The Alternative Facts of Cable Companies

from Backchannel

Cable companies have bad reputations for customer service, and sometimes they rename themselves to divert attention and get a fresh start. Comcast’s “Xfinity” rebranding in 2010 has now been followed by Charter’s renaming of itself—after a megamerger with Time Warner Cable last year—as “Spectrum.” But changing your name doesn’t mean that you aren’t liable for misbehavior under your previous moniker. This is what Charter…er, Spectrum… found recently when, following a lengthy investigation, New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, filed an extraordinary lawsuit against the company.

Based on the company’s own documents and statements, it appears that just about everything it has been saying since 2012 to New York State residents about their internet access and data services is untrue. And not untrue in some grey, shadowy way—just untrue. The company’s 2.5 million New York subscribers (of its 22 million nationwide) have been told they’re getting X (in terms of download and upload speeds) when actually they’re getting a lot less than X.

More here.

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16 Responses to The Alternative Facts of Cable Companies

  1. Christian Cox March 3, 2017 at 9:10 am #

    Cable companies are known for their terrible customer service. These companies do not take care of customers and they are generally just plain unhelpful. South Park creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, have poked fun at the inadequacies of cable companies. Cable companies just do not tell the truth. They are constantly lying about their performance and give false information on the speed of their download and upload speeds. But, there is really no chance of an individual taking on a cable company. Eric Schneiderman, attorney general of New York, discovered what cable companies have lied about. Based on the company’s own information everything Spectrum has since 2012 about their internet access and data services was falsified. This yet another scenario where consumers are being hurt by alternative facts. Normally, alternative facts are about Donald Trump and how phenomenal he is at being the most presidential candidate and president. These alternative facts are just lies that lets the few hurt the many. Spectrum shows a pattern of complete disregard for participating in an honest business practice. They routinely lie and not keep promises about the coverage they are providing. Spectrum lied to the FCC and promised to replace outdated cable boxes for eight hundred thousand residents of New York. Spectrum could have kept their promise and improved the coverage and satisfaction of their customers. But, Spectrum really did not want to shell out the dough so instead they just excluded the outdated cable boxes from speed tests. Spectrum relentlessly lied about their fast internet speeds for the purpose of maintain Spectrum subscribers. Eric Schneiderman put it, “Spectrum relentlessly touted consistently fast internet speeds and reliable access to online content to solicit and retain subscribers. However, in reality, Spectrum-TWC knowingly failed to deliver on such promises.” Despite the attorney general’s testimony, Eric Schneiderman is not a regulator and cannot make rules or lower the level of competition. It is clear that everyone hates their cable provider, so it is important that we find an alternative. Cable companies often monopolize areas so they have no problem being the worst cable provider of all time. Susan Crawford mentioned hopefully at in the conclusion, “Maybe it will generate momentum for better, faster, wholesale fiber networks controlled by cities and localities themselves.” In an ideal world it will. Cable companies consistently rank the lowest in customer satisfaction rates. Cable companies were reported targeting bad customer service and faulty billing by the cable companies; these are the two most infuriating problems to have knowing that a portion of your money goes to a despicable company. We need more competition in this field the cable company kings have reigned for far too long. DirecTV service representatives were told to pitch the higher priced option and then gauge your reaction for the next offer. They were explicitly told not to sell the cheapest option unless you would lose the sale. The shady and deceptive behaviors of this industry is exactly behavior one should expect for a company with no regulation or competition.

    • Nicholas Thomas March 3, 2017 at 8:32 pm #

      Christian, it is funny you mention the South Park reference because it was the exact thought going through my head while reading the article. The poor service of the cable companies is no secret, but there is not much people can do when these companies are their only option. Cable is essentially a monopoly and as a result, the companies can lie, provide poor service, and charge what they want. As you mention Eric Schneiderman, Attorney General of New York, discovered that the cable companies are advertising one speed, but are purposely providing a speed less than the advertisement. Eric Schneiderman now is able to sue the cable companies on grounds of fraud. This is where I become confused and skeptical of what is to happen next. Assuming Schneiderman wins the suit, the effect would insignificant on the cable companies. Schneiderman cannot regulate or spur up competition; at best, he will be able to cause the cable companies to momentarily provide an “improved” service. Even when the FCC directed Spectrum, one of the cable companies, to replace outdated modems, the company never acted. Even though the FCC has recognized the reliable and fast internet access as a regulated product, there are no standards for what constitutes “high-speed” or the pricing of the internet services. The cable companies will be able to survive any damage Schneiderman throws on them.
      Scheniderman’s attack against the cable companies is valiant, but in reality consumers have always been aware that the service provided to them is horrible. So again, I am confused on what the aim of the suit against the companies is. Scheniderman cannot regulate the cable companies nor increase the competition. However, despite these facts, Susan Crawford still argues that the auit could be the beginning to a movement of change concerning the cable company industry. I agree with Crawford that there can be change in the future, specifically I believe that change should be the expand upon the FCC’s recognition that high-speed internet can be regulated. By expanding upon the regulations of “high-speed” internet current cable company consumers would receive better service, competition would increase, and the pricing of cable would closer to an appropriate value for the quality of service. For example, if a determined quality of “high-speed” internet was put into place, cable companies would have no choice, but to provide better quality services or face legal ramifications. In addition to the giving companies “no choice” to preform well, there would be a regulated price of “high-speed” internet access so that cable company giants cannot simply charge what they want because they are the only option, specifically I am referring to the ten dollar monthly fee for boxes. A quality of service and price regulation of the cable companies would allow for competition to increase. However, everything mentioned above is the final goal. I am still unclear of Scheniderman’s current goal because there already exists attention on the cable companies, and consumers are aware of being cheated. I believe Scheniderman could give movement to change.

