Cox Communications promised a $700 reward. So where is it?

Claudia and Craig Meisner order Cox Communications services online. At that time, Cox Communications promises the Meisners bonus services worth $700 on prepaid cards. But Cox only provides cards worth $400. What has caused this failure to communicate? And can our advocates get Cox to honor its promise to the Meisners?

Question

We ordered Cox Communications services online last November, using a shopping cart on its website. My husband, Craig, needed to contact Cox to complete our checkout. A Cox representative completed the order, verified the price and emailed him a confirmation. He printed the cart contents after the representative finished processing our order.

Our printout shows that Cox Communications promised to send us two Visa prepaid cards, one for $400 and the other for $300, as a bonus. But Cox sent only the $300 card. When my husband complained, it sent us a $100 card. He complained again, but Cox refused to issue us a card for the remaining $300.

My husband filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Cox Communications responded that the promotion was only for $400 in prepaid cards. The BBB closed the case. We still don’t have the other $300 prepaid card Cox Communications promised us.

My husband is a disabled veteran who is ill in the hospital. We hoped that Cox would do the right thing, but the company refused. Can you help us get Cox to honor its promise? — Claudia Meisner, Yorktown, Va.

Answer

Clearly some wires became crossed between you and Cox Communications. Your confirmation printout suggests that you should have received $700 in prepaid cards. Yet Cox claims that you were entitled only to $400 — and it sent only $300 to begin with. What was going on?

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Part of the problem with your case is that you don’t have a copy of the actual promotion for which you signed up. The shopping cart printout is your only documentation of the promotion. One of the lessons of your case is to retain all documentation of any promotion you sign up for until the company honors the terms. Had you done so, you would have had valuable evidence that Cox owed you something it didn’t provide.

“Do I have to go back to the BBB?”

Your case has some other problems. One is the BBB complaint your husband filed while he was still trying to resolve the issue with Cox. If your husband wanted Cox to “do the right thing,” then a BBB complaint was not his best course of action. As far as Cox is concerned, it has nothing to gain from helping customers who file complaints without giving it a chance to resolve matters.

Cox merely reiterated that it owed you only $400. Its final response to the BBB complaint was

Cox reiterates its response dated March 12, 2018. … As also acknowledged by the customer on March 8, 2018, the customer is in receipt of their $300 Visa prepaid card. With the additional $100 Visa prepaid card that was mailed on March 9, 2018, the customer has been reimbursed in full the $400 bonus that is due.

Your husband didn’t accept this response from Cox.

Another problem

Another problem is the highly aggressive tone your husband took with Cox Communications. He sent the following to Cox after filing the BBB complaint:

When I signed up for Cox service, my shopping cart (printed) listed a $300 and $400 Visa prepaid card. [I] only received a $300 card. Where is my $400 prepaid card? Do I have to go back to [the] BBB yet again in order for Cox to honor what was promised to me during sign-up??? I did not activate the $300 prepaid card as I do not agree with the amount!!!!

and

[The] confirm email never addressed bonus — just [the installation] date. I don’t want to spend hours going back and forth again. Honor the printout of my order which clearly states $300 and $400 Visa prepaid cards bonuses. If you will not, please don’t waste my time and I will contact the BBB again to get this resolved. Thanks.

A Cox representative advised your husband after he sent the first of these messages that Cox would respond within 72 hours. Your husband didn’t wait that long before he complained about not receiving a timely response. (The representative admits that she didn’t disclose clearly that the 72-hour wait was in terms of business hours.) Despite your husband’s disability, his impatience, orders and threats would not have persuaded Cox to resolve your case in your favor.

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Your husband’s communications with Cox lacked two of the three P’s of consumer advocacy — patience and politeness. But they definitely weren’t short on persistence — the third P.

You or your husband might have escalated your complaint to higher-ranking Cox executives using our Cox Communications contact information. When your husband’s emails didn’t elicit a response he considered satisfactory, you contacted our advocates for help.

A compromise with Cox Communications

Our advocate, Michelle Couch-Friedman, asked you whether you had any documentation of the promotion. You forwarded us a copy of your statement showing two prepaid Visa cards, one for $300 and one for $400.

Michelle reached out to Cox on your behalf. Cox offered you a credit of $180 off your next invoice. Although this was not the resolution for which your husband fought Cox, both of you are satisfied.

Did Cox Communications offer a reasonable resolution to Claudia and Craig Meisner?

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Jennifer Finger

Jennifer is the founder of KeenReader, an Internet-based freelance editing operation, as well as a certified public accountant. She is a senior writer for Elliott.org. Read more of Jennifer's articles here.

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