We recently got a letter notifying us that our Charter TV rates were going up. The amount we pay for TV strikes me as ridiculous and I decided to see what we could do about it. I started with the online chat, and spent 40 minutes (time I don't have to spare, btw) trying to discover what channels I get for each plan at what cost. Really, pretty simple, right? I'm shopping -- what does this cost, what does that cost, is that a better deal, does this give me what I want.
Well good luck, 'cause Charter doesn't deal in information. And they won't tell you anything without knowing your account number. Well, I wouldn't give it to them. I said I was happy to tell them what market I was in, and eventually gave them an address where there is not actually a house. They quoted me a rate $25 less than what our new rate will be. Finally, I coughed up our account number and asked why we were being charged so much more. Oh, you are getting different channels, was the answer. Well, which different channels, I wanted to know. They wouldn't tell me, but instead transferred me to a different rep who also wouldn't give me the information I wanted. And I had to leave, but honestly, there wasn't a straight answer in sight. I could even show you the transcript, because I saved it.
When I got home, I looked into Dish TV. It's confusing too, but far more upfront about the channels provided at each level. I'd like to be able to put in the channels I want and be quoted a price. Even if they tease me with channels that I could get at the next higher lever, that would be okay.
Later, I called customer service to try to get the skinny. She says they have three tiers, the lower two separated by about $40. I tried to get info from her without coughing up my account number, but finally succumbed. She gave me a price, and I said it was too much, that I was looking into satellite. She said there was a promotion she could give me, adding HBO and Cinemax, adding more HD channels and lowering our monthly price by about $8 (from our current price, not the higher one). Really? More product for less price? Sure, for twelve months. Sounds good, I said. Sign me up. So we're still with Charter. But really, what's with that? Isn't it illegal to price discriminate?
The moral -- push them, ask for more for less $. I wish I'd done it earlier. I wonder if i could have done even better. I have to remember it to do it again this time next year.