  2. Nicolas F Carchio March 3, 2017 at 5:10 pm #

    Cable companies have been notorious for their vast amount of subscribers, who have been using their services since they have been young. These people grew up using cable, and thus have become accustom to its shenanigans such as increasing prices for the same, lackluster internet quality. Cable companies it is quite frankly wrong that cable companies are allowed to preach that they have been using their resources to increase their bandwidth and service overall. In reality, these statements are simply, alternative facts or lies. Yet the question remains, why are cable companies able to do this? It is because they have over 92 million high-speed internet subscribers, which is around half of the internet subscribers in the entire United States. This is simply outrageous and the reason that they can do this is because they virtually have a monopoly on the market, and with no real competition, are able to simply do whatever they please with no consequences. There are no regulations that can stop them because they will simply raise prices and continue to hurt their consumers.

    Many believe that this endless cycle of being taken advantage of by the Cable ‘monopoly’ is unavoidable, however there are alternatives. One way to stop the abuse of the Cable companies are to unsubscribe to their lackluster internet and data services. The Cable companies are not allowing consumers to receive the maximum Wi-Fi that they are paying to receive, which hurts their subscribers. By unsubscribing from these companies and moving to the other competition that is emerging – Version FiOS. FiOS actually has much stronger bandwidths and is truthful in its service. What one pays for is what one gets. Version FiOS is not the cheapest either, because they have to compete with the mega Cable companies who charge astronomical prices. In order to bring all these prices down in the market is to create more companies who can provide Wi-Fi to people at truthful high-speed internet. The introduction of competition, from the simple basic principles of Economics, will drive the market equilibrium price of internet down. The Cable companies will then be forced to work with these prices or be destroyed by their competition as they will simply not be able to keep up and will lose all their subscribers. With the introduction of real competition into the internet market, then the internet prices in the United States will be brought down tremendously.

    Through the current scandals that are involving the Cable companies, there are limited options for them if they want to stay in the market. The first is for the companies to simply end their outrageous prices for their lackluster service. If they would charge reasonable prices for the actual service that they are giving then they cannot be faulted for that. The problem is that their alternative facts state that they are providing fantastic service, which is simply false. Their other option is to give the service that their customers deserve for the prices that they are paying. If they do not do either one of these things, then they will crumble under the emerging competition.

  3. Zion McMillan March 3, 2017 at 5:27 pm #

    Anyone who has ever had cable understands how bad the cable companies are. They lie about the capabilities of the internet and phone speeds they offer, they hit customers for hundreds of dollars in hidden fees, and their customer service is rarely helpful, if ever. New York’s attorney general Eric Schneiderman filed an unprecedented lawsuit against Spectrum, Charter’s rebranded name after their massive merger with Time Warner Cable.
    Based on the company’s own documents, nearly everything they have advertised and told their customers since 2012 has been a lie. The company had told over 2 million of its 22 million total users that they were getting a service offering them much more than what they actually have been receiving. The lawsuit brought against Spectrum revealed that customers were getting shorted because of the company’s effort to keep their costs as low as possible. The company has been caught sharing data connections between households making it much narrower and decreasing speed. They failed to upgrade equipment for houses that paid for and/or needed upgraded equipment. Spectrum also had an overall inadequate amount of connections.This is just another typical example we’ve seen in the news of companies conducting unethical practices and lying to its customers. And when looking at Spectrum as a whole, it is safe to say they are a dishonest organization.Spectrum was found caught up in another lie to the FCC when they promised to upgrade the cable gear in 800,000 New York homes, which they did not do. Instead of holding up their end of the contract and replacing the gear, Spectrum did another dishonest thing and excluded the older cable boxes from their speed tests. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman noted that, “Spectrum relentlessly touted consistently fast internet speeds and reliable access to online content to solicit and retain subscribers. However, in reality, Spectrum-TWC knowingly failed to deliver on such promises.” It is abundantly clear that we as consumers can no longer trust cable providers, and it is unfortunate that Spectrum ruined it for all of the other business. It is my hope that with the increase in internet based entertainment platforms like Hulu and Netflix these companies go out of business. They are unethical and dishonest, and the article talked about how they monopolize locations. As of now I think the internet, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick, and other programs and devices are the best option and alternative to these issues.

