Do We Matter? 2472

Just wanted to drop you a quick note concerning the Time/Warner
Roadrunner article you published today.

I can empathize my friend, but also wanted to point out that all hope
should not be lost (yet).

You see, I experienced a nearly identical problem when attempting to get
cable modem service from AT&T @Home in my area. Repeated calls/emails to
their customer service department resulted in experiences that mirrored
yours (mis-information, dis-information, and obsfucations). The
difference is in how I finally resolved it.

I finally became so fed up with the canned email responses, and utter
lack of intelligence when dealing with “service reps” after dialing their 800
numbers, that I decided it was time to pay a visit to their local office
and vent on the closest thing I could find to a poor excuse of a

While I wasn’t able to speak to a manager, the counter person requested
a description of the nature of my concern, and asked me to wait. She found
one of the local install technicians and began questioning him as to whether
or not service was available in my area as she suspected. Turns out that he
answered yes, and that it had been for several months!! I then asked her
why then I had been told a multitude of times by their Denver Corp. Customer
Service that I was not in their service area, and she didn’t have an

She did however call the same 800 numbers I had been, and was able to
get a supervisor on the phone.

This Corp Customer Service Supervisor couldn’t explain it either, and
actually tried briefly to argue that it wasn’t available. Luckily for
me, she was on top of her business (at least locally) and shut him down
pretty quickly. Not being satisfied herself, she then kicked it up the chain a
bit to a manager, and then to a regional manager. Of course, none of them
could explain it either.

She went ahead and processed my install order, and tried to set up a
date. The computer system kicked it back out because it supposedly wasn’t a
valid address, so she made yet another call, and finally got someone,
somewhere, to come to their senses.

To make a long story short, I got my cable modem later that week.

I don’t know if the issue lies in the communication between the field
and the corporate offices about what work is performed and when, or if there
just isn’t any updating taking place at the corporate level as to when
infrastructure work is completed. But it wouldn’t surprise me that both
situations are part of the cause.

The bottom line I guess is that I don’t care since I finally got my
cable modem, and evidently the company doesn’t care either (at least at the
corporate level) that they are missing out on potential revenue. I’m
just thankful that I made the effort to locate a local office, and that the
person I spoke with was able to actually help me.

While my example may not work for you, I think you should give it a
shot. Try to find the local office, and get a face to face with them. Find out
from those closest to the situation in your area what the real scoop
is…….They have to know at least a bit more than the remote/corporate
flunkies do. It might turn out as well for you as it did for me.

Should that fail, contact your city Administrator, or Mayor. If your
location is like mine, these companies are awarded contracts with the
city to provide cable service for its residents. There may be
performance/service clauses contained in that contract which you could use to leverage your
request….and having the Mayor’s office to help lobby for your
neighborhood wouldn’t hurt either:) You might even consider getting the
local/regional media involved, or contacting the FCC. Sometimes big companies have to
be treated like children in order to get them to do anything…..and fear
of embarrassment, bad press, or fines might just be what it takes to make
them move off their butts!

Ed.note: For at least the last year, I’ve been reading stories like these
in the DSL and cable modem newsgroups. What baffles me is (after a reasonable breaking-in
period) why so many of these places never seem to get their act together. If you order
phone or cable service, these companies seem to know how to do that efficiently, what’s the big
deal about this? (I’m not talking about phone companies trying to do in DSL competitors like Northpoint,
Covad; they seem to screw up a lot even when they got the customer all to themselves).

Email Ed

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