Like many, I lost power and cable services due to TS Isiais. Power was back after four days, and luckily I have a generator, but I had no internet for over a week. Just got it back last night, after three hours total of being on hold, appointments given then taken away and moved to two days later, etc...
In my town, Optimum is the only provider, yet apparently their small print says we can’t sue them. Meanwhile, they make you fill out a form to claim the money back from the outage, then seem to be rejecting all claims. If I had a choice, believe me, Optimum would be gone.
They are accountable to no one, it appears. Internet in the age of Covid is not a luxury. It’s an essential utility. Three people in my home must have internet in order to work. The last week has seen us camping out in friends’ houses, sometimes multiple times a day when people have zoom meetings. Thank goodness for friends! I can’t even imagine what is going to happen when school starts and another storm comes along, which of course will happen.
Other crimes Optimum has committed:
-only being able to get a human by selecting the add products option.
-chatbots that respond 40 minutes later, then close the chat when you don’t respond immediately.
-tweets that get a response three days later!
-missed time windows, until finally they tell you it’s moved to next day, and don’t show up until 8:15pm that day, only to tell you they have to call a bucket truck (duh, the call was because a tree brought a line down!), or giving time “windows” of 7 am-8pm.
-while on hold, being told repeatedly that you can file a report online. Hello, no internet.
-no outage maps or restoration times EVER
-being on hold for literally hours.
-unfailingly rude customer service
-probably a thousand other problems
I am sure others have similar stories of their providers. How do we change this? In my frustration, I actually did email the governor, the state senator, the county executive, the town supervisor, and the local news station, just to feel a little better. But of course, there is not an option to actually email Optimum.
This needs to change. Cable providers are essential services now. Providers who have monopolies should be forced to reduce rates, or guarantee a standard of service. Competition should be encouraged from other providers. I don’t know how this would work. It is so frustrating.
What’s it like in communities where you have choices for providers, and have lost your service due to storms? Have those of you living in the boonies (should add, the boonies I live in are an hour away from a great metropolis and hardly the boonies) suffered similar issues? What can we do to end this lack of accountability?