Charter outage cuts sales for businesses

TRI-CITIES - Action News is following up on the outage that knocked out cable, satellite and phone services. Charter blames an equipment failure. KEPR learned a number of businesses that rely on phone sales.

For business owners like David McKay, it's all about customer relations. He manages McKay's Taphouse and Pizza Pipeline in Richland. 90% of their pizza orders are made over-the-phone.

So when that service was cut for four hours yesterday, it came at a cost. Halloween night is generally a busy one.

"I called them and asked them if I could transfer to a phone, one of my cell, hand-held unit so I could take orders, but they couldn't do that," said Pizza Pipeline Manager David McKay.

David estimates hundreds of dollars went down the drain. And he's not likely to recoup it. Delivery shops like Just Roses were hit hard, too.

"You know, nothing. We had internet, but there was absolutely no phone service at all," said Just Roses Bookkeeper Sandy Records.

Only 4% Sandy's flower orders are made online. She thinks she lost almost 500-bucks in one afternoon.

"People calling in orders to have deliveries, or they want to come pick something up later in the day. That's very important to us," added Records.

The outage knocked out local channels from satellite providers and had all cable off for a few hours. Local channels were out even longer. Charter blames the outage on an equipment failure.

"We realize that customers do rely on the coverage that we offer through television and Internet and phone service, so we apologize for the outage that occurred," said Charter Communications Manager Jack Hardy.

Charter tells me most issues were solved by 9:30 at night. But not everyone was back online until overnight. A process managers like Dave and Sandy are just glad is over, even if they can't get back the money lost.

Charter can't tell us how the extent of the outage. They tell us it's for competitive reasons.

Insurance agents tell us these businesses could get some money back. That is, if their insurance policy is specific enough. The business could file complaints against Charter.