Any suggestions on how to deal with E* poor customer service

Luke McNabney

Original poster
Dec 16, 2003
Greetings! and yes this is my first post so please be patient.

I have been a loyal TWC customer for ten years and it took a lot for them to drive me away. Before I decided to switch to the dish I did a lot of research into satellite dishes and read through the forums here for several hours (very helpful, great community). I had some high definition content from TWC and wanted to continue that level of service with a satellite provider. Voom appears to have the most HD content, but the equipment costs are pretty high. E* pretty much had the package I was looking for. The 811 receiver would allow both satellite HD and tune-in local digital stations. I knew that the 811 was still in a public 'beta' of sorts, but was willing to have some limitations in the beginning. I signed up for the digital home plan with an 811 receiver and a 301/321(?) regular tuner for my older television. That was last week and they confirmed the install for today (12/16/03). Right after that I returned by cable box to TWC and discontinued service. On Sunday TWC climbed the pole and disconnected my cable.
I took off work today for the 12-5 install time. However, at 9am the local installer (the Hub?), called and told me that they didn't have any 811 receivers and wouldn't get one for me until at least January. I asked if they could just put up the dish and setup two regular receivers, but they told me that the whole work-order had to be done at the same time. I told them that I had no TV and would not appreciate being without news/weather/sports for a month or more. The Hub said that they were sorry, but they didn't have any so I had to wait. They gave me the 800 number for E* to call if I had further questions.
So I called tech support and was told that they would not ship any more 811's to the Hub and if I wanted that receiver I would have to wait. They also said a partial install was not an option. I asked what my other options were. The CSR said I could switch to the DVR package, but it would cost an extra $5 month. I asked her why, because I had read elsewhere that the DVR package did not have an extra fee like D* has. She said that because this was a Disney(?) version there would be an extra fee. Huh? I told her I would call back later.
So I went to Radio Shack where I signed up for service in the first place. The manager was surprised at the whole mess and spent about 20 minutes on the phone and got the same answers I did and was flabbergasted. I actually heard his raised voice in the backroom say "you would rather lose a customer than do the install now and follow up with the 811 in January?". He made copies of my documentation and told me that he would contact his higher-up and try to get this issue resolved.
That is where I am at right now. And suggestions?
Go back to TWC since they may treat you better than E* or the "Hub". Perhaps you could try a local (real dealer) dealer with no corporate ties and perhaps they would set you up with a display unit if you made the deposit ftowards the box when it comes.

Then again, did you really exspect a big corporation to care about your individual needs or to go out of their way to please you? Of course not.
Shop around and you may find a dealer who has one.
TWC was terrible. Four visits and they still couldn't get decent picture quality. The digital channels would pop in and out. The In-demand stuff worked about 1 in every 8 times. And the rates kept going up. To be more competitive with Everest in the city they raised rates in the burbs. Should just plain cable plus HBO cost $90/month?
I have worked for three large companies and Customer Service was excellent. You didn't promise what you couldn't deliver and if something did come up the company takes the bath and not the customer.
Radio Shack is doing what they can, but when E* is completely inflexible there just isn't room to deliver.
My wife actually watches the weather channel. And I mean watches. I secretly think that she is in love the geek meteorologists.
Cristina Abernathy is a geek ????

She used to work for my local NBC affiliate before she went to work for The Weather Channel. :)

~Alan<~~~~~~~Who can't say a lot of things like that in a one-Starbucks kind of metro area like I'm in...
"Should just plain cable plus HBO cost $90/month?"

I assume you're exaggerating? Cable ISP and everything is like $110-120 a month which is not expensive. Take $55 away for the broadband and you get EVERYTHING (channels) on at least one set for $60-$70 a month and DBS can’t touch that level of service. Dial up and an extra phone line can cost $45 a month for that crap.

Back to topic... You’re not pleased and E* is not willing to help you out on a partial install so you will have to decide for yourself if you want to wait and do business with this company or not. What others can learn from this is not to disconnect from cable before the install is done. I wish you luck and happiness in your viewing future.
The DVR fee is $5 a month extra for each DVR receiver from Dish Network they used to call them PVR receivers and those versions do not have the extra $5 a month DVR fee. Once you start using the DVR's you will not want to go back to a standard receivers but in your case if you are not looking for the DVR's then just change to 2 301's with the one year contract and then turn around and add the 811 for $99 and they will bring it out when they finally get them instock. If you decide to go with DVR's go with Direct TV.
Roger is right about waiting to disconnect.