  4. Peter DeSantis March 3, 2017 at 7:40 pm #

    In the United States of America, there are really only two major, giant cable companies: Comcast and Charter. There are other cable providers, but they really do not light a candle to these two. They simply cannot compete with the profit margins or the market share that Comcast and Charter are able to boast. Also, these powerhouses have acquired many other companies to create subsidiaries in order to conquer entire geographical areas. Examples of these subsidiaries are Xfinity for Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC) for Charter. These companies have a long history of legal issues due to illegal actions that were usually either fraudulent or unethical. Although it is not right or necessarily beneficial to society, it is nothing new for giant corporations who enjoy a large portion of mortgage share and report astronomical revenues year after year.

    After the enormous merger that occurred between Charter and Time Warner Cable, they began to brand a new name for the cable providing services of the corporation, Spectrum. Not even a year in the making, and Spectrum already has a lawsuit filed against them by New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman. The complaint that has been filed claims that Spectrum has falsified advertisements claiming that internet speeds were much higher than the actually were. Customers have been paying high prices for supposedly fast speeds; however, according to New York’s AG, following his investigation, customers have not been receiving the marketed speeds.

    Schneiderman alleges that Spectrum has done this on purpose in an attempt to keep capital expenditures to a minimum. It appears that they have been getting away with this because it is possible that Spectrum’s network infrastructures are capable of providing such high speeds, but they cram more customers than the narrow shared data connections permit resulting in lagging connections and slower than expected speeds. Charter engineers were well aware of such activities, and they told executives of the affects that it was having on the outcome of the network. Executives decided not to make any improvements because the costs would be too high, and the marketing and advertising department did not change any of the numbers pertaining to internet speeds or service quality. This is where it is likely that Scheiderman is going to excel since he case regarding to this aspect seems foolproof. It is obvious that the actions of Spectrum have been deceptive, untruthful, and unfair.

    Cases like this encourage the media and consumers alike to take a closer look into these oligopolistic, behemoths controlling near monopolies. Spectrum faces competition from Comcast and relatively miniscule competition from Verizon Fios. All other providers are so small that it would cost Spectrum more money to think about them than it is to not consider them as a concern. This opens the door for Charter and any company in a similar position to easily take advantage of the market, customers, and the government. When people have essentially no option other than Spectrum, depending on their residential location, then they are going to pay whatever price they charge for whatever kind of service they are going to provide because any quality of service is better than no service at all. The obvious solution would be to create more competition, but there is a barrier to enter into the sector because it costs so much to start up and it is next to impossible to compete with already established household names like Charter or Comcast.

    This is a serious issue within oligopolistic industries like cable services, airlines, and operating system programming because it is very detrimental to the consumer. Consumers are left with products of poor quality and despicable customer service for exorbitantly high prices. Even though that the Federal Communications Commission started to list high speed internet access and cable services among its products that it has the authority to regulate. The FCC has failed thus far to provide any substantial regulation to the industry. Maybe if this case gains more national media attention, the FCC will work more on controlling the industry which requires regulation in order to benefit consumers with better cable services.

  5. Matthew Radman March 3, 2017 at 8:31 pm #

    Cable companies alternative facts
    It is no secret that the American consumer is not fond of their cable providers. Their sheer size makes them impenetrable to many consequences, and their inelastic goods make it hard for consumers to show their opinions with their wallet. The companies that have found their way into the living rooms of every American household has not extended the same consideration to customers. Most of the time, consumers blindly hope and pay the cable companies and live with the results. The New York attorney general has opened up a new movement that would do without the oligopolies that currently control what is on TV.
    America has continuously lost trust to large corporations. As an economist, I would like to believe that the invisible hand of the market is putting pressure on cable companies to keep prices low and continually improve product quality. However, a lack of competition aided by the geographic monopoly has contributed to Spectrum functioning more like a New York Family rather than a New York family business. Through the years, the company has put on a facade that it was improving quality and broadband speed in the face of competition. However, the companies have not lived up to their promises. Instead, the average consumer has experienced price increases and no real benefit. The problem, however, has escalated beyond empty promises. It has lied to the point of deception and mistreating its customers. Consumers were promised speed X and were given a lot less in return for more money. Our society deserves better than this misleading business method. Eric Schneiderman has made significant headway in legally taking on Spectrum in the new lawsuit regarding false advertising.
    Eric has shown that authorities are going to show no leeway when it comes to lying to consumers. This powerful stance is refreshing to consumers who have somewhat lost hope as the grip of large cable corporations have seemingly checkless power. The New York Attorney General is clearly not a regulator. They have no authority to make rules or set up barriers. However, he is acting like the pressure that the New York cable market lacks from competition. The most significant thing that the Attorney General did was being public about the suit. It sends a great message to New Yorkers that their government is looking after them and protecting them from mega corporations. Hopefully, the Attorney general’s calling out of the company will begin a movement for alternatives. Maybe it will generate demand for better, faster, wholesale fiber optic networks. Lacking competition, the only way to catalyze change within the cable companies is to put pressure on them. The surrounding market has already gotten its hands on them, companies like Netflix offering premium content without a cable subscription. Besides the technology, the Attorney General has put pressure on in the form of this lawsuit. No matter the outcome, hopefully, it will promote honesty and transparency from cable companies. Lastly, and perhaps the most powerfully, in the wake of this suit consumers may feel more comfortable taking a stance against these companies. Technology has provided them with alternative that was not possible before. If the cable companies want to remain prominent, they need to refocus on the technology that is trying to replace them and put their customers in front of their sights.

