Sunday, June 11, 2017

Cable Company Circle of Life

For hundreds of years, our cable company was Time Warner.  Well, a really, really long time. Larry and I were happy with Time Warner.  Sure, they charged an arm and a leg, but we had eight limbs between us, and service was never a problem.  I had our credit union send Time Warner a check every month, and life was good.  Then Spectrum or Charter, or whatever they are calling themselves this week, took over.  At first, everything was the same.  There appeared to be no interruption in service, and we still got the same channels.  Larry and I started to relax.  Until we started getting phone calls, threatening to cut off our services.  I noticed that the billing address had changed, so I changed it online with the credit union.  Then I called Spectrum to say that it looked like the checks had gone to the previous address, but that we had paid our bill. The first customer service representative I spoke with said that it looked like our account number had changed. I thought that was odd, but she was polite, and she turned on our cable again.  I thought that the matter was over. Nope.  The second person I called, also very polite, told me that even if the checks went to the old address, they still should have ended up with Spectrum.  She opened up "searches" for the missing checks, and turned our cable back on. 

The next day we were cut off again. This time, I asked for a manager.  Our conversation, although civil, went something like this:

"You owe us money. Pay us now"

"A check was sent to you on this date, this date, and this date."

"We never got those checks, so you owe us money. Pay us now."

"I have bank statements that say otherwise. Would you like me to send them to you?"

"Yes. Email them directly to me right now."

"You turned off our internet, so email might be a problem."

"Fine, we will turn your internet back on." And he did.   We sent them our bank statements indicating that payments were made.  We received a message on the phone saying that the statements were received, and we thought that took care of the matter. 

The next day, they shut off everything again.  Larry, being the calm one in the family, paid them enough to get everything turned back on, so we wouldn't miss American Gods on Starz.  We thought that once whatever issue was investigated by Spectrum, we would be getting a large refund. Life would be good.


Three weeks later, we got the same threatening message on our answering machine about shutting off our cable.  Larry had joined me in the "no longer calm" zone. He called Spectrum this time, and the entire conversation was repeated like some sort of cable "circle of life".  I wondered how many times a day this very conversation occurred, all over the world, and whether the frustration generated by such conversations would lead to world peace.  This time, we are told that the "searches" did not find any evidence of payment, and it would have been wonderful if Spectrum could have communicated that earlier! I was frustrated.  I'm the one who pays the bills, and I knew that I had paid the bill. That's when my tiny brain decided to get my credit union involved.  The payments went through them!  They would have actual EVIDENCE of that, and Spectrum might actually LISTEN to them. 

The credit union put us all on a conference call. We were all polite; all I really cared about was locating all the cash, and vindication that yes, we DID pay our bill.  Spectrum repeated that they did not find any evidence of payment for the last three months, and the credit union said "Really, now?" and said a bunch of number related stuff indicated that yes, the bills were paid.  Now Spectrum said that the account number had never changed, just the address.  I was a bit incredulous.  The story had changed every single time we called!  

The credit union reissued a check to the correct address, and they verified the account number with Spectrum.   Spectrum was nice enough to "waive" all the late fees.  The credit union stopped payment on the missing checks.  They had never been cashed, anyway.  When I finally hung up the phone, I felt relieved that, at last, the matter had been addressed and resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.

At least, until the next round of phone calls. Then the circle will begin anew.


  1. As Rosanna Danna said, "It is always something." Good to see your post.

  2. BANANAS!!!!! Next time you might just have to visit them


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