Jeff Vanderbeck

Channel- and web-surfers have their wet suits in a knot because they have unreliable service and can’t get answers from their provider. The hammer is about to come down.

Suddenlink is one of the areas providers for telephone, cable and internet. They have very little presence in the area and trying to get a local person is like getting the Democrats to like Trump. Suddenlink has been the center of contention among resident and recently the City of Pikeville and the county have hammered away at their only representative for the area, who has apparently no authority.

In business, you go where the masses are for you can maximize your profits. And it makes good business sense to provide a product that is desired, good customer service and ask a fair market price. Where a small market is concerned like Pike County, large outside companies care less if they provide good service.  

Suddenlink is a large company with millions of customers. And if you have read the papers or attended the meetings, you would have read that they don’t feel too much urgency to supply the people of this county the services for which they are being charged.

The issue reared its ugly head a few weeks ago when the cable went out during a UK game, of all times and was out for a few days in some areas. Customer service had no clue and according to people who spoke, technicians couldn’t fix the problem and the customer was charged for a service call adding insult to injury.

The city and county are demanding answers for its citizens and all they got was rhetoric from a director of government affairs for the company who can’t help and who claims Suddenlink has “approximately 339,000 customers” in Pike County.

I didn’t believe that statement until I asked our reporter to listen to his recording again and verify the comments.  Sure enough the official said that. I’m not saying that it’s not true but it’s virtually impossible for Suddenlink to have that many customers in Pike County. There are less than 65,000 people and less than 35,000 homes in the county. Even if you add up all the business and moonshine stills, you don’t come close to 339,000.

The city is considering a class action law suit as they gave harsh words to the official during its meeting. And Judge-Executive Ray Jones stopped the official in her tracks and demanded Suddenlink send someone who can fix the problem or they will sue as well.

From Suddenlink’s perspective, they are in the driver’s seat. They can send that sacrificial lamb to all the meetings to get her teeth kicked in by the consumers while they don’t have to fix the problem.

The county can threaten all they want to sue, but because the county doesn’t have the funds for a full-blown claim, so the chances are slim that it will happen.

The city has money and they may be able to file a claim, but there are so few people in the city, Suddenlink will laugh at them.

The city and the county need to join forces then call other communities in the region that have issues as they all do, and develop a large claim — strength in numbers.

This problem will not go away as long as Suddenlink has a contract. They don’t care; it’s that simple. If we are to save ourselves, we should look from within; this way when our cable goes out we can harass an official at our church or grocery store and not in some call center with a language barrier.

Thanks for reading the News-Express.

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