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(STLToday)   Charter Communications gives AOL's customer service a run for its money for 'Worst. Customer. Service. Ever.'   ( divider line
    More: Asinine  
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12534 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 Apr 2007 at 11:05 PM (10 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

108 Comments     (+0 »)

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2007-04-27 09:41:50 PM  
I hate them, I have actually started using my sprint wireless card for all my internet, its more reliable, and connects faster.
2007-04-27 11:08:09 PM  
mmm, wireless via cellular...
2007-04-27 11:08:43 PM  
second post!!!!!
2007-04-27 11:09:57 PM  
Charter is so bad they actually forget to send me my bill sometimes. I was much more satisfied when Astound existed in my area.
2007-04-27 11:10:16 PM  
Glad I've had no reason to call them.

Well, some lag in WoW lately, but I figure calling won't do anything..
2007-04-27 11:11:25 PM  
Verizon has the worst customer service that I've ever dealt with. Dealing with Verizon was a nightmare.
2007-04-27 11:11:46 PM  
I worked for Earthlink for a few months, and they weren't much better. Four weeks of technical support training and I was supposed to tech cable, DSL, satellite, home networking, and of course dial-up; use my discretion as to whether to handle problems that were "not within the scope of support" while being gently encouraged to do just that, but being held to a strict and ever-decreasing call time limit; and get random, strange calls from bewildered people whose calls had just been transferred from Mumbai with no warning to me or them.

Some of the people were a lot of fun though. The best call was the guy who sounded like Samuel L. Jackson performing Brad Pitt's role in "12 Monkeys", telling me I had to get his service reconnected (again) because the government, the CIA, the library, the technical school he went to were all out to get him. And a surprising volume of calls late at night were from guys on oil rigs in Wyoming, who are awfully chatty with the tech support chick at 4am.
2007-04-27 11:12:04 PM  
Charter does suck, but in my experience, if you make yourself a royal pain in the ass, they'll cooperate with you.

For example, when I got the Vonage phone service, charter didn't provide me enough bandwidth for a phone call to actually connect. If anyone called me, my internet would get farked and the call would disconnect. I called and biatched at Charter, and they got it fixed.
2007-04-27 11:12:28 PM  
Obvious tag was on the phone with customer support.
2007-04-27 11:13:05 PM  
On a walk down my driveway, warm wind in my hair,
Warm smell of gardenias rising up through the air,
And as I glanced in my mailbox, I saw shimmering light,
My thoughts grew muddled as my sight grew dim,
I took it in for the night.

As it laid on my desktop, I looked at my old Dell,
And I was thinking to myself 'This could be Heaven or AOL Hell',
So I loaded the CD, and it showed me the way,
There were voices on the internet,
I thought I heard them say...

Welcome to the Hotel AOHella
Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
Easy interface
Hours are free at the Hotel AOHella
Any time of year (any time of year)
You will find them here

It's very easy to install, and you can chat with your friends (uuuh),
It promises strong anti-virus ware, but there it ends,
How it danced on my PC, oh the regret,
Bad move to remember, bad move to forget.

So I called up the help desk,'Please cancel my line',
They said, 'We haven't lost a client here since 1999',
And still those charges are hitting my bank account,
Call 'em up in the middle of the night,
Just to hear them say... ay...

Welcome to the Hotel AOHella
Such a hellish place (such a hellish place)
Crappy interface
we're livin' it up at the Hotel AOHella
What a rude surprise (what a rude suprise)
With their alibis

Pop-ups they approve of, and spyware they call nice,
Then I thought 'I am now a prisoner here of their foul device'
And in their corporate chamber, they gathered for the feast,
They stab it with their greedy knives so that they can bleed the beast.

Next thing I remember, I was running uninstall,
I had to get my PC back to the place it was before,
'Relax,' said the night desk, 'We are programmed to receive,
You can cancel any time you like,
But you can never leave!

-- Calcasieu
2007-04-27 11:13:09 PM  
Gates earned about $720 every two weeks, before taxes and deductions. She has three children and says she quit after four months.

