Verizon tops Consumer Reports ranking while Comcast, Time Warner Cable tumble

In what is becoming an ongoing event, a Consumer Reports survey found that "very few consumers think they're getting a great deal" when it comes to Internet and TV services.

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) FiOS came in first in overall satisfaction while Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) came in 15th of 17 service providers in the category. Its potential partner Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) came in 16th.

In a Variety article, a Comcast spokesman put a sunnier spin on the results.

"We know we still have work to do, but these stats show that our continued investments to transform the customer experience having an impact and we are making progress," the spokesperson said.

The Consumer Reports survey found that consumers who pay about $1,848 annually for in-home telecom services delivered "almost universally low ratings for value across services--especially for TV and Internet." Despite industry claims, the survey also found that those who bundled services were still "unimpressed" with what they got.

"Even top-rated regional provider WOW and nationally distributed Verizon FiOS, which both got high marks for service satisfaction, rated middling or lower for value," the organization said in a press release.

Besides FiOS and WOW, which received more billing complaints than average, Consumer Reports called out positives for regional providers SuddenLink and Bright House Networks.

The press release cited a bright side to the findings from its 81,848 respondents.

"Consumers of telecommunications services are becoming more savvy negotiators," it reported, with 92 percent of respondents negotiating a better bundle package and 46 percent getting as much as a $50 per month discount, 44 percent getting a new or extended promotional rate and 33 percent receiving more channels. Another 16 percent got discounted or free equipment, the press release continued.

"Companies have been talking tough about cracking down on serial negotiators, but there's no good reason not to haggle," the Consumer Reports release said, linking to a section on its website with tips on how to do it.

"The last thing consumers should do is be passive. Even though some companies are cracking down on serial negotiators, there's really no downside to haggling," Glenn Derene, electronics editor for Consumer Reports said in the release.

For more:
- see this press release
- and these tips on how to haggle for better prices
- Variety has this story

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