ED Magedson – Founder
Cox Communications9 J.P.Murphy Highway West Warwick, Rhode Island United States of America
Cox Communications always seems to have a way to bullshit you and lead you to believe that they are doing you a big favor, giving you free services and giving you so-called bundle discounts when in fact they are constantly finding ways to add to your bill and charge you more for the same services even when you don't make upgrades.
Lately in RI, for as long as 1.5 years ago, (it could be longer than 1.5 yrs ago, I am stating as long as I know of), Cox has been employing the tatic of entering you into a contract similiar to a so-called cel phone contract whereas if you attempt to downgrade any part of your services they hit you with a whopping $180.00 termination fee. It should be noted that when Cox began this practice, at no time did Cox inform customers BEFOREHAND. Cox did not send out letters or call customers to tell them that they are now employing/requiring contracts.
In some cases, customers that had been paying customers for years and had remained with same services and therefore had no reason to call cox first learned of being in a contract when they recently called Cox to downgrade e.g. lost employement due to economy forcing customer to require downgrades.
If you call Cox today as if you were a new customer, and were to inquire as to the purpose of a contract, you will be told that the purpose of the contract is to insure a package that will be at the lowest possible costs and that same contract locks in the prices offered at the start of new services. They will explain that as the customer, to keep a great deal locked in for a year, the contract is necessary and once initiated you must keep the contract for a year or else an early termination fee of $180.00 will be accrued.
Simply put, a contract is a legal and binding agreement that all parties concerned, (In this case, you the customer and Cox the service provider) agree to adhere to until stated date of termination.
However should you enter into a contract, in fact, that contract is one sided. Cox will hold you to the terms of the contract, but Cox will not hold themselves to the contract. Every few months you will notice a few dollars increase in your bill. For example, let's say you take a premium channle like HBO when you start your contract and the cost of that HBO channel lists for 10.99, you will notice that in about 6 months time that same channel will be up to 13.99. Immediately, that is Cox violating the terms of the contract which was designed, supposedly, to lock in prices.
Call Cox and complain when you notice the changes, and the immediate reply will be that , " ...we are giving you a bundle discount..." Yet that bundle discount amount did not increase as the prices increase. Press them even further, and they will tell you that the Public Utility Commission gave them the right to raise the prices and have you believe that the commission went ahead and told them to raise the prices. Now call the commission aka PUC....
When you call the PUC, they will tell you that twice a year Cox Communications will petition them and ask for rights to increase prices for services rendered. When you ask the PUC why they allow Cox rate increases in times when people can hardly get by due to the bad economy, etc, the answer you will get is that Cox has the right to increase their prices and the PUC smoothly evades the truth. The fact is that Cox makes a payment to the state regulatory (In this case the PUC), a "kick-back", buying the "favor" (the "authorization" to increase the rates).
When cable was first starting out some 30 odd years ago, the main selling point was that by suscribing to cable you will have uninterrupted & commercial free service. Which in the beginning may had been true. We suscribed to cable in order to watch commercial free programming. But do you get commercial free programing anymore? Heck no you don't! The only way you get commercial free shows is if you now suscribe to a premium channel like HBO, SHO, Cinemax, etc. and of course there will be additional charges for those premium channels.
Not to mention that when you suscribe for premium channels, alot of the times they will put up shows that are ancient, 20 years old movies, etc, that are seen on the non- premium channels. And then God forbid if a main event is coming on, if you want to watch it then you get banged from 40.00 to 60.00 for that single show. If you don't want to watch old repeats on the premium channels, then you have the "on demand" options of "pay per view" and get banged 3.95 -5.95 for each title you choose to watch which in all reality you should be able to watch new releases on the premium channels you are paying for.
"Bundled Discount" ! This is another line of crap. A simple test: Call cox and inquire as to the price of a single service without any contract. My neighbor suscribes to cox and has only cable services from them. The neighbor has no equipment (no cable box or remote). My neighbor has just the limited basic basic (local Channels only) and the neighbor's charge for it is 13.95 and with taxes comes to about 17.00 and some odd cents. Be assured if you selected the same service under a contract, the price will be exactly the same.
When they they tell you they are giving you a bundled discount via your choice of suscribing to all three services, it appears on the surface that you get a 10.00-14.00 discount. Also bundled discounts only apply if you buy digital servivces i.e. digital telephone, digital cable and digital internet. There is no difference though, put on a channel that is on the basic service and then go to a so called digital channel, did you see any difference in the quality of the picture? (you will not see any difference unless you buy a new and improved televison). But you really aren't getting a bundled discount because they start raising the rates little by little and not the discount rate.
