped me getting her revenge on me for wanting to talk to her supervisor. That she turned off my access to the fight to have the last laugh. After 10 minutes, still staring at the black screen so I call the cable company AGAIN.

Me: Hi...(yes, I sounded defeated). I was watching the Mayweather/Hatton fight and the screen went blank. Can you please help me?
CSR: I can try! Lets see - let me first send a test signal.
Me: Yeah, I already went through all this with another representative and she told me to call back in 10 minutes if I didn't get the picture back and thats where I'm at.
CSR: Ok - let me check if there are any outages in your area.
Me: Sigh -ok. I was already told that there weren't. Almost made me feel like I was making it up.
CSR: Well, looks like there are some outages in California.
Me: Great - is there any luck that they will be fixed before the main event? I mean it would suck if this actually came back on only for us to hear "That was the best fight ever!" and I'm charged for looking at a black screen for most of the night.
CSR: Don't worry about that. I'm going to credit your account right now to make sure that you dont get charged for it since you did call with your issues.
Me: Thank you very much!
CSR: Keep checking the channel, you never know - it might come back on and you'll get to see it for free.
Me: Ha! Thanks - we'll keep checking.
CSR: Have a good night.

Time at the end of call: 9:20pm

While all this was happening, we were basically watching the Kings/Coyotes game and surfing the net for entertainment. I found this round by round coverage of the fight. So every couple of minutes, I would read out the recap. We finally decided that maybe we should vote who would be Mayweather and who would be Hatton in a re-enactment while I read out the play by play. But, unfortunately, that didn't fly.

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