Flow Cable Upgrade Can Downgrade Your Home

Cable Subscriber
October 09, 2007

Flow Cable Trinidad and TobagoFor those who are having the Cable TV and Internet upgrades, here is what to expect:

They would call you and tell you that your home is scheduled for an upgrade, but they would not tell you upfront that the upgrade means a rewiring of your house, which, depending on how many television sets you have and the parts of the house they are placed, could take an entire day.

Although the Flow cable (Columbus Communications Trinidad Limited) vehicles have water coolers, be prepared to be asked for water continually. You would also have to overhear cellphone conversations continually as their phones ring all the time, and they do speak rather loudly. They would also come to your home with dirty boots, so your carpets would need some work after.

The splitter box that was placed to the back of the house as I insisted
The splitter box that was placed to the back of the house as I insisted

Here is how it went for us:

After the van with two workers came by, they informed us that they had to install a box and that they wanted to run the cables to the front of the house because they believed that it was easier to work from there. I informed one of the workers that we cannot allow the box to be placed there and that he kindly place the junction box to the back of the house and split the cables from there. They haggled a bit to do it their way but I insisted that they should not put the box to the front of the house. I also showed them an electrical conduit and explicitly told them that they should not affix any cables there as it would soon be removed by an electrician. They agreed and proceeded to work.

One guy asked for water and we got him some of bottled water. Then the other worker wanted too and we also got him some.

A workman’s cellphone rang and he chatted for a while. I later learnt that the workman on the cellphone was training the other workman.

The older worker asked for an electrical outlet for his drill and I pointed out one nearby to him. Then his cellphone rang again, so he chatted some more. After the chat, he came through the house in his boots without wiping his feet and inspected the various rooms in the house with television sets and where we have internet access. He proceeded to his van and took out ladders and other tools. On his way back I heard the very loud ring tone from his cellphone so I knew he had to attend to another ‘important’ call.

Flow damaged the wall and ceiling
Flow damaged the wall and ceiling

They eventually started to work. He began by running the cable behind the house to the first bedroom. While he drilled from outside, I watched from inside and communicated to him via the window on the wall. After he bore through the wall, I asked him to hold on before he drilled into the ceiling. He stopped. After a while, and without the go-ahead, he continued drilling and, as I warned, he damaged the ceiling.

Between running cables and answering the cellphone, the work grinded on for several hours. With each hole they drilled a bit of extra concrete broke away from the back of the wall. I pointed out to the head workman the size of the chunks of concrete that broke off and he informed me that it is normal for this to happen when drilling. He said that I could just mix some cement and fix that for myself. The other workman waded in and said that he always keeps some sand and cement home for fixing those things and that I should keep some cement and sand to fix those things too.

A damaged wall
A damaged wall

I was stunned, to have these guys damage the house repeatedly and then to be telling me to do the masonry for myself. I wonder if they would have told a White homeowner the same. I doubt it. I decided to move away and just let them continue. I resigned myself to putting up with some mess and damage as the workmen seemed unable to be careful and tidy.

After a few more hours, I went outside to see how far they had reached. I then observed that they had strapped the cables to the same electrical conduit which I had previously told them not to do. (See above)

Cables affixed to the electrical conduit
Cables affixed to the electrical conduit

I pointed this out to the workman in charge and he assured me that when they were finished running the cables, they would fix it. They continued running wires and chatting on cellphones while I just hoped this could be over. It was getting dark so I decided to stay and watch what was being done and I even assisted at times.

They plugged in the television sets to the new cable boxes and I immediately observed that the quality of the picture was not an improvement. I did not voice this observation to the workmen…I just wanted them to remove the cables from the conduit.

After many hours in an upsetting environment, the head workman asked me to sign a document. I asked him what the document was about and he said it was to show that the job was completed. I informed him that the job was not completed and that they had to fix the cables that were badly attached to the conduit above the garage. I also asked him if the new high-speed internet access was working. He said the internet signal was weak, so we would not have Internet service tonight as there appears to be a problem in the area.

Damaged wall and untidy finish
Damaged wall and untidy finish

We were left without cable Internet access and a very untidy home. He also told me that they were not supposed to run any cables on the roof area of the garage (where the conduit was) and that he was just doing me a favour. I asked, “What? You were here all this time doing me a favour? That is news to me.” He did not fix the badly run cables and proceeded to his van. He met up with the other workman who was already in the van and they eventually left.

