The Easy Three-Step Process to Cut the Cord

I wish the headline were true but, sadly, it’s not the case. Here’s my story:

Fact: It took me 72 minutes and 16 seconds to officially cancel my cable TV plan account.

The saga began on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. It was sunny and hot but a late-afternoon break seemed like the right time to finally turf cable — something that I had contemplated for months.

I’m knew it wouldn’t be smooth sailing but it turned out to be a lot like running a marathon.

My decision to cut the cord made sense — at least to me.

No one in my household watches much TV. It’s YouTube or Netflix, which is why I have a super high-speed, all-you-eat Internet plan. We only had a basic cable plan (less than 30 channels) so it wasn’t a big step to get rid of cable altogether.

The cutting-the-cord odyssey started with talking to someone from “Billing”. It seemed the right place to start because, after all, they handle account changes. You tell them about your decision and they kickstart the process.

It turns out “Billing” is just the first line of a cohesive and persistent defensive wall. Telling them about your decision to cut the cord is just an excuse for them to poke and prod about why someone would make such an odd choice given we live in a wonderful 500-channel universe.

Answers such as “We don’t watch TV” or “I watch everything online” didn’t seem to make an impression. It was like I was speaking a strange language.

After convincing “Billing” that I was serious about cutting the cord, I was reluctantly shuffled to another department from the “Loyalty” department. It was a rinse and repeat exercise. They asked why I wanted to cancel my cable, expressed disbelief when I gave them my reasons, and then offered me some deals to stick around.

Around and around we went until we both lost our enthusiasm to continue the conversation — a victory, in the scheme of things, for me.

Finally, I ended up in the “Cancellation” department. The person on the other end was very nice and seemed to understand why I wanted to cancel cable, but that didn’t stop her from half-heartedly offering me a series of deals along the way.

It’s an interesting exercise to be offered a series of incentives to not leave. They try so hard in the belief that it’s a matter of price, rather than the fact I no longer wanted their product. Yes, I know they have marching orders to do whatever it takes to keep the cable revenue coming but you figure the third person down the line figures you’re serious.

Now, here’s where things got interesting.

After being on the phone for an hour, I was told that my account was structured in a strange way — the Internet service was separate from an administrative perspective.

The customer service person told me she would made sure everything was structured properly so my Internet connection wasn’t impacted.

But when the cable service was finally cancelled, the Internet connection disappeared because my modem was no longer provisioned. This is when the head banging on the desk began, as well as my attempts to stay calm and patient.

I spent more than an hour on the phone (time that I never get back0 before I complete the task at hand, and then the product that I want to keep stops working! Even worse, they told me the service could be down for as long as 48 hours!

Fortunately, the Internet came back about 12 hours later so all was good.

But, wait, there’s more: I continued to receive phone calls from my ex-cable partner. When I finally stopped ignoring them, I talked to someone from the “Ambassador” program who said it wasn’t too late to reactivate my cable account, and that they could offer me a special discount.

No dice, I said (again).

I hope this is marks the end of the cable odyssey, but you never know.

While it feels good to have cut the cord, it is hard not to have the nagging feeling that the victory is short-lived.

While they may not have me as a cable customers, I’m still an Internet customers and you have to believe prices for high-speed service are going to climb to drive revenue growth.

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