Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's Comcastic!

Let's say for a moment that Comcast is your internet and cable TV provider. And let's say that you called them a few months ago to take advantage of a promotion they were running which would upgrade your cable TV from limited basic ($17.99/month) to digital starter for just a little bit more money (29.99/month for 1 year). And let's say that you decided this was a good move because you enjoy watching the Cartoon Network, HG TV, and TLC's What Not to Wear. And let's say that the digital starter cable comes with a craptastic tuner box. And pretend that the box they gave you, in addition to being really big (bigger than two VCRs from 1985 combined), had a power cable that had been shaved down with a pocket knife to fit, and sparked when plugged in. And let's also say that the TV signal through the box was ridiculously craptastic and the tuner on your own TV was much clearer. And let's also say that because you didn't pay extra for an HD box, you don't get HD channels through the lame-o box, but your TV tunes in to HD channels without any problem.

So let's say then that you decide to return the box because it doesn't work and it sparks. You call Comcast and explain why you don't want the box. They are apathetic, and offer to "upgrade" you to an HD box for an additional charge. You say no thank you. They suggest you keep the box, but don't use it. You explain that your square footage is limited and you don't want to store their equipment for them. So you drive yourself to their service center to return said craptastic box.

Then let's say that two months later you get a bill. And the bill is three times what it should be. And you call Comcast to find out why they are charging you so much for TV. And it turns out that since you turned in the box your cable service was changed from digital starter to standard, which is $50/month. And, let's just say, to make things more interesting, that they also charged you retroactively for standard cable which equals yet another $50. What is the difference between the two services? They come with the same channels, to be sure, but one has on-demand (with their craptastic box), and one does not. There is currently no promotion running on the standard cable, which apparently you have now because you returned their box. And let's just say, for the sake of argument, that nobody at the service center or at 1-800-comcast bothered to tell you that if you returned the box your service would automatically be switched.

So, after much discussion with the nice lady who works for Comcast, you suggest that perhaps it would be advantageous for you to switch back to limited basic cable. Then let's say she says, "Well there IS a promotion for standard cable." And you think, "Really? Didn't you just say a moment ago that there WAS no promotion?" But let's say instead of blurting out what's on your mind you just say, "Okay."

Then, pretend you are then told that you will still have to pay the $150 bill for this month, but that, through the grace of the Comcast promotion gods, your bill next month will be significantly less. Then say you argue the point that nobody you talked to from Comcast two months ago mentioned that your service would be switched and therefore way out of the price range you are willing to pay, and the nice lady offers to make a note in the file and contact the supervisor of the person you talked to before to let them know that they needed to let ME know that my service would change. Let's say you argue the point further and say that you are not prepared to pay the bill since it was THEIR mistake.

Let's say she puts you on hold. For a long time. And minutes on your cell phone are racking up. (BUT if you had Comcast digital voice, you could get a great promotion for the first six months.) And let's say she comes back on the line and tells you that she will post credits to your account in the amounts you were over charged ($70 or so), but that just in case the credits didn't post in time, you ought to pay the entire $150. And let's say she suggests how great this would be because then your bill next month would be "significantly less." And you think, "Uhhh... well if I'm paying three months in advance AND you are crediting my account, I better not see a bill for four months." But instead you say, "What if I just pay what my bill should have been?" And pretend she says, "Well you'd better pay the what is due or you could be charged late fees, or your service could be cancelled."

Let's just say that when you get off the phone with her you don't pay $150, but instead pay the $50 some odd that your bill should have been. And let's just say that now you are hoping your service doesn't get cancelled. And let's also pretend that you are really irritated with Comcast, so much so that you write about it on your blog.

Yeah, let's pretend all that. What would you do?


  1. oh, wow. i'd probably do the same thing you did. you have plenty of arguments in your favor if they're more difficult down the road... good luck.

  2. Very annoying. Surprisingly I've always found Comcast's customer service to be very good, so you should ask for free stuff for them to keep your business. They gave us all sorts of credits and free channels when Rich called and told them we wouldn't pay their ridiculous amount and that he wanted to be compensated for his trouble :)

    Good luck!

  3. I'd drop them like a bad boyfriend which I did. Comcast is truly craptastic

  4. i would tell comcast that you wrote about the horrible service on your blog and now everyone knows about how craptastic they are. Then see if they fix your problems. I hate comcast.

  5. With Comcast in the title, none of this surprises me. I've only heard bad things about them. Unfortunately, in our new apartment, we have no choice and Comcast is our provider. We actually had some undisclosed set up charges appear on our first bill. Mr. Frisby called them and argued our point. They said the same thing they said to you. Pay the whole amount due now and your next bill will be less. We actually followed their instructions and our next bill was indeed less due to the credit. Still, it was irritating and I look forward to the day I can drop Comcast like yesterday's news.

  6. I'd throw them out the window with their craptastic equipment - far out the window. We've had SUCH a difficult time with them but, alas, don't have many options, either. Sigh.


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