Don't take "NO" from your Cable Company for Cable Card!!!

Jan 27 2008

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I've seen an alarming amount of customers over at TheGreenButton and other communities, where people have spent their hard earned dollars on a Cable Card Media Center computer, get it all setup & ready to get installation, when they're told by one/some/all of their Cable Company's representatives that they will NOT do an installation on a computer!

SO, I'll be honest. I'm SICK & TIRED of this type of bullying tactic. As some of you know, the reason the cable card standard was even created was because of the monopolistic tendencies of the cable companies forcing cable customers to HAVE to use their absurdly priced Set Top Boxes (STB) for a recurring monthly fee. As my understanding goes with regards to that law, ALL CABLE COMPANIES MUST allow their customers the use of cable cards with ANY and ALL types of cable card-supported devices!!! No exceptions!

That being said, people are still being told on a disturbingly regular basis that Media Center computers are NOT supported, and that they will not do the installation. Some people have been persistant enough to get the installation completed, and some have been so dissuaded & unsuccessful. But the power is always in the consumer's hands.

STEPS FOR CONTACTING CABLE CO's 

Customer service reps are often uninformed, and odds are they don't have the power to do much anyways if a mandate is sent. That being said, here's what you should always do:

  1. Call back!! You'll almost always get a different customer service rep, and maybe someone who's heard of Media Center and will be helpful
  2. Ask to speak to a supervisor! They often have a lot more power & abilities to get things done
  3. Keep climbing the corporate ladder until you get the service you require. Thanks to some tips from the Consumerist website, I've been able to find some executive contacts for some of the major Cable Companies, that should hopefully help you. The key thing is to REMAIN PROFESSIONAL AND CALM!!! Using profanity or making your contact seem like a 15-year old kid will get you NOWHERE FAST!
  4. POST ONLINE!!! Post your experiences in our forums, over at the Green Button, at the Microsoft Digital Cable forum...everywhere!!! Send an e-mail to the Consumerist!! Send one to your OEM, to Microsoft...make sure EVERYONE knows what's going on. Exposure is the ONLY way this will ever change.

CONTACT YOUR CABLE EXECUTIVES 

So here it is, as promised, some Executive contact information to help you on your Cable Card mission Yell

  • Comcast
    • Executive Customer Service Telephone Line: 215-640-8960
    • If e-mail is your preference, check out this page from Consumerist on E-Mails of Comcast Executives (remember, that's why the CC: in your e-mail was invented) Cool
    • And lastly, you can even contact Comcast's CEO (Doesn't hurt to try everything!)
  • Time Warner Cable
    • Executive Customer Service Telephone Line: 203-328-0600

That's just a taste from two of the largest cable companies in the nation. I highly recommend this website, for a list of the Top 100 Cable Systems contact information. Also, a quick search through the Consumerist website might also give you some more contact information as well.

CONTACT THE FCC

The final step, when all else fails, is to escalate this to the United States Government!! The FCC is around to enforce the laws that they help pass, and Cable Cards are one of them!! Check out the FCC Website for contacts there that might be able to help you. Probably not for an immediate solution, but at least for some visibility.  

The Telecommunications Act of 1996

See this website for Wikipedia's history of the FCC's Telecommunications Act of 1996 & all the information regarding Cable Card. The beautiful part that should always be quoted, is that "cable companies [must] allow non cable company provided devices to access their networks." 

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