On Friday afternoon I was doing some yard work and had collected a bucket full of leaves and cutting. I took these to the green waste bin in the alley along the street from us, and I noticed that there was a cable from a house that was snagged down on one of the other containers there. The cable came down to about 4 feet above the ground at one point, and whilst people and cars could get by with care, I doubted that the trucks that come along there could make it, and certainly one of the garbage trucks that start coming through on Monday morning would catch it and pull it down completely.
I’m still relatively new here, so I didn’t really know what to do but thinking it might be an electrical cable I looked up the number for Ameron and called them. Getting through without problem, I told them what I had seen, and the lady there said they would get someone to look at it as soon as possible, So I went on with my day, thinking that this was the end of the story.
Sometime during that afternoon I had a phone call from a “number withheld”. I’m very cautious of spam and phishing, so I rarely answer calls from numbers I don’t know, and I didn’t answer this one. As it happened, I was quite busy that afternoon and evening, and didn’t got around to checking if they had left a message until the next morning, When I did I found that it had been the Ameron engineer, telling me that it was a Charter Communications cable, and “You have to call Charter”.
I must admit that I have trouble sometimes with the way English is used, and this was one of those occasions. I Have To Call Charter? Why? I’m just trying to be a conscientious resident and help keep my neighbours from harm – now suddenly it’s my responsibility to call and get this fixed?
Regardless, I did try to call Charter Communications that evening, but their lines were engaged. I found out from Social Media that there was a huge blackout of Charter TV channels all over the country, so I assume that all their lines were busy with irate customers.
Sunday morning was the first time I managed to get a ringing tone. After 19 minute on hold, I got a person to talk to, told them what this issue was, and they asked what my account number was. I asked why that would be relevant, as it wasn’t my cable that had the issue, but that I could give her the address that the cable appeared to be attached to. He took that address and said that he’d let Technical Support know. Having come this far I wasn’t about to let it go so easily and asked for more details of what they would be doing. He told me that he really had no idea, that all he could do was put the report over to the relevant section, but that he could transfer me to them if I wanted to talk to them directly. By this point, I had little more to lose, so I said that I’d be happy to talk to them, so I was put on hold. Again.
After another 17 minutes a lady came on the line and took the details, thanked me for the call and said an engineer would be sent to deal with the problem. I asked when that would be, and she told me that the system came up with an appointment in 6 days time, but normally they managed to get there in a couple of days. I pointed out that garbage trucks would be coming along the alley at 7am in the morning, and when they did they would inevitably pull down the cable entirely, with who knew how much damage to the infrastructure. It could even happen sooner if some local teenager decided to play Tarzan, so even a couple of days wasn’t really good enough. She said she understood, and that she would add a note to that effect on the work order.
While waiting for the phone to be answered I went onto Social Media and posted to the Charter Communications Facebook page and to their Twitter account. Given the amount of negative traffic there is about their TV outage yesterday, I’m not sure they will even have noticed my request.
I also reported the problem to the City of St Louis Citizens’ Service Bureau. I know that the Ameron guy said to report to Charter, but it is a danger on an alley, so maybe the City needs to deal with it. And even if not, they should clearly be made aware of it.
That is my Cable story so far; it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, turns up to fix the cable. And if no one does, I hope the garbage truck drivers are safe when they come down the alley in the morning.