  6. Owen Balseiro March 3, 2017 at 8:31 pm #

    For a very long time, cables companies have done nothing but screw over their customers at every turn and every chance. Don’t want a specific channel? Too bad, it’s in a “package”. Want to switch to a different provider? Well get ready to pay up because your current provider basically has a geographic lockdown. It is exactly as it sounds, a monopoly. And while verizon and their initiative verizon FIOS has offered small amounts of competition, it can’t really do enough to unseat powers like Comcast. But even with the hundreds upon thousands of complaints on how bad Comcast and its fellow vable “competition’s” customer service, the cable companies can’t seem to get away from what they are even with their rebrandings.
    As Susan Crawford puts it “But changing your name doesn’t mean that you aren’t liable for misbehavior under your previous moniker. This is what Charter…er, Spectrum… found recently when, following a lengthy investigation, New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, filed an extraordinary lawsuit against the company.” According to the lawsuit, Time Warner Cable has been lying quite badly to their customers in New York. “And not untrue in some grey, shadowy way—just untrue. The company’s 2.5 million New York subscribers (of its 22 million nationwide) have been told they’re getting X (in terms of download and upload speeds) when actually they’re getting a lot less than X.” If the State of New York were to successfully sue Time Warner Cable this could open the flood gates for lawsuits from other states, customers and potential competition to open up the now locked down market.
    But what specifically has Time Warner Cable done to their customers in New York besides just straight up lying about uploads and download speeds. To be specific what Time Warner Cable is doing is that they are cutting capital expenditures (Capex). They are over crowding homes onto inadequate networks. According to the article “This happened, according to the documents and statements revealed in the lawsuit, in at least three areas of Spectrum’s internet access business: squeezing more households into an inadequate number of narrow, shared neighborhood data connections; squeezing connections between Spectrum’s network and other networks; and squeezing consumers who should have gotten upgraded household equipment.” As said in the article this is straight up fraud and misleading customers. But it is a smaller part of the bigger problem. The monopoly like status cable companies like Time Warner and Comcast have. They can afford to cut capital expenditures to this point because there is no competition. And since there is no competition, there is no reason to make a better product. It breaks the capitalistic process of having to constantly put out a better product than the competition. And unfortunately the only real way to break a monopoly is for government intervention. While the lawsuit has brought hope for further legal action against Time Warner. This is happening all over the United States, meaning the states may have to go through this one at a time if the federal government does not step in. Cable put as it’s simplest form is “in many ways an uncreative business—“like chicken in a grocery store,” as Comcast founder Ralph Roberts once said. The cable guys (today, mostly Comcast and Charter in the US, who together account for half of the 92 million high-speed internet access subscriptions in the country) have successfully implemented one basic, foolproof idea: locking up entire geographic markets by acquisition while scaling up rapidly as possible. With high numbers of subscribers all within clustered markets, costs per subscriber are vanishingly low, back office functions can be shared, programming can be bought at a bulk discount price (half or a third of what any smaller operator might pay), and competition can be avoided. Meanwhile, customers keep paying. Another week, another chicken.” And it will be like this until a breakthrough of sorts can be made. But even if a breakthrough is made on the technological side, a breakthrough has to be made on the legal side as well.

