Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Last Minute Break

Veronica and I decided at the last minute to rent a cabin in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area. We have been to this area several times in the past and have always enjoyed our stay. This time should be fun as well because they are celebrating Spring with an area wide festival. I am sure that we will be going to Dollywood  while we are there. We don't have any set plans while we are there. Just going to relax and enjoy ourselves.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Change In 2015 Vacation Plans

Veronica and I were talking about how much we enjoyed last years vacation to Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and the Greek Isles that we would like to go back again.
I checked the various itineraries that Norwegian Cruise Line offered for 2015 and I could not find the same itinerary that we had last year.
The offered the same itinerary for this year but we weren't about to give up our 2 week vacation in Paris for this October.
I did find a similar itinerary and we decided to cancel our previously booked cruise for the following cruise which departs and returns at Venice. We also decided to fore go our aft balcony for a ocean view cabin that is in the aft portion of the ship, which will be same ship as last year...the NCL Jade. We enjoy being in the aft because of the engine and propeller noise helps us sleep and drowns out my once in a great while snoring.
Below is our itinerary for this new cruise:
DayLand Tours And Cruise PortsArriveDepartBooked
SatVenice, Italy----6:00 pm0
SunDubrovnik, Croatia2:00 pm9:00 pm0
MonAt Sea--------0
TueAthens (Piraeus), Greece7:00 am5:00 pm0
WedKusadasi, Turkey8:00 am5:00 pm0
ThuAt Sea--------0
FriSplit, Croatia11:00 am6:00 pm0
SatVenice, Italy8:00 am6:00 pm0
SunAt Sea--------0
MonCorfu, Greece8:00 am3:30 pm0
TueSantorini, Greece1:30 pm10:00 pm0
WedMykonos, Greece8:00 am6:00 pm0
ThuOlympia (Katakolon), Greece9:00 am6:00 pm0
FriAt Sea--------0
SatVenice, Italy8:00 am----0


MAP IMAGE COMING SOON

We plan on spending a couple of nights in Venice prior to our cruise starting and we are planning on staying at the same hotel that we did last year. Along with the 2 days and nights prior to departure, our ship stops in Venice at the halfway point of the 2 week cruise. 
We plan on going into some building that we did not get to go into during our last visit along with plans on spending a whole day on the island of Burano. 
Last year we went on a ship excursion that included stops at both of the islands of Murano and Burano but unfortunately we were only on Murano for about 1 1/4 hours and Burano for about 35 minutes. We were really disappointed with the lack of time we had to spend on Burano. This time we plan on arranging or locating transportation services that would allow us to spend the whole day there prior to our cruise starting. This way we don't have to worry about getting back to the ship on time before it departs Venice. If for some reason we get back real late, we will only be late getting back to our hotel. 
We plan on trying to do the same excursion on the Greek Isle of Santorini as we did last year. That excursion was a trip to the town of Oia and then to Fira, when we enjoyed an evening meal as the sun was setting ...a really beautiful and photogenic sight. 
Like the last cruise we were on, this one should be equally as enjoyable. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Our Charter Communications Saga Seems To Be Coming To An End

Upon returning home from a day of running errands, we walked into our house to finds that someone had called and left a message on our answering machine. The call turned out to be someone higher up in Charter Communications food chain. The message left for me mentioned their receipt of the Better Business Bureau written complaint that I had file on line at the BBB web site. My complaint had been approved by the BBB a couple of days ago and the BBB sent it to Charter Communications...I believe the corporate offices.
Yesterday evening this Charter Communications representative and I discussed the issues and the issues were resolved.
We will be getting our $50.00 refund and it will be applied to our next Charter Communications statement.
There was an additional issue that I discovered yesterday before talking to this Charter Communications representative.
Last week Veronica and I got up early so that we would be one of the first in line at our locale Charter office in order to turn in one type of table top box and get a different one.
We were 3rd in line and were able to get service at the counter in a very reasonable length of time once the doors opened.
When we were turning in our large box, we asked for a smaller one that had an HDMI hookup in the back of the much smaller units. We were told that they did not have any more of the smaller units but instead we could have a new DVR box "free". there was no mention that it would be free for only 12 months and then there would be a charge. The rep at the counter just said "free". The rep went into out account on her computer and switched out the equipment that we current had with this new "free" DVR. I just received my new Charter statement and lo and behold...I had been charged the usual $6.99 for my first DVR that we have had for a long time, the $19.99 DVR Service and then another $6.99 was charged for the supposedly "free" box.
I mentioned this to the Charter rep that I was talking to about the original issue. She told me that the box was "free" as far as us being charged for it for the first 12 months but after that we would incur a monthly $6.99 charge. This rep stated that we would get a credit for the $6.99 that we have paid on this extra DVR and it would be applied to our next Charter Communications statement.
This phone call conversation addressed and resolved all current issue with Charter Communications.
It is really a shame that I had to spend my valuable time trying to get Charter Communications to do the right thing...something that they could have easily handled much earlier.
Hopefully this will be our last issue dealing with Charter Communications.
I am currently looking into the possibilities of dumping Charter and going with either DirectTV and Dish. I know that DirectTV has a bundled package that includes Cable, Telephone and Internet.
I will check prices and compare those prices with services offered to what we currently have with Charter. Might keep the Charter internet service because they will be doubling up speed with no additional cost to its customers. But of course I have learned my lesson with Charter as far as "free" anything. I am sure that this doubling up of internet speed will cost us a bundle of money once the "free" runs out.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Our Charter Communications Saga Continues

