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Ignoring Cox’s Usage Cap: Customers Report Company Quick to Back Down on Enforcing Limits

Phillip Dampier May 7, 2013 Competition, Cox, Data Caps, Online Video 14 Comments

cox say noThe Heeley family have been Cox customers for over 15 years, buying cable television, broadband, and phone service that costs them nearly $200 a month.

With nearly $2,400 a year going into Cox’s bank accounts from their family alone, John Heeley was a little upset Cox sent him a warning message about his family’s “excessive Internet usage.”

“It seems we went over our usage cap by 40GB in April thanks to a rotten spring and a lot of Netflix viewing,” Heeley tells Stop the Cap! “I didn’t even understand the letter because I never knew there was a cap on the Internet.”

Cox, like certain other providers, have arbitrary usage limits on broadband accounts, with larger allowances granted to customers who upgrade to faster speeds for more money.

Heeley’s fiancé Shelley was angry after realizing just how much the couple already spends with Cox.

“I called them on the phone and the first thing they want to do is get you to upgrade and spend even more money with them,” she tells Stop the Cap! “They tried to vaguely threaten our service if we continued to ‘overuse the Internet’ and suggested we cut back or cancel Netflix which they think is the reason we went over the limit.”

Shelley says she was born at night, but not last night.

“How convenient they want you to stop using Netflix, Amazon, or other online video services that their cable TV competes with,” Shelley says. “It is unfair competition.”

Shelley requested a Cox supervisor and threatened the company right back, telling Cox if they sent one more letter like that, the Heeley family would take their business elsewhere.

“He told us quietly we could ignore the letter and any future letters and they will add a note on our account,” Shelley tells us. “He confided they have customers going over the limit all the time and the letter is really about educating customers about usage.”

It seems if Cox threatens you, threatening them back with account cancellation is usually the end of the story.

We found Broadband Reports‘ readers who exceed usage limits with Cox largely unafraid of any consequences:

  • Rakeesh: I’ve gone everywhere from 300gb to 700gb over the cap for the last 19 months in a row. You’re fine.
  • Skeechan: I have gone over too. The nastygrams seem to only be sent in selective markets. I am on Ultimate, perhaps that is why they haven’t sent me one since I have nowhere to go plan-wise. And being triple play since 1998 offers up a reliable and high ARPU. Of course that assumes they actually give a crap about common sense.
  • Maltz: I went over my cap by about 30GB last month and got an email telling me that I was over. That was the end of it.

Currently there are 14 comments on this Article:

  1. Van says:

    Like them, I posted on DSLReports about how i got sent an email from Cox a few weeks ago stating that I had gone over my cap by 3GB’s. I called and asked them what would happen and couldn’t even get a straight answer. One guy told me nothing…..another told me possible slow down of Internet….and NOBODY could tell me what I could do downloading wise if I went over.

    Brilliant strategy, Cox

    • Everyone’s Internet will slow down if Cox can’t invest In their network. Caps are just a stalling technique to suppress usage.

      • Charles says:

        Yeah, with government subsidies and the overcharging for the services that are done in this country, there is no legitimate reason the U.S. has average internet speeds for more money than most of the world. As of the end of 2012, we are ranked 8 in the speeds in the world, but often times pay twice as much as the countries that out rank us. It isn’t that companies like Cox, Comcast, Verizon, etc can’t invest in their network, they choose not to as a means to over charge us for our internet.

  2. DeAnn says:

    I just got one of these tonight, and funny enough they now have an FAQ. Also very funny is if you go to their site and look at packages for the internet, no where does it discuss usage. Sure, more money more speed, but nothing about more bandwidth. Good luck Cox, bad bad customer service move.

  3. Dustin says:

    I received an email from cox myself which stated we had exceeded the 300GB cap. It is weird considering the account is in my mothers name and I do not have an online account with them. Their own FAQ states that they do not charge any fees for going over and the vagueness of the data throttling seems to be impotent threat. There was discussion on the cox fourm regarding it as well.
    http://forums.cox.com/forum_home/internet_forum/f/5/t/2558.aspx

    • I was going to reply on that forum but you have to be a Cox customer to register, so feel free to cut and paste this on my behalf in their forum:

      Cox customers are burdened with unnecessary and completely arbitrary usage caps that frankly make no sense and have no purpose, especially with the advent of DOCSIS 3.1, which virtually eliminates last mile congestion.

