Prior to being acquired by Charter, the cable company Spectrum aggressively marketed home security systems to its customers, inducing them to spend hundreds of dollars on proprietary cameras and other equipment that integrated with their cable networks and offered them remote monitoring and other services.
Now, with only a few months' notice, Charter has announced that it will no longer support the cameras, touchscreens and other equipment its customers purchase. They will largely cease to operate (though some vestigial functionality will remain). Customers are not being offered refunds or credits on the equipment they purchased from the company.
Though Charter hasn't marketed the service since shortly after the 2016 merger, customers were never warned that the service would be discontinued and their equipment rendered useless.
Charter typically operates as a monopoly provider of cable and internet service. It has received tremendous regulatory gifts, courtesy of the Trump administration, including a fraudulent repeal of Net Neutrality and massive tax cuts; it has responded by slashing billions from its infrastructure budget, raising prices, and nickle-and-diming customers who cancel their service. The company has also received record fines for defrauding New Yorkers.
Charter told Gizmodo it plans to offer customers discounts on Ring and Nest surveillance equipment, should they wish to spend hundreds of dollars extra to replace the equipment that Charter has bricked.
Charter/Spectrum is the monopoly provider of internet service in Burbank, where I live. The service is terrible, subject to frequent outages and slowdowns, and the customer service is even worse. Thanks to Charter's deal with the city, residents are not able to use the municipally funded 100gbps fiber that runs beneath our city streets and supplies our local major employers like Disney and Warner (Warner owns Charter rival AT&T, but need not rely on its own substandard offerings for internet service).
On Friday, California’s KSBY News interviewed one Spectrum customer who said that he’d spent around $900 installing cameras and sensors in and around his Cheviot Hills home. That the equipment is soon-to-be worthless isn’t even the worst part. Spectrum is also running off with his money.
The customer reportedly contacted the company about converting the cost of his investment into credit toward his phone or cable bill. The company declined, he said.
Spectrum Kills Home Security Business, Refuses Refunds for Owners of Now-Worthless Equipment [Dell Cameron/Gizmodo]
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