Friday, December 3, 2010

"The" cable company - is it time to break the monopoly?

I have written a number of times about how customer service, I mean good, honest, we-really-care-about-taking-care-of-our-customers, customer service has become a thing of the past as big box stores and large corporations take over our consumer world.

My family and I are currently among the victims of this new trend, as I am sure many of you are, as well. Our Internet service is through a local cable provider.

For the past three months our access to the Internet has been anywhere from slow to non-existent. I have made phone call followed by phone call to this company.Technicians have been to our house several times. On each visit, the service guy is sure that he knows what the issue is, he spends a few minutes doing “his thing,” and is gone.

As he drives down the street to his next victim, we are still left with an Internet that is all but beyond the reach of our computers.

The failure of our cable provider to fix the problem is frustrating by itself. Adding to the frustration, and I might add, a growing anger, is that each time that I must place a phone call to this company, the only game in town, so-to-speak, it takes five to ten minutes just to reach a human being.

If does not help my anger and frustration when my first contact is a recorded, very cheery voice that greets me. So begins another long session of button-pushing as I attempt to navigate their menu.

I cannot help but notice that each customer service representative that I talk to, and I don’t believe that I have spoken with the same one twice, which is a miracle considering the number of times I have had to call, is friendly and understanding, clear up until you try to get an answer to resolve the issue.

I am sorry but I would think that after spending three months fighting to get reliable service, you know, the kind that they advertise on television, I would not have to wait five to seven days for an appointment to get a service technician to come out to my home.

This is where the local cable company, the “only game in town,” has us trapped. They have grown to big for their britches. They claim outstanding customer service. What they mean is “we will get to you when we darned well feel like it.”

I begin to wonder, if their service to so reliable and great, why are their service guys always booked a week out?

They promise to return phone calls. They don’t. They promise to get the problem resolved. They don’t.

This same company is always trolling for new subscribers. They promise unbelievable deals to new customers yet they are unable, or unwilling to take care of current ones.

This is all just one more sad example of a company that has grown too large and is becoming a virtual monopoly. Once they have killed off the competition, they can call all the shots, and we, the consumers, become, not valued customers but pawns, serfs, nothing but fly specs to the corporate moguls sitting in their offices raking in our hard-earned dollars.

All of this also makes me wonder if we are becoming virtual slaves to the Internet. I find that I am on the Internet, for business or personal use for hours on any given day. I use it to send and receive photographs, for research, for news, and just to keep up with my friends on Facebook.

I have begun to think that a wide-spread interruption of Internet service could all but shut down our country. That, in itself, is sad. We have very much become dependent on machines. In the space of around twenty years, computers have gone from being a machine, to THE Machine.

Making the situation worse, is that since we have become addicted to and in such need of, THE Machine, and its love child, the Internet, we are more than ever at the mercy of the big businesses that control our access to the World Wide Web.

I hate government intervention into most anything, but it may be time for our federal government to look at companies such as our local cable company declare them to be a monopoly.

By my way of thinking, any company so large that they can so blatantly thumb their nose at customers is in serious need of being cut down to size, figuratively and literally.

No comments:

Post a Comment