Warning for Suddenlink customer considering Tivo/CableCards in 2020

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by wendlan, Feb 19, 2020.

  1. wendlan

    wendlan Member

    Apr 21, 2002
    I've been a Tivo and Suddenlink customer since 2001, and have used CableCards for over 10 years of that. Every few years when setting up a new Tivo or after a failed hard drive - you have to call tech support, and perhaps after a few false starts or multiple calls, you'll get the card paired. Maybe that particular support tech was a bit unfamiliar or mistyped the numbers, but you could make progress.

    However, a few years ago, Suddenlink was purchased by Altice, and this was my first call to what is now Altice with a fresh Tivo. This was a completely different and frustrating experience. All support appears to be routed to an overseas call center - fine, I work with remote folks daily. But over three days, I talked to six different people, including several over chat. Basically - no one has any idea what I was talking about or asking regarding CableCards! It's not that they were unsure - only one even knew what a CableCard was, and there was long stretches on hold and being asked to repeat my problem. I firmly and repeatedly asked to be elevated to a supervisor or next level support, and was told multiple times that was only possible by them calling me back within 48 hours - but that never happened. Also, the voice support system had "I don't understand your question" for CableCard, and their online chat bot assume CableCard was a typo. And to get to each person was an average 15 minute wait on hold.

    I also tried going through "customer retention" to cancel - but it resulted in the same call center, and that person was able to give me the magic phone number to 2nd level support. Great, but it was the Xfinity/Comcast CableCard support line!!! I was finally able to schedule a truck roll if I wanted, but it would be $75 because it was a "problem with my equipment", and they were doubtful he would be able to fix it, either. At this point, I decided that if they couldn't even support getting it setup, I would have no confidence in them being able to keep it functional. I am bailing and going full-time to YoutubeTV/Philo.

    Yes, I could have tried the truck roll, filed a FCC complaint, or attempted to contact their executive leadership. But as Suddenlink seems to have gone from it's historic "not great" to terrible with 100% offshore support under its new management, Tivo/Rovi is no longer stellar, and IP-based delivery is imminent - I'm out. In short, it shouldn't be this hard to spend $100/month to use their product.

    I'm sharing all of this not because I'm looking for a solution anymore, but if someone has Suddenlink/Altice - heads up that you're probably going to have a very difficult time getting a Tivo activated.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
    osu1991 likes this.
  2. seaninde

    seaninde Active Member

    Sep 23, 2019
    Never heard of Suddenlink. What is it?
  3. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
  4. wendlan

    wendlan Member

    Apr 21, 2002
    Just to save a click, they're a smaller cable company and ISP in the US. At least in Texas, they tend to serve cities with less than 150,000 people. Also a bit interesting is that Suddenlink used OEM Tivos as their DVR solution until they were bought by Altice - which is maybe another reason the support dropped off?

    Suddenlink Communications is an American telecommunications subsidiary of Altice USA which specializes in cable television, high-speed internet, broadband phone, home security and advertising. Prior to its acquisition by Altice, the company was the seventh largest cable operator with 1.5 million residential and 90,000 business subscribers. After Altice acquired Cablevision Systems Corporation (Cablevision) on November 30, 2016 Suddenlink was combined with Cablevision to become Altice's American division known as Altice USA. Together with Optimum, the service brand name used by Cablevision for its products, Altice USA became the United States' fourth largest cable operator with 4.6 million subscribers and the sixth largest pay tv service provider with 3.50 million subscribers.
  5. mattyro7878

    mattyro7878 Well-Known Member

    Nov 27, 2014
    Southern CT
    You could have filed an FCC complaint as soon as you read the writing on the wall. It probably would have been satisfying to make them comply.
    tarheelblue32 likes this.
  6. wendlan

    wendlan Member

    Apr 21, 2002
    LOL, true!

    As a final follow-up, I called today to cancel the service and after the third transfer up the chain and 30 minutes (apparently there is a department higher than customer retention?), I finally got someone who wasn't working from a script. This last person was quite nice, and he assured me that he could personally find someone to get it activated, and would credit me a month's service for my trouble (though even he didn't really know what it was, but at least he had heard of them). I gave the feedback that they just need to provide some support path for activation, and he seemed genuinely open to hearing it. I cancelled anyway, as it shouldn't be this much trouble, and what happens the next time I need tech support?
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2020
  7. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2015
    If your TiVo hardware has lifetime service on it, you should try to sell it on eBay while it still has some value left in it, before everyone else gives up on TiVo too.
    wendlan likes this.
  8. rondawes

    rondawes New Member

    May 19, 2019
    So I found this tread after just finished posting on another thread wondering if Suddenlink would be an option for me as I'm not happy with Spectrum pricing but am happy with the way they supported my cablecard request and am quite happy with my TiVo setup. I live in Wylie TX and it *appears* from the website that Suddenlink provides service to my address and supports Tivo. I'm wondering how they will service my address as it's a new development and the only infrastructure is owned by Spectrum. I guess I'll call and see what happens. Any further advice is certainly very welcome. Thanks
  9. wendlan

    wendlan Member

    Apr 21, 2002
    I'd say to call them to see if they actually service that address, as it's uncommon for two cable providers to service the same area (though not unheard of). In my opinion, I'd say to stay away from Suddenlink. Not just because of the cable card support, but that they are a smaller company and have always been technologically behind others (lagged by several years on cable internet and HD channels, for example) and have never seemed that competent or friendly on the phone or in person.

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