Wednesday, August 14, 2013

How Mediacom Sucks

This post it to chronicle some of my recent experiences with Mediacom. Needless to say, given the title of this post, I'm not too happy with them.

I got a bill from Mediacom, as I do every month. But this one was different; I owed $64.95, not the usual $54.95. I've had issues with the cost going up and down before; it has fluctuated by $15 dollars, depending on where I live. If I live as a tenant somewhere that includes cable TV in the rent, it's $15 less ($39.95). This bill was the highest I've ever been charged for normal monthly service.

So, I did the only logical thing, and called them right away. I was informed that my 2-year contract had expired, thus prompting the higher rate. I asked how this was possible, since I hadn't been living at my current residence for even a year and a half, I've had the same Internet service with them for four years, and I hadn't ever paid this much for their internet access (with or without cable TV-by-landowner discounts). They said they didn't know, there was no way to tell, but that the 2-year contract had ended. I am reasonably certain that this is not the case, since I remember renewing the 2-year contract about 3 years ago - not 2 years ago. This means if it were to expire, it would have done so 1 year ago. Also, I asked at that time (whenever it actually was) what would happen after those two years. They told me it would become monthly (quit at any time without penalties), but that service would continue as usual. This is in stark contrast to what actually happened.

The problem I had wasn't so much that they were raising the rate (although that was, and is, part of it); it was more the fact that I had no notice whatsoever that this was going to happen. So I did the next logical thing: complained on Twitter. Here's what happened:

(Link to that Tweet is here.)

This is a lie. There is no information whatsoever on the statement in question that indicates I would have a $10 price jump on my next bill. See for yourself below. I included both the last normal-charge bill, and the fist bill with the $10 rate increase, just to be sure. Also, I'm not sure why, but the last "normal" charge bill is not normal - it's actually $2 more. A minor difference, but noteworthy nonetheless. (Note: I missed my payment by a day or two, hence the excessive charge on the first bill shown here. It's legitimate - just realize the lack of any "notice".) The stuff I have blocked out are account numbers, addresses and barcodes. Otherwise, the content of the papers have not been altered in any way.

(Links to full-size images: Bill 1 - page 1page 2; Bill 2 - page 1page 2.)

Now, on to some more fun stuff: my grandparents decided on Mediacom after moving back to their home here in Iowa. I was reluctant for them to get it, but went along with it nonetheless. The problems started when we tried to setup an installation time. My schedule, my grandparents' schedules, and the available times slots just weren't lining up. This isn't really anyone's fault; just something to take note of. Eventually, we had a date setup. August 12 from 5-7pm, we were told, was the installation window. The installer would have this window of time to get the work done. They might show up at, for example, 6pm (rather than 5pm) at their discretion, but would have the job done by 7pm. Great. Confirmation number in-hand, we felt good that we'd finally gotten this part of the process out of the way.

On August 10, my grandmother got a robocall while she was driving, confirming the appointment for August 12 at 1-3pm. In no position to do anything about it, she called back the next day, August 11, to correct their error. Unfortunately, the customer service representative was less helpful than expected.

After much arguing with my grandmother, barely able to be understood due to a thick accent (and, apparently, not being able to speak fluent English), we finally had to hang up on him. The most he had told us was that 5-7pm time slots don't start until September, and basically that we were full of crap if we thought otherwise.

We called back, got someone else, and were told that they couldn't find the appointment without the job number. Job number? Not confirmation number? No, they needed both. Well, then. After giving them all sorts of other information (such as name, address, social security number, et cetera), they were able to locate it in conjunction with the confirmation number.

We were then informed that there was no time slot available for 5-7pm on August 12, but that 1-3pm was available, and had been confirmed for our installation time. The customer service representative suggested that we call on August 12 before 1pm, to see if it could get bumped to 5-7pm, but that there was nothing further she could do. Okay, fine. We asked for the job number (which she gave us), re-confirmed the confirmation number (which was correct), and then thanked her lots. Done.

August 12, around 10am, after unsuccessfully attempting to get a customer service representative to move the installation time to back to the original 5-7pm, we realized it would just need to happen at 1-3pm. We rearranged our schedules to make it happen. At 2pm, we called Mediacom. Where was the technician? Were they really going to be able to get it all done by 3pm still? No, that's just the arrival window, they told us. As long as they show up by 3pm, they can stay as long as they need to finish the job. Yet more infuriated  we explained our situation to the less-than-sympathetic customer service representative.

Eventually, the technician did show up (a contractor - not an employee of Mediacom), and did a great job with everything - though apparently dispatch didn't give him the proper cable boxes, so we have yet to get the A/V setup we actually agreed to. (He mentioned this before he started, as soon as he showed up. We weren't mad at him at all, though we were more than frustrated with Mediacom.)

So, if you're thinking about getting Mediacom service: please reconsider. I'm likely going to be switching to CenturyLink myself. Not much better, but at least I won't have to put up with Mediacom's poor business practices and awful customer service anymore.

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