  7. Sirina Natarajan March 3, 2017 at 10:26 pm #

    Growing up, I always hated visiting my grandparent’s house for one reason only- my grandpa did not like cable companies. That is right. He did not like them, therefore, he did not pay for cable even after the urging of my mother and my grandma. He always said they were not to be trusted and that he would die before allowing those “good for nothing swindlers” into his home. Back then I would say he was a little dramatic, but after reading this article I may give him a call and tell him sorry for making a big deal over the lack of Wi-Fi in his house. I never would have thought that such large companies would be able to get away with lying to their customers for so long. Maybe it is because the American consumer is so vocal about displeasure or maybe because I thought the government would protect the people form this kind of thing. That may be naïve, but I just assumed that if a company claimed to offer their customers something, then they would actually do it. On the other hand, are we really surprised that a huge cable company is doing this? I cannot say that it catches me completely off guard as they are an American company and the only things big corporations care about is the bottom line at the end of the quarter. If cutting costs and lying to customers is the way to do that, then they will.
    There is not much the consumer can do if they do not like their cable provider. There are only two cable companies on the East coast so the consumer does not have many options. If one company fails, they can switch to the other, but that ends up being a huge hassle because one needs to go dark for at least a few hours before they are able to be all set up. I like that action is being taken against these companies, but it is a little ridiculous that it took so long for anyone to realize what Comcast was doing. I would think people would realize how slow their new “turbo” internet was going and call the cable company. I know cable companies are notorious for having terrible customer service representatives, but what more can one do? People just want their high speed internet and Comcast should deliver. I do not understand how lying to millions of customers was easier than just giving them what was offered. I guess people will always do what they can to ignore the problems they face. The only hope Comcast has for retaining any of their customers is one hell of an apology and possible refunds for the people who were promised high speed internet. Otherwise, Comcast can kiss their customers goodbye and wish Spectrum good luck with their newly increased revenue stream. It is nearly impossible for a company to get back on their feet after a scandal this big. It will be interesting to see how Comcast will recover from this.

  8. Benjamin Jaros March 4, 2017 at 8:56 pm #

    I am not very surprised that Spectrum engages in deplorable business practices. Intentionally, misrepresenting a service and then failing to uphold the terms of that service is not something new in business. However, what bothers me is that I feel like people are just ignorant when it comes to issues arising from technology or the internet. Therefore, when they got ripped off, they did not understand that they were being ripped off. Further, it bothers me because I do not foresee tech literacy increasing anytime soon. So part of the problem comes from consumers not having enough knowledge behind the service they are being provided. In light of this ignorance, I disagree with his point that the attorney general filing suit will create a mass movement because the common people affected by this problem do not have the tech literacy to start a movement on this issue.
    Technology and cable experts and a handful of law and business professionals do however; have the literacy, understanding and tools at their disposal to do something about this issue. Firstly, I wonder why they have not filed an anti-trust suit against Spectrum. If they have a virtual monopoly in the places where Spectrum is a provider. Than shouldn’t Spectrum be broken up by the U.S. Government pursuant to the anti-trust measures put in place during the progressive era in the early 1900s to prevent individual corporations from possessing too large a portion of the market. Further, these measures were put in place to prevent against the specific situation that New Yorkers now find themselves in with Spectrum.
    The large corporations such as Rockefeller Oil did not have to provide quality services to consumers because they were the only provider. Though, I am not certain that the big corporations of the early 1900s engaged in intentionally misleading marketing campaigns, it is possible they did. However, unlike Big Oil, which generally is a business that people understand, the internet is very different. When it comes to internet being provided, people do not understand the service or the industry. Further, few even have a remote grasp on what he internet actually is.
    The internet is an actual cable running through the ground. Yet most just think it is like magic. That they just turn on a screen. Pay for a modem, even one that is not working. Then the service just appears on their screen like a cloud. Further, when the cloud does not show up, they lack nearly any technical knowledge to understand how to resolve the issue other than calling tech support on the other side of the world or even worse going into a physical computer store, such as best buy to resolve the issue.
    Tech literacy is very low in this country. Further, it is a shame because the future of nearly every industry, I would say all but I could foresee a few rogue and unlikely objections, revolves around basic computer literacy. We need our mass populace to be clamoring for more computer classes in schools. Beyond the early education, we should be calling for general computer science courses to be made the part of the core at the university level. Until tech literacy increases, Spectrum and other companies like it will continue to exploit customers.