I took the CSR at their word. I asked if they had the equipment (I was concerned that my install might require a Superdish) and she put me on hold to check availability. When she came back she told me that the installer had everything they needed to complete the install. And Time Warner prices are going up.

$45 basic
$10 digital (required for HBO)
$20 2 set-top boxes (required for HBO)
$10 HBO
$5 Fees

Tack on Road Runner (which I kept) for an additional $45 - so that is $140/per month total. Switching to E* would drop my cable from $90 to $55. That is about $400 a year savings.
Luke McNabney:

You're paying too much. I can get a much better deal than that from my cable company. You have to know the package deals and propose them to your cable company because they won't give them to you on their own and will try to a la carte you to death with add-ons rather than give you the best deal they have.

For example: at one time I said I wanted to add the 20 or 30 digital channels and they wanted to nail me with $5 a month for the box and $10 for the channels and I said not so fast... your so and so package gives me the box and the 20 or 30 channels for only $5 more a month. So you may want to check into stuff like that. It's crazy that people don't know they can get the box and 20 more channels a month for only $5 more.

If you call ignorantly they'll try to take you for everything they can get and won't tell you about the discounted packages. The same applies with DBS. A dealer tried to nail me for the Dish 500 upgrade for $150 when it was supposed to be $99 with a commitment.
I told the bastard how much it should cost thanks to forums like this one.

Knowledge is power and it will save you money at the same time.

Tried all that. People in the city have all the discounts, the suburbs where there is no competition, gets nothing.
A friend of mine in the city pays $99/month for everything that TimeWarner has, every channel, Road Runner... All because he used to have a dish and lives in the city where Everest is competing. I asked TWC about this specifically and they told me on three occasions that there were no promotions for my region. I told them I would switch and they just said that they were sorry. After four service calls my pq and dropouts are horrible. They give lots of lame and made up excuses, but never fixed the problem. That is why I switched.

Also, I found a solution and am going with the 522 and 322 package. They told me that I could upgrade the 322 in the future to a 811 for a fee, but I've heard stories before. I hope the TiVo features are worth it since I only record a couple shows a week to begin with.

And another question. I have cable wires already run into two rooms with my TVs. Can these lines be used, or do they have to run all new lines using rg6? And if so, will I have to pay extra since the description of "standard professional installation" may not get everything done? ie- 1 hole in the wall, only 120' of cable.
Regarding the existing lines...they are probably RG6 already, so they can be used. I don't think anything smaller is recommended. So, if your existing lines are not RG6, then they will probably have to run new lines, and the extra line will probably cost more, but I'm not sure on that.

As for the DVR, although you say you'll only tape a few shows, I think you'll be very happy with this box. A couple of years ago I got one from Dish just because it was free, not b/c I thought I would actuallly use it a lot. Boy was I surprised...didn't know how I lived without it.
Get your install changed

Get a different hardware configuration for your initial install. I suggest on the TV you want the 811 installed, you swap it for a 301 until january. Also, make that same person who is changing your workorder at E* create a box swapout for no charge in january. If you complain enough, you'll get what you want. My suggestion is to go a couple levels above the fool who initially answers the phone.

Everest is a cable-based video/phone/internet service that is operating in the Kansas City area. I have several friends who use their service and are pleased with their offering and more pleased with their price. The website is supposed to be, but the site has been down. Maybe the company is not long for this world. However without them competing the entire KC area would be getting screwed my Time Warner as opposed to just part of it.
Thats $40 for just HBO, thats CRAZY! I never seen prices that high anywhere with any service. Also I dont see why they would charge you $10 for digital when they are charging you $20 for extra boxes unless the $10 was for the first box. $10 per box seems a bit steep too. Usually there are package deals where they include at least the first box within a package price.
Luke, I realized that of course... That is why I put the smiley face at the bottom of my reply.

At least I thought it was funny... :)
What I usually do is hang up on the CSR (they do that to me sometimes anyways) and play CSR roulette until I find one that is friendlier and is more willing to help and can actually do something, instead of dealing with someone that insists that they are right and dont understand the situation or gets moody with you.

811 OTA analog problem

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