I called Flow cable office and reported the bad job and asked that they have it repaired. The person who answered the phone said she would pass the complaint to the supervisor who would call me. I am awaiting that call and the repairs to my house.

Send us your stories and photos of abuses and poor service in Trinidad and Tobago. Submit your stories with your name and a contact. If you want your name withheld from publication, please state in your submission.
Email: trinidadandtobagonews@yahoo.com

31 thoughts on “Flow Cable Upgrade Can Downgrade Your Home”

  1. Yeah, this sounds about right. You probably won’t get a call, if your service was anything like mine, but the cell phone thing seems about right.

    My experience was having one guy smelling utterly horrific and leaving sharp stuff in a bed not to mention plastic all over the place that stuff was in.

    Their customer service is piss poor, but once you get the internet running you should be good once you don’t have to deal with them.

    Oh and I find the comment about being white funny, considering the CAPTCHA I had to put in to post this.


  2. I am not surprised you had problems with that cable company. I went with direct tv because I have had it with them.

  3. With a virtual monopoly, its no wonder that their customer service is so poor. Over 5 months ago i called and asked for a second cable box, which i dont mind paying for. They told me that since they are eventually going digital in Maraval they wont be giving out any more analog boxes so I will just have to wait till they go digital in my area. But they cant say when that will be.So in the meanwhile, my family has to take turns watching the one TV. Hows that for 20/20 vision! I think I will forward this blog link to DirecTV.

  4. It’s sad to see that people still taking all this rubbish from flow.

    I refuse to give anymore of my hard earn money to flow, we need to say NO TO FLOW!

    Their service sucks in each area and they still raising the price ..oh c’mon!

  5. MY EXPERIENCE IS MUCH THE SAME , They were supposed to come on Fri26th Oct they eventually came on Mon29th, of course the excuse was that nobody was home…yet they needed directions on Monday.
    Ok the same story, they run wire like snake all over`, man wires flow over everything, wires flow over pipes over the water heater, wire flow in and out the curtain rod and all an everything crooked fuh so. Not a clip nailed in fully and all the walls nasty nasty. So Dat done, we were told 2 hrs you will have service, it is now Tuesday after elections still no service, I called twice a day every day since upgrade and I got different excuses and different times for a revisit one of which is today but as usual a no show. I even had the customer dissservice rep hang up on me twice and refuse to give her name, she didn’t log my call or complaints and refused my request for disconnection. and the saga continues

  6. These people are the worst .I think that all the fed up residents should stop paying for ths rubbish and go to Direct tv.

  7. i recently switched over to direct tv, because i think that flow is doing crap with there service.I had a lot of problems with flow and i mean not 1 or 2 but a lot of problems. They made me pay to sign up then they took 1 year before they could connect me they later said they needed to think of a way to run the cable lines to my house YEAH RIGHT 1 YEAR. i will pay my bill on time but yet they will cut cable when you call to ask what is the problem they say the problem is with the line down by the port one of the big trucks pull down the line but yet they will never call or inform you in any way possible.This happen to me just in october month gone i had no cable for 2 weeks they never even gave me a penny back yet they send a bill of $200 to pay they do not care and this happen more than once

  8. I can’ believe that FLOW don’t go… i have had cable TV in my house for the past 8 years. And i took the “FLOW” from the many changes. But this is rediculious, Now I have to pay more for cable that I paid for according to the brochure i got from the cable company. I think that if FLOW wants my business they should pay me. Especially for all the intruptions and non-FLOWING cable days… I wont get started about the break downs during news. I say no to FLOW…

  9. I want my old cable back!!!! I am absolutly fed up with FLOW!!!! It is not as if i am getting cable for free. I am paying for poor service and unsatisfactory preformance and being feed the same escuses and apologies. Yes It Is A Disturbance!

  10. Something like this would not happen in the States. Workers might ,might do a crappy job if they are the bottom of the barrel of cable workers. The cable company, however, would pay for or do the repairs to the house. Why would they do this? Because they know that they would have a lawyer on their front door step within a week. The only thing Americans love more then their entertainment is to sue the pants off companies that somehow p*ss them off! It is cheaper and less time consuming to just settle the matter then going through a civil judicial process.

