Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cable Beast Earns Wrath of Villagers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cable Beast Earns Wrath of Villagers

Article excerpt

Byline: Charlie Patton, Times-Union columnist

When a group of attorneys including Norwood "Woody" Wilner announced in May that they were filing a class-action lawsuit against AT&T Broadband, I had my doubts.

AT&T Broadband's performance since it took over the cable franchise in Jacksonville hasn't impressed anyone. But as a cable customer, I hadn't really suffered.

Sure, it was frustrating to wait on hold for up to an hour when calling the company. But suing over bad customer service smacks of overkill, like swatting flies with a sledgehammer. Even Wilner, when he talked to me about the lawsuit, conceded "this is not a matter of life and death."

But talk about your ironies. When I wrote about Wilner's lawsuit, I was in the process of switching my cable service from a condominium I had put up for sale to a new residence. During the past five weeks, I've been getting the full AT&T Broadband treatment.

My problems began with the appointment for cable installation at my new home. I was told to expect the cable guy between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. When he arrived, he did a great job. Not everyone who works for AT&T Broadband is arrogant and incompetent.

Unfortunately, he didn't arrive until 5:30 p.m. He was late, he apologized, because he had been overbooked with appointments that day. This was information neither my wife nor I had been able to extract from the customer service department, which we had been calling since 2 p.m.

But, though frustrated and angry, we were satisfied with the service we received.

End of story? So we thought.

Then, last week, I received a bill from AT&T Broadband sent to my old address. It said $95.67 would be deducted from my checking account to cover cable service from July 3 to Aug. 3. This at a condo where service had been cut in the third week of May. …

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