Damn, usually 3 kids would take 2.5-3 years to pop out.
2007-04-27 11:16:49 PM  
Everyone in STL seems to have a Charter story...mine is classic.
Had TV/internet/phone through them, never worked right, switched to Dish/SBC, got more, saved $40/month.
Charter, with their excellent service, took me to collections for money they owed me.
They said I owed them $8 (which I gladly would have paid for them to go away)...but their bills they send me said I had a $24 refund coming.
2 months after that, with the BBB getting involved, they then just said "eh, we're even", and that was it.
They can keep my refund if it means they all burn painfully.
2007-04-27 11:18:24 PM  
Working in a call center is the WORST. I worked in two, one was outbound, one was inbound. Inbound was worse, I daresay.
2007-04-27 11:21:12 PM  
She has three children and says she quit after four months.

I'd quit after the first one, myself.
2007-04-27 11:22:22 PM  
draconian rules
no support
no ability to get information
a system designed with total apathy for actual customers

Wow, that almost sounds like a call center.

/Worked for Comcast tech support
//Has charter. No complaints about their TV or Internet service.
///Good to know their customer service still sucks and they don't just hate me.
////This slashie was on hold for 27 minutes to learn they're doing 'maintenance' in my area.
2007-04-27 11:23:09 PM  
Cox may not be cheap, but they have damn good customer service and their Internet speed is fast.
2007-04-27 11:24:52 PM  
They'll get over it.
2007-04-27 11:24:57 PM  
The customers'll get over it.
2007-04-27 11:26:43 PM  
2007-04-27 11:26:52 PM  
I'm quite satisfied with Insight myself. I set up an appointment to have them verify my equipment and they were there at the earliest possible moment within that window. Verified the modem, software, etc. and they were on their way. I had some Internet issues for a short bit, but they were able to solve it within minutes.
2007-04-27 11:28:16 PM  
The customers'll get over it.

Unless you tell them they will - then they will never forget it.
2007-04-27 11:29:30 PM  
Below you will find a letter I wrote to Time Warner about that earned me a few hundred dollars in credits.

January 15, 2003
Time Warner Cable
Attention: Customer Service Department

To Whom It May Concern:

I am not composing this note in hopes of receiving free service, discounts on future bills or even to complain. I am, however, writing to simply inform Time Warner of the adventure I had while trying to get a High Definition cable box delivered to my new home. I will attempt to be as thorough as possible and write in a timeline style that should be easy to follow.

DECEMBER 26, 2002

I purchase a High Definition television and call Time Warner to update some information. First, I tell customer service that I am moving on the 30th. I request that a technician come to my new home on the 30th, bring an HD cable box and that he call before he arrives so that I don't miss him. I make it clear that he should call me since I will be in the process of moving and will be in and out of the area.

I am told by customer service since that I am an existing customer and already have a digital cable box; the technician will install the new HD box and remove the old digital box.

So far, so good.

DECEMBER 30, 2002

He didn't call. He did, however, show up relatively on time with a digital box and no HD box. Luckily someone, not me, was there to greet him and put him to work. He explained that it was Time Warner's responsibility to call me before he arrived. (That doesn't make much sense, does it?) Then he tried to install another digital box and told me that HD boxes were out of stock. I kept my old digital box hooked up.

After he left, I called Time Warner to complain about not being notified about the lack of HD boxes and the failure of the technician to call before his arrival. I was eventually connected with a manager who took some information from me and assured me that he would call me personally later in the day about the HD problem.

DECEMBER 31, 2002

He didn't call back. I did receive a call from a different manager to say that she was sorry about the inconvenience, but there was still no update on the progress with the HD cable box.

During a New Year's Eve party, two strange fellows walked into my new home along with two close friends that saw themselves in. Well, it turned out to be two technicians from Time Warner dropping off another digital box. I sent them on their way. I still have no idea why they showed up, why they entered and why they brought a digital box.

JANUARY 1, 2003

I called to complain at right about this point. Representative was very rude, but I most likely deserved it. I was not a happy customer by this point. Oh, still no idea about HD boxes. Again, I was assured that I would be contacted when they become available.

JANUARY 4, 2003

My friend, who ordered an HD box the same day as I initially did, has an HD box delivered to his home. I went to his house to watch the football games. The Giants lost. Still no call from Time Warner.

