Years ago Wide Open West started offering cable and internet service in Grosse Ile, where I was living with my parents at the time at home. Back then we had 2Mbps service if I recall correctly, and they had just recently been rolling out 5Mbps service in our area. Out of nowhere, WoW sent us a letter informing us that we would be upgraded to the new 5Mbps service for … nothing. That’s right, they upgraded our service for free.
This was my first great experience with Wide Open West. As a relatively new company, they were competing with Comcast at the time, I just shrugged it off as a ploy to win customers. Comcast, like a bad girlfriend, had constantly reminded us as customers how misleading a relationship can be.
My distaste for Comcast grew when I lived in an apartment in Royal Oak. I signed up for what was a great deal at the time: $60 or so for their “Double Play” package consisting of cable and internet. Although I had been hurt by Comcast in the past, unfortunately I had no other provider available at our apartment complex. I had to swallow my pride and just hope they wouldn’t screw me over again. When our six month honeymoon ended, Comcast reminded me of why I wanted so badly to ditch them as a company forever; the bill shot up to $110/month, with no additional anything.
Fast forward about four years, and I finally bought a house. Because of my previous good experience with WoW, I sprung for the fast internet (15Mbps) and cable package, and have been happy with them for quite a while.
If you know me, you know I’m a big Detroit Red Wings fan. Just recently, there have quite a few Wings games on the new NBC Sports channel (previously Versus), but unfortunately I did not have this channel as part of my package when I signed up a year and a half ago. It was $25 extra per month or so, and I just didn’t want to pay that much extra.
Today, I was curious how much more the extra programming was going to be, so I pulled up Wide Open West’s website and checked their subscription packages. To my surprise I found that their new cable/internet package had all the channels I previously avoided along with 15Mbps internet for $85, or $92 for HD. From my previous experience with calling customer service and requesting upgrades, I knew I would have to arm myself with the facts and began furiously opening browser tabs with informational weapons for my upcoming battle.
I dialed the toll free number for WoW customer service, and was fully prepared to threaten cancelling my service, ask for supervisors, and in general ruin someone’s day. This is all of course because of my previous experience with cable companies.
After a minute or so on hold, I got to speak to someone and explained the situation. I expected trouble because the account is still in my girlfriend’s name, but all they asked was for the last four digits of her social security number and carried on. The customer service rep. (CSR) asked me to hold, which lead me to thinking “here we go, I’ll be on hold for 10 minutes for them to tell me they can’t do anything or it will be an extra $50 per month”. After about 45 seconds, the CSR came back, and asked if $100 and some change per month would be okay.
I noticed that the new package only had 1Mbps upload, while I currently had 2Mbps upload speed. I asked if that would change, and the CSR told me that instead of repackaging our plan she would simply apply a discount and my bill would for the most part remain the same.
Amazed at how smoothly this had all went, I was expecting to hear some bad news about how long I would have access to the new channels. There is a game on tonight, and I was hoping to see it. Fully expected to hear “24 hours” as the response to asking how long, I was instead told “Okay, you have the new service available immediately”.
WTF? No additional fees? No waiting for someone to come out and dink with wires or 24 hours for them to “activate” the service? Why aren’t all cable companies like this?