Man says his fuzzy reception is getting a fuzzy reception
One man, who says his cable is unacceptable, feels he’s getting a fuzzy reception from the Truckee Town Council.
The Town of Truckee, which holds the cable franchise agreement, reviewed USA Media’s franchise compliance and operations at the April 3 council meeting.
USA Media’s Chief Operating Officer and President Jim Faircloth spoke to an audience of about 15 residents about the company’s franchise and Federal Communications Commission requirements and compliance.
One of the council’s primary interests was the company’s history of customer service.
“Our technicians, when they’re not working on service calls, are working on upgrades or poll changes,” Faircloth said during his presentation. “When we do miss our appointments, it’s our policy, if it’s an installation, to do the installation for free.”
Faircloth said the company gets about 10 calls a week from customers, and usually gets the highest volume of calls after bills have been sent out.
USA Media is required to respond to customer complaints within 30 days, but Faircloth said problems are usually resolved within seven days.
Calls are logged in each customer’s record, and are usually cited as a service call, not a complaint. Faircloth said the company only has four written complaints in its files from the Truckee-North Lake Tahoe area. E-mails are not considered written complaints by USA Media, a practice the council found a bit troubling in this time of widespread use of Internet communications.
Councilman Craig Threshie asked USA Media for access to e-mail complaints at the next review.
“It seems absurd, really, that we don’t have access to those,” Threshie said.
The three Truckee citizens that made comments at the review complained of less-than-stellar services provided by USA Media.
“Is there another way to bring the signal in?” asked Jody Sweet, a resident and satellite dish user. “I don’t understand why they haven’t researched [other options].”
George Blanz, a Truckee resident who’s addressed the council numerous times during the public comment period at public meetings, complained of his cable service, but emphasized that he feels local government is ignoring his plight.
“I said [to the town], ‘USA Media is providing bad service and breaking town laws,'” Blanz said, interpreting his past interactions with the town. “USA Media said, ‘did not.’ I said, ‘did so!’ And the town said, ‘George, go to your room, we’re dismissing your complaint.'”
“The cable quality at my house is poor at this minute,” he said. “Should we adjourn the meeting right now and have all of you come out to my house and watch my TV?”
Blanz argued that a consultant should be hired to evaluate USA Media’s compliance.
But council members agreed that the review was not about cable quality, but franchise compliance.
“I’m not quite sure I agree with your phraseology of this being a bi-annual review of cable quality,” said Councilman Josh Susman.
Other members said they personally didn’t have a problem with USA Media’s service, arguing that fuzzy cable, power outages and water shut offs once in a while are a part of living in the mountains.
Some council members asked USA Media to make the differentiation between customer complaints and service calls more clear, as well as allowing email complaints to be counted as written complaints.
Ultimately, the council decided to wait for the release of a customer satisfaction survey this summer before reviewing the situation any further.
“I don’t see enough people here tonight to be worried about the level of service with USA Media,” said Councilwoman Beth Ingalls.
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