I just got an email that someone responded to my Facebook post. This is the same post that I blooged about yesterday. An unknown Charter Communications employee gave me the general Charter phone number and told me to speak to the "billing team" to see about getting this issue escalated. On phone now with one of the "billing team" members. Will see how this turns out. Good luck getting your issues fixed. It is a shame that we the customers have to spend so much time out of our lives to get an issue resolved, especially after we spend so much of our hard earned money for the service to begin with. If for some reason there are issues with the paid service, then the company should refund a fair and equitable mount of money that should be applied towards our billing statement. Nowadays there are so many companies that enjoy receiving that monthly paid in full bill and then they seem to totally turn their backs on the same customers that are actually keeping them in business and paying their salaries. Well just got off the phone with one member of the "billing team". Seems that my case got escalated to the next step. I was told that I would get a call from unknown person higher up within 5-10 business days to discuss this issue with me. We will see how this turns out. 5-10 business days...obviously I am not very high up on the customer loyalty totem pole!!!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Problems With Charter Communications

Recently Veronica and I have had some issues with Charter Communications. We have all of our cable, internet and telephone services through them. We currently have the top tier of their cable television offerings and are paying good money for their services. Unfortunately their services were not top tier for a 7 day period. Below is something I wrote on Charter Communications Facebook page. They really should reconsider and be fair about a refund/reimbursement issue dealing with less than stellar services that we received over a 7 day period recently. This is what was written on Charter Communications Facebook wall:

 To Whom It May concern,
We are paying top price for the the top tiers of cable programming along with internet and telephone services. Recently over a 7 day period, we were having problems off and on with our cable service. It began during the transition period when we were going to this new all digital television programming. When we would turn on our television we would automatically be on channel  12. This is the channel when the Charter girl us is telling everyone how Charter Communications is improving everything for the customers benefit....going all digital and customers needing to get a new box etc. When we would go to another channel, there was a screen that told us we needed to put in our PIN. We would type in our PIN and we would be allowed to view the channel that we were trying to change to. When we wanted to change from that channel to another, we would again have to type in our PIN. This was not occurring all of the time but enough to make it aggravating and very inconvenient. It also got worse and occurred more frequently near the end of this 7 day period.  So during this 7 day period we originally had 2 issues that occurred off and on...automatically getting diverted to channel 12 upon television start up and also having to type our PIN to get to another channel.  During the last 2 days of this 7 day period, we started experiencing a new problem. After going through the aforementioned 2 issues and steps to watch television, we had no sound. Changing channels, after typing in our PIN, did not fix the issue. We had to turn the television and DVR off and restart everything, go through the aforementioned 2 steps and then we were able to have sound...be advised that the sound did not return all of the times after a restart be it did return more often than not. I waited a day to see if the sound issue would completely clear up. After it did not completely clear up, it was time for me to call Charter and see if they could help fix the issues we were having. After completely explaining what issues we were having, tech support was able to fix all of our issues.  I told tech support that this these issues had been going occurring off and on over a previous 7 day period and that we were paying top dollar for the highest level of cable services provided on that date and that I felt that we should be reimbursed a portion of our cable bill for the time and inconvenience that these issues had been occurring. I was then transferred to the billing department and spoke to a young man. After completely explaining the situation, this Charter representative      stated that he would calculate how much he would be able to reimburse us for the week that these issues were occurring in. I was told that he would be requesting a $50 reimbursement from my next bill. This Charter Representative stated that because the $50
reimbursement was the highest level reimbursement that he was allowed to give, that he would have to send up the $50 reimbursement request to a supervisor for his/her approval. The Charter representative told me that he has never had a supervisor reject any of his request, because he always had the proper documentation in order to get the request approved and that his request for my reimbursement was no different from requests that he had previously submitted. I was told that if for any reason his request...my reimbursement...was denied that I would be notified. This Charter representative was very confident that they would be no issues regarding my reimbursement. With the cable and sound issues finally being completely resolved and knowing that I would most likely be receiving a fair and equitable reimbursement due to the aforementioned issues, I stayed on the line and completed the telephone survey giving all involved with these issue high marks.
This morning I received my monthly Charter Communications statement that contained my bill for the services that Charter Communications is providing me. Based on the total of this bill, it was obvious that I had not received my refund for the 1 weeks worth of cable related problems. I proceeded to call the Charter Communications Billing Department. After explaining the situation, I was put on hold for a brief period of time so that the representative could review the notes in my account. Upon returning, this Charter Communications representative told me that the refund /reimbursement request had been denied because I did not immediately call Charter Communications as soon as the issue started. I told this Charter Communications representative the same thing that I had told all of the other representatives involved in this situation...I figured that the on and off issues that were occurring over this 7 day period were due to the transitioning to the all new digital cable services that we were getting. I also told each representative that I spoke to that the issues progressively got worse and occurred more frequently towards the end of that 7 day period. It was when the sound issues continued past a 24 hour period, that I made the call to get these issues fixed. We have been paying top tier dollars for Charter Communications top tier services packages. During that 7 day period we did not receive those top tier services that we had paid that top tier dollar for. I am calling out Charter Communications to please review the notes in my account in reference to the issues described above and for Charter Communications to do the right thing...refund me the amount that
the billing personnel felt that I deserved and apply that amount to my Charter Communications bill.
If you would like to contact me, please send me a private message(PM) from my Facebook homepage.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.
Sincerely,
Rick Rosenshein
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