Unexpected cable charge gets bad reception from customers

February 23, 2018 06:27 PM

For the past few months, Capital Region cable subscribers have been navigating their way through Spectrum's conversion to all digital content. For many, that meant having to order a converter box for their televisions.

Many Spectrum customers were told they could receive those converter boxes for free for a year or more. However, when some of them got their next bill, they were in for an unpleasant surprise.

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When Kelly Rowden of Ballston Lake got her last Spectrum cable bill, she was not pleased.

"I opened my bill this time and it was $11 more," she pointed out.

She took a closer look at the bill and saw charges for two Spectrum receivers. It's surprising, because she agreed to an offer to get one them for free.

"They didn't seem to understand why I was upset that my bill had gone up, despite the fact that they told me it was going to be free," noted Rowden.

Down the road in Clifton Park, Sandra Reynolds had accepted an even better deal -- two receivers free for two years.

She says her bill went up by $30, but the only change she made was accepting two free boxes. She says at that time, they didn't indicate anything about an increase in what she would be paying.

Several Capital Region Spectrum customers have contacted NewsChannel 13's Jerry Gretzinger to say the same thing happened to them. Rowden and Reynolds contacted Spectrum and got their bills fixed. However, they worry about how widespread this free/not free issue could be.

"I think what was more upsetting is when I was finding out – okay, if there was a mistake on their part, they didn't rectify it. They're rectifying it person by person. They're not being proactive," worried Reynolds.

NewsChannel 13 contacted Spectrum to find out what's going on. Lara Pritchard the senior director of communications, first responded by saying:

"It would be inaccurate to report of widespread billing inaccuracies, as we've had no reports of this."

"Well, that's absolutely not true," countered Reynolds. "I actually reported it on an app to them to customer service before I made the call – and I believe it was February 3.

Upon informing Pritchard that customers had already had bills adjusted, she said it's not a widespread issue.

Rowden isn't ready to take their word for it and worries about those on autopay - or who may otherwise not notice a billing error.

"I helped an elderly lady that I know. She thought she had broken her television, because she missed the flyer that said the television was going to be turned off. So I helped her get a box but now I worry about her that she's not going to notice that her bill has gone up until she's paid several of them and it's going to be a big hassle," explained Rowden.

NewsChannel 13 has already reached out to the Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office about this to see if they've received other complaints. Schneiderman is already taking Spectrum to court, accusing the company of providing customers slower than advertised internet speeds.

The best advice right now is to check your bill and contact Spectrum if you're getting billed for the free box. NewsChannel 13 will stay on top of it.


WNYT Staff

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