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Nowhere to Go But Up

Why Charter Communications ranked last in our annual customer service surveyand what the cable provider is doing to improve its reputation

It all started with a bad storm that hit the St. Louis area in July, 2006, knocking out Melanie Hubert's cable and disabling all the devices in her house, including Internet service. When the storm finally cleared, the cable still didn't work. Three weeks and many phone calls later, a repairman from Charter Communications (CHTR), her cable provider, showed up. Frustrated, Hubert canceled her subscription in December and decided to switch to SBC, now AT&T (T).

Her headaches with Charter, though, didn't end there. When Hubert returned her equipment to the cable company, she was told she had a $2 outstanding balance, for which she would be billed. But when the bill arrived, it was for a full month of service. A customer service representative told Hubert it was a mistake, that the bill would be canceled and to ignore it. She did. The next month a collection agency started hounding Hubert for the full month's bill. After filling formal complaints with the Better Business Bureau and the Missouri Attorney General's office, the issue was finally resolved the following February.