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Charter Communications--more evil than Microsft and Apple combined.

By on July 17, 2012 9:33:52 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Sinperium

Join Date 02/2010
+209

Well..not really.  But close!

We got broadband years back here and originally the techs in-place at the server farm handled support calls for customers in house and directly.  So you talked to the actual on-site IT guys.  Perfect!

As they grew we reached the "Indian Tech Support" stage and then moved to the "Untrained American With Flip Book and No Idea" phase.

During this time I had two years of constant internet problems with the routers and numerous tech calls and visits that did nothing.  I finally got to where I just did it myself all the time.

A few months ago, after umpteen zillion calls and visits, a tech person said, "Heeeey--that modem you're using is not compatible with our network.".

Where did I get this modem?  From...Charter of course.  It's the last one they gave me to "fix" the last problem they didn't fix.  I asked why nearly two years went by and no service rep ever spotted this and got the techinical explanation of, "Dunno".

So they gave me a new modem a couple of months back and I thought, "Shiny!  The two years mystery is solved!"...not.

A month later, this modem is crapping out twice a day and forcing me to power cycle every wired and wireless device in my house to get it to reset and connect properly (that's like 12 things here).  Finally I was so peeved I went down and visited their local office and let them have it.  It was then they found that the modem they had given me to replace the other one they had given me was also made obsolete the day after I was given it. So they gave me a $150 credit and a new modem with the right architecture and firmware.  Awesome!  Free at last!!

Then we had a storm.

It was bad and I figured the sudden twice a day disconnect was the result of storm repairs.  Of course, twice a day for 4-8 hours at a time is a bit much.  Finally, this weekend it wouldn't even reconnect to the servers.  The modem just blinked it's power light at me like a grinning idiot.

So I made a home appointment--which I dread as usually that means the rip all the wires out and replace them with new ones and then say, "That was probably your problem"..."probably".

I had noticed the connection was dropping worst in the day and then seemed to come back at night so it led me to think it might be something heat related.  My office is air conditioned but I checked all the wires before the service guy came, went outside and checked the lines up and down the block and asked the neighbors if they had problems.  No clues, no one else having problems.

So I am back to knowing the lines all seem good, the modem itself does function so there must be a line problem somewhere.

I decided to take the wall plate for my main connector out of the wall and check the street side connector fitting.  Sure enough, it was just slightly loose.  What it seems was happening is that when the sun came up it was warming the connector up and in expanding it got loose--probably the outside one was hotter than the inside one due to the AC.  At night, when it cooled down, it would be "back on" because the couplings were snug again.

So I fixed it.

Thus ends my rantish tale of technological vexation.  I feel better now.

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July 17, 2012 10:11:42 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Legit story...if only Charter was the worst there is out there...

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July 17, 2012 10:16:36 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Good for you, Sinperium.

Were I you, I'd bill them for my time.

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July 17, 2012 10:21:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Broadband may be one of those industries where the government might run things more efficiently and beneficially than private enterprise.

 

Are there any GOOD broadband companies anymore, or just varying degrees of bad?

 

 

 

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July 17, 2012 10:24:31 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,
Good for you, Sinperium.

Were I you, I'd bill them for my time.

They gave me another $20 credit today when I cancelled the service call.  Apparently, I work cheap.

Charter--in their defense--just did a huge billion dollar upgrade nationally and has vastly increased training for their tech support.

They had a rough transition to broadband but seem to have a grip on it now.

On a more disheartening note, my son was a sales manager for the Dish Network/Direct TV and said the corp execs are bragging that they expect the average service bill of their customers to get pushed up to $239 a month by adding "new features" they can sell by this year's end.

Like Smeagol, I hatesess 'em all!

Not to mention this kept me off Sins ICO for the past two months.

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July 17, 2012 10:46:21 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Is Time Warner in your area? While they used to have poor service, they have gotten much better lately.

I recently upgraded to their Signature service and couldn't be happier. 50 mb down, 10 up. If I have an issue, I have a direct line to their 24 hour Tier 3 support. Here's a plus, they are actually in my area and speak english. If they can't resolve the problem over the phone, they will have a Tech out within 4 hours from when I call. You can't ask for better service than that.

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July 17, 2012 11:43:01 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Wow--no.  

Time-Warner had a horrible rep for a long time.  I'd actually like to see competition instead of the limited monopoly system they allow now.

Cox is our nearby and they have bigger issues than Charter in most areas.  Charter has just shown signs of strating to actually have support--compared to the past three years of constant issues. I get 30 down and 10 up but often in the evening get 50 down and 15 up.

