UPDATE: May 9: I guess it all depend on who you talk too. Charter social network representative Josh, who found this post, contacted me and offered to go over the problem I explained below, saying that the experience I had didn't represent the available options offered to Charter customers. After further review, he was right. The person I talked to apparently didn't have a full grasp of packages to offer panicky customers like me, freaking out over their new higher bill, because their package was expiring. All is well, and like all previous negotiations with customer service, Josh made re-upping easy and painless.
For your reference, there are 6 and 12 month plans, and a two year option, like I mentioned below. I went with the lower 1 year offer that essentially left the price a few bucks higher. Great.
Just an observation that applies to all support help: Anytime a service rep asks you to hold while they get the information, hang up and call back. You'll save yourself a lot of frustrating moments, and the time it'll take to write a blog about it.
Imagine my surprise when I tried to renegotiate my Charter Cable package, and found out negotiation is no longer an option, and I would be penalized up to $150 for changing any part of the plan or canceling it out completely! (note: every month on the 2 year plan, knocks off $10)
On top of that, I wasn’t offered one plan that didn’t include their expensive phone plan. No movie packages plans, nothing. That’s too bad for them, since that just pushed me into spending more money on Netflix, bypassing their premium channel services.
Thanks again Republican toadies, for the sales pitch written by the cable industry about lower premiums and consumer choices. I now have the “freedom” to pay more if I choose, and be penalized over a two year period for choosing a Charter competitor. Love the deregulated free market. You don’t think cable companies haven’t figured out ways to game the system and pad their bottom line, at our expense?
We were warned, but here’s how the debate was framed back in 2007-2009, and the unabated price increases since:
Waxing America-UW Professor of Telecommunications Barry Orton- Dec. 2009:
The 2007 "Cable Competition Act," cable rates kept going up. Surprise! Lower cable rates were explicitly and implicitly promised by the law's legislative and corporate sponsors, not to mention its astroturf advertising campaign. Basic cable rates in Wisconsin increased an average of 21 percent over the past two years, despite a new law designed to increase competition and lower costs, an audit released Tuesday said.
WSJ: When interests such as AT&T pushed for a bill in 2007 … promised consumers would "see cost savings almost immediately."
Rep. Gary Hebl, D-Sun Prairie, is seeking to roll back some parts of the 2007 law he says limit protections for consumers and end funding for local public access channels.
"It's so mindboggling to me that just when we're starting to see some of the fruit blossom on this tree, there are some people who want to chop the thing down," said Sen. Jeff Plale, D-South Milwaukee, a co-author of the 2007 law.
Tim Vowell, a spokesman for Charter Communications, said the bill has increased competition in the state and helped hold down prices for bundled packages.Now I'm locked into a 2 year plan, with no premium channels, at a higher price. That's holding down prices on Charter bundles?