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Lexington, Ky. Residents Vent Frustration With Charter Spectrum

Phillip Dampier August 28, 2017 Charter Spectrum, Competition, Consumer News, Public Policy & Gov't, Video 2 Comments

Nearly 200 people turned out for a packed public meeting in Lexington, Ky. to complain about Charter Communications and its Spectrum cable television service.

“Welcome, Spectrum, to the lion’s den,” said Mayor Jim Gray, introducing company representatives. The complaints began right away.

“The biggest slap in the face is that no matter what we pay,” one woman said, “no matter what we set up for autopay, every single month – no purchases, no changes on our end, our bill is never consistent and always growing.”

Prices and poor customer service were the top complaints at a meeting that filled a large room at a local senior center, organized by Lexington city officials.

The problems began after Charter Communications bought Time Warner Cable. As customers’ Time Warner Cable promotions expired, prices skyrocketed. Charter representatives are trained to convert customers to Spectrum-branded packages, which many customers argue costs more.

“There’s always going to be some pains when you change from one company to the next,” Mike Pedelty, a Charter spokesperson, told WKYT’s Garrett Wymer. “There’s different ways Time Warner Cable did things than the way Charter does things. We understand that, we appreciate that. We try to do our best to communicate to our customers, we try to make sure that we let them know their options.”

Customers do not necessarily like those options.

“Spectrum has increased my bill twice while I’m still on the package,” complained customer Loney Burns. When she tried to cut back on her package to save money, Burns was told, “if you want to take them off, we will increase your bill.”

City employee Roger Damon pointed out that most Time Warner Cable customers avoided paying the regular prices Charter uses as a benchmark to claim Spectrum’s packages and pricing costs less. By negotiating with Time Warner Cable, customers could easily obtain a new promotional offer when an old one ran out. After Charter took over, the company stopped giving back-to-back promotions. As a result, a growing number of customers are forced into regular priced Spectrum packages, exactly as Charter CEO Thomas Rutledge intended.

“It’s not a very competitive business, and that’s one of the reasons that we have these challenges with customer service today,” Gray told the crowd. “We have had very, very poor technical service, very poor customer service and price increases with no notice. No one should have to scrub their monthly bills for hidden fees.”

The city’s only recourse is to fine Charter or revoke its franchise. But with the cable industry being largely deregulated, local officials have little bite to deliver after a bark. Fines can be appealed in court and there are no significant examples in recent history where a community revoked a cable franchise and found another company willing to enter another operator’s traditional service area.

WKYT-TV in Lexington covered last week’s public meeting on Charter Communications’ service in Kentucky. (1:21)

Currently there are 2 comments on this Article:

  1. Kenneth R says:

    Maybe they should set a example and be the first community to “revoke its franchise.”!!! This would tell these greed based corporations we are tired and won’t take it any more!!!! What are we paying franchise fees for???? Same should be done to DirecTV and any other companies that abuse there customers!!!

    • Shaun says:

      But the problem is, no one is “forced” to use their service.. For that reason, unless they do something illegal, then there is not much recourse. They need to get another company to come in, and put that company out.. That will hurt them much worse. Here, a company called velocity is doing just that.. They are offering fiber service, with 3 times faster downloads, and 30 times faster uploads, for $5 less then spectrum’s cheapest internet plan. But they are also offering TV, and phone service too.. everything that spectrum offers, but with no promo’s.. Velocity is a straight up, this is the cost, type of company. Not a “we will give you a good price a for a few months and then crank up your bill” type. I personally can not wait to get away from spectrum. But the fact is, that is what needs to be done.







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