  9. Jonathan Cavallone March 21, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

    1. Cable companies are known for some of the worst customer service as this article has explained. Many cable companies attempt to get a fresh start by merging with other companies and changing their names. For example, Charter merged with Time Warner Cable in a mega merger, and changed their name to Spectrum. A mega merger is the joining of two large corporations, involving billions of dollars in value. The mega merger takes two large companies creates one corporation that may maintain control over a large percentage of market share within its industry. Currently, there is a mega merger between telecom giant AT&T and multimedia company Time Warner, which is being heavily scrutinized by government officials. This merger however, is not an attempt to get a new beginning and try to hide past poor customer service. This merger is hoping to reform the multimedia, by allowing consumers to access their favorite video content anywhere and anytime. Back on the Charter Time Warner Cable merger, following a lengthy investigation, New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, filed a lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit is based on false advertising, everything the company has been saying since 2012 to New York State residents about their internet access and data services is untrue. The company has been advertising false numbers in terms of download speed, saying their customers are getting X but in reality are getting significantly less than X. The reasoning for the poor service, according to the documents and statements revealed in the lawsuit, in at least three areas of Spectrum’s internet access business: squeezing more households into an inadequate number of narrow, shared neighborhood data connections; squeezing connections between Spectrum’s network and other networks; and squeezing consumers who should have gotten upgraded household equipment. The explanation given spectrum was that the companies wanted to cut their costs to save as much money as possible, so they were not using their services to the full potential. Obviously, companies are going to make their products sound much better and more appealing compared to the competition by fluffing some facts up. For example, the energy drink Red Bull, their slogan is “It gives you wings.” Meanwhile, drinking Red Bull does not actually give the consumers wings. There is a difference between false advertising and trying to make memorable slogans to catch consumer’s attention. A cable company saying that their download speeds are speeds over 150 Mbps while consumers are really getting only about 120 Mbps, is false advertising. However, I know that I do not know the difference between download speeds or the units that they are measured. If something is taking a while to download I happen to think it is because I have poor internet connection or because of the content I am downloading. The last thing going through my mind is “Oh man this is taking forever because I do not have the best download speeds offered by my cable company.” Therefore, cable companies can get away with false advertising to clueless consumers. That does not make it acceptable, and it is a good thing that Eric Schneiderman caught this and is filing a lawsuit. Who knows how many other cable companies are guilty of doing the same thing.

  10. Hakim Felder March 24, 2017 at 1:36 am #

    I remember growing up having free cable. This cable had all the channels to my desire. It was if I was on top of the tv world. The channels started from channel 1 to 100. Ninety-Seven was my favorite channel because that was the channel that had hosted cartoon network on it. This channel network had so many shows that I had really enjoyed watching. On channel fifteen, there was teen nick. Which also had very good shows that I like to watch. However, all of that change as I went through life, that all started changing, the channels I liked watching started to disappear from basic cable till there were no channels I wanted to watch on TV. After that, I took a break from tv for a very long time. I did not even know what was going on in the world or what was happening in today’s news because as a kid the news was boring to watch I wanted to see action and funny cartoons. It has gotten to the point where somehow the government did not supply basic cable anymore you had to pay for cable to see all your favorite television shows. My mom decided to buy FiOS cable system.
    One thing that really stuck out to me about cable companies is what they said about them in the article Cable companies have bad reputations for customer service, and sometimes they rename themselves to divert attention and get a fresh start. Comcast’s “Xfinity” rebranding in 2010 has now been followed by Charter’s renaming of itself—after a megamerger with Time Warner Cable last year—as “Spectrum.” But changing your name doesn’t mean that you aren’t liable for misbehavior under your previous moniker. This is what Charter, Spectrum… found recently when, following a lengthy investigation, New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, filed an extraordinary lawsuit against the company.” This makes me question the credibility of the customer service. I remember there being numerous times where they were very late when it came to fixing the technical difficulties surrounding my cable system. They said they would come a day but wind up coming on another day. I also question that lawsuit that was filed against the company. What point or specific reason were used in Schneiderman’s argument. How did the company combat against Schneiderman’s argument?
    What was really crazy to me was the way Ralph Roberts described the cable guys. He called them chickens in a grocery store with uncreative ideas in the cable market. His exact words locking up entire geographic markets by acquisition while scaling up rapidly as possible. With high numbers of subscribers all within clustered markets, costs per subscriber are vanishingly low, back office functions can be shared, the programming can be bought at a bulk discount price (half or a third of what any smaller operator might pay), and competition can be avoided. Meanwhile, customers keep paying. I feel like Robert knows what the company is doing wrong and uses the chicken gesture rather freely.

  11. Hakim Felder March 24, 2017 at 1:36 am #

    I remember growing up having free cable. This cable had all the channels to my desire. It was if I was on top of the tv world. The channels started from channel 1 to 100. Ninety-Seven was my favorite channel because that was the channel that had hosted cartoon network on it. This channel network had so many shows that I had really enjoyed watching. On channel fifteen, there was teen nick. Which also had very good shows that I like to watch. However, all of that change as I went through life, that all started changing, the channels I liked watching started to disappear from basic cable till there were no channels I wanted to watch on TV. After that, I took a break from tv for a very long time. I did not even know what was going on in the world or what was happening in today’s news because as a kid the news was boring to watch I wanted to see action and funny cartoons. It has gotten to the point where somehow the government did not supply basic cable anymore you had to pay for cable to see all your favorite television shows. My mom decided to buy FiOS cable system.
    One thing that really stuck out to me about cable companies is what they said about them in the article Cable companies have bad reputations for customer service, and sometimes they rename themselves to divert attention and get a fresh start. Comcast’s “Xfinity” rebranding in 2010 has now been followed by Charter’s renaming of itself—after a megamerger with Time Warner Cable last year—as “Spectrum.” But changing your name doesn’t mean that you aren’t liable for misbehavior under your previous moniker. This is what Charter, Spectrum… found recently when, following a lengthy investigation, New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, filed an extraordinary lawsuit against the company.” This makes me question the credibility of the customer service. I remember there being numerous times where they were very late when it came to fixing the technical difficulties surrounding my cable system. They said they would come a day but wind up coming on another day. I also question that lawsuit that was filed against the company. What point or specific reason were used in Schneiderman’s argument. How did the company combat against Schneiderman’s argument?
    What was really crazy to me was the way Ralph Roberts described the cable guys. He called them chickens in a grocery store with uncreative ideas in the cable market. His exact words locking up entire geographic markets by acquisition while scaling up rapidly as possible. With high numbers of subscribers all within clustered markets, costs per subscriber are vanishingly low, back office functions can be shared, the programming can be bought at a bulk discount price (half or a third of what any smaller operator might pay), and competition can be avoided. Meanwhile, customers keep paying. I feel like Robert knows what the company is doing wrong and uses the chicken gesture rather freely.