You can reset your own modem remotely by phone through their server and the people are actually getting more knowledgeable.

On the flip side, their prices keep climbing (which is industry wide right now).

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July 18, 2012 12:21:03 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

In our area. Everyone else (DSL) 15mb top, Charter 25mb for the same price as the DSL.  Service has been running non-stop for over 10 years. I switched from business to private somewhere in there because I wasn't doing enough online work to make it worth it (and they never change the IP anyway so I could keep a web server without DNS routing) At the time I asked if they needed the modem back as it had died long before and I had to buy another (rather than wait for Monday to pick up a new one) They said no, keep it (the dead one, lol) I have never needed to buy a particular modem, just off the shelf and plug it in. The speed is not often 20mb any more. I grant that some very worn out overhead wires. I am not going up the pole to fix them. In all, because I'm kinda techy type that fixes things myself, I don't think I can even find the phone number for support anymore. I couldn't say that when I trialed DSL a couple years ago (10mb). I called support so many times that I memorized it.

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July 18, 2012 12:57:52 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Been with Comcast almost ten years now. I must say I get pretty good service. Very little trouble.

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July 18, 2012 3:30:02 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I would give my eyeteeth to have Comcast/Xfinity back but they don't service this area. All I can get out here is satellite or Cricket Wireless and both are pretty damn slow. With Cricket your limit is 5GB a month,not a hell of a lot. WildBlue does give me 17GB but the upload is horrid.

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July 18, 2012 5:15:53 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Yeah--I am two blocks from the telephone center where DSL originates in my town but DSL is unreliable--the more people on the more it crawls...all the way down to dial-up speed sometimes.

ATT Uverse is another local option but same problems as DSL and God help you if you need service.

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July 18, 2012 5:37:46 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Alstein,


Are there any GOOD broadband companies anymore, or just varying degrees of bad?

we use time warner and while they are putz's, we haven't had much problem with service. I think it's all relative but I would recommend them.

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July 18, 2012 6:13:17 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Time Warner is horrible also, especially in areas where they have no competition.

 

 

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July 18, 2012 8:40:34 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Yeah--in all the years I've researched, I hear more bad on Tim-Warner.  Good support in their prime areas--horrible everywhere else.

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July 18, 2012 9:55:46 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Well, where I live there is only one choice for high speed Internet, Comcast/xFinity.  Since I live in an area where satellite does not work because of hills and trees in the way (and satellite is way overpriced for Internet and SLOW as hell), so Comcast is the only choice. I have not had any problems with them at all, except for the fact that they closed our office here in town and now the nearest office is about 25-30 miles away. But at least the service is good.

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July 18, 2012 11:33:19 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

What's really an issue is users are held hostage by their providers.

Have a Roku or Samsung or Sony or Apple TV streaming device? USB/PCI wireless in a desktop?  Wireless enabled  Android or iPhone? It's in the hands of your isp how many and how well--if at all--they're going to work.

Cable companies in the US are legal, limited monopolies with competition occurring only when their multi-year contracts with municipalities end.

They can sell or not sell whatever they want, can charge as much as they like and change services whenever they feel like it.  Their only real obligation is to provide local channels as a basic channel package and to offer some availability of community channels--though that is no longer a requirement.  Technically, they are not supposed top prevent the attachment of multiple devices to your network but that can be interfered with for a wide variety of "technical" reasons.

Charter for a couple of years or more offered (and still does) a "wireless package" where for $15 a month extra they would offer support in connecting your router (their's actually unless you bought the model they offered yourself).  What that translated into was when you made a service call for ANY reason, the first question was, "Do you have a wirless router attached?".  Followed by, "Do you want to purchase our router plan?" and ending with, "We can't help you because we do not support third party products".

Basically, you got no tech support if you stated to them you were using a router and didn't buy their service.

There are huge areas for abuse without regulation and this is a big area where regulation and law are far brhind the technology.

How much down time do you have with your isp?  Do they notify you?  In advance?  At all?  What  sort of compensation do you get for extended interruptions due to system upgrades or maintenance on their end--any?  Are you notified in advance of planned interruptions?  Can you use a modem of your choice or are you forced to a brand or model by your isp?

The only accountability they have right now is what they choose to give.

What redress does a home business have when their cable company delivers unacceptable service and causes them financial loss?  These are all "Who knows?" areas at present.

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July 18, 2012 1:13:07 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Apple would copyright and prevent anyone from making the wheel if they could.

