Cablevision's continued incompetence
Since I got Cablevision's service in January 2001, I've had numerous temporary "service disruptions": wait 3-4 hours, and suddenly it'll be back by itself. Once in a while it was a longer outage. So I've largely stopped calling them and instead would wait 3-4 hours, but I did call last night. My cable modem and cable box weren't receiving signals, and I sensed it was another neighborhood outage. The tech insisted I go through "troubleshooting procedures" on my cable box, and I told him point-blank, "I'm not going to waste my time fucking around back there." What good would it do to troubleshoot my cable box, like all the other times I sighed and complied when I had the same problem and bothered to call, when my cable modem showed it was a signal problem?
Then he asked me if I wanted a service call, but with the caveat that if it could have been resolved by troubleshooting, I'd get charged. First, I said I was tired of them "threatening me" with a service charge when it's always been their fault (including a staple driven through the coax by the installing technician). I also pointed out my previous histories of neighborhood outages and temporary ones that suddenly spring back. Then of all the stupidest things to say, he said, "So you're refusing a technician to come out." "Refusing?" I corrected. "Refusing would be if sending out a field tech would actually do some good. I am declining because it's pointless."
But the most boneheaded thing he did was directly accusing me of blaming them, excusing their accidental neighborhood outages because "That's not our problem." Not their problem? When I, the customer, am not getting a service that I've paid for, how is it not their problem? It might not be their fault, but it sure as hell is their problem to restore my service as fast as possible.
Rodrigo, whatever the hell his name was, could be some 19-year-old making $8 an hour for all I know and care. Well, I myself started out as a PC support phone, but the difference is that I was competent, and this kid has a lot to learn about simple logic. I couldn't begin to count how often I sought authorization from a "senior tech" to have an obviously defective part replaced, and the first thing the putz would ask was, "Did you boot to A:"? "No, you idiot, I didn't, and there's nothing that booting to A: is going to do for this hard drive!"
But Cablevision has no incentive to provide good service to retain customers. Government has given it a monopoly in my area, and similar monopolies to Comcast, TimeWarner and other cable companies in their respective regions -- just like the Crown used to grant charters giving a company exclusive "rights" to a business. All the resulting lack of competition does is screw over consumers. Satellite is hardly competition; it's merely an alternative. If other cable companies could start up, who cares if it's "market chaos"? Free commerce eventually sorts itself, and quite nicely without any need for government's "help." Cablevision would either learn to provide reliable service and decent phone support, or die out.