December 20, 2016

You Can Check Out Any Time You Like But You Can Never Leave

The shock and awe onslaught from ATT Uverse continues apace. Definitely a huge learning curve for me in more ways than one. I was a babe in the cable woods.

For example, I was completely oblivious to the nature of communicating with a cable company, i.e that it's a master-servant (they being the master). Thus, you petition to have service cancelled, you don't demand it. You make it a project, and include a timeline with intermediate, reachable goals. I went into it blind thinking it a one-off. Instead, I've invested five phone calls averaging 20 minutes and experienced two missed appointments.

Sarcasm or lectures are deeply frowned upon by Massah Cable. Free associating on the nature of their business model or dramatic reenactments of "ancient" (last week's) history and such will not be tolerated.

I learned this the hard way, as ATT won't cancel my service. A google search nicely explains in a 5-step guide applicable for me for ATT, and how it demands the skills of a diplomat combined with the tenacity of a Rottweiler:
Now that you’ve selected the correct option, cancelling service, you should be connected with a human being. Double check you’re in the right place by asking if they’re part of the retention department. If they aren’t a retention agent, ask them to transfer your call to the retention department for you, and ask them to do a ‘warm’ transfer. With a warm transfer, the original agent will sit on the line and make sure you’re directed to the right place. Conversely, a ‘cold’ transfer means they’ll hang up and let the system do it, which has a good chance of hanging up on you or sending you to the wrong department. If you’ve made it to this point, you’re well on your way to being able to successfully cancel your cable. So what’s next?
Prepare Your Excuse
The easiest method to cancel cable without hassle is to say it’s because you’re moving. Tell the agent that you’re moving to an area outside the service area, preferably outside the country.
The cable rep you’re talking to is very important in this process. If they make a ‘mistake’, your service might not get cancelled at all, or, they might cancel it immediately (even though you still need it for a few days). However, in our experience, the nicer you are, the fewer ‘mistakes’ happen. Be nice and your service will (likely) be cancelled on the day that you want, with everything neatly tied up in a bow.
One of the most important parts of cancelling service with a cable provider is returning the equipment. If you don’t return something, they will put it on a bill or send it to collections. As we mentioned in our Comcast article, cable companies would much rather charge you than have that old remote back.
While you’re on the phone with a representative, ask them to tell you what equipment that you’ll need to return to them. Write down the serial numbers they have on file. If you listened to us, you probably already bought your own modem but beware. One of all cable companies’ favorite tricks is to have unreturned equipment on the account.
Take photos of all the equipment, (and make sure those serial numbers match with the ones they told you on the phone). You can’t have too much evidence. You probably won’t need it but if you do, you’ll thank yourself for having taken the time collecting it.
You’re 90% of the way there! The last step (and most important step) of cancelling service is confirming that you’ve actually cancelled the service correctly. After you’ve finished the first four steps, call the cable provider back and ask them to confirm that everything is taken care of on the account. To be especially careful, ask them about three things: (1) if there is an outstanding balance on the account (2) if there is any unreturned equipment (3) if service is cancelled fully. Make sure that all of the answers match up with what you expect. If they don’t, have the agent on the phone fix the issue and then do step 5 one more time.
In a comedic turn worthy of an Oscar, I signed on with Time Warner in a knee-jerk "rebound" moment, returning to the arms of my former adversary. The enemy of the enemy is my friend, so they say, but Time Warner immediately rewarded me with internet speeds in the single digits, frosty indeed given we were paying for a 50mbps package.

So now I sent an email to WOW internet provider, applying for a service contract, so that I can have three internet providers providing at the same time. Ideally I could wait until I've successfully cancelled Time Warner and ATT before getting WOW but that could be 2018...

Another thing I was oblivious to was just how slim the competition is in Columbus market. You've got only three players with high speed internet: ATT, Time Warner, and WOW. And some of the reviews of WOW make your hair curl, constant outages and sudden illicit bill changes. But now Wow is looking pretty wow-derful.

Last night on a whim I called ATT and asked for an update on the service that was to be cancelled. Strictly for entertainment purposes. I expected nothing other than the humor of it, the sheer wonder of customer service so bad that it appears a mirage, and sure enough after 20 minutes of feverish activity the rep said that I would have to call back tomorrow. I asked if she could call for me, figuring that canceling a service was not exactly brain surgery, but the answer was "no". Apparently they don't do interoffice calling 'round those parts.

It all makes me realize how beautiful a thing detachment can be when achieved. The beauty of a St. Francis is that he didn't need the Internet or cable TV, and if he was on earth today he still wouldn't need it.  You end up being a slave to the thing you crave.  Hence St. Paul calls himself "a slave to Jesus Christ" in his letters. He's a slave, 'cuz he craves - the righteous One.

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