Posted by · 3:33 pm · July 20th, 2009

The facts: My high speed internet service is provided by Charter Communications.  I have a monthly bill of $69.98 (which is already too much for the service I receive, but that is neither here nor there).  I am offered a higher speed for a 30-day free trial.  I am told if I am not happy with the service to call when I receive my bill and the fee will be removed.  I accept the service.  I am unhappy with the service, which is neither faster nor slower than the service I already had.  The bill arrives.  I call Charter Communications and ask to have the service removed and to revert back to my former service.  I am told I will no longer receive the grandfathered rate of $69.98 and will instead have to pay $74.98 because I have removed and added a service.  I argue that I was told my bill would revert to the same service and same fee.  I get nowhere with my perfectly reasonable argument.  The conclusion one comes to is that Charter Communications is exploiting a loophole by playing games such as these with long-standing customers in order to squeeze a few measly extra bucks per month out of them.  If you have a choice of internet providers, my suggestion is to stay as far away from Charter Communications as possible.  I will certainly be taking my business elsewhere.

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11 responses so far

  • 1 7-20-2009 at 3:40 pm

    Jake said...

    I have Comcast, and they do the same thing. Crooks is right.

  • 2 7-20-2009 at 3:49 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Jesus. I have no idea what things cost in the US, but $70 sounds like a hefty sum — for that amount, they should be at your fucking command.

    You tell ’em, Kris.

  • 3 7-20-2009 at 4:01 pm

    Soul said...

    is kris tapley gonna hafta choke a customer service representative?

  • 4 7-20-2009 at 4:12 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    The unfortunate thing is my options are limited to Charter, essentially.

    I can do satellite internet with WildBlue through my DirecTV account, but the top speed is much, much lower than what I have now. I’m surprised at how slow, frankly. So that’s not an option.

    I had AT&T DSL once upon a time (part of a bundle with DISH Network years back). The problem with that, however, was that the closest AT&T hub is downtown. I’m situated in a funny spot at the base of the Verdugo Mountains near Eagle Rock that makes that signal unbearably slow even for the speed I was paying for. And, I was told, there were no plans to build a closer hub.

    Meanwhile, Time Warner is not available in the area.

    So I’ve backdoored Charter into a bundle (internet plus a telephone service, which I need for a new fax machine anyway — not TV, though, because I’ll never, ever get rid of DirecTV) for $79.99 for six months. Then it shoots up $25 more per month, but the way I see it, that’s six months I have to explore my options further.

  • 5 7-20-2009 at 4:13 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    I’m pretty sure my house offered only one option- Time Warner. Other places I called said I was in a Time Warner zone. Seems illegal but what are you gonna do?

  • 6 7-20-2009 at 4:28 pm

    Bryan said...

    Grandfathered? Sounds like corporate Jim Crow hijinks to me.

  • 7 7-20-2009 at 5:39 pm

    Marshall said...

    Hehehe. I love rants like this against the bureaucracy. I always try to take it on, but they always win.

  • 8 7-20-2009 at 8:39 pm

    Alex C. said...

    I recently auditioned for the Charter Communications commercial. To play a bumble bee…yes, a bumble bee.

    Now that’s criminal.

  • 9 7-21-2009 at 12:48 am

    katie said...

    Criminal is good word for it actually, I remember something about these unfair practices on the news. Apparently, it doesn’t cost these internet providers more money to provide faster internet speed. But they charge for it anyway. There is such a disparity between cost and pricing that Congress started to officially look into it. But these are corporate giants. I’m taking a wild guess and betting that officially looking into is all that’s going to happen.

  • 10 7-21-2009 at 12:53 am

    katie said...

    Found it; on the new york times site:

    Some highlights:
    “Tony Werner, the chief technical officer of Comcast. “Just because someone consumes more data doesn’t mean they drive more cost.”….the equipment needed to add capacity to any household costs a fraction of one month’s Internet service bill. Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, has told investors that doubling the Internet capacity of a neighborhood costs an average of $6.85 a home.

    The cost of providing Internet service is about to fall even more, as cable companies install new technology, called Docsis 3, that will both increase their capacity and allow them to offer much faster download speeds.

    So far, however, companies in the United States have chosen to use Docsis 3 as an opportunity to offer far more expensive Internet plans. Comcast has introduced a new 50-megabit-per-second service at $139 a month, compared with its existing service that costs about $45 a month for 8 megabits per second. Time Warner just announced it will charge $99 for 50 megabits per second.

    By contrast, JCom, the largest cable company in Japan, sells service as fast as 160 megabits per second for $60 a month, only $5 a month more than its slower service…”

    The article goes on to explain that internet fees aren’t as expensive in Japan due to more competition. Not so much here, like most of the commentators, I only have access to one, only one, internet provider, cable, and telephone provider.

  • 11 7-22-2009 at 4:55 am

    Nicolas Mancuso said...

    Wow. That’s expensive.

    I live in Montreal and subscribe to Videotron. I’m paying about $48 per month, and that includes high-speed cable internet and digital cable television! I thought that was a little expensive.

    You certainly have my sympathy.