STRONGSVILLE, Ohio — Norm Lange of Strongsville was hoping his Amazon Fire Stick and YouTube TV would get him Cleveland television stations without the need for cable or an antenna but was left watching Huntsville, Alabama television for weeks.
Lange said he tried everything to get his system to link to Northeast Ohio broadcasts, but was unable to find a fix. Lange said his efforts to reach YouTube, Amazon and Google by email and online failed to produce a response or any customer service assistance.
He told News 5 he's paying $70 a month for YouTube TV but said even at that price the companies don't have customer service representatives you can call and talk with on the phone.
“Well it’s been very ridiculous, I’ve spent hours trying to fix this, and all you do is get caught in an infinite loop," Lange said. “That’s when I started the letter writing, I wrote to Amazon because you can’t call them.”
“It not only shows Huntsville Alabama, but it shows the correct time. This television when it reverts back, it will show the Central time zone. Well, I’d rather see News 5, I’ve never been to Huntsville. I have no idea how this happened.”
Lange said he also wrote to Sen. Sherrod Brown and tried to find a solution on the website's "frequently asked questions" pages but he was unable to find any guidance.
“And then you try to get an answer and what do they do, they try to send you to other customers, who may or may not have had this problem and they give you solutions on how to solve it,” Lange said. "I mean we are our own customer service!”
Christine Kellamis, Akron Better Business Bureau Director of Operations, told News 5 it's crucial consumers understand how to properly operate streaming devices when they are first making their purchase.
“Consumers need to understand what the product is that they’re buying, they need to do a little research," Kellamis said. "Many times if there is a technical issue, a lot of the manuals are online.”
“We understand the frustration, a lot of times consumers say they can’t get through, or they’re not getting responses back. You can file a consumer complaint with the BBB, and many of the businesses are actually accredited with us, which means businesses have to respond.”
"The final step is they can pursue a matter legally, they can consult an attorney, take the matter to court, they can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office.”
News 5 contacted Amazon and Google about this case and Lange reported days later that he was finally able to get his streaming service to link to Cleveland television stations.
“It shouldn’t be News 5 or it shouldn’t be my congressional office that is helping me with this, it should be customer service, a live person," Lange said. “If I pay one time for an antenna and I can get it forever, so maybe I should just cut these guys out.”