Cablevision Scamming People Into Getting Converter Box With Basic ServiceS

A Consumerist reader looking to hook up basic service to a cable-ready TV was told by Cablevision that a converter box would be needed "no matter what." He was also accused of being "disrespectful."

I have never been so appalled as when I called Cablevision to activate BASIC cables service for an apartment in Brooklyn. I called Cablevision on behalf of my boss's 95 year old uncle. He currently has rabbit ears providing his television signal at his fathers house. He asked me what would happen as of February 16th. I told him that if he was using an antenna to get his local channels that it would cease working as of that date. He asked me to call Cablevision and ask them to provide BASIC service as of that date.

I called Cablevision and after entering the correct prompts, I was routed to the sales department as a new customer. I gave the sales rep the address that I needed service at. After he verified that Cablevision serviced that particular building, he told me that iO service was available. I informed him that I only needed BASIC cable, channels 2-12 only. He told me no problem, I would even receive HBO and Starz free for 90 days. Again reiterated that I ONLY wanted channels 2-12. I said that I did not need a box, I only wanted to hook up signal to a cable ready tv. After talking over me, he said that Cablevision requires a box no matter what. I told him that was incorrect and that a box was not needed for local channels if you have a cable ready tv. The rep then told me that I was "disrespecting" him and that he knows what he is talking about. I then asked to speak to a supervisor as this guy had no idea what he was talking about.

I am a communicatons installer and my company not only specializes in telephones, we install and set up home theater systems as well. I could not believe what I was going through to get simple basic service from Cablevision. After waiting on old for two or three minutes a supervisor came on the line and I basically said that after speaking to your rep, he tried to sell me a box and a service that was not necessary. I didn't want a box or digital service, I just wanted BASIC service. He asked me if that was all and I said yes. He put me on hold and in another two or three minutes went by and the original representative came back on and told me that a supervisor had "approved" my request to have basic service without a converter. We finished the order and after hanging up I was absolutely floored that they would try to sell their iO service and a monthly box rental after SPECIFICALLY asking for only local channels and saying that I did not want their "free" channels. A supervisor has to "approve" having local service only??? How many people are they scamming with this obviously unfair and illegal sales tactic.

This is specifically the reason why I dumped this horrible company for Verizon Fios at my home. I would rather pay more that even give a dollar to Cablevision.

A cable company trying to scam DTV converts? Why, cable companies are known for their ethical sales practices—much like car salesman and Best Buy. I am shocked and appalled. UPDATE: It has come to our attention that some neighborhoods do require a box—but the fact that this request was eventually "approved" without a converter still raises questions. [Consumerist]