Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Cablevision, Verizon, and me

We just completed installing Cablevision's IO triple play in our household, save for a few particulars like the fact that the WiFi doesn't work, and, all I can say is, man, did we ever earn the alleged savings we'll get for dropping Verizon. It all started about six weeks ago, when Cablevision courted my husband when he called them to subscribe to some European Soccer package. If we signed up for the triple play, they said, we'd get the European Soccer package for free! We told them we'd get back to them—it was more a matter of me not wanting to part with the three voicemail boxes Verizon permits you to have, which come in handy when your home is also your business address.
Then, before I'd had a chance to see if Cablevision offered such a thing, the phone calls came. The cable guy was apparently at our house for the scheduled appointment—the one, of course, that we hadn't scheduled at all, so no one was home.
Then came the calls to "reschedule." And when I say calls, I mean calls. Like multiple calls, every day, at just the wrong time. Most of the time, Cablevision seemed to leave a message, and those messages had two variations: heavy breathing or muzak, as though the people who make calls at Cablevision haven't ever left voicemail before. None of those messages contained human speech.
Finally, one day I was there to pick up the phone: "Well, I want to switch but I just have one question about the voicemail service. Do you guys give people multiple voicemail boxes?"
"I don't know," said the voice on the other end. "I'll find out and call you next week."
The week came and went, with no answer, and continuing calls from Cablevision to reschedule the appointment we'd never scheduled. Finally, one day when they called, I was available to pick up the phone again. "Well, I've been trying to answer the question of whether you guys offer multiple voicemail boxes and no one has ever gotten back to me."
"Oh, let me check on that," said the voice on the other end. After a pause, "No, we don't offer that service."
Since, in the intervening weeks, my brother had told me how complicated he thought the multiple voicemail boxes were anyway, I decided to drop the issue, and give Cablevision my business. There were multiple questions I had to answer, including one about whether I wanted to keep our current phone number (yes, though it's a $40 one-time charge). Then, I was transferred to another department, where, I thought, The Great Scheduling of my installation was about to happen. But I ended up in dead air. "Oh, well," I thought. "At least I know they'll call back."
Within two days, an ExpressMail envelope arrived. It was a one-page letter from Verizon, with a huge "Stop" sign on it, asking me to reconsider before switching my service. There was no turning back.
Finally, a week or so later, after more voicemails filled with either heavy-breathing or Muzak, I was available to answer one of Cablevision's calls. The cable guy would be coming, the very next morning! And he showed up more or less on time!
So, you'd think that the last thing I'd have to do to complete this arduous process is cancel my Verizon DSL service, and I'm trying. Really. But when I called Verizon the other day, they started in with the scare tactics, based on the theory that a shared cable pipe was less secure, and less available, than a single DSL line into the home. They've given me thirty days of free DSL service, even though to use it I'd have to crawl under my desk and start fooling around with any number of phone jacks and filters. Hell, I can't even pick up the phone when Cablevision calls. It's not going to happen.
OK, so that's the story of Cablevision, Verizon and me. After reading this, you may be as exhausted as I am.


Anonymous said...


Please don't emulate Bob Garfield and launch a Cablevision Must Die blog.

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