Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Tale of Two Cancellations

I switched to DISH network a few months ago. And here's why.

Today I called DISH network to cancel my Showtime. I had it free for three months and the three months is over. I'm too cheap to pay for it. And it's not really that good anyway.

Calling to cancel Showtime took approximately three minutes. I did it over the phone without even having to talk to anyone. They know the extra channels you have when you call, and the phone prompts you through the actions. It even recalculates your current bill without the additional charge for the premium channel so you know your adjusted bill when you get off of the phone. I saved $13 in three minutes. Genius.

Less than five minutes. All of it. Including the channel being turned off. This could not have been easier or more pleasant for me. So far, I'm a big fan of DISH network.

Today I also called Time Warner to finally cancel my cable television. I have only basic cable. Without the basic cable, my internet goes up $10 per month because I'm no longer considered a Time Warner "customer". So with or without the $12 cable television, my total bill won't change that much.

But I decided to cancel now for two reasons:

1. The principle of it. I very much dislike Time Warner since they took over for Comcast last year.
2. I got a notice this week that the $12 cable will soon increase to $15. This is unacceptable. And lame.

I called Time Warner, was put on hold for about 5 minutes (already two minutes longer than my entire DISH call), then I finally talked to someone. I told him I wanted to cancel my basic cable. He asked why. (They always ask why... like it's any of their business).

I told him I switched to DISH. And this is literally what he said:

"Wow. Um.... wow. Satellite? Really??? I can't believe you switched to satellite. Wow."

He was like, seriously disappointed in me. And we only just met. But I had clearly wronged him in a serious way.

He then asked why I had made that decision. I told him it's because DISH has better service, I'm unhappy with Time Warner customer service, my internet is unreliable (even though I'm keeping that), and DISH has better channel packages with better pricing.

He then proceeded to ask me 108 questions about how many DISH boxes I got, how much I'm being charged, did I know I signed an 18 month contract with DISH, did I know they would charge me $15 extra because I have two boxes but that's a hidden fee they don't tell you about.....

I said yes. Just... yes.

Then I mentioned I've had DISH for several months and I hadn't seen any of those hidden fees he just mentioned.

He stumbled for a second before he went on with his "make the customer feel like an idiot for switching to DISH" script. I think he thought I had just switched over to DISH, like, two seconds ago, rather than a few months ago.

(At this point I was just messing with him because I was on my comfy couch in my pjs drinking my coffee, and I had just had a very pleasant customer service experience with DISH that all but confirmed the very reason why I was now on the phone with this Time Warner guy.)

Then he said, "Well, it's not like we could get you back anyway. You're commited to DISH for 18 months. I just hope you're happy. But I just wanted to make you aware of all the hidden fees because they aren't going to tell you."

Um, is that a selling point for Time Warner? You can't get me back anyway? Is that supposed to make me thankful to him personally for warning me of the hidden pitfalls of DISH, or suddenly realize that I'd made a big mistake and come running back to Time Warner??

He seemed to get over the disappointment in losing me as a customer (my $12 worth of customer-ness). And he said he would schedule my disconnect for next Saturday and would between 11-2 work.

To this I said, "What? You can't just turn it off now, from there?"

TWC Guy: "No, we have to come out and put a block on it to make sure you can't get any channels."

Me the Happy DISH Customer: "Do I have to be here for that?"

TWC: "Yes."

Me: "You mean someone has to come IN my house and turn off the cable?"

TWC: "Well, no. We can do it from outside. But we can't guarantee that we won't also turn off the internet by accident. We need to be able to check your internet from inside after we disconnect your cable tv. If you're not there and something is wrong, we would have to come back another time to fix it."

Me: "Uh...ok." (I'm pretty sure he's just making this stuff up to annoy me)

TWC: "Ok so we can come between 11-2 next Saturday. And there will be an $11 service charge for this visit."

Me: "WHAT?? You have to CHARGE me to cancel my cable TV?"

TWC: "Yes."

Me: (trying not to laugh and trying to sound mad) "Ok, well this is exactly why I've cancelled my cable. I called DISH and had them cancel Showtime and they just turned it off and adjusted my bill in about two minutes. Now you're telling me you have to schedule a time to come here and cancel me, plus charge me for it? That's ridiculous."

TWC: "Well, yes. They can do that over the phone. But we can't. We have to come out and manually disconnect. And that's a service call that we have to charge for."

By now it's been about 10 minutes on the phone with this guy. And somehow my calling to cancel my cable so I can save money has cost me an additional $11 just to get it turned off. Plus I have to hang out and wait for three hours next Saturday until someone gets here to disconnect it.

I should have told him I could probably do it myself if he could just walk me through it over the phone so I can save the $11 to pay next month's hidden DISH fees.

C.T.

1 comment:

Gmama said...

Again, TWC is the root of all evil. I used to work for them and hated them then too. After I quit my job and we were moving into our new house I had to have them come out to hook up cable. They came out, hooked it up, and it didn't work. I didn't realize this until after they left. I spent 30 minutes on the phone with a guy who kept telling me that his end showed that it was working. Really? Well, my end isn't working...so fix it. I ended up cussing at him on the phone and he threatened to hang up on me. I was 9 weeks pregnant at the time and having a hard time holding my head on straight I was so nauseated. They certainly didn't make things better. Also - when I was working for them I had an employee who kept getting random charges from them (which is weird because we got everything for free). It would always take forever to clear it up, and she finally got fed up with it. As an employee she was having to go through crappy customer service and sit on hold and not get anything accomplished - it was quite frustrating.....so she complained to the BBB. I thought it was brilliant - my boss didn't - and she had to be written up for complaining to the BBB about bad service from TWC. Go figure.