  12. Derek Luckman March 24, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

    Alternatives facts have become quite the phrase since being introduced weeks ago. The funny part is we as consumers have been hearing alternative facts probably all of our lives. This article isn’t surprising in the least bit to be honest with you. I has been for years that I felt that companies like this can easily lie about their product because really what average person is going to go thru the trouble of thoroughly investigating the speeds and then also bring about the legal matter. At the end of the day, its about making money, on any level no matter what business your into the goal of it is to make as much money as you can possibly make. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see a business cutting corners, or advertising a product that is not quite living up to what’s being advertised. The difference in this case is that they weren’t just some skewing the numbers, they were plain and simply lying, and not only hat, but they got caught. That’s where it went bad for them, because they got caught because in all honesty I believe that we are lied to all the time by advertisers, especially with things like this where you must be a tech savvy person in order to know what you’re actually getting. Now do I agree with the practice? Absolutely not, but as I previously stated it’s not about whether I agree or not, business is about making money, and as much of it as you can. So not only was the false advertising helpful towards this goal, but also the other practices such as squeezing more household onto inadequate networks of shared data. The company will say such practices or business practices in order to cut costs but in truth they same to be just cutting corners. They were banking on the fact that the average person wouldn’t know the difference and to be honest they were right, however their time finally ran out. The even harsher part of this instance is that its barely a defendable lie because there really is no grey area, its black and white. They told customers they were getting this, when really customers were getting that. To put this into perspective, my phone company T mobile is actually fighting a false advertising lawsuit themselves. They advertise unlimited high speed data and that they are the only company to offer such as package, when in reality the package doesn’t even exist. Instead what happens is that when you reach a certain limit in data usage, you can keep browsing the web, however the speeds are heavily reduced. As you can see again, this is another company who is advertising a product to consumers, but the product does quite exists as advertised. They advantage however, that the T mobile case has over Time Warner, is that they have a better defense because to a point, they are actually offering unlimited data, and what’s high speed can be left up to discretion. With Time Warner however, I don’t see them being able to get out of this one, because they plain and simple lied to consumers.

  13. Frankie Lisa March 24, 2017 at 8:58 pm #

    In economics class, we learned why monopolies are bad for the economy: they raise the prices of the good or service, they do not have incentive to perform, and they have poor customer service. I think poor is a bit of an understatement when describing cable companies; I think atrocious is a more appropriate word. I have never met anyone who is completely satisfied with his or her cable company. Many cable companies are notorious for their poor customer service. However, the actions of the cable provider Spectrum exemplify why cable providers receive such a bad reputation. Since 2012, everything that Spectrum has been telling its customers about the speed and capacity of their internet service is plain wrong. This was no accident; Spectrum is facing accusations of deliberately lying to their customers.
    New York’s attorney general recently filed a lawsuit against Spectrum for lying to its customers. Much of the evidence used to bring forth the charges comes from Spectrum’s own documents. New York has two and a half million subscribers, and Spectrum has about twenty two million subscribers nationally. Spectrum told its customers that they were getting X amount of internet speed, when in reality, they were receiving much less than X. The reason for this is decisions deliberately made by Spectrum in order to save money. Spectrum squeezed more households into areas with inadequate data connection without making any improvements to that data connection. Spectrum’s marketing campaigns sent out advertising claims to the public that did not match the reality of what consumers actually received. Since there is evidence that Spectrum knowingly said one thing and did another, they are facing charges of fraudulent, unfair, and deceptive behavior.
    I think this revelation about Spectrum’s actions exemplifies the power that big corporations such as Spectrum, which is a sub division of Time Warner, possess. It also shows us how powerless we consumers are against these large corporations. Cable providing is not a complete monopoly, but they are not too far from it. Many people in rural areas of the United States only have one option for a cable provider, and many people like myself who live in densely populated areas only have about four or five options. Many cable providers operate without competition so there is little incentive for them to improve the quality of their product or the quality of their customer service. Like Spectrum, they may also be tempted to make money saving downgrades to their service. Spectrum is the first cable company who got caught doing so. I think the courts will likely make an example out of Spectrum and impose harsh sanctions on Spectrum and its executives. I would not be surprised if other cable providers got caught committing the same crime. There is almost no way for us consumers to be aware of this fraudulent service without government intervention.