When you order what Cox calls their "expanded basic services" i.e. cable services of channels all the way up to and just before any premium services (about 12-14 more channels than basic basic service), they will tell you that the extra channels are digital channels, and those channels wiill bring your cable rate up to abot 48.00. They will even boast that you will get free HD services included.
But what they don't tell you is that for the free HD services, you will get only about 7 channels and that in order to see a HD channel, you will need special HDM wires, a HD cable box and a television that supports HD. You will also notice a 14.00 charge on your bill in addition to the 48.00 and the 14.00 will be listed as "digital service" to the box even though you are already paying for service to your address! Call them and ask about that 14.00 charge, they will say, "...we are giving you a bundled discount..." and other double-talk to confuse you.
Recently I lost employment and took a 600.00 per month decrease in pay via unemployment compensation. Like most people, even a 50.00 decrease in the monthly budget is nothing to sneeze at. And so, like most everyone else, I wanted to cut back to only exactly what I need and attempt to decrease things. Cable and services is usually one of the things people look at when trying to cut back. I had 2 cable boxes and 2 remotes. They are 4.95 per month to 1 cable box. I decided to send both boxes back therby decreasing my bill by 10. 00 per month. I also had a premium channel that was no part of any contract which would decrease my bill an additional 5.00 if I removed that channel.
Well , cox wouldn't allow me to return both boxes. They told me I had to keep one box because of digital channels and I said I didn't want the boxes and asked what difference does it make as long as I continue to pay for services under the contract. In other words, I would pay for the digital channels and not keep the box.
"If you bring back both boxes, you will not be able to get all the channels you are paying for under your contract, you need the boxes to see those channels", they told me. " I don't care about seeing the channels, I need to decrease my bill as much I can, " I replied. "Then when you bring back the boxes, make sure you bring a check in the amount of 180.00 with you, " they stated. Then I told them 1 of my neighbor is paying for expanded basic and the neighbor has no box and Cox isn't forcing them to take a box and Cox knows they don't have a box but it is alright to keep charging them for channels they cannot get because they don't have a box.
In the end, I brought 1 box back and cancelled 1 premium channel expecting to see at least a 10.00 decrease in my bill. Was I surprised when I got my bill after returning items to learn that by returning item of box and remote and removal of SHO premium channel my bill did not decrease one cent and , in fact, went up 8.00.
I called to inquire why the bill didn't go down after returning items and premium channel. Once again, I got all kinds of double-talk and confusion. The bottom line is, they raised the rates so that it made no difference by me returning said equipment and premium channel.
Finally, there is the issue of "spam". "Spam" is defined by Cox as sending unsolicited e-mails or calls promoting a service or product. One time I turned on my computer and all I got was a screen which stated in bold letters upon it, " Call Cox security immediately". So I called to inquire what it was about. Evidently, I had gotten an email asking me to forward a funny "e-card" to 15 people I know. I had put 2 of the addresses wrong and the recipents of those 2 incorrect emails simply clicked spam in their mailbos when they didn't recognize me the sender.
Well cox said I was spamming people and I didn't know at the time what spam meant. They told me I cannot send emails to people that didn't ask for them and that if I did it again they would terminate internet services on me. That if I bought their "business internet package" for only 500. per month, then it wouldn't matter if I accidently send an email to an incorrect address as cox will ignore spam notices.
I waited a few days then I called Cox back and said I wanted to complain about being spammed repeatedly from the same source. When they asked who is spamming me, I told them that Cox Communications is spamming me and I demand to know why they don't want the customer spamming anyone and even threaten to terminate the customer's service if they spam anyone when all Cox does is repeatedly spam the people. They asked how they are spamming the people. So I told them that every other commercial on TV is an ad from Cox selling their services, when I drive down the street I see banners on the sides of busses and billboards.....all promoting cox and I didn't ask for those promotions, ads and tv commercials on my paid for time. I'll leave it to your imagination where they told me to go.....
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/30/2009 12:05 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Cox-Communications/West-Warwick-Rhode-Island-02893-2381/Cox-Communications-The-Double-Standards-Explained-Fully-Here-West-Warwick-Rhode-Island-530810. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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