This might be boring, tedious, or both. If you don’t have Cablevision for your internet/tv, or if you don’t live in an area where they are located, or you just don’t care, then move along. The rest of you can read more by clicking the link….
On or about 8/26, I went to the Cablevision website to pay my bill online. Admittedly, I was late – a whole day – but I knew that going into it, so that’s fine.
I logged into their system, entered the info so that I could do a one-time payment from our checking account, and logged out. It’s important to note at this point that even though it was 8/26 that I requested it, the payment would not be processed until 8/29. Fine, no problem, at least they’ll get their money, right? Wrong.
At 5:00 on 8/30 – the day after I was told the payment would be processed – I got an email from the system saying that the payment couldn’t be processed due to a problem with the account numbers. I log into their system again and discover that I had switched the routing and account numbers. Small problem, but clearly a typo, so I’m at fault again – I expected the order of the fields to be routing number and then account number, but they do things different – whatever. This time I double check my work, and note that the new payment processing day: 9/5. Another frigging week.
Now roll on down to 9/6 on your calendar – I get an email from the system again, this time at almost 8:00 at night – more than 24 hours after I would have hoped that the payment would have been processed. Again, the email informs me that there is a problem with the account number. I go in, find that there is 1 – ONE – digit missing from my account number, and fix the problem. I save the info after making sure that it’s correct, schedule another payment – this time for 9/10 – and go merrily on my way across the internet.
Imagine my surprise on Friday, 9/7, when I discover that my cable box has been disabled. A call to my friendly cable company reveals that because of two failed attempts to get money out of my account, they have converted my account to cash only and disabled my box. The only way to get the box turned back on is if I show up in person with $185. Why that amount? Well, they want the amount that’s past due ($73 or so), the next amount due (another $73 or so, due 9/15 according to the supervisor I spoke with) and then some extra money that no-one is willing to explain. Suffice it to say that I am not happy.
That night I file a complaint with the State of NY Better Business Bureau – and find, surprise surprise, that the biggest complaint about them is this sort of behavior. Good fun.
The next day I show up at their Bridgeport office with my $185 and ask for an itemization of what is due. They can’t give it to me. The closest I get is when I start doing the math for the person behind the bullett proof glass (that’s right – they don’t trust their customers!) and she realizes that the amount left over is $40 – which would be the right amount for 2 returned checks. My logic about that – since it was all electronic, there should be no fee since the computer never even really got all that close to my account, nor was it an actual Non-Sufficient Funds situation – is met with a dumb look and a “I don’t know”. Fine. I pay my bill, get my receipt and ask when the box will be working again – I’m told 10 minutes.
I get home and do some other things, and then try the box again 2 hours later – and it still doesn’t work. Yet another call to Cablevision – this person sounds a little more confident that they can help with the problem. She asks about the status of the bill, so I start to explain it all. She takes it all in while she’s checking on things, and realizes that I’m entirely correct in being upset about having to pay fees – the fee they’re applying is for a bounced/returned check, not for the problem I’m having. She remarks that the person at the Cablevision store I went to didn’t make a request for services to be turned back on, so she takes care of that. She makes a request for the fees to be reversed, and makes me finally feel like someone at Cablevision cares.
Monday comes, and nothing – I totally forget to try to cancel the automated payment, and it’s not until Tuesday morning, when I get an email from their billing system, that things start to get bad again. I call at 7:30 in the morning about the bill, and get someone who claims that it must be my fault, since she has the same bank that I do and she doesn’t have any problems paying her bill this way. I explain to her that it’s real swell that she’s able to do it, but clearly, based on the events of the last 3 or so weeks, things are different for me. Telling me that it works for her is not helping the situation, it’s actually making it worse…..
In the end, she makes a note to have someone from the online group call me back about it. Later that night – dinnertime, of course – I get a call. They can’t help me since my online access to my account is in the process of being cancelled – can I try to set it up again in 4 weeks when it’s finally closed out? “Honestly, I’m not sure I’ll be a Cablevision customer in 4 weeks. This whole issue is just ridiculous and I don’t understand how you’re still in business.”
It’s now Sept. 26, and I’m still pissed about the whole episode. It’s taken me far to long to document this stuff – document it a second time, actually, since I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau of NY State. Last night I got a reply from them: we can’t help you, it’s not up to us to change how they run their business. WHAT THE HELL? I thought the point of the BBB was that when a company is screwing a customer – rather hard, in this case – they were supposed to step in and try to make things right? I don’t understand what the problem here is – I tried to give them money, their computer system didn’t manage to make it work, so I’m charged a fee? And then when it goes wrong a second time, they disable my account and treat me like a criminal – did I mention the bullet proof glass at the branch office? Or the security guard? How does any of this make any sense? The customer is clearly NEVER RIGHT when it comes to Cablevision.
DirecTV, here I come…..