Tag Archives: consumerism

Hey Verizon! Leave Our Copper Wire Alone

Verizon wants all of us to move to their fiber service and would not have to worry about maintaining customers on copper phone service. I remember when the son of the land lady of the house I reside said he had a miserable experience with FiOS and he would not of done it if he knew more about the issue. Unfortunately like a good snake oil sales man Verizon misled my father about what they were going to do to the wires, they said they were going to “work on the wires”, but they were actually installing FiOS which I had to stop because my landlady refused authorization. There are people who prefer the benefits of copper phone service such as using modems for dialup bulletin board calling or the emergency power the copper lines offer when there is no power in an emergency to make a phone call.

Margaret Serjak, I would love to have FiOS, but you might need to bribe my land lady before we can have FiOS. Because until my land lady allows for FiOS service, your technicians are not welcomed or invited to my home. I am only a renter and I have no authority to authorize FiOS installation at my residence. If you want renters to get FiOS, maybe giving the property owners 1 year free service in their personal home, might be the best sweetener.

Verizon should contact the property owner first before wanting to switch a rental residence over.

We Deserve a la carte channel pricing

The sentiments I have been stating on the Dish Network Facebook page have been amplified. Los Angeles Times columnist David Lazarus has promoted the idea of a la carte pricing to help solve the crisis with Viacom and AMC for DirecTV and Dish Network respectively.

Content providers force feed their entire assortment to the programming distributors making the cost of providing the programming more expensive which helps drive our bills up. Viacom is deceiving customers by counting their east coast and west coast feeds and their HD channels as separate channels telling customers they have 26 channels that they could lose when Viacom only has 15 main channels on the DirecTV platform.

Because distributors have to carry the minor channels that have little or no interest, we are kept hostage where AMC has been removed from Dish Network and no Comedy Central for the DirecTV folk. In an a la carte world, we would choose the channels we want to pay for. Unfortunately as what Lazarus states “the typical viewer watches about 17 channels on a regular basis”.

Perhaps there would be incentives for us to add channels like WE which is part of the AMC network family that Dish Network is not really keen to carry or incentives for people to add Logo or Palladia if you are a Viacom customer from DirecTV.

If Canada can try out a la carte pricing, we should be required to offer this to help reduce bill creep where an average programming package and 2 receivers cost almost over 80 dollars now.

I would like to encourage readers to contact your US Congress member and your US Senators to make sure we can get some reform happening. We should not be required to pay for programming that is rarely watched. To update Bruce Springsteen’s song it feels like there are 257 channels and there is nothing on.

Dish Network Without AMC

Today is July 1st and Dish Network got disconnected from AMC. My sister loves their programs, but I am only the person paying the bill. So this means no Breaking Bad, Mad Men or Walking Dead for the millions of Dish Network customers.

So what are you going to do my fellow Dish Network customers? If you are still under a contract like myself and countless others we have to use workarounds from visiting torrents or getting legal copies of programs from Amazon or iTunes.

Is it about AMC being greedy due to having three or four successful programs? Is it about a jilted business deal about HDTV programming with Dish Network? Perhaps it is about both issues that makes it a bloody mess.

Just be careful if you switch content providers, because they can also have contract problems just as much as AT&T U-Verse having problems with AMC recently, but they did kiss and make up.

My contract ends on August 6th and Dish Network might lose me if they do not negotiate properly with AMC.

Until then fire up your XBOX 360 or Playstation 3 and buy your programs a la carte.

Thinking About Leaving Dish Network

As a customer of Dish Network since 2001, I am facing the possibility of leaving Dish Network. For the possibility of not having the AMC channels is one reason why my household is considering the decision. Our contract does not end until August. We are paying $77.94  including taxes. I am going to explore the options of moving to DirecTV or Time Warner Cable.

My contract ends August 6th. Hopefully Dish and AMC can resolve their corporate pissing fights. During the FX and Dish fight we stuck it out, but it seems that Charlie Ergen likes to pick fights often.

Right now my bill is $76 with $1.94 in taxes.

Part 1: DirecTV

DirecTV is America’s leading satellite television provider and they are also hoping that many of Dish’s customers leave for their service.

Problem is DirecTV is more expensive after the promotional period. It is honestly a hassle to switch pay television providers, and it may sound great with their promotions to get the DirecTV package cousin at 94.99 and expect the same amount in taxes where you will likely pay 96.99 as your monthly bill.

DirecTV does sound sexy, but I am not going to bite on their deal. Paying $240 a year more than Dish Network is very high of a price to pay. Sadly doesn’t AMC realize that what Dish Network wants to pay them is better than having their content pirated?

Continue reading Thinking About Leaving Dish Network

Dish Network Pissing Match Over AMC

We are faced with another carriage dispute for Dish Network. AMC, also known as American Movie Classics is going to be removed soon from our Dish Network service.

Dish Network said they resented the fees that they had to pay to transmit the networks of AMC on their service because they said there was low ratings. But Walking Dead and Mad Men have generated exceptional audiences for AMC.

AMC has been moved for the time being at channel 9609 to annoy the executives at AMC where their channel used to reside at channel 130. My sister was yelling recently wondering where the network was residing until I had to give her the news.

For the time being the channels of the AMC networks are not removed, but there is a possibility that this will happen. I know Charlie and the Dolan Family of AMC/Cablevision want to make the highest profits possible and not alienate their customers, but it seems there is so much bad blood between these two groups it leads to customers being collateral damage.

