August 15, 2015

Need Help to Cut the Cord

One of the big frustrations for a new widow is straightening out various utility services and service contracts. And it seems like these companies today make things extra difficult or choose to treat customers with dishonesty. Two that have given me the most grief are Verizon and Comcast. I believe there is a special place in hell for the executives that run cellular and cable television companies, not just from these two examples. So please don’t advise me to change to XYZ company. They are all terrible in their own unique way.

It took me months of effort to get Verizon straightened out, but they are now behaving nicely. My problems with them started when I cancelled my husband’s cell phone back in late January (basic phone, no contract). By mistake, they disconnected my cell phone.  Three times! To add insult to injury, they kept charging me cancellation and reactivation fees for each erroneous event. I expended a lot of tears and countless hours to get them to fix the messes of their own creation. But I eventually got them to stop all of the nonsense and erase all of the fees.

Unfortunately, I have yet to get to a state of happy equilibrium with Comcast. I had to cancel my husband’s account and start my own account with them. Comcast happens to be one of those antiquated-thinking companies that doesn’t recognize married people usually live in the same household and should be jointly recognized as account holders, if they so desire. I guess I must have a flag on my new account that identifies me as a widow, so there is a free reign to mess with the monthly bills whenever it strikes their fancy.

Each month, they invent new charges, and I spend hours on the phone (and more tears) to get their errors fixed. This latest month’s bill was a humdinger. In addition to charges that were applied out of thin air, Comcast arbitrarily decided not to honor their package commitment made during my personal visit to their offices last month. After yet another marathon phone call, I got the latest make-believe charges taken off. Even the service people were baffled as to their origin. But the people on the phone insist that they cannot take care of the package commitment made at the brick-and-mortar office. They don’t have access to the special discount codes. I have to go down to the local office again (standing in line for about an hour) to see if I can get it fixed. I can only see one guy to get it done. And, they can’t tell me what days of the week he is assigned work at that office.

Really? Seriously? How screwed up is that? Hello! Customer service, anyone? Is there not one lick of common sense or decency anymore in these huge corporate wastelands?

For the long-term, I need to save myself the constant frustration of dealing with people who are proven to be evil and dishonest. Cost savings would be icing on the cake. I want to cut the cable cord and figure out how to make that goal happen.

So here are my questions. Have any of you out there in blogland cut the cable cord? If you have and it has been successful, would you mind corresponding with me about what specific steps you took to make that happen? I’ve got a Roku and I signed up for Amazon Prime last month. I now know that I can purchase a Mohu Leaf antenna to get local channels in high definition. But I don’t know beans about whether I need a master controller, such as one make by Mohu. And, I haven’t a clue about what DVR box/service to get so that I can record over-the-air programs at my leisure.

Can anybody please help me?


  1. When facing these repeated difficulties, go straight to the top. Send a certified letter to the president of the company (find out who he or she is by researching) and a courtesy copy, also certified, to the Better Business Bureau. This has helped me a handful of times in my life. As for cutting cable, we did cut Verizon, but sre still connected to a cable company for basic cable. I will be watching to see how others made advise you...we may be interested. (Our problem is the 30 acre forest to the south of us that intereferes with some tech options. Cable is pretty stable in that regard, but expensive.) All the best!

    1. I appreciate your suggestions, but I don’t intend to take those steps and further add to my frustration level. Corporate executives from large companies do not read correspondence sent to them, nor do they reply. Such communications are delegated down to lower level staff. I worked for large organizations and have first-hand knowledge how it all works. And the BBB is a paper tiger with no teeth. I’ve gone down that route before and found out the hard way. If you wish to use them for arbitration, you have to sign away your right to pursue legal action again the offending company. Additionally, the BBB has no enforcement authority for any arbitration agreement.

  2. Wish I could help, but as you can imagine - I have NO knowledge. This is the first time ever that I've had cable, and it's with Xfinity (I know, I know that's part of Comcast). However, when I did have a question, I was able to get answers by doing a live chat on the computer.

