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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Check the bill

It's always a good idea to check every bill you receive.  With the economy the way it is these days there are often new charges or errors costing you a big chunk of your hard earned money.  This can also be a dishonest way of getting you to pay for stuff you don't want or didn't order. 

You see this sign?  What does it say to you?  Clearly it says I'm not interested in hearing what a salesperson has to say.  I put a no solicitation sign on my door several years ago.  I periodically put a new one on the door because it fades in the sun. 

How this got started is because the cable company, the phone company, and the satellite company were knocking on my door every day, sometimes twice a day, trying to get me to sign up for new services or combined cable, internet, and phone services.  There were also church people, magazine people, and perfume people knocking on the door at least once a week.  Then the people asking for money donations of one type or another started too.  I got very tired of telling people NO, I'M NOT INTERESTED!   The sign stopped all the people knocking on my door.

On rare occasions when some sales person does knock on my door, I point to the sign and say.... I prefer to sue, can I get your name and company for my lawyer?  This usually does the trick because I'm very serious and WILL contact a lawyer if it happens again. 

For the last three or four years I've watched the Insight cable company salesmen walk by my house, spot that I don't have combined or upgrades services, start toward my door, see the sign, and get a look on their face that makes me smile.  The look is.... Darn, I thought I had one.  They turn around and walk away. 

Well, a few days ago a young man knocked on my door.  I do the routine of pointing to the sign and asking for his information.  He tells me that the sign doesn't apply to him because he isn't selling anything.  Huh?  You're not selling, then what do you want?  He tells me that he just is there to inform me that I may be loosing my cable services in a few days because Insight is going all digital.  What?  I thought back when the stations all went digital we were ok if we had cable?  He says but now Insight is going digital too.  That's why some of the channels are disappearing one by one. 

I tell the young man if that happens then I'll just have the cable turned off.  I don't watch it very often.  I can barely afford to pay for the services I do have.  He tells me there's no charge for this service, it only requires a box which is free.  Ok, I can deal with free.  I ask.... Free forever?  Yes, free forever.  During our conversation, I repeat the same question several times.  You're sure it's free forever?  Yes, it's free so you can keep getting the cable services after it goes digital.  I tell him I don't like the large boxes.  It's hugh and won't fit on my small tv.  I have enough junk in my house already, I don't need more to clutter up the house.  He tells me it's a small box and puts his hands up to indicate how small the box is.  Maybe 6 inches or so.

Ok, I agree to take the box.  He sets it up so the installation guy can come hook it up within an hour and leaves.  The installation guy gets here about half an hour later with a cable box that's hugh compared to my tv.  No where near the size I was told.  Here's what it looks like.  The box on top.  Does that look small to you?  Short maybe but not small.

Needless to say, I'm upset I was lied to.  I should have known something was wrong right then.  I tell the installation guy why I'm upset.  He's very nice and tries to explain why it's a larger box.  The smaller boxes are for secondary tvs.  The big box is first, the smaller boxes are for the other tvs in the house.  I only have one tv right now because Ladybug has the other one at her house.  I tell him I don't want a big box.  He decides to go get the salesman to explain what I misunderstood about the boxes.

Within 10 minutes I have both guys at my house telling me why it has to be the larger one.  The salesman tries to appear apologetic and that I simply misunderstood him.  He tells me.... just to show me how sorry he is about the misunderstanding, he will give me showtime movie channel FREE for one year.  I don't watch movies and tell him that.  He says.... then it won't hurt anything to have it FREE for one year.  I can take my time to decide to keep it or not.  I repeat.... I don't watch movies, that's why I haven't signed up for the movie channels already.  I can't afford to pay for what I won't use.  He says.... It's FREE for one year so give it a try. 

The box is hooked up, the guys leave.  Right away the new box starts hiccuping.  By that I mean, every few minutes the tv blinks off for three or four seconds then comes back on.  I really believe it's because there are 6 items plugged into one two plug outlet or the box is defective.  I did mention something about having that many plugs in one outlet to the installation guy and he says it will be fine.

Fast forward a few days to yesterday.  I'm already upset about the stolen bank card and identity theft leaving me with a zero bank balance.  I'm coming down with a cold and feel miserable.  I open the cable bill to see how many days I have before it has to be paid.  WHAT THE HECK?!?  My cable bill is DOUBLE what is was before!  I'm charged for digital services, I'm charged for a movie channel, I'm charged for the box, and I'm charged for the installation.  Grouchy as I am when coming down with a cold.... it's not a good thing to be on my bad side.

I call the cable company to explain how upset I am and why.  I hate a lier as much as a thief.  To me they are one and the same.  After being on hold for over half an hour, I explain the the lady on the phone what happened with the salesman and the installation guy.  I'm NOT paying for services I DID NOT order.  She transfers me to her supervisor so I can repeat everything again.  Do they not know how upsetting it is for a senior person to have to repeat themselves?  It's hard enough trying NOT to repeat myself all the time already so repeating deliberately is upsetting. 

Well, the supervisor changed the bill to be what it was before.  She removed  all the extra charges.  The box will be FREE for one year.  Yeah, like I'm gonna believe that.  After a year the box will cost two dollars a month.  She tells me they will talk to the salesman and the installer.  Both will get more training so this doesn't happen again.  Yeah, like I'm gonna believe that too. 

1 comment:

kathi said...

Oh anita, i would be FURIOUS as well. and you BET i would be watching for that next cable bill, etc. JUST SO WRONG. and yes IF it is AGAIN on the bill, sounds like a LAWSUIT to me.