JANUARY 10, 2003

I gave Time Warner a rest and enjoyed my digital cable. I called first thing in the morning to get an update about the HD boxes. Apparently, there was never a work order put in on my account to get an HD box and they didn't have my new address. Funny, I received a bill at the new house. I didn't bother explaining and updated my address and phone number.

The customer service representative transferred me to the dispatcher for the technicians. We spoke for a while and he doesn't think that Time Warner is very good with customer service either. The representative told him that I need a digital box delivered. I was speechless. I told him that she was obviously not even listening to me and that it is an HD box that I need delivered. He absolutely assured me that he could get me an HD box later in the day. He had to call me back to set up a good time for someone to meet me at my house.

He didn't call back. I called Time Warner in a silly rage. I asked the representative to transfer me to Mr. Case, the president of AOL Time Warner. She had no idea who I was talking about. She told me she could transfer to me to a manager. I waited on hold for 5 minutes and was transferred to someone that had gone home for the day.

I called back. A customer service representative transferred me to her direct supervisor. She placed me on hold for 5 more minutes and scheduled with a technician that an HD box be delivered on Saturday, January 11th, 2003 between 6 and 10 pm. She guaranteed that he would come. I told her that I wouldn't count on it.

While in the process of hanging up, a technician knocked at my door with an HD box. I hadn't scheduled and no one called me. He didn't know how to hook it up, so I taught him.

JANUARY 11, 2003

My HD box actually works and no one showed up with a digital box at the scheduled appointment time. The Steelers lost. I called customer service about not being able to pull up the guide while on HD channels. Apparently, it isn't possible to do so. Now I digress, why not?

JANUARY 15, 2003

It is apparent that your lines of communication are deplorable. Simply, this has been the worst customer service experience I have ever encountered with any business. During the past few days, I have surveyed coworkers and neighbors about their opinions of Time Warner. Although no one is dissatisfied with the actual products offered, most of them have had bad experiences with customer service. I have to recommend that your customer service department be completely revamped from top to bottom. If Time Warner is interested, I would be happy to forward my resume.

I write this with the interests of getting a real response from Time Warner rather than receiving a generic reply. That would only worsen my feelings about this ordeal. I truly hope this note is read, taken seriously and that it even gets a chuckle.

I give my regards to whomever is reading this, and I look forward to hearing from someone in the near future. My telephone numbers are included, but I doubt that I will receive a call back.
2007-04-27 11:29:48 PM  
This is damn near the exact same thing I went through at my last job, No training, Answer calls for 300+ Dr's offices, Telecommunications companies, and a variety of other things. I would estimate we know what we were talking about 15% of the time, the rest was shiat we pulled out of our ass... LOL! I have a charter cable account, and for the time being it hasn't given me too much problems, but I have called their tech support a few times, and they really have no idea what they are talking about and it sounds so scripted!
2007-04-27 11:31:15 PM  
I had a nightmare of a time with them. My Mom's brain cancer caused her to have her first seizure a month ago. Like a week later we switched to Charter telephone service because it saved us about $30 a month. Well, next day the phone screwed up. Something to do with the modem. We called and called and called. I told them the situation and said it could literally be a matter of life or death. They said the tech guy would be there from 5-8PM. 8:45 I called. They said he called and said he was about an hour away. 10:30, called again. They said they couldn't reach the guy. They tried paging him, etc. Still, 12:30 in the morning it still didn't work, and they asked if I could wait until the morning. They should be ashamed of themselves. If I could switch to Comcast I'd do so in a heartbeat. The phone fixed itself and hasn't screwed up yet.
2007-04-27 11:34:28 PM  
I worked for charter technical support in Louisville KY. I quit after they changed their model from getting people back online to.. "sell them something, your job depends on it." Their tech support has a sales quota and have to meet or go on an "action plan".

In defense of Charter, I was never told to lie to customers and you could get fired for hanging up on them.(of course this was internet support and not TV). This chick quit after 4 months, sounds like she's bitter to me. Charter still sucks to work for though. Never had their service, hope I never do.
2007-04-27 11:35:07 PM  
Is this the thread to post in to say that the "rainbow" tabs are HORRID?

