CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Suddenlink, the main cable supplier in West Virginia that serves over 350,000 residents with cable, phone and internet, has been penalized for its poor quality of service.
The West Virginia Public Service Commission issued a Final Order in its investigation into Suddenlink’s quality of service on Wednesday. It found that the Suddenlink “had failed to provide safe, adequate and reliable service to its West Virginia subscribers.”
The Commission’s investigation also determined that Suddenlink “intentionally reduced its maintenance work and budget, reduced the number of full-time employees, changed its method of communicating with customers and ignored thousands of customer complaints.” The Commission assessed immediate penalties of $2,242,000, which is the maximum penalty to date, according to the release. The Commission also ordered Suddenlink to locate a call center in West Virginia, which must have an expected location and anticipated date the center will open within 90 days, according to the Commission.
The investigation came after countless Suddenlink complaints of poor service from the company. Suddenlink was first ordered to file with the PSC in May after more than 1,900 customer complaints were left unanswered. A correction plan for improved service was ordered by the PSC in July, but according to the PSC, Suddenlink sent them a letter that contained neither a correction plan nor details of the steps that it had taken to improve service.
“Suddenlink’s conduct and performance with respect to its operations in West Virginia have been nothing short of egregious,” stated PSC Chairman Charlotte Lane. “There is no excuse for its conduct except to increase its bottom line, doing so with a blatant disregard for its subscribers. Suddenlink should be penalized for its actions.”
Suddenlink made the following statement in response:
Suddenlink shares the State’s goal of ensuring West Virginians receive high-quality service and have a positive customer experience. We have made and continue to make substantial investments in our network and customer support that are resulting in significant improvements in performance. We have cooperated with the WV PSC over the course of its review and are reviewing today’s order.
In October, delegates in several counties created an email address where residents could inform them about horror stories of Suddenlink’s poor service and “shoddy internet.”