Cox’s dangerous customer support stymies customers who don’t need add speeds reduce

Network cables plugged into a router.

Cox has been making it extraordinarily troublesome or unattainable for some clients to stay with their present Web speeds regardless of promising that it will not power customers onto plans with slower uploads.

As we wrote two weeks in the past, Cox informed customers with 300Mbps obtain and 30Mbps add speeds that they are going to be switched to a plan with 500Mbps downloads and 10Mbps uploads on March 3. A Cox spokesperson informed Ars on the time that clients can keep on the plan with 30Mbps uploads so long as they improve to a DOCSIS 3.1 modem. However Cox’s e mail to its clients didn’t point out this selection, and clients who referred to as Cox customer support have since been informed in no unsure phrases that they can not keep on their present plans.

A number of Cox customers from California emailed Ars about the issue after studying our article, all with comparable experiences.

“I simply obtained off the cellphone with a Cox tech rep and she or he stated that my present Final Traditional plan (300/30) goes away no matter whether or not I improve to a DOCSIS 3.1 modem or not,” a buyer whose first title is Dam and lives in Aliso Viejo, California, informed Ars on Thursday final week. “When the time is available in March, my new plan would be the new Final 500/10. I informed her about your article and she or he stated that’s not what she’s seeing in her system or listening to from her higher-ups.”

We contacted Cox about the issue on Friday final week, and a Cox spokesperson admitted that the corporate failed to make sure that gross sales reps know clients are allowed to remain on the 300/30Mbps plan.

“There clearly are some gaps that we have to deal with to keep away from this confusion,” Cox informed Ars on Monday. “We’re within the technique of retraining our frontline-facing groups to verify they’re constantly speaking the choices accessible to impacted clients, together with staying on their current plan of 300/30 as long as they improve their modem.”

As earlier than, clients will likely be mechanically switched from the 300/30Mbps plan to the five hundred/10Mbps tier except they contact customer support and demand on preserving their plan. The change to obtain and add speeds will occur no matter whether or not clients have an upgraded modem, however clients who keep on with an older modem might not get the complete 500Mbps obtain speeds. Cox, which has about 5.3 million Web clients in 19 states, says the modifications are associated to a community improve.

Cox’s customer-service screwup

The proof (together with Cox’s e mail to clients and statements from Cox gross sales reps to clients) makes it appear as if Cox did not intend to let clients preserve their 30Mbps add speeds till the corporate confronted criticism and media publicity two weeks in the past. That might clarify why customer-service reps have informed clients they have to quit the 300/30Mbps plan and why Cox is now scrambling to inform staff concerning the choice.

Nonetheless, a Cox spokesperson informed Ars that the corporate “at all times” supposed to let clients preserve the 30Mbps add speeds. If that’s true, then the corporate completely screwed up its messaging to clients and the change to its customer-service techniques.

Cox described the repair now being applied as a “retraining” in a press release to Ars yesterday:

Our frontline care brokers had been initially skilled late January forward of the primary batch of buyer communications in early February. Primarily based on the suggestions from a number of clients, together with those you shared, we’re revisiting coaching to make sure ALL clients are getting constant and proper data. To that finish, we’re within the technique of conducting refresher coaching that may run by way of the tip of this week for all our frontline staff.

As we retrain our staff, we’re ensuring they’re speaking the choices accessible to impacted clients, together with staying on their current Final Traditional plan (300/30) as long as they improve their modem. Staying on this plan was at all times an accessible choice, albeit not one which was communicated as clearly because it might have been. We wish to ensure clients clearly perceive their choices in the event that they want extra add velocity.

The five hundred/10Mbps plan is a direct alternative for the 300/30Mbps plan when it comes to value and its place inside Cox’s velocity tiers. It prices $80 a month for the primary 12 months and $100 after the promo interval expires. With the 300/30Mbps plan being discontinued, the one choice with add speeds increased than 10Mbps is the “Gigablast” plan with 940Mbps obtain speeds and 35Mbps add speeds. That plan usually prices $100 throughout the promo interval and $120 afterward, however some clients have been supplied a $92.50 promotional charge. Cox prices $12 a month for a mixed modem and router, however clients can use their very own appropriate tools to keep away from the rental price.

Cox’s e mail notifying customers of the upcoming obtain and add velocity modifications stated that clients who need add speeds above 10Mbps can “name to be taught extra about tools and our velocity plans,” however it didn’t point out the choice of staying on the identical 300/30Mbps plan. Clients who acquired this e mail and people who contact Cox earlier than the entire customer-service issues are solved should still mistakenly imagine that preserving their plan is not an choice. They might thus have their add speeds reduce to 10Mbps mechanically when the change takes impact subsequent week.

We requested Cox whether it is contacting all of those clients once more to clarify they will keep away from the upload-speed reduce, and we’ll replace this text if we get a solution. Replace at 5pm ET: Cox informed us that “we will likely be speaking to these clients to additional make clear their choices, together with the choice to remain on their 300/30 tier.”

Cox has apparently struggled to offer marketed add speeds throughout the pandemic. In June 2020, we wrote about how Cox warned some clients about “extreme” add utilization and how the corporate lowered upload speeds on the Gigablast plan from 35Mbps to 10Mbps in some total neighborhoods the place its community was having bother.

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