Why Cable, Internet and TV Customer Service Sucks

Leave a Comment - 79




Comcast still has yet to "properly" train their customer service personnel. We have had their new Xfinity digital cable for the past 7 or 8 months, and about every two weeks we get an error message, preventing us from watching anything for the rest of the day. Every time we call it's always the same: "Ok, sir. I'll send a refresh signal to your box. Did that work? No? Ok, I'll schedule a technician to come out next week." No explanation of what the message means, or why it occurred. They just pawn us off on a technician that comes an hour late, if at all!



I can tell you that part of the problem is they outsource a lot. And when you are only a branch on a tree things constantly go wrong.
Too many people stirring the pot when you have to call 3-4 times for one issue. Even tech jobs get outsourced they are contractors
who slap a magnet on their truck

Clinton J Wooton


From your description, your cable boxes are losing their IP address or having upstream problems. In cable, systems upstream is the return RF path used to communicate, which allows you to order movies, etc. When you experience the problem again ask the technician to check the MERS / BERS and look for errors on the upstream return path. You also want the technician to disconnect your home from the serving pedestal or pole and test looking back into your home. In this case, the technician is testing for Ingress, which is licensed Radio Frequency (RF) that is coming into your home. They also want to test for Egress, which is RF escaping from your home wiring or drop. Ingress and Egress are almost always caused by bad connectors or a splitter that does not meet company specifications. The key here is having a technician use the expensive tools they have to troubleshoot your issue.

harroll morris


Your service sucks because of the quality of the wires or infrastructure of the company in the area you live in is lower quality than it needs to be to provide top quality service. It will remain that way until the company or companies involved decide it make more financial sense to upgrade their infrastructure in your area than it does to allow things to remain the way they are currently. The other main cause for issues with TV, internet, and phone service is the quality of the wires inside your house that legally speaking, you own. Most companies will charge to repair or replace those wires and will replace them in the cheapest quickest way possible even if it does not look aesthetically pleasing because it is hard work, can be expensive, and in many cases is not possible without tearing down walls to replace that wire. Wireless options in many cases are not as effective as you might hope due to interferers such as large concentrations of metal like stainless steel kitchen appliances or the steel I-beam that keeps your house from collapsing. These are the main reason why TV intenet and phone service does or does not work where you live and might be perfect or abosolutely horrible down the block or in the next sub-development.



Check out the Institute for Local self-reliance web site for great info on how many municipalities across the country are creating community owned broadband networks that provide better service/connectivity at less cost.



Oh Michael. If only it was possible. Alas, it's an unattainable dream for many of us.

I live in one of those increasingly unfortunate communities where just paying for minimum police and fire protection is a struggle. Previous city councils spent lavishly and made expensive contractual agreements and promises, as if the money would be a steady, increasing flow. It all came crashing down with the recession and now ordinary folks are losing their homes to foreclosure and unable to pay property taxes. Community broadband would be a very low priority around here. It's every man for him (or her)-self!

al brown


I would have thought that an article titled "Why cable, Internet and TV customer service sucks" would have said why... somewhere in the entire article.

Range 2


That title is the reason I read the article, but it never explains the reason all. It's just a list of complaints, all of which I knew perfectly well before reading it.

Dave Seavy


I agree about being polite when calling for service or with a complaint. You have to remember that the person on the other end is human too, and being abrasive or vulgar is not the way to go about addressing a problem. Technology fails, no matter how well designed the structure is. Often you're speaking with someone at a distant location, so they won't have any idea what might be happening locally until a report is made. If you state your problem in a respecful manner, I've found that I get faster service, and the problem is resolved more often than not. If I were a customer service rep, and someone called me ranting, raving, cussing and making threats, I probably wouldn't go out of my way to be helpful. Instead, I'd probably hang up. When you consider all the equipment it takes to send you a TV, phone or internet signal, it's amazing services don't fail more often. It takes far more then simply flipping a switch to bring customers the services.

Donna Corey


Big problem if you're squeezing every penny and your money comes in sporadically. I would never bundle my personal stuff. I might be able to cover the phone bill this week and the internet bill next week. With a bundle you pay them ALL on the due date or they ALL get shut off! For my new busiiness bundling made sense though, just phone and internet and the bill wasn't a huge chunk all at once.



