The city of Lexington is demanding officials with Charter Communications and Spectrum come to a public hearing to address the company’s performance and also wants access to the company’s complaint files and other records.
In a letter dated Wednesday, Lexington Chief Administrative Officer Sally Hamilton told the cable company the number of customer complaints the city has received about Spectrum and Charter Communications continues to mount. Those complaints include widespread rate hikes and the termination of 56 customer service employees at its Lexington office.
“The city is left wondering what abuse will be heaped upon it next by Charter-Spectrum,” the letter said.
Charter, operating as Spectrum, provides telephone, cable and internet services in Fayette County.
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This is the second letter the city of Lexington has sent Charter demanding answers about complaints of shoddy customer service. The city sent Charter and Spectrum a letter in late May asking the company to respond to a host of problems Fayette County cable customers have reported to the city about the cable giant.
The company responded on June 5. That letter assured the city that “quality customer service is of the utmost importance to Charter.” The letter also highlighted several initiatives Charter has started in Lexington including $3.1 million in infrastructure improvements, construction of 860 outdoor WiFi hotspots and the launch of a low-cost internet option for low-income residents whose children receive free or reduced-price lunch and to low-income seniors.
The letter, obtained by the Herald-Leader, also said it was reminding all its customer service agents that customers were allowed to speak to a supervisor. The letter said it would provide the city with additional information regarding its Lexington call center and its location on Palumbo Drive “in the near future.”
The city signed a cable franchise agreement with Charter and Spectrum in 2014. That cable franchise agreement gives the city very limited authority over the cable company. A provision in the cable franchise agreement allows the city to hold a public “Performance Evaluation Session.” At that session, Hamilton told Charter and Spectrum officials that they wanted company officials to address a variety of issues that range from general complaints to specific allegations including:
▪ The removal of channels from basic cable and how many Lexington citizens were affected.
▪ The recent rate hikes and how many customers were affected.
▪ Why Charter has lowered internet speeds it publicly offers.
▪ How many times has Charter-Spectrum used door-to-door sales techniques to induce mentally impaired individuals who are legally unable to sign contracts into signing contracts.
▪ Is Charter still allowing people to return cable equipment via U.S. mail?
The letter also says that a separate section of the franchise agreement allows the city the option of inspecting Charter’s complaint records and how Charter responded to those complaints. The city is also requesting other documents and reports from Charter.
An official with Spectrum and Charter did not immediately return an email asking for comment.
Hamilton’s letter does not set a specific date for the performance hearing.
In the letter, Hamilton asked the company to respond quickly so the hearing could be set.
“Because of the public urgency regarding Charter’s actions regarding its Spectrum service, we insist on a swift response to this letter,” Hamilton wrote.