Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Waiting for the Cable Man

I spent today waiting at home for the cable man. Many locals have satellite TV, but I fought for almost two years with Frontier and DirectTV because they insisted I pay them hundreds of dollars I didn’t owe. I made the mistake of buying a Bundle – telephone, internet and satellite television. When my signal on the TV became so horrible and Direct TV would not repair it for weeks, I stopped paying for it. Little did I know that Frontier collected the money and they paid Direct TV. 

When I refused to pay the TV part of my bill, Frontier, not Direct TV, cut off my television service completely. I came home from a trip and found I had no television service – just a blank screen. Direct TV agreed I didn’t owe them, but they could not help me because it was Frontier that cut off my service. 

And they would not talk to each other. Frontier told me to talk to Direct TV and Dirct TV said the same. Of course no one listened to me. I did the only thing I could do. I stopped paying my bill.

I will not go into the long fight, over a year, I put up with Frontier and Direct TV, but I did not pay money I didn’t owe. I ended up calling ClarkHoward for advice. A letter to the right person and my bill was finally corrected.

Today around 4:30 the nice man who works with Windstream Cable came and pulled a new line from the street up to my house. Now I have a clear signal again. Next week, another company will come and bury that line in the ground. 

I had received a phone call, a recording, last night telling me the technician would come to my house between 8:30 a.m. and noon on Wednesday. Great, I thought. I will be able to run an errand in the afternoon. At 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, I received another recorded message telling me of an update on my service call.

“The repairman will come to your house between 8:15 and noon.” 
It was already after noon – two o’clock!

I called the company home number. Although they always ask for my telephone number, they don’t have me listed with my phone number. I don’t know what number they have on file, but it is not mine. I have told Windstream this for years now, but nothing gets changed. 

When I finally reached a live person, she was haughty and unfriendly. I asked her to just give me an idea when and if someone would be coming to fix my TV today. From the recorded calls I had received, I was not sure what to expect. When she came back to me, she said someone would be at my house before 5 p.m.

While talking with the cable repairman, I learned that he didn’t even get orders for my problem until lunch time. I waited around all morning for nothing.

Mr. Cable Man said he had five calls in my neighborhood, and he believes these problems were all caused by the strong storms we have had recently. Lightning does a job on cable reception. He told me that Windstream now belongs to someone in a southwestern state. I’m not sure which one. He has never seen his boss. His orders all come on a cell phone given to the technicians by the company. He sends his responses to them electronically, as well.

I know most of you who read this, if you live in the United States, understand this is the new normal for dealing with corporate America. In big cities, I assume many people work for such corporations. But in small town America, where small and mid-sized businesses are the life blood of the area, most of us find it abnormal to work for a faceless voice that comes to you on a cell phone and all communication is done electronically. 

I wonder how long Windstream will continue to attract customers and keep employees. With no personal interaction between management and the workers, will the employees be loyal to the owner? People work better for people they know and like and who know them, respect them and recognize them for their efforts. Studies have shown that people work more for recognition than for money. 

I hear this from others who work for large companies such as Verizon and Frontier. The men who come  to my home are just as frustrated as customers like me. They talk about how those companies have cut back on personnel, making more work, harder work, for the few who are left. These guys catch the brunt of complaints when the services promised are not provided.

It seems to me that big companies are squeezing the life out of middle class America, the working people who struggle to keep a home for their families. The CEOs get richer and richer, flying their private planes, vacationing in one of their numerous homes, while cutting their workforce as much as possible. 

I am happy the nice repairman finally got to me. Now I can watch Nashville tonight.

Do you have any thoughts on the way large companies treat us, the consumers, and the people who work for  them? Let me hear from you.

1 comment:

DJan said...

If I had any choice other than Comcast, I would take it, but I don't. So I deal with the higher and higher costs, and the absolutely HORRIBLE customer service, because I don't have a choice. And I know I am not alone. :-(