HBO and several program channels being drop ...
MrR3
Enthusiast - Level 1

I received a notice in programming change today. I have no problem dropping a psudo "Premium" channel that has 5-10 y/o movies and nothing new. But ... Im PAYING for this Premium  channel and the rest in my package. There is no mention of price reduction! I'm getting less for the same cost? What am I getting in return for the loss of several channels?

58 Replies
Lmkids
Newbie

Very disappointed in Verizon. I have an Ultimate package and they are removing HBO and Cinemax.  They should lower the cost instead of wanting to charge an additional $25.  Might have to go back to my original cable tv carrier. 

0 Likes
Jfinkel
Newbie

Like so many others, I’ve just discovered that I’ve been deceived by Verizon.  I responded to an recent email to take advantage of Black Friday pricing if I signed a new contract.  I did it via an online chat—it couldn’t be done over the phone—and made certain that I had the same tv package—Ultimate HD—and equipment with the new contract.  The “incentive” I was being offered was Gigabit internet and I’d save a few dollars.  

I’ve now discovered that my “new” Ultimate HD, does not include HBO.  This are now “a la carte.”  After over an hour on the phone with what Verizon calls customer service, I was told to add back HBO would cost $180 per year.  I tried to explain to the supervisor, Mrs. Robinson, that having two packages called “ultimate HD” that have different channel lineups, is at best, deceptive marketing.   I was told that it was my responsibility as a customer to know what I was buying.  I explained that the sales representative assured me that I would have all of the same services and that I had every reasonable expectation to rely on what I was told.

It’s clear that there are thousands of customers who have found themselves in this situation in recent months.  Verizon hides the fact that they’ve kept the same name for this package while offering less.  It’s even worse for those who are apparently being told that HBO is being dropped but the cost of the bundle will stay the same.  It’s not unlike some of the cereal companies that kept the same size box but decrease the amount of cereal.  Eventually, they were forced to stop that deceptive practice. 

In an age of disruption where more and more people are cutting the cord, this seems like a questionable business decision on Verizon’s part.  I plan to file formal complaints with both my local government’s cable commission as well as the FTC.   Hopefully, I can find a way to switch providers without having to pay an early termination fee.

0 Likes
ATalkingWalnut
Enthusiast - Level 1

Hello again, guys!

Two important topics I want to address: customer service, and the HBO/Cinemax debacle. 

First, the customer service. We want to pay less for our service, right? We don't want to be forwarded to a call center in the Philippines or India, right? If Verizon spends more to higher specialized labor or more people to answer calls, the majority of those costs will be paid by our monthly bills. Download the My Fios app, go to "Support" and schedule a call with customer service. You can brief them on your issue so you spend less time explaining it, and you don't have to wait on hold. Just a suggestion. 

If you didn't believe what I was saying about AT&T and their antitrust behavior. Look into their current battle with Dish. It's far more public than their battle with Verizon, mostly because Dish refused to pay their exorbitant rates. Guys, this is disgusting behavior and we're paying the price for it. I'm cancelling my AT&T wireless service after more than 17 years. The CEO of Dish describes the situation perfectly: AT&T is using HBO as a weapon. One of the biggest reasons Verizon couldn't play hardball like Dish, is because they have far more customers and far more to lose. 

https://variety.com/2018/biz/news/dish-chairman-accuses-att-of-using-hbo-as-an-economic-weapon-12030...

0 Likes
ATalkingWalnut
Enthusiast - Level 1

I am in the same boat as the OP and countless other Verizon's FiOS subscribers. 

First, for the people that claim that this action is a breach of contract on Verizon's behalf, unfortunately you are mistaken. It says in the contract that Verizon has the right to add or remove channels at any time. However, this goes both ways, as the customer can move to a higher or lower channel package without penalty. I'm not sure if there is a penalty for dropping the phone and TV from the Triple Play and sticking with standalone internet, but I'm sure about the TV package part. 

As for the price increase, I have it on VERY good authority that this is a direct result of AT&T's purchase of Time Warner (HBO & Cinemax's parent company) and a subsequent renegotiation of their broadcasting agreement with Verizon. This, my friends, is absolutely ridiculous. Sure, I'm mad at Verizon, but I'm far angrier with the government for letting this merger go through. There was an antitrust lawsuit against it, but AT&T won and the merger went through on June 14, 2018. Yes, Verizon acted on suspicions that this would happen (check the date of the original post), but those suspicions were unfortunately correct. I don't know about you, but I certainly don't think it's right that AT&T has the ability to directly influence their competition's pricing or profits. In case you forgot, they own DirecTV. The first market they went after following the merger was the NYDMA, which includes most of NJ. For those of you who are calling up and venting your anger at a customer service rep, you need to take a deep breath and count to ten. There isn't some guy sitting in an oversized chair in the dark, petting a white cat with one hand and stacking gold bars with the other while he says to himself, "these stupid people are getting what they deserve." There is a LOT of outside influence that goes into calculating your bill.

