Brian Morgan of Reading, Ohio was a long time Time Warner Cable customer, who like millions of people became a Spectrum cable customer last year.
He said Spectrum was great at first, with faster internet speeds than ever before. But then came the bill.
"Spectrum took over, and right away there was a $5.50 rate increase, with no warning or anything," Morgan said.
Worse, he says, when his old Time Warner promo deal recently ended, his bill took another jump.
"It was going to go up from $165 a month to $190," he said.
So he called but said Spectrum customer service no longer negotiated a new promotional plan with him like Time Warner's service used to do.
"I said 'I've been with you guys 30 years, and that's the best you can do?' They said, 'Take it or leave it,'" he said.
Many customers complaining
Morgan's complaint is being echoed all over the Cincinnati area.
Since March 1, WCPO 9 on Your Side has heard from more than a two dozen Spectrum customers who say their bill has just gone up anywhere from $3 a month to $30 a month.
- Lori Zimmer emailed to say "my bill went up $20, to $180."
- Brad Williamson said "our bill just went up from $170 to $185."
- Bob Weidlich said "our bill went up $30 this month."
We contacted Spectrum, where spokesman Michael Pedelty explained that about half of the company's Cincinnati customers are seeing approximately an approximately $1 increase this month in each of the following fees:
- Broadcast TV surcharge (the fee to show local stations)
- Spectrum receiver (which is required on every TV)
- DVR service
So your bill should be up about $4 - $10. depending on how many receivers and DVR's you have in your home.
Pedelty said, however, that if you are coming off an expiring Time Warner promo, your rate adjustment could be as high as $30.
What you can do
If the latest price hike is too much for you, you have several options. (Remember that Spectrum will not negotiate new promo packages as Time Warner did).
1. Call Spectrum and ask about downgrading a tier, such as from their Gold to Silver, or Silver to Basic plan. You will lose a number channels --such as some ESPN sports channels, MTV, VH-1, and a few more -- but you may be able to cut that bill $25 a month.
2. If you rarely use your DVR, and instead watch your shows on demand, cancel the DVR service and save $13 a month.
3. Downgrade to internet only, and become a "cord cutter," streaming Netflix and Hulu, for instance, and paying only for internet. But be advised the standard price for internet-only service is now $65 a month, so you don't want to add to many streaming services.
4. Call Cincinnati Bell and see if Fioptics is in your neighborhood yet (they are in about 60% of Cincinnati area homes). If so, they will usually give you a first year promotion for around $100 a month for cable and local channels, phone, and high speed internet. (Thought the rate will go up after a year.)
5. Cut the cord, and I mean REALLY cut the cord. Use a wire cutter, cancel cable, and hook up a TV antenna. You will get 9 On Your Side and about 20 other over-the-air channels.
6. If you truly cut the cord, use your phone's data plan for internet. Just make sure it comes with a lot of data each month.
That was you don't waste your money.
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