/ just checking
2007-04-27 11:37:40 PM  
Used to have Charter. It sucked. Have Mediacom now. It's much worse. At least Charter answered the phones, even if they then didn't provide much help afterward. I can never get Mediacom on the phone in the first place. I have to just go into the office to get their attention on anything.

The best ISP I've ever had was Road Runner. No idea how their customer service is, I never needed to call to begin with.
2007-04-27 11:37:53 PM  
Both of which are left in the dust by New York City Transit. :P
2007-04-27 11:38:09 PM  
I had charter for years and it sucked ass if you ever had to call teck support for anything dealing with their cabel internet service.

The local techs were decent except I had one that was afraid of heights that came to install a new drop on my old 2nd story apartment.
2007-04-27 11:38:58 PM  
Submitter makes headline which is worst. Redundant headline. Ever?
2007-04-27 11:39:04 PM  
This reflects my experience with Charter perfectly.

For an intermittent internet signal, we've had 7 appointments with Charter in the last 5 months. They showed up for 5 of them - and each of those five was for a TWELVE hour timeslot - and one of those even fell past the 12 hour mark.

And guess what -- the signal coming to the house is still all over the board.
2007-04-27 11:45:11 PM  
Here's what Charter did for me:

1. Tech pulled a cable outlet out of the wall and made a whole in my drywall. Three calls finally got me to a supervisor who said they would pay. Nothing ever came of it.

2. The same installer left a modem when I had my own modem already hooked up. Of course, I was charged the modem rental fee. I was also charged when he came back to pick it up.

3. My e-mail account mysteriously disappeared off of Charter's site. My call was passed back and forth between customer service and tech support. Neither group seemed to know anything about it, and I never got it fixed.

4. They claimed I was living at two places at once after I moved. The customer service girl I talked with couldn't get it through her head that I had no reason to pay for service at an address I was no longer at. She was also listening to loud music and talking with her coworkers throughout the call.

The multiple day outages were also no fun. The final straw came with a $20 monthly increase--not the end of a promo or anything but an actual base price increase. I am not happily using DSL with more speed and less cost.
2007-04-27 11:47:18 PM  
Senator Fark

Maybe this is Drew's way of saying he prefers the man-berries over the pink taco.
2007-04-27 11:50:26 PM  
Oddly enough, I've never had any real problems with Charter.

I once called to report an outage after a storm, and I think that went to their Philippines call center, but you could hardly tell that it was an offshore call - those sending call centers to India could learn a lesson.

Another time I was having crazy Internet speed variances. I posted my cable modem stats and MAC address on, and a Charter tech took a look at my data, and said there was definitely a problem. Call the number, talk to someone who schedules a tech. They give me an automated call the day of the visit to give a narrowed time window. The tech calls me when he's on his way. The automated system calls me later that day to give a survey on the quality of the visit - on time, problem resolved, etc. Tech came, verified the issue, contacted one of his colleagues who was doing some repairs that he figured were related, and told me things should be good later that day. No problems since.
2007-04-27 11:53:49 PM  
DNRTFA, but I'll say my two cents - Charter service sucks balls, Charter tech support sucks balls. Our last month with them I couldn't do instances in WoW because the lag was so bad, and one out of every four people I talked to over the phone was fluent in English. Then we switched to Verizon, which kicks ass in every way. The only trouble we've had since switching was when the Charter guy came out and tried to disconnect our FIOS. And I can't say enough about Verizon's tech support, I'd be up for having a beer with every single guy I've talked to over there.
2007-04-27 11:53:54 PM  
I work for charter (hides) as a local rep in the store.

I get to hear ALL about the call center screwups. If you can, go into the office to get stuff done. But, nice! :) Swearing and pounding on my desk because your channel 22 wasn't coming in for 2 hours...lighten up a bit! :)
2007-04-27 11:58:31 PM  
Say what you will about Comcast, but Comcast is fricken unbelievable compared to Charter.

I live in Michigan and have used Comcast cable modem service for years. It sometimes goes down, but it's fast. Unbelievably fast.