  3. We cut our digital cable several years ago. Most of our television watching is via the internet and movies from Netflix. But things might be different up here in the north.
    I'm sorry you're having such difficulties. I think cable and cellular companies all have wretched customer service and they add charges at will. It's crazy to think what we pay. I wish you luck in finding a solution, Donna. Hugs.

  4. There are antenna companies that will come and get you all hooked up if you need it. We have an antenna in our garage rafters for local TV, and a Roku. We use Amazon Prime and Netflix, and I really like Sling. It is $20 per month and gives you 22 live channels like HGTV, Food Network, History, etc. You can try them free for a week and get it through Roku. If you like Hallmark, they have a channel called Feeln for $24 a year. We picked up Hulu, too, for lots of recent TV shows. For all of it, we spend $44 a month instead of the $180 we were spending on cable...and we don't miss it a bit. We are glad to be cord cutters!

  5. I'm sorry I can't help you with any of this.

  6. Donna, I'm so sorry to hear about the grief you are receiving from these so called "service companies".
    As I live on the other side of the world I'm not in a position to offer you advice.
    Hopefully someone can help you.

  7. I'm SO sorry you are having to deal with all of this. I remember the problems I had when my father died. It was a maze of nightmares. I wish I understand how to help you. We recently went from cable to satellite, much the same thing. I'm no help but hope someone can give you the advice you need and help end all of this frustration you're going through.

  8. Donna, we cut the cable, in our case, satellite, several years ago. We just were not watching it, We don't miss it a bit. We have Amazon Prime and there is Hulu, and many things on YouTube as well. I don't have any advice regarding Mohu. This is the first I've heard of it. I am certain you will be able to enjoy shows and movies without the crazy expense of cable! Also there are many shows available online!


  9. We don't have cable, so I can't help you there. I love my straighttalk phone service, which uses verizon towers. Got a new phone last week and stopped at Verizon store to ask a question and came out so frustrated with their customer service and was quickly reminded why I don't deal with them. I believe this week they announced they are doing away with contracts.

  10. customer service seems to be a thing of the past with a lot of companies. In this day and age with computers there should be no reason why one location can't access information from another. I think it's just their way of saying we don't care about you we care about collecting your money.
    As for the other, We had dish network. I've read about things like Roku but I honestly just don't understand how they work.

  11. Hey Donna, I just wanted to mention I go*gled the service your friend talked about: Sling
    Wow, that sounds like a really good deal $20.00/month. I pay almost 3 times that much and don't get some of the channels I really like.


  12. So sorry you're having to go through this and sorry I can't be of any help! Good customer service is rare any more. I have Verizon and Time Warner Cable and I've had issues with both. I haven't heard about Mohu but I do use and have Netflix.

  13. Donna, You are so right about these companies and any other in the "like" service. Plus you never get what you pay for , always hidden fees . I hope you get some satisfaction soon. Never let anyone pressure you. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

  14. I'm sorry I can't help. I have no cell phone. I have TV/Internet/phone through Comcast. When I had to disable Fred's account and put it in own name, there was no problem. When my rate when up the first of this year, I called and told them I couldn't afford it, and they found me a promotional package, guaranteed for two years with no rate increase, with all the same channels I had. I have always been happy with Comcast, but I do know, if you got something at the brick and mortar store, you DO have to go back there for correction.

  15. It's horrible to have to go through this. One company told me I would have to pay another deposit in order to put the account in my name, so I just left it as it was.

  16. Donna, not being a US resident, sadly I cannot offer any advice or help, but I hope with some of the suggestions above, you are making progress. The red tape and runaround is beyond ridiculous, isn't it?

  17. ROKU for us....You can download streaming channels on it. I downloaded ACORN, PBS, HULU, SLING TV, NETFLIX and various others. Really like it but you can't get FOX NEWS live...but there's so many others, it doesn't matter much. Most are free and some aren't.
    I also don't record anything so can't help you out there....


Marty, here! Donna loves comments, and I faithfully pass them on to her. Thank you so much for visiting!