The worst part of the penalty for being late, despite that fact that I've had an account with them for 25 years and never walked away from a payment, is when they shut-off my email service (in addition to my phone, cable and internet). And what I mean by this is that when someone emails me while its "shut down". I do not get their email nor does the sender get a "message undeliverable" return email. The email is gone, vanished and it never arrives once the system is turned back on. I especially love it when they do this on a Friday evening just before they close for the weekend.
When I complain about this specific act they give me a generic "we have no control over that" excuse. They act as if I am never going to pay. And being that they have absolutely NO formal customer complaint department they will never, ever learn fast enough...love the big mergers.....

Barbara Ryan


Most companies do not care when the money is received. They only care if it's there by the due date. Send payments once a week if you need to. Just make sure you have a zero balance by the due date.



Well we have been Cox Cable customers for 10 years. In all that time with ice storms and summer thunderstorms I can not remember a time we were with out service. Only when the power is out. The internet is fast and always up. But I have to admit, it is their customer service that sets them apart. Friendly on the phone and in person. The field service techs are always on time. I have been quite impressed this company.

Lee Trahan


I had serious trouble with these two companies in getting results after numerous attempts. I agree that social media is a great place to get results. I posted a detailed comment on Facebook and got an immediate reaction. I also did some research and found the CEO of Dish Network's email. Of course he acted ignorant to my complaint, but by the time I finished with him, he understood quite clearlya and gave me the option to cancel my contract at will.
One other very affective avenue to solve a dispute is to contact your state's Attorney Generals Office's Consumer Protection Division. This office is even more affective than the BBB, at least in my state.

Good luck,

Linda Breese


We have internet and TV service with AT&T, they are not on Fibre Optics in this area yet.
At least once a week there is an issue either with TV or the Internet. I do business with China and often work on line late and very early and of course holiday. I cannot tell you how much business and money I have lost (I work from my home office). Every time I call, I get the round and round speech. We are sorry, but we cannot send anyone out because ...blahblahblah. I want to get away from AT&T, however I have another 8 months to go and they are increasing their rates. A license to steal, just like the banks.



If you're doing business from home, shell out for business internet. Sure it's a little more expensive, but you get priority support, and if it will keep you from losing money, it's worth it.

dan travis


Well, they have the power to irritate you, that's for sure. After repeated calls of poor internet connection, I was met with long hold times of over 10 minutes each time I called. I reached the Dominican republic and was told I must have a virus, it looks like you have an outside line issue on another call...finally the tech that was confirming appointments just laughed when he heard my stories...he said he hears this day in and day out...I was not laughing......I asked if he could forward a complaint for me, since I just had surgery a week prior...he said.."oh, you want me to do your job for you...?" Well, the power to simplify my life has not been seen by anyone at Mediacom!!!!!!



I am moved to say I'm so sorry you were treated that way by this representative. I know how vulnerable you felt, not just sick, but torn up and sick! I just had heart surgery and although I am usually a pretty self-reliant person, I need all the help I can get. Your patience is kind of thin when you're wounded, and your energy is non-existant (I think it's working on re-building tissue!). Well, I personally am glad I believe in life after death of the physical body, life where there's a strong sense of justice, a promised pay-back for failure to sympathize and help others of our species in need. Of course this means I have to be a sympathetic person myself, and of course I'm not always.

Joel Rosenzweig


We have been with Direct TV for about 10 years and I must say I have been very happy with the service we have gotten from them over these years. I am not saying that it is not less expensive than Dish but from all that I have heard the cusomer service is like 100 times better with Directv
and I have not been dissapointed.

Joel Rosenzweig


We have been Direct TV subscribers for the last 10 years and we have been very happy with our service. I am not saying it is the cheepest around but I would not change because of the complaints we have heard from people who have other services.

Bill Hibbs


I have earth link hi-speed internet,Dish network, for my computer,phone, and tv. I have had them for ten years or better, NO complaints. I have had excelant service from this"bundle"


View Comments - 79 Hide Comments

Post New Comment

Offers <
Popular <
Answers <


I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.