The Predatory Practices of TVCable in Ecuador

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This is not a p2p issue that should be part of the p2pfoundation wiki, but I'm going to use my founders privilege in this case.

Well, you shouldn't Michel. --Jorgeandr3s (talk) 17:06, 15 April 2014 (UTC)


Michel Bauwens:

"Apologies if this doesn't seem as a world-important matter deserving space, but I need to get this off my chest. It is both a warning to people who may want to engage in contracts here in Ecuador and an example of what citizens are facing with certain type of companies. My engagement with TVCable has been one nightmare from beginning to end, and never have I been able to find a single employee, by phone or physical, who was of any help to solving the problems.

Here is the story, without names, dates and technical details which can be verified through my contracts. If you contemplate signing a contract, not only can this happen to you, it probably will happen to you.

In February a German roomate (January-March) decided to take a subscription to TVCable, informing the company (the commercial representative) of the short duration of this stay and the possibility of having the contract transferred to me after his departure. He was assured that this was no problem. After his departure, as soon as I noticed the message for payment (on the TV screen itself, no invoices or emails were sent), I went to immediately pay for this subscription. I turned out I was three days late. I discovered this because all english channels the previous subscriber had paid for had been removed, making the subscription useless for me. After three different phone calls to the commercial service of about 40 minutes each, they refused to renew the conditions of the subscription, and I had to stop paying for my roommate's subscription. The result is that TVCable is losing a subscription, and the machinery that belongs to it, which doesn't even make good commercial sense. The roommate cancelled the subscription by email, which was refused (the contract cannot be halted before twelve months).

I must admit I made a stupid decision then, I went to talk to a commercial representative, and decided to take a new subscription, starting the first of April. To my surprise, they came to install it the weekend before (without taking away, and as they couldn't confirm the time of installation, my family and I had the stay home nearly the whole day. We paid a rather expensive subscription which included internet and access to english news channels, really the only reason I need a TV access at all here (the nearest place to get an english newspaper is five miles away and I have to much work online to do news-reading online). I am too ashamed to tell how much we paid, included an extra $20 'foreigner fee', which amounts to double the pricing schemes that are normal in Europe and Asia.

After just 4 days, access to the english channels was again cut .. during the week following this we went to the physical office of TVCable three times, each time we were told that computer systems were not functioning, and to come back the next day. Keep in mind that I have long working days and that each trip cuts about 3 hours of working time. This Monday, after 10 days with broken service, we discovered that both the TV and internet had been disabled. Finally, despite our bad experiences with the phone-based customer service before, we decided to call. It turns out that our service had been cut because we failed to pay, hold on to your seats here, $2.14 for the use of the service before April 1st … So here we are, paying a very expensive subscription, not being warned about this at all, and not receiving the paid service after 4 days, and totally cut after 15 days. Since I have experience with the previous service, I already know what is coming next: they will claim that since I didn't pay on time, the conditions of the contract are invalid, and all the extra channels won't be provided anyway. In addition, I would have to go to a special payment office, losing another 3 hours.

Needless to say, I feel they are in breach of contract, since I am not getting what I paid for. In fact, given all the heartbreak, I feel it is TV/Cable which owes me moral damages, and the return of payments for non-delivery of payments. Now they just lost a second subscription, and the machinery that goes with it. As I said, these predatory practices don't even make commercial sense. But the real question is: how can a progressive government like the one in Ecuador, accept that such practices are normal and accepted ?"