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Church Of The
Swimming Elephant


Trouble with Charter
Simply trying to get my cable installed
By John Holstein

On or about July 15 2002, I called and requested installation of Charter Cable services. The person I spoke with gave me a "Sat, Jul 20, 2002" installation date. I explained that they needed a bucket truck to reach the pole/lines.

Around 11am on July 20, the guy called, said they were running late. They understood I had a 2pm party to attend, but they'd try to get here ASAP.

Again, around 12pm, he called, said they would come over, wondered if I would be here. I told them that I would cancel my 2pm party appointment if they would come. Around 1pm, they arrived (without a bucket truck as requested). After looking over the site, the contractors for Charter told me they couldn't climb the pole and they would need a bucket truck to "mid span" the line. I ask if it would be possible to come straight from the pole to the corner of my house, they explained that they weren't allowed, Charter made them "mid span" the line. They called their supervisor, which I was told said he would try to get a bucket truck out here by the end of the day (sat) or early monday morning. No truck came.

Monday, July 22 2002, I waited at home all day, no one showed up.

Tues, July 23, I waited all morning, then in the afternoon, I decided to contact Charter Customer service. i spoke with "Andrea". She had her supervisor contact dispatch. Dispatch had a Charter Tech come out. He came around 1pm or so, no bucket truck. He made phone calls and tried to contact his bucket truck operator that was working in the county. He couldn't make contact. He waited in his truck, in my driveway, for app. 45 min's, trying to make contact via (radio?) to the bucket truck. After waiting the 45 min's, he knocked on the door and told me he was gonna head up town to get gas and try to make contact with the bucket truck from a higher elevation. Told me they would be here either that evening or "first thing tomorrow morning", which would be Wednesday, July 24. As of noon, they did not show up. I called Charter Customer Service again.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002, no one came by 12noon. I called customer service. After speaking with "Andrea" and explaining the situation, she put me on hold. After discussion with dispatch she said someone is suppose to call me. By 2pm, no one had called. I called customer service again. Andrea was evidently busy, someone ask her about it, she stated that she hadn't heard anything, if she did, she would call me.

At 4pm, no one had called. I called customer service again, where a very nice lady named "Vonita" started making calls to find out what the problem is. She explained that the guy that came to my house yesterday, a Charter Tech, not a contractor, told dispatch that "contractors" could take care of this, to send them back out.

Originally, after looking at the pole, the contractors that came out said they didn't want to climb the pole, they wanted to use a bucket truck. "Matt" (evidently that's the Charter Tech's name), told me that they would be here tuesday evening or wednesday morning, they didn't show up either time.

Vonita explained to me that she was working on the problem, dispatch is suppose to call her back by 6:30pm, if no one calls her, she will call them. By 7pm, she will call me back and give me an update. Up until this time, let me count the number of times they were suppose to show up, but didn't or didn't show up with the proper equipment to do the job (or so they claimed they couldn't do the job):

1, sat morning, no bucket truck.
2, sat evening, no bucket truck came back.
3, monday, no one showed up.
4, I had to call Charter to get dispatch to send someone out. showed up without bucket truck, wouldn't climb the pole.
5, Tech told me a bucket truck may be here tues evening, no one showed or called.
6, Tech told me if wasn't here tues even, would be here wed morning, no one called or came.

Ok, they called back. "Vonita" told me that the installers would be out tomorrow morning, in the a.m. to hook up my service. She stated that they would bring everything they needed to hook up my service.

Great! Woo hoo! If they show up... however, get this: I signed up for just their Charter Pipeline Cable Internet Service. I wasn't told ANYTHING about this: If I just get the cable internet, without basic cable t.v., it will cost me $20.00 more per month!!! OMFG! She said that if I would subscribe to basic cable & cable internet, I could get basic cable for $13.00 more... which would save me $7.00 per month. JESUS! What a scam!

Anyway, I told her I thought it was silly. "Silly?" She ask. "I don't think it's silly at all. We want basic subscribers." She went on to say. Well of course they want basic subscribers, but at the cost of extorting the money from me by over-billing for cable internet service? How the hell could you not think that was silly? I would be paying for something I wasn't getting. I seriously think Charter needs to rethink their policies.

UPDATE: Thursday July 25, 2002: Charter had a contractor come out early this morning. After about 2 hours of working with a Charter bucket truck, I'm all hooked up. Everything seems to be working fine.

UPDATE: Thursday, October 17, 2002: Up until the previous Saturday, I could not be happier with Charter's services. On Saturday (right in the middle of the "big Cotse upgrade"), I started encountering intermittent packet loss. After trouble shooting, I narrowed it down to "upstream only". I decided to wait it out, I figured someone else would note the problems and it would be fixed. Doom on me. After a few days, I decided to report it (Wednesday). From yesterday evening to tonight, it's become increasingly worse. The problem is intermittent and takes spells. It's degradated to the point of completely dropping me and disallowing connectivity. I have documented everything, written a script to traceroute, ping, etc. certain sites and hops on my pipeline out. I've submitted these to Charter, spoken with two tier two techs. Hopefully, this will escalate to the NOC/Network Engineers and get fixed ASAP. From what we can see by looking at the modem logs, signal ratios, etc., it's not the modem. The modem responds fine and shows "within tolerance" spec's on the noise levels, power levels, etc. Hopefully, the exhaustive troubleshooting efforts I've put into this will speed up the process of getting it fixed.
What's worse, after I finished this and tried to upload it, my route dropped, couldn't get it uploaded for several minutes. :\

NOTE: I will continuously update this page from now until the end of time. I want to keep a running log of any major events in my Charter Service. You can come back here anytime and see the changes that have taken place.



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