First impression of Suddenlink as a new customer
Took 2 hours to get a bill explained and service order changed.
Full Story 06/02/2016
Last night I placed an order to have new service installed at my new house with Suddenlink. The bundle for 1Gb internet, '200 channel' tv, and phone was listed at $142/mo. I'm not new to cable to I assumed there would be more fees for equipment, and sure enough the next page had $15, $7, and $10/mo for 1st TV, 2nd TV, and modem respectively, bringing the monthly estimate to $174, with a one time install of $10. I confirmed the order, set the install date, and went to bed. When I woke up I got an email that had confirmed the install date, but had changed the monthly bill to $214, with a $16 charge for install. That prompted me to ask an agent to explain the difference, and I chose to do an online chat agent. The entire conversation is attached in the photos, and the chat lasted over an hour. In the end they determined a few things. First, there was an additional $14.10/mo charge added for "gov't fees". Then Suddenlink added a $5/mo charge, with no reason. Then the taxes were another 10.8% added in. I live in Texas where the maximum tax rate is 8.25%, so even though the agent and her supervisor couldn't explain it, I'm guessing there is additional % taxes on top of the $14.10 fees that are for the franchise agreements for local governments. However, all of those fees related to the cable and phone service, so dropping to the internet only would change the bill to $117/mo and still have 1Gb service with their modem.
To get that change made the online agent gave me a phone number to call into, but gave the wrong instructions for routing the call. The first live person I got was supposed to be 'retentions' but said they were actually 'billing' and they had to transfer me to 'sales' who then transferred me to another 'sales' to get my order changed. Seriously, 5 different individuals from Suddenlink got involved, 3 only briefly, for about 2 hours just to change an order and explain it.
Several things I noted
1) I don't blame the CSRs, I honestly believe they followed script and use the tools/training given to them
2) The online chat program allowed me to attach files for sharing, of which I could use Microsoft's free snipping tool to take screen shots. However, the CSR on the other side couldn't do anything similar, and had to 'type' up the detailed billing.
3) The confirmation of installation order failed to be itemized in the first place, and it would have saved an hour of everyone's time or more if it had.
4) The suddenlink website has to be drilled into to find information on the additional fees/taxes, but fails to list the amounts of the fees or the tax rates and formulas, and also has no feature to calculate that amount before buying the service, even though they have to be able to do that to make a bill.
5) The training for the CSRs was woefully inadequate as they didn't know their own IVR system setup, and couldn't even explain their own $5 fee, and took an hour to even locate the bill differences
6) Suddenlink won't allow me to use my own modem for the 1Gb connection, and instead requires a $10/mo rental fee. The modems are $99-$149 after market, meaning that Suddenlink is making a ridiculous ROI on their rental fee.
7) I had none of these problems with TWC, and my old house is only 5 miles away. So I put in a service extension request. Don't know if they'll extend into the area of my new house, but if they do, I'll switch back simply because I can save money using my own modem with them, and I have for years.
8) I didn't have tv service before, and I won't going forward. I thought the initial price gap of about $40 would be worth it, but when the real gap after government taxes and fees and the mysterious $5 Suddenlink add-on made the difference almost $100, it's clearly not worth it. They say 200 channels, but lets be real, it's 2-5 channels anyone in my family would watch, and right now my antenna picks up 3/5 of those. I've streamed everything else for years, and no reason to stop that with a 1Gb connection. The tv service model really needs to change.
9) Suddenlink prevents CSRs from making simple work order changes
Review about: Suddenlink Bundle.
Reason of review: Pricing issue, transparency issue, and order processing issue.
Monetary Loss: $120.
Preferred solution: Price reduction.
I didn't like: Service options, Billing transparency, Customer service training.