The Month That I Had Cable TV

For some reason, there seems to be this impenetrable wall between myself and accumulated money (this wall may be made up solely of beer and video games, but it is a wall none the less). Because of this unfortunate, seemingly impossible-to-avoid situation, I constantly find myself in, I find that I must cut back in other areas in my life to keep my head above water. My last big endeavor (and one seeming to rise in popularity) was to say good bye to cable television.

That was some time ago, probably around March or April, and it was hardly even missed, especially in summer when I moved out and my roommate spent most his time working. But, since school is back in session and more importantly the NFL season started back up, we decided we wouldn’t mind spending a few bucks a month extra to be able to watch football and Weeds every week.

So we scoured the mail looking for a promotion we could jump on to save a few bucks and make the switch back to cable. When we found it: the deal was DVR theatre suite and internet for $79.00 for 6 months (I’m not even going to get started with the $123/month it was after the 6 months were up). My roommate and I both decided that after the 6 months were up (around May 2011) we would cancel it because summer would be upon us again. Sounded like a pretty good deal.

Then we got the first bill.  We had been getting internet from this company for quite some time so we took a look to see how much more each of us had to pay from what we already were. What was the grand total of our first month’s bill? $79.00? No, that would be pretty hard to expect. Try $133.34. I actually found that a little harder to believe, especially because free installation was part of the deal!

We promptly did some digging.

There was:

  • $79.00 for the Bundled Services
  • $3.00 for Additional Cable Services
  • $9.95 for Other Charges & Adjustments (AKA Installation)
  • $12.23 for Taxes, Surcharges & Fees

Oh yeah.. and $29.16 for Partial Month Services.

$29.16 for 8 days? Oh and free installation.. Except for the $9.95 they charged for installation.

Now I usually wouldn’t gripe about all these extra fees because everyone expects them by now. But, the part that got me was the “Partial Month Services” because we specifically waited until the end of the month to get it. So after looking a little deeper we found the “partial month” was from Oct. 29 to Nov. 7.

$29.16 for 8 days of cable TV

To me that was a little ridiculous. Never mind that $29.16 is 37% of the $79.00 advertised price, but add on top of it the fact that we had already paid for internet for that month, and yeah I felt it was a little much (especially because we couldn’t even watch it for the first few days as we were rounding up an HDMI cable to run to our projector from the DVR).

I suggested a call to the cable company. We had been long time customers for internet and the circumstances did (I thought) warrant some kind of change or even a pro-rate of our last month’s internet bill. They would probably be willing to work with us.

They didn’t. And because of that, we no longer have cable TV.

Now, I don’t honestly believe that anyone at the cable company really lost sleep over their loss of 5 months of service from one customer. But, maybe they should. My roommate and I are both young guys and could quite possibly live in the area for years to come. Maybe after college, when I have money and the beer/video game wall is slightly smaller, I wouldn’t mind spending $100 a month on TV. But, after this, it definitely won’t be with that company. And, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of people canceling for reasons just like this.

In some areas there aren’t much else for options. There’s always Dish, but that has contracts of usually 2 years. Personally, I’ve gone to watching a lot of streaming movies/TV series on Netflix and that’s not bad. I’ve been pretty interested in checking out Hulu Plus and I’m excited about the rumors that Xbox Live will get a subscription based, cable-esque service. Hopefully in time options like these can make a big enough impact to see a change in the way cable companies treat their customers.

What about the rest of you? Have any of you had enough with your cable/satellite/internet provider and given them the boot? What’s your story, and what options are you utilizing instead? Let us know in the comments.

(Update: As I’m posting this article I feel like I must include the fact that since we canceled the Bundled Services and switched back to just internet, they insisted they needed to send a guy out to physically install the internet at our apt.. for $35. Even though we own our own modem and router and the entire setup has not changed since the Bundled Services were canceled. Apparently it is possible to disconnect services remotely, but not so much to turn them on?)

Image Courtesy of Collin Anderson

Published by Derek Johnson

Derek Johnson is a contributor at Techerator and is pursuing a law degree at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. He has a degree in Communication and Graphic Design from University of North Dakota and enjoys mountains, a round of golf, and a good single malt scotch.