Last month, we gave up TV. We watch the occasional movie on DVD, but other than that, our brand new HD TV stays turned off. No news, no sports, no reality shows… nothing. This change has been brought to our family by our local cable company – Almega Cable.
I actually prefer satellite to cable. As soon as satellite was available in our rural area, we signed up. Unfortunately, the trees got so tall that we could no longer get a signal, so we switched back to cable. We put up with fewer channels for the same amount of money because, unless we cut down some trees, that was our only option.
Fast forward to December 2008. Our cable company (the only provider in the area) was bought out by a company called Almega Cable. We had no warning… just got a bill with a different name on it. We verified the company’s credentials and started sending our payments to them. The problems with reception started in mid-February, and we responded by calling their service number. The response was a little slow, but at least they did respond by sending a technician out to correct the problem.
By March, half of our channels were gone (blue screen – no signal) and the rest were fuzzy, and the response to our service calls changed. The standard response became, “The service tech will be in your area next week.” This was always repeated in a heavily accented voice, making me wonder if the calls were being routed to India. We mailed our regular payment in March, hoping that they would eventually fix the problem and credit us for the outages as they had promised. Wishful thinking.
On April 1, we were down to two channels (audio and snow). Still the same song from the service department, and efforts to talk to a manager were met with total failure. Calls to various regulatory agencies didn’t get us any closer to a solution, either. But the cable bill came – regular as clockwork! Instead of sending them any more money, we sent a letter detailing our complaints along with a log of all the service calls we had made. I guess we were hoping to finally get through to someone. No such luck!
We have learned that Almega is capable of being very responsive… when it comes to customers that don’t pay their bill. On May 1, they shut off our service. Pretty quick response, don’t you think?
I think I’ll send them one more letter, asking for a refund of my last payment, since I never got any service for it. I think I know what the response will be.
Now that I’ve gotten kind of used to not having TV, I have a decision to make. Do I cut down a couple of trees, or just leave things the way they are?