Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Cablevision/Optimum Complaint: A Negligent Failure to Protect Children

"Dad, do we still have Optimum?"
As parents, we work very hard to keep our children out of harm's way. When they're infants we keep them warm and clean and fed. When they're toddlers we install child-safe devices on doors and cabinets and keep prescriptions with child-proof caps out of reach. We read to them and help them with their homework. As they grow older, we talk with our children about the dangers of alcohol and drugs, cigarettes, and unprotected sex.

A single dad certainly doesn't expect to have the vendors and products he brings into his family's home create additional dangers, but that's exactly what has happened to at least one single dad when Cablevision's Optimum (now Altice USA's Optimum) television service failed to protect his child.

Office of the Attorney General
Eric T. Schneiderman
The Capitol
Albany, NY 12224-0341

Re:  Cablevision/Optimum Complaint: A Negligent Failure to Protect Children

Dear Mr. Schneiderman:

In 2014, I was a customer of Cablevision/Optimum television service. Using the Cablevision/Optimum website, which had been recommended in the company’s own tutorial, I established parental controls including password-protected time, rating, and channel exclusions. I verified that the parental controls worked and prevented my children from accessing what I considered to be inappropriate programming. However, at some point, those parental controls failed and Cablevision/Optimum gave me no notification of the failure.

As a result of the failure of Cablevision/Optimum’s parental controls, my then nine year old son accessed inappropriate programming, including pay-per-view, during a period that began on June 14, 2014 and ended when I discovered the failure on June 25, 2014.

I terminated my account with Cablevision/Optimum and have subsequently returned all of Cablevision/Optimum’s equipment and paid all balances with the exception of $177.95, which represents the charges related to pay-per-view charges. In spite of numerous phone calls and correspondence, Cablevision/Optimum has refused to take responsibility for the failure citing, “It wasn’t our equipment.” I am unclear whether the company’s explanation suggests it does not take responsibility for the cable boxes it leases to customers or whether they do not take responsibility for its own Internet applications because those applications are accessed using customers’ personal computers.

Regardless, Cablevision/Optimum has not explained how it will prevent similar service failures that may result in children accessing inappropriate and potentially psychologically damaging programming. In addition, Cablevision/Optimum has continued to hold me responsible for the $177.95 cost of the programming that my son accessed and referred the balance to a third-party collector, which threatened to report me to credit rating agencies.

Very truly yours,

Xxxxxx X. Xxxxxxxxx

C:            Better Business Bureau


So, let's review: The customer used the Optimum/Altice 
Third-Rate Optimum: Parked on a customer's lawn.
Internet application to establish parental controls. The parental controls worked, but then failed. The customer's nine year old son was able to access inappropriate content. Optimum/Altice denied responsibility and refused to credit the purchases to the customer's account.

A guy doesn't have to look find hundreds of other complaints about Cablevision/Optimum/Altice. Donald of Norwalk, Connecticut writes, "There is no rating low enough to fit Optimum from Cablevision. Packed with lies and misinformation."I do not recommend the service from Cablevision to anybody," writes Niraj from Jackson, New Jersey. "Please get any other service and avoid Cablevision . . ." To read the scores of other customer complaints, visit the Consumer Affairs web pages, including Consumer Affairs: Optimum Complaints and Reviews and Consumer Affairs: Cablevision Complaints and Reviews.

Optimum: Unsafe for Children
The Cablevision/Altice Optimum brand is, in my humble opinion, third-rate. If you happen to be an Optimum customer, a parent of younger children, and use parental controls, then please be vigilant. Check regularly to make sure the parental controls are still working. You want to be able to make dinner or mow the lawn and not worry that the Optimum/Altice parental control stopped working. Maybe it's time to look elsewhere for television service.