More than half of people would quit their cable company if there were actually a decent alternative, according to recent study. However, there could soon be even fewer companies out there.
Consulting firm cg42 conducted an online survey of over 3,000 current and former customers of the top five cable companies in the U.S. -- Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter and Cablevision -- and found that a whopping 73 percent feel that "cable companies are predatory in their practices and take advantage of consumers’ lack of choice."
It's hard to blame the disgruntled customers. Cable companies routinely rank at the bottom when it comes to customer satisfaction. And then, of course, there's the ever-increasing bill that you get each month. The price of Comcast's basic cable package went up by a whopping 68 percent between 2009 and 2013, according to Free Press, a consumer advocacy group.
The study comes as Comcast and Time Warner Cable attempt to convince regulators that a $45 billion merger is in the public interest. Comcast, the largest cable company in the country, is in the process of taking over Time Warner Cable, the second-largest in the country. The new company would provide cable to nearly a third of homes in the U.S. and broadband to nearly 40 percent.
But cg42 found that customers don't think bigger is better: Seventy-two percent of those surveyed said they "worry that the larger the cable companies become, the worse off consumers are."
And if you feel like you don't actually have much of a choice when it comes to deciding which company you're going to pay for TV, then you're not alone.
Sixty-nine percent of respondents felt that "there is too little competition among TV/Entertainment content providers," while 58 percent said they they don't "have a real choice in TV/Entertainment content providers."
Over half of those surveyed -- 53 percent -- said they'd quit their company if they had another choice.
"What the study revealed was that the cable companies are more frustrating than any other category we've surveyed to date," Stephen Beck, the founder and managing partner of cg42, said, adding that people hate their cable companies even more than they hated their banks in 2011, around the time of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
"[Cable] companies have historically benefited from their monopolistic-like positions in many of the markets they've served, and that has allowed them to be woefully bad in customer experience," Beck said.