Spectrum – Departing Is Such Sweet … Nothing

After searching in futility through the various circular navigation lines at Spectrum.com, I finally found a phone number to call regarding the disconnection of our service in conjunction with our forthcoming move from New York City.

The answering system informed me that, surprise, Spectrum was getting an unusually high volume of calls but could call me back if I left a phone number. I did. They did. I spoke at some length with a young man, explaining, as he demanded, why I was moving, that Spectrum was not available where I was moving (sorry, not sorry), that I needed to terminate my service on the last day in our apartment that was also the last day of the lease. Thus, it was essential that Spectrum pick up the equipment it had installed. I didn’t have my last bill so I couldn’t provide the security code that is apparently essential for every oral communication with Spectrum but whose absence never stops the calls from going through. The young man texted a new code to me that I dutifully read aloud. Victory! We could now address the reasons for my call. We are at about 20 to 25 minutes into the process at this point.

The young man eventually told me he needed to leave the line briefly. I said ‘fine.’

Silence. More silence. Growing concern that something was amiss. More silence. Then…music and the traditional “on hold message.” Eventually, as I now feared, another person came on the line and asked if she could help me. I explained what had transpired. She was the usual apologetic self that one gets on such calls. She texted another code that I dutifully repeated. I then re-explained in detail why I had called.

Uh oh. So sorry, but Spectrum doesn’t pick up the equipment it previous installed. The customer, in whom Spectrum no longer has any interest in making happy, must return it within 12 days of service termination or owe Spectrum an indeterminate amount of money for the equipment. After what can only be described as a hostile exchange (me hostile, she apologizing), we moved on to the next problem.

That problem, it turned out, was that Spectrum could not accept my request to terminate service until 30 days, or less, before the requested termination date. Since the day in question was October 26 and the service is to be terminated on, exactly, November 30 … well, you can see what a problem this would be for Spectrum. I said I would call back on October 30, at which point I could reasonably expect to repeat the entire fiasco conversation with some other hapless employee of Spectrum unlucky enough to pick up my call in the rotation.

I conclude this tale of woe by wondering aloud, so to speak, what the rationale might be for the policy that one cannot terminate service on more than 30-days’ notice. Did Spectrum experience a rash of cancellation notices only to have the customers suddenly decide not to cancel after all, causing some huge crush of cancellations of cancellations? I am at a loss.

But I’ve made myself a promise. Even though this entire experience resembles a story I read in my long-lost youth (Alice in Wonderland, I think), I am foresworn to shrug off the bizarre and inexplicable features of modern life and focus on something I can control. What is that mantra: give me the strength to accept what I cannot change …. I think we may be doomed.

PostNote: I did call Spectrum, on October 30 and it took two different tech support people and 22 minutes to successfully terminate our service. Went through the same hocus pocus of telling my needs to one person who left the line “for just a minute or two,” never to return, then music, then a new person: “How may I help you….”

PostNote PostNote: To assure we had wi-fi throughout the moving-out day (November 30), I had asked that the “service” be ended on December 1, knowing that we would return the equipment later the prior day. Skipping details regarding the move-out, we walked to the UPS store on West 57th that I had previously confirmed was an acceptable depository for the Spectrum equipment. We exchanged the boxes and cables for a receipt, walked to the rental car site down the street and left New York City.

When, some days later, we collected our forwarded mail in Washington, what to my wondering eyes did appear but a bill from Spectrum, dated December 3. The bill said we had not returned the equipment and therefore owed Spectrum $223, among other charges. Not good. I called Spectrum on a Saturday, acquired a representative on the line and explained my concern. In a voice suggestive that the entire problem was my fault for not understanding how Spectrum works, she explained that we had canceled the service precisely at the moment when Spectrum was generating our last bill and that Spectrum was unaware of my delivery to UPS at that time, but if I exercised appropriate patience, a new statement would arrive clarifying everything.

I asked whether I could expect that statement to arrive while I was still alive. She responded that she understood me to be making a humorous statement (though obviously she was not amused by it) and that the bill would arrive when it arrived, and she hoped I would be alive to receive. So, I admit, do I. Time will, as always, tell.

So it was written and so it was done. The final bill arrived December 10 and while it did not mention that the equipment had been returned, it at least had removed the charges related to unreturned equipment. Thus, after much unnecessary ado, our life with Spectrum is finished.

2 thoughts on “Spectrum – Departing Is Such Sweet … Nothing

  1. Sorry to hear about your mother but your Xfinity experience mirrors to some degree our own when we returned to Washington and, with no real choice, signed up for Comcast/Xfinity Internet, etc. The tech they sent came on time, attended to business, doing more than I had asked for (but Xfinity also charged more than planned — still OK, because we got Internet/TV w/o hours of struggle. Overall, grateful that Comcast/Xfinity has apparently improved so much since we were last living in their territory. And we can direct the TV by speaking into the handheld device. Spectrum required typing everything in one of these old point-click virtual keyboards. Progress, my friend, progress.

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  2. On the other end of the spectrum (sorry, no pun intended) was Xfinity. My mother died in 2019, and we sold her home in FL in early 2020 (before the Covid pandemic began). When I called Xfinity to inquire how to go about terminating her account, the phone rep was very helpful (and sincere in his wishes of condolences). I was prepared for hassle – providing them with a copy of her death certificate, or information about the new buyer, for example – but none of that occurred. Instead, the phone rep handled the process efficiently, provided the address of the closest Xfinity retail location to return the equipment, and other helpful information. The gentleman at the Xfinity store was helpful and efficient as well. I admit, I did not expect this from Xfinity. Maybe it was my lucky day.

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