WARNING: DO NOT do business with COX COMMUNICATIONS for “Bundle” Special – Internet + Phone + TV – because of CREATIVE ACCOUNTING/BILLING!

Hopefully I can get this warning posted before Cox cuts off my Internet service – plus phone and TV.

During 2016, I had Cox for Internet and TV, costing me about $114 per month. Of that, only about $4 was for Taxes, Fees, and Surcharges. Kind of expensive for just TV and Internet, but not a bad deal for me considering how much use I get out of those.

A decline in health, I expected to die soon, so I terminated all services. No Cox during January 2017. Then a new doctor and new treatment plan helped to improve my health during January, so I was going to live longer and in better health.

February 2017, I decided to restore Cox, but for Internet only. Using only one of the three offered services cost more by itself than with one of the other services or all three services on a “Bundle” deal – or so it appeared. I was told Internet by itself would cost $55.55 but then it was increased to $67.98 without explanation. “Free installation” since they would ship the modem to me and I’d hook it up myself – I knew how from previous use during 2016. Cox normally charges $50 for professional installation – per service, even if more than one is done at the same time. So if Internet and TV were to be professionally installed it would cost $100.oo total, not $50 for both at the same time. I was not told I’d be charged $20 for shipping the modem and “Self Activation Kit” to me. I was lied to. I was told free shipping. Only $2.45 was the total of Taxes, Fees, and Surcharges. Grand total $90.43 due February 26. However, I was told I’d have 30 days from activation date – when I’d hook up the modem and gain access – to pay the bill. Activation was February 7, so I should have had to March 7 to pay it. Another customer service lie. Customer service makes deals and then accounting and billing people break the deals and then jack it up.

Separating the $20 shipping charge for the modem from the bill, I’d then be billed $70.43 per month just for Cox Internet service. I called back to complain about that and to request my former deal of about $114 per month for TV and Internet. Cox refused. I was told that former offer is no longer available. However, the lady I talked to that time offered a better deal to “Bundle” TV and Internet and Phone service for just over $100 per month – slightly less than the $114 that I was paying for TV and Internet without the phone service during 2016. So I accepted that. I was told I’d get free professional installation for all 3 at the same time, instead of $50 each for $150 installation charges, and that part of it turned out to be true – I was never charged for the professional installation.

I had the Internet only deal for only one week. Activation was February 7. The new “Bundle” deal was installed and activated February 15. It should have replaced the former Internet only deal. The online bill was $90.43 due February 26 instead of March 7. The paper bill sent was $90.43 due February 26. Then the online bill was changed to $21.11 due February 26. I paid it via one-time online payment with my VISA debit card. My Cox account online then showed a balance due of ZERO until this morning March 7. So it was paid in full until today. I assumed the former $90.43 bill for Internet only was canceled by the new “Bundle” service deal.

This morning Tuesday March 7, I went online to see if the March bill had been posted. It had. It showed I owe $265.58 due by March 26. About an hour later, someone in Cox billing changed it to $267.88 and then corrected to $276.88 due by March 26. No explanation for the additional $11.30 added to my bill, and at that point I concluded the billing people are grossly incompetent.

I complained by email to Cox “Executive Escalations” handling this kind of complaint. No reply yet. Usually they are good at fixing major problems like this unexpectedly excessive bill.

Billing details now show a previous balance of $90.43 less $21.11 payment received February 15 for a remaining previous balance of $69.32.

On the new bill today is $101.49 for TV plus $37.98 for Internet plus $28.88 for phone = $168.35 – less $49.98 Bundle Savings = $118.37 due March 26. I believed of the $101.49 for TV $7.50 is for the Movie Pak I added, and $8.98 for two movies rented On Demand. The former TV amount agreed to before I added Movie Pak and rented two movies On Demand was $85.01 total. So $101.89 was the amount Cox customer service told me I’d have to pay each month for the Bundle deal for TV, Internet, and phone.

However, the new bill separates the rented movies On Demand now listed as Usage Charges TV, for $8.98 added to the bill instead of include in the $101.49 for TV “Contour 200+ Channels” service. The $7.50 for added Movie Pak is not listed in line-by-line billing details.