      Cox will tell you only a small minority of customers exceed their cap, which is why they are totally unnecessary — “over-usage” just isn’t a big problem. If there are a handful of users creating demonstrable burdens on Cox’s network, their existing terms and conditions allow the company to contact those customers individually to address any problems.

      Cox talks a good game about boosting Internet speeds but then handicaps them with usage limits that effectively hand customers the keys to a Ferrari but tells them they can’t drive it more than a block away.

      Cox is profitable. Time Warner Cable is even more profitable. Cox has usage caps, Time Warner Cable has none and even uses that fact in their advertising. So why does Cox need to force their customers to stare at usage meters and fret about threatening warning letters? It’s another reason why people hate cable companies so much — they are not customer-friendly.

      The rest of the world is moving away from wired usage caps while Cox gives them a nice bear hug. If Cox wants to do the right thing and prove they have a superior broadband product, they should shelve the caps and leave their customers alone to enjoy a service they pay good money to get.,

      Phillip Dampier
      Editor, Stop the Cap!

      • Retta says:

        Grrrr Cox!! We recently got charged a termination fee. I called to see what it was for, since I still had
        service. After 8 phone call transfers through some of the worst customer service representatives I have ever talked to.. I finally had someone explain that I had gone over my usage cap every month this year and it has breached my contract so they charged me a termination fee for each product I had. ( Phone and internet) so my “bundle” is now almost twice as much. I was never aware of the
        cap of 250 GB and we are swimming around 400 GB with 2 teenage boys, myself and my
        husband. I do not have their cable tv because it is WAY over priced.. so we use netflix and
        Hulu. It is my opinion that Cox does not like this, so they are now weeding out this option and capping GB usage. They are the only internet provider in my neighborhood. I feel trapped. I don’t want
        to pay for 200+ channels of home shopping and infomercials! I want to watch what I want, when I want to watch it. I love netflix and Hulu.
        STOP THE CAPS!!

  4. Kent says:

    If you do pass the ridiculously low data caps they will throttle your speeds to a crawl when you try to use more internet than they arbitrarily deem sufficient for your house. I have a screencap of a speedtest where my internet (25g plan) is running at speeds slower than dialup. You know the caps though are far too low if I can blow through their data cap in less than one day running at the “advertised speeds”.

  5. Tye T. says:

    Cox doesn’t actually throttle their customers. If you should exceed your data cap to an excessive extent then cox will eventually terminate or suspend your service. If you were actually seeing your speeds running slow then you should contact technical support to see what they can do about correcting the issue. For most customers to go over their limits there is no action taken other than a nasty letter.

  6. Keith says:

    I’m currently over my Cox “limit” by 150 GB and my answer to their threats is to download and stream as much data as I can/want to. My current best is doubling my limit of 250 GB by using over 500 GB last month between streaming HD videos on crunchyroll/netflix, playing online games, and downloading tons of anime to watch on my summer break from college.

    I’ve received their emails each month but by reading the entire terms and agreements, there is nothing that states any true limit to the usage for the service that I pay for.

    • Hamza says:

      lol I have a 250gb plan and I’m at 500gb now.

      I joined Cox’s Tech Chat and the guy told me I had 3 warnings on my account this billing cycle…and conveniently enough, 3 was the limit! (Even though the Terms and Agreements says no such thing). Then came the …”Would you like to upgrade your service”?

      I just said bye and closed the box. If they actually suspend my account, I just won’t be doing business with Cox anymore.

      • Did your service get locked which prompted the chat or was it a revelation that came after asking about something else?

        • Hamza says:

          No, I’ve just been getting the same vaguely threatening e-mail for 12+ straight months and wanted to get to the bottom of it. The Tech Chat guy just repeated the e-mail to me, with even more veiled threats.

          If they want to cut me off, they can call me and I’ll just disconnect the services right away. Verizon FiOS is offering a competitive package in my area.

          I might even switch to Verizon anyway. Competition is good for cable.

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