  11. Flow trinidad contacted us recently requesting an appointment for their technicians to come to our home to “change the cable boxes” from analog to digital. No further information was given as to what would be involved so we, in our ignorance, assumed that it would simply mean unplug one box, plug in another.

    As you are probably aware, the”upgrade” actually means the installation of a new “splitter box” at a height no more than 5 feet above ground and the installation of new cables. In my view it is possible to do this neatly. Flow’s technicians, however, insist that the “only” way they can do the “upgrade” is to plant the splitter box near to the electrical meter, run the new cables on the surface of walls, both inside and out, drill holes through walls where they see fit, all with no intention of repairing any damage to walls or cleaning up after themselves. All very unacceptable to us and we refused to allow the “upgrade” to go forward.

    I am a technical person who works in the construction industry and am able to say, with experience, that this is not the proper way and it is certainly not the only way. My opinion is that Flow has either, instructed their contractors to find the easiest way possible to install the boxes and move on to the next installation in the shortest possible time or implemented no quality control demands or inspections regarding the work done by their contractors.

    I have tried to contact and left messages to be contacted by someone at a management level in operations via Flow Trinidad’s Customer Service Telephone Representative. I have personally gone into Flow Trinidad’s Head Office in Port of Spain and sat for over 30 minutes waiting to see Rhea Yaw Ching, only to be told, after all that time, that she was in a meeting and that I should leave my contact details for her to get back to me. Needless to say, since I am now here writing this, that I have not been contacted by either of the people noted above. Hence the term Customer Contempt. If this is the way customer’s are treated by Flow Trinidad’s senior people, then, in my opinion, there is no other way to call it.

  12. I am currently having the same problem re: the switch from Analog to Digital.

    A technician cam on the 24th June to install the digital box. Luckily for me the wiring was done very neatly and no damage to my apartment was done. However just before they left they advised that I should not turn on the box for approx 45min, we should get reception after this period. Well let me just tell you, today is the 5th June and I am still without cable in my home.

    After endless phone calls (which is an additional cost to me)I am getting the run around as to when someone will be available to come back and change the object in my house that is not working.

    To top it all I have been asking for a rebat for the days that I am without cable only to be advised that I will have to make this request after the job is complete and it is not automatic even though they know that I have been without cable for thirteen days and counting

  13. The occasional outage I got from Flow – I think four or five in seven months, each lasting less than two days – is NOTHING compared to the weeks without internet I had to suffer with TSTT back before they introduced Blink. I think I got service for 70-80% of the time I paid for, no lie, and that used to be super slow and double the price of any package now including their own – proof that they are d ultimate t’ieves. I sorry – I not going back. They t’ief enough money already!!

  14. Hopefully flow management would read this, and push their way through the long line of customers’ eager to get their cable box to watch MTV and I love New York. Since flow is presented as this bad monopoly, then how about the service at – what I thought was -their competition at TSTT?
    I guess there are in addition to this, other ways to shame Flow into cleaning up their act. Forget cable, I don’t want to know that my fellow citizens are deprived of entry on to the information highway.
    Now if we can see 50 , 000 different types costumes on display competing come carnival time every year ,and 50 radio stations all saying the same thing every day, it is time for someone to fix this anomaly and hopefully profit in the process, any suggestions?

  15. Flow sucks,I live at Bel Air LaRomaine EVERY SINGLE DAY there is an interruption or it completely goes off air or it it garbled ,there isnt a moment’s smooth flow of news movies nothing,flow sucks ,flow stinks and i am done with them period!

  16. It is my wish for FLOW to hook my computer up with its fastest connection to the internet… I live in Mc. Carthy Street, Contaro Village, Santa Cruz. I can be contacted at 729-0670. The sooner you call for me, the better… Hola.

  17. I applied for cable and the guy came and said that it was too far to run the wire although there is a present cable wire passing in front my house and twice the distance. They also wanted me to cut a mango tree that was in someone else’s land and have T&TEC, TSTT and their own cable wires passing through it. They can keep there precious cable for all I care.

  18. there’s much more to flow’s workers/contractors than meets the public eye…they also steel loads of rg 6, rg 11 and in some cases even 500 cable belonging to flow and sell them to buyers both in trinidad and tobago. then flow points their finger to innocent by standers and puts the blame on them as if they bought stolen items….when it is their own workers who stealing from them…flow administrators…check allyuh self!!!..

