Inside the Box

Millions of Americans rely on their cable or satellite television provider to deliver important news, entertainment, and other television programming, but many customers are wildly dissatisfied with the industry's customer service and billing practices. Between rising prices, confusing fees, sales calls masked as "customer service," and manipulative retention practices, it's no surprise that the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index survey found pay television ranked second-to-last in customer satisfaction.

As a fierce advocate for consumers, the onslaught of customer complaints against cable and satellite providers led Claire, the Ranking Member on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, to look into the industry's customer service and billing practices.

After reviewing thousands and thousands of documents from the top five cable and satellite providers in the United States, the Subcommittee released two reports on the industry's customer service and billing practices, and refund policies.

 


Did you know:

  • Some companies apply additional fees that are unnecessary and can be removed from your bill if you know to call in and ask that it be removed.
  • Even when asked directly, a customer service representative may knowingly not inform you of the lowest pricing available.
  • In order to downgrade or cancel your service, you will be forced to speak with a Retention Specialist, who is financially incentivized not to let you downgrade or cancel.
  • Some companies differentiate between customers based on how lucrative their account is to the company, and certain customers may receive better or worse customer service accordingly.


Watch the Hearing:

On June 23, 2016, Claire led a hearing on "Customer Service and Billing Practices in the Cable and Satellite Television Industry."

Watch Claire's opening statement below, or follow the link to watch the full hearing:http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/subcommittees/investigations/hearings/customer-service-and-billing-practices-in-the-cable-and-satellite-television-industry


Hear Claire's Call:

Like many Americans, Claire recently had to call her television provider to remove a charge from her bill. The entire call took 26 minutes. The following audio is a 15-minute excerpt.

 


Read the Reports: