My Experience Switching To Cable/Digital Phone Service

So we moved recently.

Among the many things we had to switch to our new home was our cable TV connection which also includes our internet connection.  Since the cable provider is the same where we moved it would only be a matter of letting the cable company know about the new location so they can send a technician to set everything up.

When my wife called up the cable company the salesperson offered a cable/internet phone line as part of a package with cable service and the broadband internet which would save us money on our phone bill.  Sounded good and we would also get a few months free of premium channels.  We were also told that we would get to keep our old phone number which is what really sold it for us.  We didn’t want to have to change our number if we could avoid it.

The technician comes on the day appointed.  He did a great job putting in the new cable line and setting everything up, especially since we had boxes all over the place.

As he’s testing the phone line he tells me what the new phone number will be….WHAT?!?  We’re not supposed to get a new number.  Tech guy says there’s nothing he can do and that I would need to call the cable company.  Ughh.

I call up the cable company.

At first they don’t even see on the order that we were supposed to have our phone number ported over.  After much complaining I’m told that I’ll be put on with a supervisor who may be able to help.  Let me pause for a sec – ever notice how some companies have the worst music while you are on hold?  And it just repeats and repeats to the point where it’s stuck in your head the rest of the day?  Anyway, 10-15 minutes later I’m still waiting for someone to pick up the line.  I’ll hang up and call back going through the entire process again.  This time I get to speak to a supervisor who tells me that my number can’t be brought over because it’s in a different rate center.  I let her know that if we had known this we would not have signed up and that the salesperson should have told us the details.  She tells me there may be something she could do but she would have to speak to her tech team and call me back the next day.  It was well past five at this point so I said ok.

The next day comes and goes and I get no call from the cable company.  I would have called them in the afternoon but things were hectic that day.

The next, next day I call back and go through all of the phone choices and salespeople again.  This time I’m put through with a person in the tech area.  This person again explains that they can’t transfer the number because it’s in a different rate center (can someone tell me what a rate center is?!?).  The number is available to transfer but the phone company is not allowing it.

Ok, this is a little more information.  Maybe we’re getting somewhere?  He also suggests that I try to have the phone company transfer our number to our new home first.  If we could do that there may be a better chance that the cable company could transfer the number to their service.

So now I’m calling our phone company.

We didn’t cancel our service yet because we expected it to be taken care of by the cable company.  I give the phone associate my information and that we would need to have our number transferred to our new location.

She looks up the information and then tells me the number can’t be brought over because it’s in a different exchange area.  You know in a phone number, 555-1234, the 555 part is the exchange area.  Where we moved to has a different exchange area so they can’t let us keep the old number.  Ahhh, this makes sense now.  Why couldn’t the cable company explain it this way?!?

OK, we can’t keep the number.

I cancel our phone service with the phone company.  At this point we’re keeping the cable phone number since their service will save us money and we would have to get a new number anyway.

After many phone calls, many days, and a whole lot of frustration were back to square one but at least now I know why.  The cable company could have prevented a lot of this frustration by being more upfront with the possibility that we would get a new phone number and by better explaining why we couldn’t get our old number.  Really, they could have explained the whole situation to me in five minutes.

If you are considering changing your phone service make sure you know all of the details! If you are in the same home then you wouldn’t encounter the same issue I had with a new number but if you are moving you should find out whether your number will change.

So far we haven’t had any problems with our new phone service.  I have to admit though that we have been using our cell phones a lot and not many people know our new number yet.

One interesting detail is that when someone calls the number appears on the television as a caller ID.  It’s a strange thing to hear the phone ring and see a number pop up on the TV!

What are your experiences with cable phone lines?

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Published or updated July 14, 2013.


  1. Let me guess….Comcast?
    .-= David´s last blog ..Best Places To Start A Business. =-.

    • Actually it’s not Comcast. So far as I know they aren’t even an option in Queens, NY. But it is one of the big conglomerates.

  2. One URL:

    I’ve been using them since March 2006 after I switched from Comcast. They’ve fulfilled every single promise. My number was ported in the promised 15 days and my experience with Customer Care (in the one time I’ve ever had to call) was outstanding.

    A big plus is their new World Plan that gives free, unlimited calling to landlines in 42 countries worldwide and free calls to cellphones in 10 of them. Obviously, US, Mexico and Canada are always free.

    No location dependencies – wherever you have a broadband line, your phone’s good to go. Also, they give you the router free and there’s tons of free features to match.

    Comcast has been trying to lure me back to their Digital Voice for the last two years, but I’m not budging.

    • I’ll admit I was skeptical when I first heard of Vonage years ago. I’m with another carrier now but I’ll definitely look into them if we decide to switch. I have to do some research on Skype as well.

    • I was skeptical too, to be honest especially because a rival service called SunRocket went bust – after a lot of members signed up for a prepaid yearly plan and Vonage was in legal difficulties with Verizon’s lawsuit.

      But I’ve had great service from Vonage at $24.99 a month + taxes which is actually about $31.00 a month. Best of all, if you get a friend to refer you, both get two months service free.

      I loved that option and got several friends to try them out over the years.

  3. Ditto on Vonage, love them. However, someone still has to provide internet service, and I am dreading a switch to Comcast when I move in 3 weeks.
    .-= David´s last blog ..Living Below Your Means Does Not Mean Living Poorly. =-.

    • I so wish getting a a broadband signal was cheaper! I imagine in a few years there will be more choices and they will be be more reliable and cheaper. We’ll see. Good luck on your move! I know what a toll it can take both physically and mentally!

  4. I had a HORRIBLE experience with Cablevision (WHO I HATED even prior to the experience). After the 12th phone call of telling them I am not interested because I have a ghost line (one jack, but 2 separate numbers – one is for a fax, wife works from home) I finally get some smart telemarketer who tells me, “We can do that now”

    So, we went through a bunch of numbers and I would be saving a significant amount of money per year, so I said lets go for it – I schedule an appointment. THEY NEVER SHOW UP!

    I then get an automated message from a computer voice apologizing and to please hold to reschedule. I WENT APE SH!T on the CSR who picked up. I was home – THEY JUST NEVER SHOWED AND DIDN”T CALL! They gave me free HBO for 3 months so I calmed down and then they went to reschedule, well this time they showed up.

    The Tech gets there, I explain what I needed (ghost line) – Tech looks at me and says they can’t do that! I asked him to leave, and then again got on the phone with Cablevision and told them to take me off of EVERY list they have.

    I wish I had another choice for internet provider and TV!
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..Carnival of Money Stories 2 #23 =-.

    • And this is the problem – these companies have sales people whose incentive is to makes sales and get their commissions rather than giving correct information to the consumer! Unfortunately there aren’t many options in most areas.

  5. I had similar, terrible experiences with Comcast. When we moved to the next town, I knew we’d have to get new TV/phone/Internet service, either Cablevision or FIOS (we went with FIOS). But for them to not tell you, in plain English, that you couldn’t port your phone number because of the exchange difference is ridiculous. I know you can’t do so with the regular phone company, but I wouldn’t have known it wasn’t possible with a cable company, either.

  6. Hi FFB,

    My first comment on your blog.
    Welcome to Queens 😉 fellow NYC blogger!

    I know exactly who your cable company is, I’m with them for broadband as well. I only have the data plans and signed up with a third party for VOIP that gives me international calls free (to numerous countries).

    I got my number transferred from Verizon without any problems. I tested the VOIP for about a month, with a number they provided. Then I asked them to port my old number into my VOIP and it happened without a hitch. I’m not sure why you could not port it, since there was a law that was signed that gives you that right to port anywhere. I believe there will be a charge for number porting though, if it has not happened already.

    • Glad to see you here! Been in Queens most of my life actually, just moved around a bunch.