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July 18, 2012 2:37:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The charter techs in our area have definitely been better in the last 2-3 years. The customer support people... not so much. That is always a crap shoot whether or not you get a decent one. Good thing is I have very rarely had a problem with my internet. I think twice in ~ 10 years now. Once was an actual bad modem, which was a bummer because I had been on the original free modem from when I started broadband during their original rollout of that service in my area. The other was not long after I had done the self-install of the DOCSIS 3.0 modems when they came out. After I installed it and followed their directions it worked fine for about 2 or 3 months, then just stopped. Got lucky on that call, got to a person who knew how to send the proper signal to my modem, a quick power reset and it has been great since then. *knock on wood*

Now TV service on the other hand, especially having cable cards has been a customer support nightmare. But as I said, at least the techs have improved, if only the customer service reps could keep pace.

 

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July 18, 2012 2:41:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Sinperium,
Charter for a couple of years or more offered (and still does) a "wireless package" where for $15 a month extra they would offer support in connecting your router (their's actually unless you bought the model they offered yourself). What that translated into was when you made a service call for ANY reason, the first question was, "Do you have a wirless router attached?". Followed by, "Do you want to purchase our router plan?" and ending with, "We can't help you because we do not support third party products".

 

Honestly, that seems pretty fair. Not a very good reason they should be your network guru for free. I believe their responsibility should end at making sure you have broadband coming out of the ethernet port of their modems. Would it be nice if they helped a bit? Sure, and I bet some of the reps do help, but I don't think it should be company policy to help in that area.

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July 18, 2012 3:51:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I only have Time Warner out here (and a few local area ISP's that go through Time Warner's pipes anyways), and they're not terrible. Other than overcharging for TV packages everything else is alright. They have a local office which does their best to fix the problem (as in, give you credits before you start yelling in front of other potential customers) and decent bandwidth for the price. Haven't had a problem with their routers in 5 years.

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July 18, 2012 4:21:56 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

When I had problems with my internet, they had me plug the computer directly to the internet to test it instead of going through the router.  Sadly, it then worked, so I had a problem on my end. 

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July 18, 2012 4:35:26 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting wbino,
Apple would copyright and prevent anyone from making the wheel if they could.

The iWheel? Naaah.

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July 18, 2012 9:10:28 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting wbino,
Apple would copyright and prevent anyone from making the wheel if they could.

Yeah, just take a looky here.... pages and pages... and pages of Apple patent grabbing.

I saw in a recent article [wish I could still find it] about Apple winning a patent suit against Samsung in the US, and that Apple had been awarded 132 new patents relating to tablets and smart phones.

Seems to me that Apple hope to obliterate all competition with its patent wars.... bad Apple.

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July 18, 2012 9:17:56 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting starkers,
about Apple winning a patent suit against Samsung in the US

They lost the most recent one.... Spell checker

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July 18, 2012 9:31:46 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Jafo,

Quoting starkers, reply 22about Apple winning a patent suit against Samsung in the US

They lost the most recent one....

Good, best news I've had all day.

Yeah, here in Oz they lost against Samsung... and some suits against it in Europe, too.  However, in the article I read they had won the first suit against Samsung selling its latest smartphone and tablets in the US.

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July 18, 2012 11:21:35 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Leo in WI,

Honestly, that seems pretty fair. Not a very good reason they should be your network guru for free. I believe their responsibility should end at making sure you have broadband coming out of the ethernet port of their modems. Would it be nice if they helped a bit? Sure, and I bet some of the reps do help, but I don't think it should be company policy to help in that area.

You missed my point--they avoided other problems that were service related basically saying, "Well since you say you are using a router, we won't help there either." You also didn't understand me--I wasn't having a "network" problem...the modem wasn't working.  But because when asked I said, "Yes I have a router" the "service" ended.  They can ask me to disconnect the router and then troubleshoot my connection till it works--but that's not was offered.  It was "Pay $15 a month or we're done here now.".

They could just as easily say, "We don't provide Mac or Linux support" for the same reasons you give.

If hardware is a limiting factor, they should have a user compatibility/requirement/specifications list--printed and available as part of their terms of service. Instead it's, "We make it up as we go and you'll take it and like it".

Federal law prohibits an isp from charging or interrupting connection of other devices connected to a network--you are allowed by law to hook up as much hardware as you like--but if a company structures its business and hardware to intentionally interfere with this and doesn't provide some self-help solution information and then only charges for a service to do so--then they are circumventing the law and effectively charging a separate fee for other devices.

Charter is wonderful for me when it works.  But over two years of horrible service that afffected my children't schoolwork and my home business isn't excused by that.  It's like saying, "My husband only beat me for three years and aside from that he's wonderful.".

But what we're really back to is consumer protections versus, "trust the companies to self regulate and be fair.".

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