Sunday, August 25, 2013

More news on the Cable TV/Internet front



I've previously posted with my reaction to the July Cable letter, advising me that the yearly promo that we had would soon be over:
http://ctonabudget.blogspot.com/2013/08/tweaking-cable-tv-bill.html

As suggested, I phoned back the Cable company on Tuesday, and officially dropped our cable TV service down from the Preferred pkg that I was paying $45 for, which would jump to $75. I don't like TV THAT much. Having reviewed our options, we went with the "Economy" pkg that is one step over Basic cable. Charges for Economy pkg are $40. OK, so my bill should be about what I have been paying over the past year, which has been $112.76 out the door for cable/Internet service.

Fast forward, and I got a bill yesterday. Um . . $170!!???!!!  This warrents yet a THIRD phone call in the course of the past 3-4 weeks to address this.  Issue for me, as a customer, is that once I have paid the cable bill, I recycle it. So, I inquired if I can access the past billing statements (yes, easily found on line). I needed to confirm just what my charges have been over the past year, what they are jumping to, and just what are some of the charges I don't recognise on the new ($170) bill?

Old billing:
TV service

preferred pkg $44.95
2 cable boxes $13.90
additional outlet $1.50

Total TV: $60.35

Internet service:

Internet $29.95
Boost $14.95 (I assume that is their high speed service)

Total Internet: $44.90
taxes on above combined: $7.49
Total bill: $112.76

NEW bill:
TV service

Preferred pkg $74.95 (Ok, this is an error, it should be economy pkg @ $39.95)
2 cable boxes $13.90
additional outlet $1.50
SURCHARGE FOR SPORTS PROGRAMMING $2.98 (HUH? we don't watch sports)
New TV charge total: $93.33

Internet service

Internet $49.95 (INCLUDES $5 bundled discount! yet jumped $20, must have been an initial promo)
Ultra 102 (formerly called "Boost" I assume) $14.95
New Internet charge total: $64.90
Taxes on above combined: $11.55
New total: $169.78, which is a jump of $57.02! UGH!

So, I needed info. I downloaded and viewed all of my former billing statements that included the monthly total of $112.76. Fine. I have this info and can call BACK again, now the FOURTH time, to ask again about this Sports programming surcharge. When I initially asked what that was (and not having the luxury of my former bills in front of me), I was told that the charge could be removed. Oh yes, you will was my thought!

I asked the following last night:
-what is this sports programming surcharge, I don't think we've had it before?
-why is my bill including the preferred pkg, when I followed the advise of a cable co. customer rep, and phoned back on the 20th to lower our costs to economy, yet that change is not yet reflected on my bill?
-will I receive an updated bill? (no)
-can a request be made to send me an updated bill? (yes)
-when can I anticipate receipt of this aforementioned, updated bill? (5 business days)
-what is this Ultra 101?  can I drop it? (high speed boost, yes can be dropped, internet will be slower)

BTW-I was also told that my new billing date will be the 5th of the month. HUH? this giant bill has the same due date as I have had the past year: the 15th? why the change? I changed the plan effective immediately on 8/20 (we lost several channels as a result so I know it went thru), my billing cycle is 8/22-9/21-so why is the billing cycle changed? it still says due date 9/15 on my latest, giant bill. If I get the requested by customer, updated bill in a week, I should have time to send payment for the 5th but none of this makes sense.

Sigh, just trying to lower the bills.

Meanwhile, we are trialing a free month of Netflix. Then, it costs $8/month (plus tax?). I can drop it at any time. Fine.

A few other options:
-drop "boost aka Ultra 101" and save $15/mo. and see just how slow Internet runs
-drop down to basic cable @ $16.72/month but we need to compare just what is included with that very limited pkg. (save $23.23 + 15 cents of tax, net reduction in bill would be $23.38)

Bottom line for me: I am OK at the $112 level, all inclusive with taxes. Dropping services leading to INCREASED billing? nope, not happy at all. This is looking to take far too large of a chunk out of my monthly budget, so something will have to give. Not what the customer rep told me, when I called a few weeks ago. Sigh. And I know that I am not the only one:

http://ecofrugality.blogspot.com/2013/08/cable-re-revisited.html

They had better hire more customer reps for their retention department!


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