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Transparency Versus Deception

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Why Charge Extra For Hi Def?

Why Charge Extra For Hi Def?

I recently changed from Satellite TV to a Cable TV provider and this is my story. I had been getting mail from a Cable TV provider for some time and finally decided to make the effort to switch from Satellite.  I could have done this a year ago but the laws of inertia were working in the favor of the incumbent provider.  See my blog about inertia by clicking here.

I called and asked about the $89 per month offering for a TV and internet bundle. This was the lowest tier offered but it was comparable to what we had with the satellite.  After dealing with these larger companies for cell phone, TV and internet in the past I suspected I would not be paying $89 per month but a larger number after taxes and hidden fees were applied.

Little did I know how much these hidden fees and taxes would amount to. Here are the details of my actual monthly bill with my comments to follow after the total is enumerated:

Deception? You Decide.

Deception? You Decide.

Incidentally, with my very first bill that arrived they announced price increases of $1.75 for the broadcast TV fee, $2.00 for the regional sports fee so my new monthly bill will be $43.04 higher than the teaser rate of $89.99 which is almost 50% of the original rate. The taxes and governmental fees of $11.10 are out of their control so I can give them a pass but the rest is deceptive if I can’t get the package without paying the additional fees.  It is like restaurant offering an entrée for a stated price and then charging for the tablecloth, napkins, dinnerware, and a chair to sit on.

Let me go further into the absurdity of some of these charges. They are charging $13.94 for high definition receivers!  Even I, Mr. Late adopter of technology, no longer own a low def tube TV.  I don’t think you can buy a TV that is not high definition and that probably has been the case for three to five years.  Why charge extra for something that is essential?!

I also take exception to the broadcast TV fee and the regional sports fees. They are part of the package and if these are simply charges that are passed on to the customer please include them in the base price.  They don’t sell cars with an up-charge if you want tires.

Despite the additional charges I am still saving about $25 per month and have internet speeds that are double what I had previously so I am satisfied with the switch but am already disappointed that they rolled out another $3.75 in charges on my first bill. That really says thanks for being a customer, now that we have you locked in for two years let the gouging begin.  It is a shame that I am resigned to expect this from a company.  Have a great week, if you can, after reading this.


Written by pacelinebiz

July 24, 2016 at 8:01 am

Being Authentic, Part Two

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Honesty Is The Best Policy

Honesty Is The Best Policy

I was recently investigating a change to the 3 essential services needed for any home – Internet, Phone and TV. Concurrent to this quest, I received a series of unsolicited offers in the mail from a nationally known provider of said services. I had some free time between appointments one day so I decided I would take my multitude of offers and nail down that great price for the telecommunication trio.

I walked in the store and was quickly waited on by a representative. I explained that I had these offers, every one of which was better than the one before. He didn’t seem interested in my offers and proceeded to tell me what they had on sale. The last bundled 3 pack offer I got had the ultra low price of $79 for the holy trinity. He printed off his sheets for 100 channels 200 channels and 300 channels and the prices were curiously all about the same between $115 and $125 per month. This is still a better deal than I have with my current set up but what happened to my $79 dollar deal?

He tried to explain to me the differences in the plans but I only had about 30 minutes before my next appointment so I had to leave and study the information back at HQ. This should not be so complicated. What happened to the deal that got me in the store? There were so many variables and things going on “behind the curtain” that I was very distrustful of the entire process. They did a bait and switch teaser rate and muddied the waters so I could not make an informed decision. Is this the ideal way to treat a customer? I think not.

I suspect that they realize they are providing a service that is essentially the same as the competition.  What they aren’t telling us is that their 300 crappy channels are just like Brand X’s 300 crappy channels.  The way they differentiate themselves from the competition is with their commercials. They want us to choose them because their cute puppy is better than the competition’s talking unicorn or some such nonsense.   

I think what they should do is give their customers a reason to stay with them and potential customers to do business with them.  How about touting good service when a problem arises?  What about consistent delivery of the product with minimal amount of down time? That might also be a good thing. Perhaps they should take a cue from Delta Airlines who says the real difference between them and the competition is that the people at Delta are better. 

I am still looking for an answer to my telecommunications decision but I am getting closer and closer to going retro and buying an antenna for my roof and using Hulu Plus and/or Netflix as my content provider.  Of course I will buy a subscription to for about $10/month for my baseball needs.  Doing this I will save about $60 per month and I will program my own network of stuff I like to watch.

Have a great week being authentic with your customers.  They will thank you with their loyalty.