Also added to the new bill is a separate listing of $42.63 for Taxes, Fees, and Surcharges! In the past, they were detailed within the monthly charge. Now separated like the On Demand movies rented. The $101.49 for TV should have included the Movie Pak and On Demand rented movies, as well as the Taxes, Fees, and Surcharges. So Cox is now jacking up the total by adding Taxes, Fees, and Surcharges separate instead of including them, and have added new charges to those.

There is a section for “Partial Monthly Services” and it is a mess. It’s bizarre. It includes “Cox TV Starter” for $19.92 plus “Expanded Service” for $45.93 plus “Advanced TV Service” for $3.47 plus Movie Pak for 1.25 (instead of $7.50 listed for per amount special for 12 months), plus “Preferred Internet Service” for $25.99 then LESS “Extended Internet Service” subtracting $51.99 charge, then adding “Premier Feature Pak” $13.86 that I did not order, plus “Unlimited Long Distance” $17.33 on the phone deal, LESS “Cox Digital Telephone Package Discount” of $61.52 subtracted from the bill, LESS “Federal Excise Tax Credit” $0.96 subtracted, plus “Basic Monthly Service $18.20 (apparently for phone), plus $7.79 for “Voice Mail” I don’t have, and the worst of all is $30.33 added to the bill for “Unlimited Long Distance to Mexico”!!! WHAT A SCAM!!! When in phone hell would I ever make a call to Mexico?

Last is the Taxes, Fees, and Surcharges section of the online bill…

TV and Internet Taxes, Fees and Surcharges:

County Sales Tax $0.02
City Sales Tax $0.32
State Sales Tax $0.36
FCC Fee $0.16
Franchise Fees and Taxes $10.14
Total TV and/or Internet Taxes and Fees $11.00

Telephone Taxes, Fees, and Surcharges:

Taxes
Universal Service End User Charge ($0.56)
Telecommunications Relay Fund $0.16
E911 Fee $1.18
County Sales Tax $0.21
Federal Excise Tax $2.48
City Sales Tax $3.36
State Sales Tax $3.78
Total Taxes $10.61

Fees and Surcharges
FCC Access Charge $5.44
FCC Access Charge $6.28
Inspection & Supervision Fee ($0.37)
State Universal Service Fund Fee ($1.18)
Federal Universal Service Fund ($8.55)
High Cost Fund (RES) $0.18
Regulatory Cost Recovery Fee $2.98
Inspection & Supervision $0.78
Wide Area Calling Plan $0.02
State Universal Service Fund $2.07
Universal Service Fund $13.37
Total Fees and Surcharges $21.02

Total Telephone Taxes, Fees and Surcharges $31.63

TOTAL TAXES, FEES AND SURCHARGES$42.63

What is the “Telecommunications Relay Fund” nonsense?

I’m charged the FCC Access Charge twice – two different amounts.

More nonsense includes the “Universal Service Fund” charge.

A lot of “Creative Accounting” in the Fees and Surcharges section I’ve never seen before, but that’s for the phone service.

Cox pushes the phone service for the “Bundle” deal. The “Bundle” discount is $49.98 – but then the excessive Fees and Surcharges takes most of that back, although the taxes are not bad, for a $42.63 total – a difference of $7.35 still saved.

Because Cox customer service could not be honest with me about what it would really cost me each month, and I can’t afford the difference, I’m forced to terminate Cox and to refuse to pay the difference – it can be settled by a judge in a court of law if it comes to that. There’s already been legal action by some states against some cell phone companies for tacking on bizarre made-up charges under Fees and Surcharges to grossly inflate the bills. That is why I use Tracfone and only pay as I go – one $20 card purchased for 60 minutes and 30 days each month – but Tracfone for the kind of cell phone I have doubles the minutes and length of service 0- so for $20 I get 120 minutes and 60 days.

Cox phone service $28.88 listed on the bill is really $59.21 with $30.33 Taxes, Fees, and Surcharges added to it!!! A service I really don’t need, don’t want, but must be included for the “Bundle” discount.

Cox has psychotic billing and greed on steroids. Also, Cox customer service and accounting/billing is extremely dishonest.

I will never do business with Cox again.

Business Review by Jim Lantern [my Internet pen name]

LANTERN TIMEGLASS JOURNAL
Tuesday 2:15pm CT, 7 March 2017

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