Unfortunately, I'm a huge fan of Verizon's gigabit internet speeds and a hater of all copper-based ISPs. Altice is running fiber in some towns in my area, and if that becomes an option, I will absolutely look into it, but as of right now, their service is hot garbage as far as I'm concerned. I have friends with Altice (they either can't get FiOS or are stubborn **bleep**) who can barely use their Netflix streaming service unless it's non-peak hours, the TV is in the room with or next to the router, and no one else in their household is online. Fiber is the only option for me until 5G. 

IF YOU WANT TO LOWER YOUR BILL (sorry for the all caps, this part is important), go to www.verizon.com/connections and see if your job offers a corporate discount of $10/mo. Get creative. Another option is to buy the router instead of renting it. You can get a perfectly good Actiontec G1100 from eBay for less than $100. This might even be an upgrade for those of you who are still using the old MI424WR. Between those two steps, you can save up to $20 on your bill.

I pay my bill on time and in full every month, and as a result, they were nice enough to add a $15 discount to my bill, so it only went up $10. I still filed a complaint with the FCC, and maybe that will get me another $10 discount, if not, I'll probably cancel Cinemax. Now that Banshee is over, I have no need for it. Plus, I've got a Fire Stick running Kodi with the Exodus, Covenant and Neptune Rising add-ons. If you don't know what I'm talking about, do yourself a favor and google it. This is a capitalist country, people. We work to earn money, just put in time and effort into finding ways to save money too.  Caviat emptor. 

0 Likes
retiredengineer1
Enthusiast - Level 2

I completely agree with the last post comments on why Verizon did this. Like everyone else I am a few months into a new 24 month plan that included HBO and Showtime as part of my 2 year bundle agreement. What I find conflicting with Verizon's claim that they can delete these premium channels as part of the Extreme TV line-up is that both HBO and Showtime are separate line items on my monthly bills under the Fios Internet, TV & Phone Bundle Details. I accept that Verizon can change the channels such as HGTV, ESPN, etc. under the Extreme HD TV channel line-up but the fact that Verizon lists on their monthly bill: "Your bundle includes Fios Gigabit Connection, Extreme HD TV which includes $25 for basic service, Showtime, HBO and Fios Digital Voice Unlimited." all as individual items in the bundle, showing both Showtime and HBO as outside of the Extreme HD TV therefore these should not subject to the same conditions as for example HGTV or ESPN channels. Just like the gigabit connection and digital voice it was clear both Showtime and HBO are not part of the Extreme HD TV line-up but two separate items of the 2 year bundle agreement per my Verizon bill details. Everyone I spoke to at Verizon agreed the Gigabit and Voice are not part of the Extreme HD TV based on the billing details so how can Verizon claim that HBO and Showtime shown exactly the same way on the monthly bill are under the Extreme HD TV? At a minimum their own bills show a clear conflict to their claim and this should be basis to file as a complaint with their local franchising authority; for NJ customers it is the Office of Cable Television and Telecommunication at the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, 44 South Clinton Ave., Suite 314, P.O. Box 350, Trenton NJ 08625-0350 or call them at 1-800-624-0331. 

0 Likes
dmwesq
Enthusiast - Level 3

Like everyone else on this thread (except for the MVP's who tout the company mantra) I too have lost my HBO and Cinemax. Then my latest bill came, and it shows HBO as a separate line item, so now I'm really confused. On top of that, my bill increased by about $15. So I lost 2 premium channels but not only am I not getting a price reduction to compensate for that I got a price increase?

Folks, Verizon, and frankly all the big companies, care only about new customer acquisition. All their adverstising is geared towards getting new people to sign up. All their promotions are aimed at getting new people to sign up. Once they have you, whether you are on a contract or not, they really could care less about you. Threats to leave mean nothing to them, they lose people every day. Their executives make hundreds of thousands if not millions and they too care little what us little **bleep** any customers think about them or Verizon. It used to be you could reach out the their executive customer service and get some resolution that placated you enough to stay with them, but even that appears a thing of the past.

I have dealt with 3 levels of Verizon support since I got my letter. Chat support is located off-shore in who knows what country and while we are chatting in English the person I'm chatting with is working off a script, barely understands what I ask, and has no real authority to do anything with regard to billing or content issues, so if you go that route you undoubtedly will leave unsatisified. 

