The service went out about 3 p.m. at the very start of the University of Iowa's Big Ten basketball game in Iowa City against Michigan - an exciting game between the Hawkeyes and Wolverines that went into overtime. Only thing, many Cherokee Mediacom subscribers missed everything, including the opening hour of the Iowa State High School Wrestling Championships, PGA Golf, college and NBA basketball, local news, and any and all other programming, until the TV service came back on a little before 7 p.m.
The frustration of no TV service - a continual and re-ocurring problem for Mediacom subscribers in Cherokee since the cable TV supplier came to town - is only matched by the lame excuses and falsehoods uttered by the alleged "customer service" representatives that subscribers are funneled to after a lengthy series of jumping through the countless hoops and divulging the final four numbers of their Social secutiry number to finally reach a live person.
After continual telephone confrontations Saturday with Mediacom customer service representatives who refused to pass callers on to anyone in management, subscribers were told there were "multiple upstream issues" involved in the outage, and that "650 units" were affected.
The representatives refused to explain what "multiple upstream issues" were, saying that "Paying customers don't need to know that. We have high-tech equipment only our technicians understand." They also refused to define what a "unit" was after being asked repeatedly.
The first subscriber who called was told by another "customer service" representative that he must be mistaken because nobody else had called to complain about an outage. She said she needed three calls from the same area before the matter could be investigated and a technician summoned. She asked how many TVs were in the household and if they were experiencing an outage, too.
Another customer service representative said "Cherokee is not one of our big problem areas."
When advised that Cherokee does indeed have re-ocurring cable TV outages and picture tiling problems on a pretty-much regular basis, there was silence.
The customer service representatives also said there was no prognosis on when the problem would be fixed and repeatedly refused to pass the callers on to a supervisor or someone in management. "It's a weekend!" exclaimed one representative regarding his refusal to contact someone in management.
After being repeatedly pressured, the customer service reps said they would credit the account for one day in the amount of "about $2."
While the cable TV service was down Saturday afternoon, the Chronicle Times telephoned several Cherokee residents asking if they had an outage at the time. All said they did and most said they refuse to call to complain because they don't want to jump through the many telephone hoops to finally reach a live person, and when the do, they get "lies" and no satisfaction from the customer service reps.
"it's just not worth it," said one elderly lady. "I just sit and wait for it to come back on again. I hate to miss my favorite programs that I pay a lot for, but what can we do?"
A check on the Internet reveals that Mediacom has service in 22 states and is the largest cable company in Iowa.
Consumer Reports, a public watchdog magazine, ranks Mediacom 15th of 16 in TV service, 24th of 27 in Internet service, and last of 23 in telephone service.