If there is no renewal expect AMC affiliated networks such as AMC, WE and IFC to disappear July 1st. AMC thinks its retaliation for the 2.5 billion dollar lawsuit when Dish Network ditched their carriage of their HD networks from their corporate cousins Cablevision. But I think it is also Dish making sure that our rates do not go sky high through the roof as well.

Walking Dead and Mad Men may be exceptional programming, but going from 26 cents a month to 50 cents a month may be rather extreme, perhaps a gradual increase to 35 cents a month might be a more palatable compromise so we do not get more bill creep.

No content delivery platform is perfect, there will be carriage issues with Direc TV and even Time Warner Cable. Perhaps we need an outside mediator that could work a deal between the parties so we can get the networks we want and a fair price for all parties.

Many of us are fed up that our bills are eclipsing $70 to even $100 dollars a month. I do recognize we want high quality programming, but the content providers are pricing themselves out for many people where they want to cut the cord and buy shows ala carte from places such as Amazon and ITunes.

Maybe we need ala carte pricing so we can design our own channel lineups and pay for the channels we honestly want and need.

Why Bother Paying Extra For More Data

T-Mobile closed the loophole where people were able to tether their phones to use the data on their tablets or laptops for free with the newest version of the Android operating system. Unless you want to be technologically savvy and root your phone to tether without any charges you are stuck to the walled garden of the provider.

I basically only use around 1gb of traffic, It might benefit me where I could save ten bucks a month on my data charges if I only end up being a casual user of the data services on my phone. If tethering is not doable on my phone, I would rather just pay less.

I am honestly confused where they are saying you need to pay for a 14.99 tethering plan, but they said they were throwing in tethering if you pay 5 bucks more in the 30.00 5gb plan. What is the right story?

I am going to try to be a data hog on my phone this month and find out if I really was throwing away $120 all for nothing.

Perhaps I will need to write a feature to encourage people to use up as much data as they paid for so they can get their value. As long as customers are not going hog wild on their data who cares what they do with the data unless they are downloading pirated software.

Buyer Beware About Political Opinions of America

Election season leads to countless pollsters wanting to ask people about the issues of the day, but even for this student of politics the calls from Political Opinions of America is too good to be true and not worth the time.

They say stay on the phone to state your opinions on the issues of the day, then go for a free cruise. However there is no such thing as a free lunch these days.

They say just give them your credit card number for the taxes for that free cruise, but if you are paying for the cruise then is it a costly cruise now? It seems that Political Opinions of America is a shell organization for the company organizing cruises known as Caribbean  Cruise Lines, the wholesaler, but it seems the ship line is also tied to this scheme too. However this “free” cruise is basically a time share presentation where you are basically captive on their boat of five hours of intense sales pitches.

Basically this cruise line is using political activity as a cover in skirting the do not call regulations. If it was a pure political call then I could see it protected from do not call regulations, but if it is being tied to selling cars or cruises then that should be prohibited.

Simply hang up on this group when they call.

Adventures in Consumerism

I had a crap time at an independent business in my town where the restaurant owner had the audacity to throw a 55 cent surcharge on credit card purchases without letting the customers know in advance.

I could understand for a small business that credit card fees eat into profits, and you want to make up for the interchange fees the merchant bank and the credit card companies charge.

I should of just refused to pay for my food and if they called the police I could of said the merchant had deceitful marketing practices. If the merchant had a fee for the credit card payment I would of likely not shopped with them.

However the merchant should of done something nice and said here is a small drink or an egg roll to make up for what we did.

I did let people know on Foursquare that if you want to eat at their establishment it is strongly recommended that you pay in cash.

I told the merchant if you don’t want more angry customers, they need to put a sign stating that there is a 55 cent surcharge. Either next to the logo on the window or near the menu above the food they prepare would be very appreciated.

My Letter to Los Angeles Times Executives

This was sent to Tribune President AND the Chief Operating Officer of the newspaper.

To the operating officer and publisher of the Los Angeles Times

The Times is still one of the best newspapers in the west coast of the United States, but many customers are livid on how your distribution partners for home delivery have basically screwed the pooch big time. I know that your owners the Tribune Company wants to improve their circulation numbers, but with this madness your partners have perpetrated I don’t know how the paper can stay in business in an increasing online society.

I don’t know how the other leading Los Angeles County newspapers from the Media News Group are being co-mingled with the Los Angeles Times, but would it be easier if your carriers just threw one company’s newspapers so they would not make so many mistakes that make the lives of your customer service agents miserable?

Your publication’s carriers haven’t made this many mistakes until this month, and even when I gave them a chance after I called your hotline the first time they still kept on making these mistakes. The second call I called to cancel, but I know you are trying to save circulation and rebound your business for the Tribune Company. But your account specialist says the same old canned line that we will get this resolved, but it will not get resolved from prior experience.

I have emailed myaccount and social media service addresses at your newspaper, and I honestly want out. I want the unused portion of my subscription refunded to my American Express account and maybe you can win my business in the future when your team reforms your customer service center and your delivery carriers.

My father was once a newspaper carrier twenty years ago and if he got all these complaints he would be fired. Even though I am getting bill credit, it is the matter of principle. Maybe you guys need to apologize in print in the editorial page to your subscribers who help keep your circulation levels high for your advertisers and be frank and honest like what the Netflix guys did recently.

Read Your Bank Statements

I usually never open my bank statements because I get scared about the lack of money in my accounts at the time. However Bank of America is charging a $5 replacement ATM or Debit Card fee each time you ask the bank to replace an ATM or debit card effective September 12th.

As a customer I do not ask for a new card over and over because I like the new card feeling. However when the signature panel is worn out from being used often, I might want to replace my card a year earlier than the three year period banks typically issue them.