Andre's Blog

Personal blog of Andre Perusse

Telecom and Cable Companies are EVIL! (I have proof)

Like many people, I often complain about my local utility companies and either their lack of features, lack of customer support, or their attitude in general. Lately, the utility companies in my area have actually been pretty good on the features front. I now have a dual-tuner high-definition cable box (something that many American cities still don't have) and my DSL Internet is among the fastest in North America. Despite this good news, I have recently obtained definitive proof that these utility companies are pure evil.

In my last 3 dealings with my local telecom and cable providers, I have been overcharged. It seems as though anytime I change my service plan with either company, they overcharge me. And they do this for months at a time until I realize that something isn't adding up and I call them. Sometimes they are quite belligerent, too. A year or two ago, I added some channels to my cable subscription taking advantage of a "value plan". I got the channels, but the incompetent idgits didn't get the value plan set up on my account. On my first bill, the charges seemed high so I called them. The customer service rep treated me like a three-year-old saying that the charge was normal on the first month due to overlaps in billing periods and other such nonsense. I was ASSURED that everything was set up properly. The next month, my cable bill was still higher than it should have been, so I called again. I think I got the same service rep and she remembered me because she heaved a heavy sigh and said something like "let's walk you through this again" in an exasperated tone. Except this time I was able to point out that I wasn't getting their advertised value plan price. Reluctantly, she agreed and told me it was fixed now. She didn't apologize for overcharging me or for the inconvenience of having to spend 20 minutes on the phone arguing with her. She just said "It's fixed. Goodbye." If I didn't have so many tall trees around my property I would have bought a satellite service right then and there.

More recently, I had the same issue with the telecom company and a very similar scenario. I added a cell phone to my existing "value plan" so both me and my wife would have cell phones. Before I added the new phone, the telecom company sent me one bill. After the addition, they started sending me two. Annoyed, I called them up and asked if I could be sent one combined bill again. The service rep was checking my files and paused for a few moments, obviously confused at what he saw. He put me on hold for several minutes, then came back and said I had been overcharged $10 per month since I got the new phone because the value plan had been "inexplicably deleted" from my account. He had promised that I will be credited the overcharge on my next bill, which I'm hoping will be combined again.

So, based on this overwhelming evidence, I have no other option than to conclude that these utility companies are making a mint by overcharging customers that have signed up for packaged value plans, but are being billed more than the price of the plan because "it wasn't set up properly in the system." I find it hard to believe that the executives in charge aren't aware of this problem (remember, it's happened to me THREE times, and with different companies - it can't be very uncommon). I expect that they're happy to receive the excess revenue and only credit the likely small amount of people who regularly inspect their statements every month and catch the error, and then fight with service reps to convince them of the problem. Why, I'm sure that it would be WAY TOO EXPENSIVE to write some software that examined the features on customer accounts and verify that they're being billed the lowest price. I've written some fairly complex SQL in my day and I know that it can take, oh, sometimes 4 hours to write a complicated SELECT statement to do something like this. Yes, way too expensive.

And these companies want me to sign up for "automatic bank account debits" so they can automatically withdraw funds from my account equal to whatever they feel like charging me? Yeah, right.

Comments (1) -

  • Darth Mac

    10/21/2006 8:23:59 PM |

    Hmmm... Eastlink and Aliant are trying to rip you off... and you seem shocked and surprised? They're called dog****ers for a reason...