Cable Companies Fail Consumers – Again

Posted by , , at 10:55 am

It’s almost like a broken record. American consumers hate their cable companies. While a couple of these industry bad-boys are managing to garner slightly better marks in certain categories, a recent Motley Fool article tells us that those cable guys who’ve entered the home security industry are still bombing on their customer satisfaction ratings. As we learned from Daily Tech.com last November, AT&T has ranked dead last on customer satisfaction for three years in a row. AT&T is, of course, another newbie in the alarm system space. Considering these industry giants’ continued affinity for alienating customers, we wonder if they shouldn’t try to get their own house in order before they expand into fields they know nothing about, such as protecting our homes.

Motley Fool summarizes Consumer Reports findings, identifying the four worst cable companies in the eyes of their customers: Comcast, Time Warner, Charter and privately-held Mediacom. The article reports:

“All four of these cable companies get Consumer Reports‘ absolute worst rating for the ‘value’ of the service they provide — a big black circle.”

The Daily Tech stats, also from Consumer Reports, reveal that AT&T scored the worst among U.S. wireless carriers for value, voice and customer support.

The customer support rankings worry us a lot. In the home security biz, safety is our #1 concern. The worst time to be on hold with Customer Support is when someone’s trying to break into your home. But while customers remain frustrated with the support teams at Comcast, Time Warner and AT&T, we’ve also found numerous customers reports stating that the cable guys’ home security products don’t even work correctly. One customer adds that Comcast “will not credit my account for the time that the system has not worked,” and that tech support was “non-responsive.” (See full customer quotes in our earlier blog.) And of course any alarm system that depends on a physical, wired connection – like a cable line – suffers from inherent vulnerability and can fall victim to any crook with a wire cutter.

Is there any bright news for the cable industry? The Fool tells us that Verizon’s FIOS service scores well for reliability and that their customer service is “only half-bad.” I guess they should be proud.

Luckily, the home security industry has some very bright news: unlike in the monopolistic cable environment, alarm system consumers have a choice. And their choices include FrontPoint Security, which consistently ranks #1 on customer review sites, with fantastic ratings for customer support and reliability.

Comments (2)

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  1. Paul May

    I would agree that the customer service that most MSOs offer leaves a lot to be desired sometimes, but your continued comments about the vulnerability of their security product is not accurate.

    The iControl platform that the cable companies offer all offer cellular connectivity as well as broadband. BOTH connections work SIMULTANEOUSLY, and data is continuously transmitted over BOTH connections to ensure end to end integrity at all times. The cellular connectivity is not a backup, it is ALWAYS on and transmitting. I’ve tested this myself extensively to ensure it works.

    Lastly, unlike many of your other blog posts that claim that alarm.com is the only backend provider who offers smash and grab protection it is simply not true. Both Honeywell Total Connect, and the iControl platform offer their own version of the technology. With the iControl platform, if the iControl server loses connectivity with the touchpad after an entry delay/zone trip, the monitoring station is immediately notified and the emergency dispatch procedure starts.

  2. Paul May

    I would agree that the customer service that most MSOs offer leaves a lot to be desired sometimes, but your continued comments about the vulnerability of their security product is not accurate.

    The iControl platform that the cable companies offer all offer cellular connectivity as well as broadband. BOTH connections work SIMULTANEOUSLY, and data is continuously transmitted over BOTH connections to ensure end to end integrity at all times. The cellular connectivity is not a backup, it is ALWAYS on and transmitting. I’ve tested this myself extensively to ensure it works.

    Lastly, unlike many of your other blog posts that claim that alarm.com is the only backend provider who offers smash and grab protection it is simply not true. Both Honeywell Total Connect, and the iControl platform offer their own version of the technology. With the iControl platform, if the iControl server loses connectivity with the touchpad after an entry delay/zone trip, the monitoring station is immediately notified and the emergency dispatch procedure starts.

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