      I’ll have to look into that law but maybe it pertains to numbers that aren’t from a particular exchange? Or maybe only to cell numbers? This is my original phone provider that isn’t allowing me to port. IF we could have done it with a charge we might have but we were told it wasn’t allowed at all.

  7. I have only been awake for an hour and yours is the THIRD blog post I’ve read about TERRIBLE customer experiences with large companies.

    I am new to Twitter, but i have heard that Tweeting about your bad experiences with a company can really help – have you considered Tweeting the name of the company along with a link to this story?

    Its so discouraging to always hear how awful it is for smart people to get simple transactions done with large companies. Shouldn’t competition make these corps value customer service? Instead I feel like these horror stories remind me of my image of Russia in the 80’s – long lines for one loaf of bread!!!

    To end on a high note, I will say my phone, www and mobile are all through Verizon and tho they may not be the cheapest their customer services has always been excellent.

    • I considered revealing the name of the company but I’d rather write about positive companies in general. If I didn’t get a resolution then I might have taken it further. With the cable company, their problem was they didn’t explain the process well enough. The actual product service seems to be fine so I don’t want to knock them too much.

      I hear you about competition. Those companies with better customer service should see more loyal customers but really what is the competition? I have only one or two alternatives to the cable company. They hold the market share right now and can afford to not bend over backwards. To be somewhat fair, the people I talked to there were all nice they just didn’t give me good enough info.

  8. When we moved last year, I too switched my phone service to my cable provider. It took forever to change my homephone over because the previous phone carrier dragged their feet. Once the phone number issue was worked out I never had a problem with the service. In the long run, the plan didn’t save me much money. I would encourage you to think about dropping your LAN line. We did that a couple of months ago and we haven’t missed it. Doing so, did save us some money.

    • With the time it took for us to get this all worked out we were just working on our cell phones. It certainly made us think about dropping the line all together. We’re not quite ready yet but I can see it happening.

  9. How awful!!!

    This is why I am super careful about choosing who I go with because I truly, truly hate switching providers, even for a good deal

    There is always some catch and clause somewhere…

    Especially with telephones or cellphones, where the number is very important.

  10. ever since I switched to the triple play from roadrunner I have been very happy.i saved 35 dollars a month . I had IDT phone service with taxes at 60.00 a month.

  11. I am finding that more and more companies are just simply downright lying to us. Each person has their own horror story, particularly when it comes to the telecoms. After having more and more channels disappear while Cablevision kept on raising its rates, I finally looked into pulling the cable completely. It was the only bill that truly raised my blood pressure every month. We put up an antenna, got the HDTV boxes with the government coupons this summer, and voila – free TV! If you live anywhere in or near the major cities, you should try it. What I did first was keep a log of what we really loved to watch, and discovered it was basically Channels 7and 5 in our area, plus 3 PBS channels. Then I unhooked the cable from one TV in the den and hooked up a set of rabbit-ears, just to try it. I was really amazed at how good the picture was – and discovered that with HDTV, each channel sends out from 3 to 5 different channel offerings now. Your cable companies will not tell you this. This means that we get about 65 channels totally free. All we have for phone service is a basic landline, and we have dial-up internet service through my husband’s union at $8.25 a month. Is this all super-fast, cool-tech? No, but we were both able to take early retirement and are enjoying it immensely. And nothing felt as good as calling Cablevision and telling them to cut the connection to our house!

    • You know, we had one weekend where the cable went out and we were totally ready to ditch the whole thing. Not having cable for the weekend really made us look at it differently. Still not totally ready to cut ties though but we are increasingly upset and more open to other options out there.

      • Our family has gone without Cable TV for a long time.
        I find that we mostly watch things online now.
        That plus OTA DTV, kids mostly watch the PBS cartoons and DVDs

        I don’t miss the commercials one bit. I prefer to watch most of my shows on Hulu, with very minimal commercial interruptions 🙂

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