When I was in Minnesota for 7 months last year, I used Charter. Charter is one of the slowest ISPs I've ever used yet costs even more than comcast.
fark Charter, especially after hearing about this shiat.
2007-04-27 11:59:11 PM  
Charter is the bane of my existence. They told me a missed a payment sometime last year so I asked them what month. They could not tell me and since they never managed to actually get me a bill I told them I was not going to pay up until I could check their records against my bank records for proof of payment. Needless to say that was July of last year and I still have yet to find anyone at Charter with even the slightest clue about where this mystery charge is coming from.

Every time I call I just tell the person straight away that I am not a fan. I honestly wish there was another broadband option in my area that did not require me to pay for services I don't need. I will be happy when I am living in a place where I can have a company other than charter.

Those dunderhead farkwits make my head want to explode.

That is all.
2007-04-28 12:01:03 AM  
I've got charter, pretty much everything but phone, and i havnt had any problems with the product, hella expensive though. But yeah, their support kinda sucks. When i first got it installed the guy forgot to send in my package info or whatever and through the HD box we were only getting the basic analog channels and odly enough, the local HD channels. Took about three days of calling to get it worked out. Even then, TNT HD and Discovery HD worked intermittently, but everything else was fine. My only complaint was that the guy only gave me a component cable, i had to buy my own HDMI and optical cables.

After about a month with their TV service i got cable internet, the tech showed up ontime, had a spare modem with him (the first one didn't work) and replaced my splitters with better ones. I asked him about TNT and DSC, he said those channels are on the two highest frequencies and in old buildings, sometimes the wiring isn't good enough, seemed plausible enough. Bout two weeks later, they started coming in all the time and we got a couple more HD channels too.
2007-04-28 12:01:06 AM  
Uh, unpleasant flashback to when I worked in a call center. No one stays there long. Such an awful job. I remember that whole "punch in thirty seconds after lunch" thing too. I think it was six absences though and then you where out on your ass. They'll hire anyone. Buncha tweekers and such worked there too. I was outta my element.
2007-04-28 12:02:21 AM  
lelio: Everyone in STL seems to have a Charter story.

Yep. The only reason I'm still with Charter is because they seem to have forgotten to expire the deal they gave me when I signed up. I get everything but the HD tier for $50.
2007-04-28 12:04:09 AM  
I did data tech support for Charter a while back.. until they shipped all our jobs off to the Phillipines.. but thats a whole other story.

What's funny is its not even a question of front-line reps not having the right tools to be able to see a technician's route or where they are: they have the same tools the dispatch offices use, they're just not given enough access within the software to see tech's routes. I remember pointing this out to a few people since I was one of the few people at my level in our department that had access to dispatch information. Strangely, that access disappeared a few days later... hmmm....

Charter's service is hit or miss depending on the area. A lot of their markets are incredibly oversold (southern california being the big one), but beyond that the technical quality of the service is about par with any other major provider. I've personally had problems with my service at home once ever, and that was due to a line that was brought down by a storm in my driveway. Of course, when it came to servicing that (this was well after I was an employee), well I think these pictures summarize it better then words:
2007-04-28 12:04:47 AM  
That all sounds about right. I worked for an outsourced Charter customer service call center for a few months, because I had experience and bills to pay. Sounds like the call center referenced in the article had an even worse setup than we did -- we could at least verify appointment times, for whatever that was worth (and it wasn't worth much), but the rest of it was pretty familiar to me. And that's pretty much SOP for customer service in almost any large company that I've ever seen or heard of.

In before a bunch of people post exceptions, of course.

Charter's company policy seems to be to keep the front line reps in the dark and fed BS as much as possible. I guess some consultant somewhere crunched some numbers and decided that what they would save on proper training and procedures outweighed customer ill will and lost business. And you know what? They're right.