  14. Cameron Collier March 24, 2017 at 9:11 pm #

    Cable companies are known for their terrible customer service. These companies do not take care of customers and they are generally just plain unhelpful. South Park creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, have poked fun at the inadequacies of cable companies. Cable companies just do not tell the truth. They are constantly lying about their performance and give false information on the speed of their download and upload speeds. Scheniderman’s attack against the cable companies is valiant, but in reality consumers have always been aware that the service provided to them is horrible. So again, I am confused on what the aim of the suit against the companies is. Scheniderman cannot regulate the cable companies nor increase the competition. However, despite these facts, Susan Crawford still argues that the auit could be the beginning to a movement of change concerning the cable company industry. Scheniderman’s attack against the cable companies is valiant, but in reality consumers have always been aware that the service provided to them is horrible. So again, I am confused on what the aim of the suit against the companies is. Scheniderman cannot regulate the cable companies nor increase the competition. However, despite these facts, Susan Crawford still argues that the auit could be the beginning to a movement of change concerning the cable company industry.
    I am not very surprised that Spectrum engages in deplorable business practices. Intentionally, misrepresenting a service and then failing to uphold the terms of that service is not something new in business. However, what bothers me is that I feel like people are just ignorant when it comes to issues arising from technology or the internet. Therefore, when they got ripped off, they did not understand that they were being ripped off. The lawsuit is based on false advertising, everything the company has been saying since 2012 to New York State residents about their internet access and data services is untrue. The company has been advertising false numbers in terms of download speed, saying their customers are getting X but in reality are getting significantly less than X. New York’s attorney general recently filed a lawsuit against Spectrum for lying to its customers. Much of the evidence used to bring forth the charges comes from Spectrum’s own documents. New York has two and a half million subscribers, and Spectrum has about twenty two million subscribers nationally. Spectrum told its customers that they were getting X amount of internet speed, when in reality, they were receiving much less than X. The reason for this is decisions deliberately made by Spectrum in order to internet speed, when in reality, they were receiving much less than X. I think the courts will likely make an example out of Spectrum and impose harsh sanctions on Spectrum and its executives. I would not be surprised if other cable providers got caught committing the same crime. There is almost no way for us consumers to be aware of this fraudulent service without government intervention.

  15. Isaiah Allen March 31, 2017 at 8:58 pm #

    Cable companies are a lot like insurance companies in the way that there are multiple companies that satisfy the needs, and budgets of different types of people. The fact that there are a multitude of cable companies, emphasizes the fact that their customer service needs to be nearly flawless, or they can just go to another service provider. When I read that the company formerly known as Charter was accused of lying about the quality of their service, I was shocked but not that surprised. Advancements in technology have hindered my opinion on cable companies because I’m not sure how ay one company has an advantage over the other. Customer service plays a key role in determining the success of a cable company, and that is why companies must make sure their service is admirable if they want to stay in business. In her article, Susan Crawford highlighted some of the shady behavior conducted by cable companies, and how they could impact the cable market.
    Anyone who is deciding to pay for cable clearly wants the best service, sometimes no matter the cost. It is up to the cable companies to make sure that they are providing the best product for their customers, and to be truthful about the quality of service they have to offer. When I read that Charter had been falsifying the speed of their internet service and charging customers “more for less”, I figured it was to save money. However I was surprised to learn that Charter, along with Comcast served half of the 92 million people with internet subscriptions in America. This made me wonder, how two companies known for their poor customer service could still be serving half of the country? The answer to that is the very fact that they make up such a large percent of the market that they could afford to get away with poor customer satisfaction ratings, and a low quality product. The fact that Charter just took advantage of their customers because they could is egregious. By changing the name of the business or merging with another company, these cable companies are just expecting us to look past their flaws and continue giving them our hard earned money. These companies should be forced to pay for their mistakes rather than just merging with a new company. Businesses are supposed to be transparent with their customers so that, buyers understand that the company has their interests in mind. The cable industry seems to be in a monopoly, therefore some people believe that we must settle for mediocrity, but that clearly isn’t the case. Crawford mentioned how fiber networks could begin to surge if customers are continually dissatisfied with the service they are receiving. Even though cable companies seem to have cornered the market, they shouldn’t take their customers for granted because eventually people will start making the switch. Crawford also touched on the fact that, the lawsuit brought against Charter by Attorney General Schneiderman won’t mean make much of a difference. However, I do think it will start to bring recognition to the issue and customers will not be able to be fooled so easily in the future.

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