Like many people I have cable TV. Like many people I watch TV by using captions. Like many people I become frustrated by captioning that becomes garbled, sporadic or suddenly disappears.
When people experience a problem with their cable TV they call the customer service number and usually are told the problem is being worked on or are told the problem will be worked on and one can expect proper reception in a certain period of time.
When people who are caption-dependent experience a problem with captioning they are told to contact a) the cable provider b) the station providing programming or c) the cable network. If the station is local, such as a network affiliate, I can call it during business hours. Between 5 pm and 8 am, however, if I can find a number to call for captioning problems, I will most likely need to leave a message that might not be retrieved until sometime the next day. Of course that leaves me without captions or the ability to watch TV.
If the issue comes from a cable network, such as USA or HGTV, I’m out of luck. There is no direct way to reach an office to report captioning problems.
I can try to contact my cable provider. By law the cable provider is supposed to supply a number one can call for captioning problems on the monthly bill. That number is also only available during business hours and messages left are not always answered.
I can also call the cable provider’s customer support number. That is what I did recently when a problem occurred after 5 pm during the weekend. When I finally got through to someone (due to a high volume of calls it took a while) I was told to redo my cable box; I don’t have one. Then when I said the problem existed on one cable network only, the tech support person seemed to doubt me. I was told I’d be put on hold while she turned on the TV in their office to check the captions. I held, and held and held some more until we were disconnected.
Being tenacious, I called back. This time I was informed that due to the high volume of calls I could expect to wait at least ten minutes before being able to speak with tech support.
At that point I gave up.
This is customer service? I know people complain about customer service phone lines all the time, but this is awful. Despite my inability to watch TV I must pay my monthly bill. There are no deductions provided for the hours or days captioning is unavailable to me and other people who rely on it.
This is customer disservice.