Phone support - you often wait 30-60 minutes to get someone on the phone. They are bright and bubbly but still relatively ineffective. The last person I got on the phone said he thought he could help me, he just needed to review my plan to confirm what he could do and he would call me back in an hour or so. That was almost 3 weeks ago. I'm glad I wasn't holding my breath for his callback.

The executive support told me there is nothing that could be done, but they could offer me a $10 off coupon for 12 months. So I would only pay $15 more rather than $25 more. I felt that was not a viable solution. Then the bill comes and I'm paying $15 more but without HBO/Cinemax.

As soon as I can get some shows I have recorded off my DVR (I do have a way to record them to DVD and save them but it is time consuming) we will be dropping our service. I'll probably stay with their internet as a matter of necessity because Altice is even worse than Verizon in my opinion as a former customer of theirs. I just can't justify paying the ridiculous amount (now at $270) per month. There are so many other issues with their service already mentioned like old equipment, crappy on demand service, etc., but this is the last straw. I almost guarantee the day after I turn in my equipment I will start to be beseiged by offers to come back at a reduced rate. I'll report back whether I am right or wrong on that one.

0 Likes
Endicott651
Enthusiast - Level 1

Ditto - not able to add "Kudos" to any messages. Since VZ is now charging $15 for what I used to get for free, it's a de facto price increase. I was offered Starz for 12 months, but don't need another crappy "premium" channel. Fortunately, I'm not a Game of Thrones person and can get HBO in a non-VZ package for less than $15. Dropping a line to the FCC.

0 Likes
bezverizon
Newbie

I have the Extreme HD package including HBO since I first got FIOS back in 2010/2011.  On my last bill, which I just paid (was due Sept 12) HBO was still included.  Today I went to turn on HBO and it is saying it's not part of my package.  I called support and the guy said my package changed and I'd have to sign a new 2 year contract just to get HBO again.  Pathetic customer service.  First of all - I check all my emails - never got one saying HBO was removed from the Extreme HD package.   Second it's beyond absurd that my bill says I was grandfathered in with the package yet you guys STILL removed HBO!  I'm paying MORE money than I was (which I accepted as I'm in the midst of trying to purchase a new home) for LESS service and the only response I kept getting from the customer service rep was "Sorry".  The WORST service ... just pathetic.  I want HBO back in my package and someone should call me with a solution

Bundle Discounts

Fios Internet 100/100 85.00 -25.00 60.00

Fios TV ExtremeHD 59.99 -15.00 44.99

Showtime .00 .00

HBO .00 .00

Fios Digital Voice Unlimited 30.00 30.00

Bundle Price $174.99 -$40.00 $134.99

0 Likes
Snappers1
Newbie

I didn't realize they were dropping HBO & Cinemax from my plan.  I woke up today to no HBO or Cinemax.  I called and was told that they are dropping them because they believe that  a large telecommunications company that purchased HBO parent company is going to be raising rates.  So instead of raising our rates after the rates go up, they discontinued them from the package to keep the package at the same price.  

This is Absurd.   I put a complaint into the PSC in NYS.      Verizon just stole $20-$25 from their customers.  How can they not reduce the price.  They take out the 2 most expensive parts of the package and then have the nerve to claim that they are saving you money.   Ridiculous. 

0 Likes
tp47
Newbie

Recently returned from vacation to find a letter from"Executive Director - Loyalty Marketing" telling us HBO/Cinemax programming will be removed from our premium FIOS package.  Not a word about reduction in price for losing very premium channels, no description of what what cost to include them on separate subscription, not even polite enough to include a contact number or email to respond to him.  Terrible customer relations.  Looks like Verizon may have worn out its welcome in our home and we will be searching for a replacement for tv, internet, phone service.  

0 Likes
tp47
Newbie

To top off that incredibly idiotic customer service letter, Verizon has no customer service email contact and expects its customers to wait on a long line to get phone service, and I waited way too long for the "chat" service to connect.  How does anyone expect to stay in business that way when there are other options?

0 Likes
rlmsfo
Newbie

Unbelievable. No wonder people are cord cutting. Count me among them.

0 Likes
cb381
Newbie

Verizon Fios removes Cinemax from their Ultimate bundle package to charge all customers a $15 per month subscription. However, Verizon Fios forgot to rebate current subscribers that same $15 per month for a service that was included in the contract agreement. The contracted bundle includes 3 premium channels for the duration of the agreement (Showtime, Epix and Cinemax).

