The Best Guide to Cable Packages and Alternatives

Charter Cable Packages

Charter cable packages have earned something of a poor reputation. In this article, I will discuss some of the benefits of the company's packages, but also discuss some of the issues that have plagued the company in recent years.

Charter Bundles and Deals Info

Charter cable deals appear to be some of the best available on the internet. Like many companies, they provide a number of different services including high speed internet, multiple television channels and telephone. The advertised prices are the following:

  • Triple Play Bundles: Like many companies, they offer triple play bundles. These appear to be inexpensive, costing $74.97 to $99.97 for the first twelve months of a two-year contract. All include unlimited calling within the United States, while only the $99.97 package includes high definition television. Internet speeds range from 1 MB per second up to 12 MB per second, include the Charter Security Suite, which is on the low end of internet connections, but suffient for most needs.
  • Double Bundles: Charter also has a number of bundles of two features together. Curiously, television plus phone is not an option, but they have a telephone plus internet option that runs at $64.98 per month for twelve months, which includes their 12 MB per second internet and unlimited national calling. There are also Charter internet and television options at either $44.98 per month or $79.98 per month for the first twelve months. Curiously, both include the high speed internet, and the difference is between the more basic cable and their high definition cable.

Notice something about these bundles though. I have given only the price for the first twelve months of service. Finding the price after twelve months can be a bit of a chore. First, you’ll need to actually tell them where you live, using either your phone number or street address. Even then, it might be unclear. When researching their cheapest bundle, I got half-way through the order process and it still had not told me how much the plan would cost after the first year. Charter special deals, therefore, are largely opaque in terms of how much they cost.

Some History of Charter Communications, Inc.

Charter Communications has receives largely poor reviews and does not rank well compared to other digital cable companies. In fact, Charter communications was criticized by the Better Business Bureau in 2007:

“The Better Business Bureau has received numerous complaints regarding this cable, digital TV, and high speed internet access provider. Complainants primarily allege that the firm had improper billing practices, referred customer bills to collection agencies in error, provided poor customer service, used misleading advertising, provided defective internet or cable performance, used improper sales tactics or misrepresented the actual costs of installation and service, failed to properly install or maintain service, damaged customers’ property, and failed to honor service appointments. These allegations are reflected in the complaint statistics below.” source

This is a rather damning critique, and the problems with misrepresentations of cost seem to continue. Their general disclaimer says: “Standard rates apply after promotion ends. Installation, taxes, fees and surcharges are extra. Equipment may be required and charges may apply.” Source. Which fees, surcharges and charges are they speaking of? It doesn’t say. This doesn’t bode well, especially because they will charge $150 if you leave the contract early, a contract whose actual amounts might be unclear.

Charter has been having a lot of financial difficulties, which may be the cause of some of the lack of service. In fact, the company filed for bankrupcy protection in 2009. They have also had difficulty striking deals with various sports channels, so you should make sure they have the programming you want. This sort of difficulty may explain why some of their service infrastructure has eroded, but there is little excuse for the difficulty in finding the actual cost of their online offers. At first, it appears that they have the best cable deals for internet, phone and television but that seems to not actually be the case.

My suggestion then, is to pass on charter phone, internet and television deals in favour of another company with a good reputation like Time Warner Cable or even a local company from your metro area. In a few years, this may change, but the financial news coming from Charter is just not very good.

More information is available on their official site.

Related Posts:

Charter Cable Internet Packages: Charter Cable Internet Packages are available in five speeds from the Lite at 1Mbps to the Ultra60 at 60 Mbps though these options may not be as simple as they appear.

Charter Cable TV Packages: When purhcasing Charter Cable TV packages one can save a great deal bundling, but their customer service record might dissuade you.