  19. flow is the most ridiculous service i ever came over you pay more money for less channels people let us send them back where they belong out of Trinidad get direct TV it works

  20. An update since my comment of Nov 2007
    After close to a month of daily calls to flow waiting for cable to be connected since their upgrade, as well as emailing and calling requesting disconnection, I took all my boxes and returned them to the East office, I wont gointo the lack of customer service there.
    I am now a happy subscriber of Direct TV, Installed in three days time, it took 1 hr, professional techs. Flow said they have no records of any of my complaints.
    I now need reliable internet…Flow is crap, Blink same kahki pants, Green Dot describes themselves appropriately as the pigeon crap they are “a green dot” Carib Link (which I have)service techs always seem to be sleeping if you can contact them……..Vision 2020…At least The Minister says I have a “High end” car because my 12 yr old piece of crap uses premium gas

  21. I’m happy that i’m not the only person that thinks that flow is just a company that’s full of crap. Their internet service is the worst i have come across and not to mention the channel lineup. I do have this burning question that nobody can seem to answer.

    Why is it that flow Jamaica, owned by Columbus Communications is able to offer channels that have no Spanish content in Jamaica and are unable to offer these channels here? They are offering HBO, cinemax and all of these other American channels that were removed from our lineup in T&T. Jamaica is still considered part of Latin America and the Caribbean region (CALA) so what is really going on? Not to mention that our cable here costs almost twice as it does in Jamaica.

  22. well, fortunately i have not yet gotten myself into this problem, as i still retain the old analog cable. I called today to find out the procedures and cost in order to acquire the internet service. The CSR who answered the call was quite irritable, and flat toned, as if i was begging her for information and i was at her mercy. i asked if she had any idea when the digital service would reach Penal, [because i saw some flow vans in Debe this week]and she said that the company would CONTACT ME with that information[nb. no contact number taken..(we don’t have a phone line, only cellular units)] When i asked what was the cost[“sir you can only apply for that service when u get the new sevice, and i can’t tell u when that is”]
    my immediate reply> “but all i wanted to know….”
    her reply>” thank you for calling flow..” click..
    and she hung up.. forgive my Trini but i said in my mind, but what the hell*…she did not even give a hint or idea when the sercice would be available, the cost, nor did she even stay long enought for me to ask if there were any installation costs attached.

    my concern is….
    all the complain we complain…what is going to be done?
    who can we contact?

  23. Worst service ever, from any company in Trinidad and Tobago.
    Paying for Sports MAx and for days it cannot be shown!!!! I am have the service cut from my premesis this week. When the installation was taking place the Guy said that I would have to pay extra for running the cable to the room.I reported this to the company and they said the guy was wrong to ask for monies, I did NOT pay him though.
    Lastly the number you call flow is a paid number, you will see this if you call from your landline when you get your bill, its a different rate from the normal number you will call, WHAT A RIP OFF!!!

  24. They say we will call you an hour before we come YEAH RIGHT. You wait all bloody day and then when you call you get a customer service rep with all the damn attitude in the world. You are suppose to just sit and wait. Can I ask a question will they just sit and wait for me to pay my over due bill? I AM FED UP. It is the most ridiculous experience I have had to date (and that includes the Public Service). You can’t talk to a supervisor not if yuh pay them.

  25. I live in Maraval and I must say Flow’s installation was prompt and efficient; and their service (4 cable boxes and internet) work perfectly, I recommend to anyone. They did not destroy my walls or anything.

  26. Flow has FSC sports and FSC sports has acquired the rights to broadcast the English Premier League …guess what happens…FLOW blocks it…and you have to pay additionally to order a sports package to watch the same content through another provider….ROBBERYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY.. FLOW IS DISGUSTING.

    Diego Martin

  27. Look People,I am done rangling with Flow and their none Service.The reason I am still maintaining a fair level of sanity,is because I go online and pay US 14.00 per month for 50.000 mbs and I watch whatever Tv Shows and movies I want.1meg is the required speed. You should see what they have done to the front of our new apartment building, when they eventually showed up to make their mess.They should have someone come and inspect their work after they have Buldozed your house. I will not give out the movie site ,because I am expecting improvememt, all round.Customers pay for service. Not excuses.I really feel sorry for what they did to that poor guy”s house.They to get their BOYS sorted out SOON.

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