Channels are added and removed periodically for the best possible programing available. This is explained in the many messages and emails sent when a channel is being removed/moved. However Bloomberg TV, Chiller, and beIN Sports are channels that few will even miss, if they knew the chanels even existed. These are low teir channels in the majority of markets across the USA. Cinemax however carries a different tune. It is a premium channel with access to movies, sports, on-demand, on-the-go, etc.(similar to Starz, HBO, Showtime, and Epix) Verizon Fios charges $15 per month for 1 or $25 per month for 2 of these premium channels.

Offering the promotion of Starz for 12 months may work for some customers who have 12 months or less left on their contract. If Starz is of interest to some customers, it replaces a premium channel with another premium channel. Unfortunately, there are many of us who have 13-24 months left on contract. We have just begun enjoying the Ultimate HD TV premium channel lineup ora have been for a short period of time. Startz for 12 months is not an acceptable replacement.

Verizon Fios will surely charge an early termination fee for breaking a 2 year contract. Now, Verizon Fios should do their loyal and high paying customers a service and give a $15 monthly credit for the remainder of the original agreement/contract. 

0 Likes
NOQuantum
Newbie

How' this? I pay for Starz and HBO as my two for 25.Iwas told that no adjustment could be made for losing Cinemax and I must continue to pay for Starz because I am under contract for OLD Ultimate HD. Starz is free under NEW Ultimate HD so I would have to get a new contract at the new higher price.Either way I am paying more for less.Hard to get firm pricing info but Xfinity internet and phone with Amazon,Netflix and direct premium subscriptions is looking better and better.

0 Likes
Tina1227
Enthusiast - Level 1

I JUST got off the phone with Verizon for the same exact reason!  Dropping HBO & Showtime but not reducing my bill.  I told them they are going to lose alot of customers!  Going to look at other cable options.  Also going to send a letter to upper management!  RIPOFFS!   How does everyone else feel about this?????????????

0 Likes
WillinWW
Newbie

I'm in central NJ and my recent 7/18 notice advised Cinemax was being dropped,  no mention of HBO. No Ultimate package price reduction, can buy back Cinemax.  I've experienced very inconsistent bills in the past year varying up to $30/mo without renting any movies.  Their Customer Service is not good and hard to deal with.  I am now strongly considering cutting the cord as my sons have done.  Basic cable, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Apple or Hulu would be enough.  Cable TV instead of competing more efficiently and with more not less product is driving themselves out of business.  Sad for us and their employees.

0 Likes
Plato1211
Newbie

Verizon removed HBO from my package before my contract ended. Nice way to treat a long time customer!

0 Likes
FeedUpUser
Newbie

If you live in the NYC area... All other providers are offering HBO in their plans. Just switch. I will first thing in the morning. 

0 Likes
AncientHipster
Enthusiast - Level 1

After filing a complaint with the FCC  a FIOS representative contacted me. FIOS actually listened to my concerns about dropping the channels before my 24 month contract was complete. They resinstated HBO and Cinemax for the remiander of my contract without any additional charges. FIOS customers if you are losing your HBO and/or Cinemax or both during the 24 month freebie they were offering  -- file a complaint with the FCC.  Otherwise, when I contacted FIOS customer service directly -- I was told too bad. 

https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us

My post from 7/1/2018: 

I am in Virginia and received the same letter. When we relocated to the area in September -- we went with Verizon Fios because of the 24 month offer of free HBO and Cinemax. Thought this is a good offer? If we sign a 24 month contract thinking we were being offered these free incentives to go with their Ultimate package for 24 months -- Verizon are you not misleading your customers? You have us in a 24 month contract and now you are breaching your end of the deal. The first paragraph states," At Verizon, we're committed to providing our customers with the best possible TV experience while OUR PRICES AFFORDABLE. It's because of this that we sometimes need to make changes to how FIOS TV programming is offered by adding or removing content." Lets look at it this way -- what if we decided that expenses in our household are too much and we are not going to pay a portion of our bill to keep things "affordable"? How long would that last? This is breach of contract. You cannot offer the public an incentive to get them as a customer and then tell them  -- sorry we cannot uphold our end of the contract and BTW, you are still under a contractual obligation for another 18 months. 

0 Likes
CRobGauth
Community Leader
Community Leader

Unfortunately the contract we all sign allows them to do this. And from what I have heard, it is common language in most cable contracts.

They can add or subtract channels from a package at any time.

BTW, you can reduce your TV package to near 0 during your contract period.

You just have to have some level of service to meet the terms of the contract.

0 Likes