A Pox on U-Verse and Stuck with Cabelvision

I came home from summer camp one year and was amazed to see my father watching an uncut movie on television. He explained it was a clearer picture and we had all these new channels to watch thanks to this thing called cable television. We were among the first to subscribe to Cablevision when it launched back in the dim times. While in high school, my friends and I made one goofball project on ¾” video tape and took it to the corporate headquarters, which at the time was in Jericho, and offered it up for their public access channel.

It was my first exposure to the Dolan family who founded the company and I distinctly remember coming away from it not all that impressed with father or so. That feeling has not changed, nor has my ambivalence towards Cablevision altered.

Still, when I was living on my own just before marrying Deb, I subscribed to Cablevision and have remained a subscriber without interruptions since 1980. Today, though, we almost moved away from them, severing the relationship.

Back in mid-October, two salesmen from ATT’s competitive U-verse came door-to-door in my neighborhood. Since we’ve been looking for ways to save money and have been frustrated with the limitations of Cablevision’s DVR and channel line-up, we listened. Deb was favorably impressed and the pricing for an apples to apples comparison of our cable, internet and phone service meant we could save $40 a month while gaining a more robust DVR and several channels (BBC America and DIY) which we’re longed for.

Kyle and his partner spent close to two hours with us given slow computers at their end, getting us set up. One hang up was that we had three phone lines to transfer, one more than the norm and it required what they kept referring to as an override. Kyle kept assuring us this was not a problem.

A few days later we got a call confirming the paperwork was being processed but she mentioned only two of the phone numbers. I mentioned the override, was assured it was being checked on and we’d be good to go.

The call confirming our appointment, promised for November 15 came November 19 and no one said anything was amiss. This morning, Tim the technician arrived and guess what? That’s right, there was no override and he wasn’t certain a third line could be handled by their equipment.

Tim and Deb spoke with customer services at varying levels and it was learned that we’d need a standard landline for the third number which, when added with the other pricing, put us on par with Cablevision. Since this was not at all what we wanted, we canceled the installation and suspect Kyle will be getting a scolding.

Meantime, I called Cablevision this afternoon, letting them know ATT has come calling and as a loyal customer of three decades’ standing wanted to see what they could do for me. First, I was assured a new, more powerful DVR that would surpass the ATT model was being tested and would be rolled out in early 2011. After that, the answers were less than wonderful.

Despite John Bickham, the company’s president advocating he was in favor of ala carte pricing in 2005, she couldn’t tell me when he’d put those words into deeds. She couldn’t tell me when the customer rewards program that offered free movies to patrons in other states, would either start offering them in Connecticut or stop taunting Connecticut customers with the e-mail reminders. Yes, she confirmed, many other customers have asked for BBC America but she had no real explanation why they’re being so thickheaded.

And no, we were offered no additional incentives for staying with them rather than switch companies.

As usual, I feel stuck with a company that does not give me the services I want.


  • Heather Dean

    Interesting. We tried the same thing and in the end, ATT really couldn’t match what we had. However, I called Cablevision and asked them to match ATT’s advertized offer and they reduced our bill by $25 a month. I would call them back and ask what they can do for you.

  • Bob…as someone who works in a call center in the midwest where we sell U-verse, I apologize. As soon as I read the bit about the THREE lines, I was worried. I KNOW we can’t do more than two lines with Uverse. Why? To be honest, I don’t know. But you should NEVER have been told that we could.

    I’m sorry you are stuck with something you don’t want and as a customer as well as an employee, I know I LOVE my Uverse service. It’s not always the cheapest and I know you were looking to save money, but the DVR and picture quality can’t be beat.

    Anyhoo…yer not looking for another sales pitch. I just wanted to say “I’m sorry” for the trouble you went thru. Hopefully we will get to the point where we can match your needs!

    Have a Happy Holidays!

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