You Don't Have To Be Big To Be Bad

You have probably never heard of Tele-Media Corporation and its affiliates, but according to its Web site, the company has "grown from a single system cable operation into one of the industry’s largest privately held communication companies, focused on broadband cable and radio broadcasting."

This company happens to be the cable and Internet provider for my little beach house in North Carolina. While dealing with its front-office folks is generally a pleasure, god help you if you need technical support, because it is just as crappy, if not worse, than the bottom-feeders of the industry, Time Warner Cable.

When you call one of its regional offices for support, someone who clearly doubles as a receptionist asks the usual stupid questions like if the modem is plugged in. When they finally get around to sending a signal to your modem and getting nothing back, you are sent ostensibly "up to our next level of technical support,” which is essentially 1) a way to get you off the phone with them and 2) giving you a royal f**k-off. This is because they have chosen to "outsource" their tech support (at least for Internet- related hardware and software).  



The result is that there is no level 2 support, because they never answer the phone. I was on hold twice, once for 25 minutes, again for 30. And this was at a time where the receptionist said there were no general outages in my area.

In between my unanswered wait times, I recalled the main number, only to be told "you have to wait in line, there are people in front of you." How many? They didn't know. What was the average wait time? Didn't know that either. Did they know how much I was paying them a month for cable and Internet? Nope.

So I called the local repair guy who does most of the work on this island, and it turned out Wednesday was his "day off." So he was nowhere nearby. That this was "a serious workplace emergency" had no effect. When he agreed to stop by the next day, he could not say just when: ”After all, you are on an island, anything can happen, the ferry could sink." (guaranteed verbatim quote). Moreover, he opined that the company didn't see much urgency "in a single customer having a problem, only when a whole street goes out." Finally, he admitted that he gets most of his calls after customer calls go unanswered by Level 2 support.

After all of that, he showed up around 9:30 the next morning and came away with a host of possible problems (like an old modem, even though he had none of the new ones "on the truck.") But it took him less than a minute to restore the service.

Thank goodness I had decent Verizon coverage on the island and could work around the loss of the Internet (although you know as well as I do, that doing a fair amount of cut-and-paste writing on a phone is tedious and less accurate compared to on a laptop.)

Even though this is on the company’s Web site…

At Tele-Media, our goal is to provide the best customer service possible since our success depends on each customer’s trust in our ability to deliver quality products and service. To earn our customer’s trust, we must make sure that your questions are answered, your concerns heard and your needs met each time they contact us. can rest assured that it is complete and utter nonsense and that they, like their bigger, publicly owned brothers, are all about the money. And the customer? Well, they can just suck it.

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