Companies spend billions of dollars on advertising to entice you away from the competition, but why is it that when you are an established customer you no longer get any perks or discounts to keep you happy with them?  Don’t they care anymore?

Here is my experience with 3 companies that provide television programming:

Shaw Cable

I had been a long-term customer of Shaw but it was when we moved into our current residence that the problems began.  I had four different installers in at various times changing wiring and rerouting cables for months.  Nothing worked.  All we got was a fuzzy picture.  “We’ll put you on the waiting list to rewire from the outside cable box,” we were told.  I never heard back from them and I suspect the waiting list was non-existant. Frustrated with the service we decided to switch.

Bell

We signed a two-year contract, purchased a PVR and got several months of free programming.  So far, so good.  After the contract expired, our billing was month-to-month.  My husband decided that he wanted an upgraded PVR.  Our current one couldn’t record a program while we were watching different one.  He spoke to the “customer retention” department about trading in the old PVR for a newer one.  What kind of deal could we get?  Lower costs?  Freebies?  We’d even sign a new 2-year contract.  No deal.

I guess they weren’t interested in retaining us as customers so we switched again.

Telus

We already had our telephone and Internet through Telus, so when they introduced their Optik TV we decided to give them a try.  They had a great promotion and we could also receive a free XBox 360 for signing a three-year contract.  However, we were told, since we were existing customers we couldn’t get the Xbox.  I claimed we should since we were new TV customers.   After much arguing back and forth the answer was a resounding NO!

The first installer wired something incorrectly and a couple of days later while my husband was watching an NFL game the screen went black.  I won’t mention what was said for the next couple of hours.  A different installer came a couple of days later and fixed the problem.  Then the first bill came.

Month one: I had calculated the total base price to be about $135.  My first bill was $190.86.  After perusing the charges I noticed an error in both the TV package AND the phone portion.  I spoke to an agent and she promised to make the adjustments and give me half off the TV package for six months.

Month two: Total due $220.84.  Back to the phone.  No adjustments had been made or even a record of my previous call.  Corrections were promised and, for my “pain and suffering” I was offered three movie packages free for three months.

Month three: Now I owe $217.86.  The bill summary is so long I need a notepad to sort out all the additions and deletions.  I figure it out and find I’m being charged for the “free” movie channels and the phone bill is still not right.  I’m given half price phone charges for three months.

Month four: This bill is now really low – $53.78.  I’m suspicious.  Back to my notepad.  It takes a while to wade through all the charges and corrections on this 6-page document but, finally, it seems to be in order.  Whoo-hoo!

Month seven: Sadly, all my promos, discounts and freebies have come to an end and the bill is around the $135 I originally calculated.

The billing is now correct.  However, Telus had been making some changes and additions to the TV service.  Now the picture freezes sometimes and the sound buzzes at other times.  The PVR doesn’t always record the entire program.  What can they do for me?  I’m told it must be my TV.

In the meantime, Shaw and Bell have both been sending me letters and promotional material on a monthly basis to get me to switch to them and save on cable.

If these companies would have offered me even half of the cost of all this new advertising in discounts or some free programming, I would have been happy enough to stay with them.

Am I cursed, or has anyone else had these kinds of problems?


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