New TV viewing option

So, I’m dropping Charter Communications as my TV provider and as of Saturday will have DirecTV.

I tweeted about this last week, and I had mentioned Charter in a hashtag and, to my surprise, I was replied to directly by Witten — a customer service specialist. He asked the shenanigans were and asked how he can fix them. I was very snarky in my reply when I told him that it would take way more than 140 characters but I certainly am fed up.

Here’s the scoop:

About two years ago, my picture would turn into pixels and freeze up on me — simple solution was to just reset the box by unplugging it for 30 seconds (as anyone who’s called Charter would know, this is one of their favorite “first steps”). I was also getting that dreaded E 205 error code when attempting to watch movies on HBO, Showtime, Cinemax or Starz On Demand. After this happened a few times, I called to complain and the CSR would have me add another step, “Unplug the box and also unscrew the coaxial cable for two minutes. This fully refreshes the system.”

The freezing and pixelating kept happening. I would unplug the box and the coaxial cable for two minutes and continue with my TV viewing experience.

After two years, I call customer service and I am beside myself at this point. “How the hell can this constantly happen,”  I screamed. “Do you guys not care about the fucking situation? Do you guys not care about your fucking customers?” The lady hung up on me. Rightfully so, as I probably would’ve done the same thing. But, that didn’t sit well with me during this particular instance. I immediately called back and demanded to speak to a supervisor. I laid into the guy. Proper. Even going as far as threatening to switch providers. He got really quiet. He said, “Well, sir we can waive your bill for the month and send a technician out. I see that you’ve called on numerous occasions.”

Ha! Can you believe it, after <em>two years</em> of me calling and complaining, FINALLY someone tells me they’re going to send out a technician. I set up a date and a time. I get an email from Charter confirming my appointment and it said that I would receive a phone call when the technician is on his way. Perfect.

The day of the scheduled service comes, and nothing. I mean nothing. I called at at 6:45 p.m. to re-confirm and the CSR told me, “Yep, you’re still scheduled.” Perfect, seeing as though the appointment was between 6-8 p.m.

Nine forty-five p.m. comes around and no technician. I call Charter and they tell me, “It says in the note that the technician called and got no answer so he assumed nobody was home so he never went out to the job.”

Um, wut?

I was incensed. “Um, you have that wrong, because I was here with my sister and she could attest to the fact that my phone never rang once. I made sure to put it on the loudest setting, too.” I was borderline insane. I was like Roger Rabbit when he took the shot of booze.

“Well, can we double-check your number,” he asked.

“Absolutely. It’s ***-***-2086.”

“Oh, we have it in the system as 2608.”

Um, wut?

“Huh? Why the hell would you have it in the system that way when my telephone number has been the same since 2005 and I’ve been a customer of yours since 2007?”

“I am not sure, sir.”

“And, when I call in to talk to CSRs, they ask me to confirm the number on the account. Nobody realized that it was wrong?”

“I guess not, sir.”

“What kind of shit-show operation do you guys run over there? OK, so when is my appointment going to be rescheduled to?”

“Well, we have an opening for 6-8 p.m. on this date.”

“Not good enough, I have things to do. He needs to get here between 6-7 p.m. It’s your screw-up not mine, you have to fix this.”

“We don’t offer that time frame, sir, it’s only 6-8 p.m.”

“Well, I am not available from 6-8 p.m. and this is a screw up you should be wanting to fix ASAP so it has to be from 6-7 p.m. as I need to do things later in the night.”

Long conversation short, the CSR told me it had to be from 6-8 p.m.

The technician showed up at 6:03 p.m. =) Apparently, there was a bad filter, and he had to run a new line to my connection point, too.

From there, the freezing, the pixelating and the E 205 errors stopped. Of course, they also updated to the new “Passport Echo” system shortly after.  Now, however, whenever I am watching an HD program, there’s a rectangular pixelated box toward the bottom of the viewing area. To double-check to make sure it wasn’t my TV (which, it definitely isn’t because it’s practically brand new), I popped in The Dark Knight in my Bluray player and it was majestic — per usual. The rectangular box happens sporadically and is fixed by — you guessed it — unplugging the cable box and coaxial cable for two minutes. I’ve had to do it four times since the fix which was in July. Doesn’t seem like much, you say? Well, you try watching an action flick and seeing that bar at the bottom. Annoying. Not to mention, if I am watching something while DVRing something else, I would have to wait for the show to finish recording before doing it, or risk cutting the show off.

That was my final straw. When I called Charter after I came back from vacation and said, I have this thing happening and it’s happening a bit and they said, “We’ll send a technician out.” Two times within two months? Um, no thanks.

I cannot wait for Saturday.

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