Comcast, Time Warner Cable get low marks in Consumer Reports survey

03/25/2014 10:48 AM

03/25/2014 3:19 PM

Low marks

Merger partners Comcast and Time Warner Cable are two of America’s least favorite cable companies, according to a survey from Consumer Reports.

The cable giants showed up near the bottom of the magazine’s rankings in a survey of 81,848 users of television, Internet and phone plans, the magazine reported. In the survey, whose results aren’t directly comparable with previous versions, subscribers gave the companies low marks for customer support and value.

Comcast’s TV service ranked 15th out of 17 providers. Time Warner Cable’s was 16th. They were also in the bottom half of phone and Internet providers and of 14 companies that offer packages of all three services.

Toy dolls recalled

Wal-Mart is recalling 174,000 dolls because the toy can overheat and potentially burn consumers.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said the “My Sweet Love/My Sweet Baby Cuddle Care Baby Doll” has a circuit board in its chest that can overheat, causing the surface of the doll to get hot and burn someone.

Consumers should stop using the product, remove the batteries and return them to any Wal-mart store for a refund.

Cruise inspections

The Coast Guard has begun unannounced inspections of cruise ships at U.S. ports, targeting those with patterns of safety problems, officials told the National Transportation Safety Board at its first forum on safety on the vessels.

Capt. Eric Christensen, who oversees ship inspection policy for the Coast Guard, also said regular twice-a-year inspections of 140 cruise ships based at U.S. ports in 2013 found 351 deficiencies, most frequently problems with fire doors and lifeboats.

Home sales slide

Fewer people bought new U.S. homes in February.

Sales fell to their slowest pace in five months, a sign that the housing market has yet to recover fully from brutal winter weather.

Sales of new homes declined 3.3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 440,000, the Commerce Department said. That was down from a revised rate of 455,000 in January.

Smartphone upgrade

HTC is updating its flagship HTC One smartphone by giving it a larger screen, better software and a camera that’s easier to use.

The original HTC One received good reviews and was named the best smartphone of 2013 at the wireless industry’s premier trade show in Barcelona, Spain, last month.

HTC executives acknowledge that the company made several operational mistakes in releasing last year’s phone, including the fact that customers of Verizon Wireless weren’t able to buy it until months after its launch. This time the phone will be available right away through all the major carriers.

Online orders started Tuesday, and retail stores will get them April 10.

It will cost $200 to $250 with a two-year service contract, or about $650 without a contract.

E-book settlement

Buyers of electronic books will get account credits this week from five publishers who reached settlements after states alleged they colluded to raise prices, New York’s attorney general said.

The $166 million national settlements were approved Dec. 6 and cover claims from April 1, 2010, to May 21, 2012. Buyers who bought certain e-books from Amazon, Barnes Noble, Kobo or Apple will automatically get partial refund credits in their e-book accounts.

Refund amounts are $3.06 for New York Times best-sellers bought during the period and 73 cents for any other book.

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