First, let me start off by saying that Cox’s customer service is absolutely terrible. I am only going to outline the most recent issue I’ve had with them in this post.

My “problem” is simple. Here is a quick history…

About 6 months ago I purchased a TiVo HD. It is able to access premium channels by using CableCARDs. After I brought the TiVo home, the next thing I needed was a CableCARD. I assumed that you could pick up this "plug and play" CableCARD at the Cox Store, which is where I have been previously to pick up digital cable boxes. A friend of mine that had a TiVo told me that you couldn't pick up the CableCARD in the store, you MUST call and schedule a technician to "install" it.

I thought this was ridiculous because sticking a card in my TiVo and following the instructions isn’t a complicated process, and I didn’t think I needed to pay $50+ dollars for some tech to come over and do exactly what I can do myself. So I called Cox’s wonderful customer service and inquired if I could pick up a CableCARD for my TiVo at the Cox store. The CS representative said that I could.

So I went over to the store and waited about 15 minutes in line to be “helped”. The person asks me what I need. I stated that I needed a CableCARD for my TiVo. Immediately, she responds with “We don’t do anything with CableCARDs in the store”. Obviously I’m thinking…“WHAT THE FUCK”. I told her that I spoke with a customer service representative from Cox on the phone, and they told me I could pick it up here. All she could do was say again that there was nothing she could do for CableCARDs.

Great! I just wasted gas and my time and ended up nowhere.

Finally, I oblige to schedule a tech to come out and “install” the CableCARD. The tech came over and brought a CableCARD. First thing he did was make a phone call. He called a Cox dispatch line, and proceeded to read the serial off of the CableCARD to the dispatch on the other end. She says its in the system, the CableCARD goes in my TiVo, and it works.

Alright, so let’s sum up the process of setting up a CableCARD device.

  1. Get the physical CableCARD. (Pick up at that store, possibly?).
  2. Associate CableCARD with the correct account(Also done at store when card is issued?).
  3. Put in CableCARD device.
  4. Watch TV.

Okay. So that seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? That’s the history of my experience with CableCARD, but here is where it gets interesting.

I recently moved into a new place and thus I have a new Cox account(in my roomates name). I still have the CableCARD in my TiVo.

I assumed that switching the CableCARD serial from one account to the other shouldn’t be a difficult process, so I called Cox customer service. I spoke with someone, who albeit nice, kept insisting that the only way to move it to my new account was to schedule a “Professional Installation”, which of course costs money. I told her that I didn’t understand this. I explained the process of a CableCARD install, and that the only issue I needed fixed was the serial should be moved from one account to the other. This is something that is done at the office, on a computer, not on-site with my TiVo. She kept telling me that was their policy and they could not do it any other way. I wasn’t going to settle for this.

The next day I called again. I spoke with someone else who then told me she didn’t have “access” to fix my problem. (I wonder what she does have access to do then?). I asked to speak with her supervisor, and then after a few minutes I was booted back to the menu prompts(she hung up on me). Okay, so screw that.

I’m still not happy with what is going on, so I call again. I speak to someone, but this time I tell them how stupid it is to require a tech to physically come on-site for something that can be done over the phone. The rep understands me and assures he will fix this problem. He sends an equipment transfer request in to move the CableCARD from one account to the other. This was in the early afternoon, and at this point, I’m confident that it will be a success. Around 5PM I received a voicemail stating that the transfer could not go through and a physical install was the only way. Again, FUCK THAT.

I decide to call them back and ask them what the reason is that a physical install must be done. The next rep I talked to understood my problem and tried to put another equipment transfer through, changing a few things in the notes in hopes that it might go through. Apparently I won’t know if this one will work until 48 hours from now. Honestly, I’m not that confident it will work, and I will probably have to escalate this further.

So, basically, fuck you, Cox. Let me give you some suggestions:

  1. Use people instead of trained monkeys. People can be more effective if they aren’t reading off cue cards.
  2. Find out better ways for communicating across departments. Make the representative accountable for handling an issue that is pawned off to another department.
  3. Educate your reps. I’ve talked to 4 reps about the same problem and most of their responses are different. They are misinformed. Maybe they need to get the 2.0 version of your wonderful cue cards?

The above are just a few tips, but I’m sure I can come up with many more, but I’ve written enough now so that’s it.

Update 8/3/08 3PM: My CableCARD is now working, with the exception that I’m not receiving HBO and the HD channels like I should. Hopefully a simple call will fix this.