Cablevision’s Monopoly in New Jersey

Published September 3, 2010 in English Articles , General , Informational , News - 0Comments

 

I called Cablevision in an effort to downgrade my service and get a lower monthly bill. After a one hour conversation it was very apparent that there was no way for us to get a lower bill if we unbundle our service choices. We currently have the IO Silver Package. 

Cablevision sells a Broadcast Basic for $12.18, Family Cable for $55.95, IO En Español for $14.95, IO Package for $11.95 plus another package required, IO Silver for $79.95 plus Broadcast Basic required, IO Gold for $99.95 plus IO Silver required. There is also a Cable Box Rental fee of $6.70 per month.

They also bundle Internet Service and Phone Service. They do provide an Optimum Rewards discount program for taking all three or two of their services. That is, Internet, TV and Phone or Internet and Phone.

Our family dilemma is that we are getting TV channels that we do not need, nor watch.  We are getting three premium channels (HBO, Star and Encore) with our silver package. But, we only want one premium channel, HBO.

I asked the customer service representative if I can eliminate Star and Encore from my package and receive a discount for not taking those channels, surprisingly the answer was ‘no’. She indicated that it is part of the bundle. Then I asked her to provide me with a cost for the channels that we do want. We want Nick Jr for my three year old daughter, my wife and I want HBO. My wife wants the food channel and I want CNN and MSNBC. Simple request, I thought. Oh, and we also want the Internet and the Phone Services. We now pay $155.48 per month with the IO Silver Package.

The Cablevision Rep goes on to tell me that we would pay an extra $2 per month to get what we want.  I asked her the unanswerable questions of why should I pay for service or channels that I don’t want? Should I not get a discount if I watch less TV Channels?

She basically told me that I should look at how much more I was getting. She did not quite understand or perhaps, Cablevision takes common sense out of all of their customer service reps when it comes to not paying for what you do not want. Their motto is ‘we will give you more than you need and make you pay a premium for it!’ Or maybe, ‘Sorry, you don’t have another cable company choice, so you will pay what we want you to pay!’

When I added the individual packages together that would give me what we want, the rep then informs me that the food network channels and CNN and MSNBC which are in the 22 to 50 range channels are only provided if we have a bundled package. Let me tell you, I still maintained my cool and did not scream or yell.

This is obviously a topic that the BPU (Board of Public Utilities) and the state legislature need to address if they really care about the consumers of this great state of New Jersey. Especially on these economic times, people should not be subjected to this type of monopoly. It is time that whatever loopholes there are that benefits cable companies, be closed.

I thought that monopolies in the utility industry went away in the 70’s. If it is true that we don’t have monopolies in the cable industry, then somebody needs to explain to me how that works. I do see the choices in Satellite and Cable in the same territory, as well as a host of internet and phone companies. But, what happen to having a choice of cable companies? I don’t see Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable in the same territory. How and why do they get away with this?

It is totally unfair that Cablevision can be allowed to masterfully design their television pricing in such a manner that you cannot just pay for what you want? That you must pay a premium for what you want to watch regardless of how few channels you want to watch?

By the way, when I added the packages as listed on their website for those channels we want it came up to $95.00 and adding Internet and Phone the grand total was $115.95. However, remember the channels 22 t0 50, well there is no specific plan for those. You only get those if you have an IO Silver or IO Gold Package.

Yes, you guessed it. WE ARE STUCK WITH THE IO SILVER PACKAGE!! FOR NOW!

We can do something about this injustice. Write to the BPU, your state senator, your state representative and our governor. We should not be forced to pay or to watch what we do not want in our homes.

If you want to talk about this topic or others, feel free to contact me at 973-390-2926, or via email anibal@solutionsmsc.com