Friday, December 19, 2008

Charter Cable: Fool me twice, shame on me

So the memory of the last run in with Charter Cable faded enough for me to try again to set up broadband access at a secondary residence.

Note to the world: Never, ever, involve yourself with Charter Cable if there is any alternative. And I mean any. Starbucks usurious broadband fees look positively welcoming in comparison..

This time the issue was much the same as last. Call into customer service—a term Charter takes very lightly. Set up another appointment to install broadband internet access. Withstand a barrage of upselling/cross selling attempts. Do we want 256 digital stereo music channels? Sorry no. Just broadband. I set myself up as an authorized user on the account, complete with pin number and all sorts of legalities involving verbal agreement with the account holder who was on the horn with me and Charter lady. Check, check, check

Set up the appointment for the holidays.

Last night, sensing a need to reconfirm, Call into "customer service" to check the work order and the charges we had discussed. Once again, after long waits, the rep has no record of my account holder status. No record of what the charges would be. Nothing. In what I suspected would be a futile attempt to fix the situation, I ask for the supervisor. She was surly right off the bat. I try to cancel the installation. No can do! Have to talk to someone else for that.

Take the night off to cool down. Call into Charter this morning. Navigate moronic voice mail system. Get into automated appointment queue. Turns out there is a way to confirm an appointment automatically but to cancel, you have to talk to a CSR—you got it—the dread "Customer service rep. More hold time.

This person tells me I need to talk to yet another person. I do so. Appointment is allegedly canceled.

Here's betting that the install guy shows up anyway.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Trains, planes & (hybrid) automobiles

The spectacle of Detroit's Big Three auto execs road-tripping from Detroit to D.C. in their respective hybrids is too rich.

Ford's Alan Mulally, choking on his quote about his own $21-million-plus salary being "okay" where it is, was the first to try to wring lemonade out of lemons. He would make the supreme sacrifice of driving the return trek to D.C. in a Ford Escape hybrid. Quite a come down from the (separate) private jets he and his GM and Chrysler comrades used last time out.

Then Chrysler and GM CEOs were shamed into following suit. Good God men! If you're going to abase yourselves--and well you should after the stunt you pulled you've done--why not go all out? Carpooling is the only way to go. Oh, i know the negotiations over who's crappy hybrid to take would be endless. My suggestion? Prius. That would be some penance.

A friend and I were jawing over who could star in this high-concept comedy: Little Petey suggested Clint Eastwood for one of the CEOs. Hmmm. Must think on that. Frank Langella? Check. We were unanimous on Fred Willard as the third. Rule of thumb: Cast Fred Willard in anything. And everything.

Backup to Clint, if he's too stern: Martin Mull. See above rule. It applies to Mull too.

Related question: When can we officially stop referring to Ford, Chrysler, and GM as the Big Three?