Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ongoing Optimum / Cablevision fiasco..

[UPDATE: 6.22.13 They called me one time after I advised them to stop calling me on my cell phone since I am "not authorized" I filed a complaint with the FTC about this call that was made AFTER I told them to stop calling my cell phone. Since then they no longer made attempts to call my cell phone, although I have not heard anything from the FTC yet. But the main reason of this update is that I can NOT recommend Virgin mobile as a wired internet connection replacement, the service is just to sporadic, even with a 40% WiMax signal, it works when it wants.

[UPDATE: Several hours after this blog entery and the back and fourth on twitter occured my account was suspended for "non-payment". I can almost certanly claim that this was the cause of that effect. I currently switched to a 4G internet soloution, while not providing me with the speed I am acustom to, it seems to be able to handle much of what I use the internet for. Just working on setting up the ICS to share the connection with my wired LAN]

I take to twitter often to call out companies when I feel that I have been wronged by their policies, or actions. Occasionally I immortalize the interactions with them, and my disputes on this blog. Today is no different, other than the intended target of my dissatisfaction.

Working in the telecommunications industry, I can tell you that usually Optimum / Cablevision is usually the best ISP / cable provider to deal with as far as customer service is concerned. Time Warner Cable's customer service is just atrocious. Their rates are generally better than their competitors, and the available speed for their internet is hard to beat, especially in a similar price bracket. These are usually the complaints that I see about Optimum on the internet, however my experiences personally, and professionally being in the telecom industry are generally positive with this company.

So... If my experiences have been generally positive with Optimum, then why am I here publishing a blog post about the ongoing fiasco with them? Well Let me go back to November 2011 where the first seeds for this fiasco started.

In November of 2011 my (now ex) wife moved upstate to help her father settle into his new life after the passing of her mother. The services were in her name, but I have always been authorized to make any changes to the account. I can not recall if it was prior to this or not but at some point all services were suspended EXCEPT internet services.

After I was the only resident of my home, I eventually, WITHOUT my (now ex) wife's "authorization" turned back the television and telephone services to get a triple play package once again. Had I not been authorized, how could they allow me personally, and with out speaking with the "account holder" authorize the ADDITION of additional services which would increase the monthly bill?

As of October 2012 I was divorced, and my wife had moved to some backwoods hick state somewhere in middle America.

Sometime afterwards I attempted to have the account ownership change, however Optimum's policy requires a signature from the account holder, which is impossible to acquire being as I do not know the physical location of said account holder, nor do I care to know. Even if I did, it would be impossible to obtain said signature.

So the account continues on, with me supposedly still "authorized" on the account, and her no where to be seen or found. Remarried from what I am aware.

In the beginning few months of 2013 I decided to switch from a prepaid cell phone to a contract for two reasons. First I wanted LTE which was difficult to come by with most prepaid carriers, and secondly, I wanted the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. This increased my monthly cellular bill by about 50%. So in an effort to find ways to cut other bills in order to find the money to pay this increased bill with out reducing the amount of discretionary funds available to me on a monthly basis I had to look around and what my current expenses were, and where cuts could be made.

Being that I pretty much NEVER use the Optimum voice service, and have Ooma, VoIP from my job, a cell phone, and Google voice (as well as other communications means to contact people via the PSTN) this was just a redundant service and not a necessity.

Further examination showed that I rarely watched much television, and when I did it was usually in the middle of the night, and almost always interrupted by the stupid updates that they felt the need to push to my box, not to mention how disappointing the cloud DVR service is (no live rewind, failure to record many of the shows scheduled, etc.) So this was another service that I had little use for, especially at the cost. The television service cost more than the internet service did, which is the only service I really got much use out of. Lets not forget that I got a notice informing me that my promotional period was expiring, and not only would my rates increase, they were also going to add an additional fee for sports programming, of which I watch absolutely ZERO! The kicker, they said this was not only for channels such as ESPN, etc, but also broadcast television stations such as FOX, that I could get for FREE with an antenna connected to my televisions!

History lesson over. Now we come to trying to cancel television and telephone services. I first call them up, and so far things are going ok until they ask me my name. I always remain honest with them. They tell me I can not cancel because I am not authorized. Funny thing, that. They always accepted my payments, they always allowed me to call in for repair tickets, AND they allowed me to ADD ADDITIONAL SERVICES!!! Now If I am not authorized, how did they allow all of this to occur? And at what time was my authorization to my own account revoked?

Several phone calls later, always the same results. Eventually they told me something that had me fall off my chair splitting my sides in complete hysteria. I could supposedly have the disconnect department cancel my entire account, and then open an account in my own name. WTF!? How can I cancel an ENTIRE account if I am not authorized, if they will not allow me to do a downgrade, or partial disconnect?

At least another month passes, and I try again. This time I figure if I log into the account online and chat with a rep, they will see that I am logged into the account, and therefore must be authorized. But NO! Same run around. This all happens, and I am always referred to call some number, which department always seems to be closed when I am available to waste several hours of my life with these people.

So now what to do? Well I am waiting for them to disconnect my services for non-payment, of which is already over $400 - of which a majority are NOT AUTHORIZED by me, since I have advised them many times to cancel ALL services EXCEPT OOL with boost +! As they have already been advised, I also plan on disputing ALL past charges to my account from November 2011, when the "authorized" account holder no longer resided at this address. This should provide me with plenty of reserve cash.

While I wait for my arch nemesis to string fiber down my block (they already have around the corner, and up the block done) I will just replace my OOL service with either LTE or WiMAX, while it will not provide the bandwidth that I desire, it should suffice for a majority of my internet needs, and I can always set up something at a co-lo if I require cloud apps that need extra bandwidth instead of hosting them locally.

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