Early this year, I switched from DSL to a cable modem. My local provider, Charter Cable, had cut its rates and better yet, dropped their requirement that internet users also have their cable TV service. Until this month, I had no complaints.
Then I get the bill for September. It’s $10 higher, no explaination. So I call Charter. Apparently they have suddenly re-instated a $10 extortion fee if you don’t have their TV serrvice (I switched to satellite in 1997, and I will never have cable TV again). Customer service agreed to drop the fee for the first month, but said they couldn’t do anything about the succeeding months. I explained that I switched from DSL to Charter specifically because Charter had dropped the additional fee, and that the next month I saw that fee on a bill, I would cut them off entirely.
I was transferred from there to the retention department, where the rep first tried to sell me on a 10-times slower speed service for the same rate I’ve been paying since January. I refused flat-out. She then said she would give me a $10 service credit every month for the next six months at my current service level. I agreed, but told her that “we’ll have another talk in six months.”
I will never pay an extortion fee to a cable company for not agreeing to a bundle with their crappy TV service (ditto for monopoly phone companies). If I can’t get the $10 waved again at the end of six months, I’ll tell Charter to go piss up a rope. This kind of arbitrary Mickey-Mouse fee nonsense is exactly why I haven’t had cable TV for nearly seven years, and reminds me of the fact that cable companies are peopled by the lowest forms of life.
I suspect this fee is going to go away anyway sometime next year, accompanied by considerable rate cuts. Once the wireless broadband network (scroll to third item) gets a foothold, the old monopoly cable and telco companies are going to be forced to cut their rates substantially. My guess would be that Charter’s double-game with the $10 extortion fee is their attempt to make a few extra bucks before they have to compete with wireless broadband.