Responding to Hampstead residents' complaints about cable service, Linda Jenne called Adelphia Cable 165 times between June 1 and June 15. The town's cable coordinator reached a customer service agent three times.
That's an unacceptable level of service and a violation of Adelphia's contract, said Hampstead Town Manager Ken Decker.
As a result, Decker plans to ask Carroll County's Cable Commission at its next meeting July 12 for permission on behalf of the town to seek damages of $200 a day for the two-week period.
The commission monitors relations between Adelphia, the county's dominant cable provider, and its customers. The customer service problems are an extension of those Hampstead and other localities had with Prestige Cable, the previous provider, which was bought out by Adelphia about a year ago, Decker said.
Mark Krider, Adelphia's general manager, did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment.
Decker said he would continue to have Jenne call regularly until the situation improves. The town can deal with fuzzy reception, incorrect bills and missed appointments, but it can't accept a cable company that won't help customers with those problems, he said.
Decker doesn't stand alone in his frustration.
When informed Monday that Adelphia might be fined, Mount Airy Town Council members cheered.
Mount Airy has asked for a cable modem in its town office for six months with no response from Adelphia, said Mayor Gerald Johnson.
"We're really being held hostage on our use of the Internet," he complained.
In requesting fines against Adelphia, Decker will note Federal Communications Commission service regulations that require cable providers to answer any phone call within 30 seconds and give customers a busy signal less than 3 percent of the time.
"I just want to go to a council meeting without hearing the latest tale of woe regarding cable," Decker said. "We encourage citizens to solve their problems individually, but at the same time, if a lot of people are being mistreated, we want to know about it, and we want to deal with it."