Well, the big suits at another corporate world have done it again. They sat around and talked about how they could squeeze more money out of their watchers. And decided to go all digital. But, and this is a big but, not everyone can get their channels, even though we have cable in our apartments.
It goes like this. I live in city-assisted housing. We get standard cable. It is in my lease. And I pay $8 a month for it. I pay that with my rent. Now this is a good deal because I’m certain HACA pays a lot more in their contract than all of their many residents pay in at the great rate. This does not include the premium channels, or a lot of sports channels, but it is good enough for me. I spend most of my time on TCM or other movie channels, the news not being all that great these days.
So back in the fall of 2014, I got a letter from TWC telling me I can get a free cable box to attach to my television to be sure my cable keeps coming to me. Eventually I would have to start paying for the box, at a rate of $4 or $5 a month, but that would be from 2-5 years off. At the age of 74, and retired, I don’t worry about things that will happen in the future because I live for today. Later on, I kept getting the same type of letter telling me something just a little bit different, always addressed to apartment resident, and then my apartment number, and a number assigned to me.
So I called the number given right away, only to discover that because it is a non-personal account, that I can get it, but I have to sign up with Time Warner Cable, a personal account, that I would not get charged on right away. Yeah, right, what could go wrong with that. I do not want a personal account with Time Warner Cable; I have had one (about 20 years ago), and I got charged more money than I signed up for, and I never paid that bill, figuring I did not owe them, and my credit was already pretty bad. I suspect if I got a personal account with them, they would dig up that old bill, and tell me I would have to pay them the $60+ before I could get my free box. I don’t want to reopen that hassle.
Instead, I went out on January 3, 2015, and bought myself a brand new Sharp, 32″, 1080p, HD, digital/analog television set. I needed a new TV set anyway, and I was assured by several people who know electronics, including the clerk in the store, that I would not need to get the box. Then I heard from some people who said I would need the box anyway, so I got on TWC’s website, and had an IM conversation with three, count them, three people who told me that since I was already getting digital and analog, I would not need a box.
I was told this would all come to pass on April 15, two days ago.
Yesterday, I turned on my TV about nine o’clock last night, and voila, no cable television. Or perhaps I should rephrase that, cable for the regular networks, one Spanish-language, one channel for Discovery (not the good one), and El Rey (and El Rey has already disappeared). Not even a TWC channel. Here’s the kicker; I have a schedule for the digital stations, and every single one of them has the old analog channel number, except, of course, the channels I can pick up, which still have digital numbers. So Tuesday I had 82 digital channels and 49 analog channels (which only have messages about how to “get your channel back”), and I could probably get those channels if I disconnected the cable, at their analog channels. So say ABC is channel 24. But I can’t get 24. What would I have to do to get ABC without cable? I don’t know, maybe the old channel 3. (This is Austin, TX – you may have a totally different channel number.) Or maybe there is no such thing as an analog channel any longer at all.
And last night I ran a channel scan, and as of then, I now have 9 digital channels, and still have 49 analog channels, but no picture on any of them.
This has got to be illegal. I am thinking anti-trust because TWC sure antied my trust in them, which wasn’t much to begin with. I’m not sure how it would work, but if I wanted to pay for my own cable, I would not buy it from TWC.
Still, I have a lease which says I should get free cable through HACA (with the minor charge included in my rent), but I cannot get cable now because TWC wants me to have a box. I paid good money, real cash, for a new television that I was assured by numerous people would work without a little box. I can get the box “free” (yeah, right, and how long will that last), but I have to have a personal account with the company before I can get one.
So my solution to this, temporary perhaps, is to write this blog, which will show up on my Facebook page, which is public, and send it to them by email. And I’ll look up anti-trust and send it to them. And anyone else I can find to send it to. I may even send it to HACA.
I love my apartment, and have no desire to move. I know HACA is in new negotiations with TWC for a new contract, and have been told that once that contract is made final, we residents will have to pay a little more money since TWC is likely to charge HACA more for the contract to provide all of its residents with “free” cable. I have no problem with that – I just look at it as a subcharge for the convenience.
Hey, I did this with my bank several years ago, and sent it to them, and it solved all my problems with them. They do not like bad publicity.
I could call them, but I would get some poor phone person who has nothing to do with this, and my getting angry with that person would only give him/her grief s/he does not deserve. It is not that person’s fault, and they would not have anyone “big” enough to give my telephone call to.
So that is how it sits at this moment. We shall see if I can take on another big corporation and win.