UCAN's Fraud Squad is currently offering a full range of service to our members and San Diego residents. At this time, the Fraud Squad can still assist you with a dispute with SDG&E, City of San Diego water department, and San Diego telecom companies. Feel free to fill out our online complaint form and we will contact you if we can assist with your issue.
Cable & Satellite TV
With the average family paying upwards of $70 per month for cable alone and when you throw on another $40-50 per month for broadband Internet, the bucks are really adding up. In many cases, families pay more for cable/Internet than they do for electricity or water each month. Fortunately, cable customers are not powerless to fight back. Here are some proven and probably surprising tips about how to get your monthly cable bill lower.
25 years after the breakup of the AT&T monopoly, a comprehensive audit of more than 700 San Diego phone bills challenges the long-cherished assumption that "phone deregulation has reduced costs for all customers." The ugly reality is that for the majority of wireless and landline telephone bills studied, customers pay unjustifiably high per-minute charges for long distance and wireless services. Get an overview of the 87-page report here. Get the full report in PDF format.
Recently, Cox released a lower-cost cable package that, surprisingly, does not include ESPN. For those sports lovers out there, ESPN is a must-have. However, for those people who spend their time watching other stations like the Travel Channel or Food Network, ESPN is an unnecessary channel. As it turns out, ESPN is one of the most expensive cable channels that cable companies offer to its customers. Does Cox’s unbundling of this expensive channel mean that it is finally moving towards an a la carte pricing method? Read more after the jump.
In what could only be characterized as a desperate move to reverse the recent trend of cable subscribers cutting the cord (more than a million customers have left over the last 12 months). Cable providers, including the two largest, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, have been secretly working on a plan to provide cable channels on an individual basis. Read More.
If you are a Cox subscriber, you will probably receive an email from Cox explaining a nifty new tool for its customers. Called the Data Usage Meter, Cox believes this tool will help its customers make informed decisions about their internet data consumption. And here at UCAN we're all for giving customers information and tools to help them make informed decisions. But tacked at the end of the second paragraph of the e-mail (see the PDF copy attached at the bottom of this post) was a startling piece of information: Cox gives you a data alottment that depends on your Internet package. Surprise!
Verizon just announced in a press release that it is simplifying itsr DSL bundles and eliminating ETFs on their services. Great! No ETF! Except there’s still an ETF. Yes, you’ll still need to sign a two-year contract with DirecTV and you’re still liable to pay their early termination fee. Of course, you can always go with their FiOS option to avoid a contract, but you’ll be paying about 50% more for that.
Watch out, HBO: Netflix is elbowing into original programming. Netflix just wrapped up a deal that gives them the rights to House of Cards, a Kevin Spacey drama.
Purchasing original content is an unprecedented move on the part of Netflix and some see it as aggressive. Netflix’s whole shtick has been to offer shows and movies that have already aired on the cheap. Up until now cable has been able to tout their exclusive original content. All the while Netflix content has become less and less interesting in the eyes of the consumer. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts gave the remark that “What used to be called ‘reruns’ on television is now called Netflix.” Now, this is obviously a biased remark because it’s coming from the CEO of a cable competitor, but the man has a point. Many folks that use Netflix as their primary source of entertainment complain that their content is not growing quickly enough to satisfy their customers. Original content makes Netflix a much more compelling option for those looking to cut their cable cord.
I spoke to a consumer today who received a cold call from Cox offering an upgrade to a bundle package. Currently this Cox customer only has internet through the company and doesn’t subscribe to any other services. The sales representative told her on the phone that it is the deal of the lifetime and she had to accept right away. When she told the rep that she wanted some time to think about it (and talk to UCAN about the issue) he said that normally they don’t keep offers open like this, but he’d make an exception in this case. What is a consumer to do? Read on to find out.
Make sure you’re sitting down when you open this month’s cable bill; the number is probably going to be higher than you’re used to. Yes, if AT&T’s January landline price increase wasn’t enough, you’re about to be hit by another rate increase from Cox.
We’ve gotten a few calls about this so we’ve put together a little FAQ for our readers on the latest Cox rate increase.