But anyway, I don't see how this article was exactly relevatory. Maybe it's just an open secret among customer service reps and ex-reps, I dunno.
2007-04-28 12:06:53 AM  
Isn't Charter owned by Paul Allen? That would explain a lot.
2007-04-28 12:14:10 AM  
I worked for Charter up in Michigan for about 2 years... Internet tech support.
Honestly wasn't bad at all when I started.. no guidelines on how long our calls were, how many calls I took, as long as I made the customer happy and tried my best to get them back online and connected to the net.
At the time of my departure, I was on an "action plan", the number of sales I made were lower than quota for the number of calls I took. My calls were too fast, meaning I didn't sell enough. There was NOTHING in their rating system about how well I troubleshot the issue, but everything was about empathy, transitioning the conversation to sales, and making the pitch. I told them to shove it...had a bachelors degree, and refused to turn into a sales monkey. As of now, they relocated the tech department offshore, and turned the entire building into Sales and Retention.. guy in my HSD department is now a supervisor of retention..i pity him.
2007-04-28 12:14:50 AM  
In my experience, RCN is the worst. My cable box was doing all sorts of funky sh*t - the menus worked sporadically, I was getting all sorts of random pixelation, etc - so I called them up. After being on hold for 45 minutes (I really didn't want to deal with a pixelated Pats playoff game), they tried to reset the box remotely, a process that took about another half hour. The menus seemed to be working again, and the picture was fine at the time.

About an hour later, things started going wonky again, so I called back, was on hold for another 30 minutes or so, had to talk to about three different people before someone knew what was going on, and they said that the box needed to be replaced, and they could send someone out in 10 days. 10 days!

I went elsewhere to watch that week's game, and the next's, and eventually they showed up to replace the box (note - unlike Comcast, RCN didn't have a local office where I could just go and swap the box myself).

The new box worked while the guy was there, then about an hour later it started pixelating again. Another 40-45 minutes on hold, before being told that the problem seemed to be something other than the box, and that a guy would be there in a week. A week!

Turns out there was something wrong with the junction-box type thing in the basement that was degrading the signal, it got fixed and was better (funny, the junction-box type thing was just fine with Comcast).

With my now no-longer degraded signal, I decided a few weeks later that I wanted to have cable in a second room (which didn't have a cable outlet), did the 40-minutes on hold thing again to schedule an appointment, was told they'd be there between 9am and noon. Took the morning off work, hung around, about 12:30 I called my office to say I wouldn't be in after all, called RCN to see where the guys were, was told - after the requisite 30 minutes+ on hold, that they should be there soon. A little after 2:00, the guy shows up, takes a look at the existing wiring and where I want the new hook-up, and tells me they don't do that sort of wiring and I'd have to hire an electrician to do it, even though I'd been pretty specific in telling the "service" rep what the deal was (second floor, interior wall, etc...)

A few weeks later Verizon FiOS came to my neighborhood, and I signed right up, couldn't be happier.

Shortly after I switched, RCN called to try to get me back. I told them that their horrible customer service was what drove me away, and they said they had a plan in place to fix it. "Too late", I said.
2007-04-28 12:17:49 AM  
Verizon is truly awful also. At work we have a T1, which goes down every few weeks. Now the inability for Verizon to fix it permanently is one thing, the other is that it's like pulling teeth trying to get them over to fix it.

Out of office hours, they have to call me in order to get access to the building. But for some reason it is impossible for them to use the phone to let me know. Almost always this leads to VZ canceling the ticket, because they couldn't get in.

Except one time they did call. Saturday night at 8 pm. Told me that they were sending someone right over. Waited till midnight. No-one ever did.
2007-04-28 12:19:01 AM  
My Knowledge Weighs A Ton

Isn't St Cloud just awesome? We used to have both Astound and Charter here, then Astound died. I was on Astound. I liked Astound. So, we were forced to do Charter, or have no internets at all (other than dial up, which... is not internets) At first, charter wasn't that bad. Then... seemed each month our bill went up by dollars, while our connection got worse.

The worst thing is that recently they've started doing bit-torrent blocking. If you have a bit torrent program open, they throttle your entire connection down to almost nothing. Great, because i have a roommate who always has bit torrent open, and he doesn't believe this. (I didn't either at first because it sounds so completely bogus)

Even when things are running at their best, I still get constant short term disconnects and my internet just sucks.

At least our TV signal is consistent and decent.
2007-04-28 12:23:45 AM  
Verizon sucks sucks sucks sucks.
2007-04-28 12:27:01 AM  
I work for a University help desk, and anytime we get a call from a charter customer complaining about their connectivity, we refer them to Charter customer service...this almost always results in a defeated, pathetic sigh.
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