Alta Sierra internet/cable customers not happy with repair delays
March 8, 2018
During last week's snowstorm, the Suddenlink line on Alta Sierra Drive came down just after midnight Friday, cutting internet and phone access to customers in the area around Highway 49.
The line was reportedly fixed late Tuesday afternoon, but some customers still were reporting no internet service nearly a week after the incident.
According to Suddenlink's disgruntled customers, what really grated was the company's lack of communication — not just in this instance, but as a matter of course. One complainant went so far as to post a sign that read "Boycot (sic) Suddenlink!," which subsequently was posted on social media and garnered 140 comments.
Customer Rachel Nelson said Suddenlink "abruptly" closed its local office last year and complained of the company's "severe lack of customer service in our county;" the closest office now is in Truckee.
Wendy Voss, who lives across the street from the downed cable line, said she has had enough of Suddenlink after being a customer for about a year.
Voss said the line came down early Friday morning.
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"We did see (a Suddenlink truck) late Friday night, then nothing," she said. "Every time we would call, we couldn't reach a live agent. It literally hangs up on you. There have been no calls, no communication."
According to Voss, a subcontractor was on scene Monday, but nothing was fixed.
"My biggest complaint is that there is no customer service," she said. "We're not given any answers. There's no reliability, no dependability."
Voss said she had no other options because Comcast and AT&T don't serve her area.
"We're stuck," she said. "They've got the monopoly."
Denise Sanborn, who lives close to Highway 49, said her internet finally was restored around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Sanborn, who works from home, said she had to use her cell phone as a hot spot to work for the five days she was without service, to the tune of about $50.
Several customers said they got conflicting statements from technicians at the scene, with one man being told the only people qualified to do the repair work from the storm damage were the "construction crew" based in Truckee. They weren't able to leave the project they were on until it was complete, he was told.
Others were told the delay was due to waiting for a PG&E repair, a claim repeated to The Union by a Suddenlink representative.
"Earlier this week, we received reports of a tree down which caused damage and required significant resources to repair," wrote Ashwin Bhandari in an email. "Our crews worked hard to repair the damage and restore service to those impacted, including working with the local power company which had to do their own repairs before we could begin our efforts."
But according to Kevin Windrom, the phone and power lines had been repaired by the middle of the afternoon Friday, while the Suddenlink cable remained in the middle of the road for four more days.
"I was without service for almost a week and they couldn't tell me why, or when it would be fixed," he said.
Adding insult to injury, even after the repair, Windrom and some other customers still were without internet service.
And Suddenlink told those customers if they wanted a technician to fix the problem, they would have to pay a $65 service call charge or sign up for a $7/month service plan for at least six months.
"They said I had too much signal," Windrom said, adding that apparently the cable that was installed to replace the old cable was overloading the modem — which was provided by Suddenlink.
Suddenlink did not provide an explanation for why some customers were being charged for a service call.
"All service has been restored and if customers have questions they can reach out to us," Bhandari said. "We appreciate our customers' patience as we worked in a safe manner on the ground in our Suddenlink community to restore service."
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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