Monday, July 28, 2008

Lamenting Comcast

I am having great frustrations today. So great, that I have been thinking all day long about them, and they have been consuming my brain so that I can't think or talk about much else. It frustrates me to be in this state of mind, and it frustrates me that I can't really get out of it. I have decided to take a zen approach - to sit back and relax and not to make any rash decisions. I'm trying to be less impulsive. Not less spontaneous, but less impulsive. I almost bought a kitten this weekend; left a message on a woman's answering machine; called back a few hours later to apologetically tell her I couldn't buy the kitten. Luckily she never answered the phone and I didn't have to be embarrassed live. Yeah, I need to think - really hard - before I act.

But I digress. I am frustrated because my Comcast bill came in the mail this weekend, and it is a whopping $110, which is approximately $35 more than my usual bill. Apparently my awesome (but still pricey, IMO) $33 cable/$33 internet deal was just a 12-month promotion. I have been living in my apartment for 12 months, and thus, I now have to pay full price. This is irritating to me. I don't want to pay an extra $35 a month. Lame.

This happened once before, in college, and somehow I was able to call Comcast and have them extend the promotion. I tried to do that today, however, and they weren't having any of it. The first guy I spoke to (Jerome? Jamal? Jemiel? Something with a J...) was incredibly rude. When I sadly said that I may have to cancel my service, he said "ok fine." Was he calling my bluff? Just being rude? I don't know, but I was sufficiently irked. I hung up the phone (and by the way, he did NOT transfer me to the customer service survey to which I had asked to be transferred...I wonder why...) and complained to all of my coworkers. Everyone had similar stories of how Comcast sucks, but there isn't really a better choice out there. I decided to call back, this time to the cancellation line rather than to the billing line. A friend suggested that most likely, the cancellation department's job is to make sure people don't cancel....good thought.

So, I called and spoke with a very nice woman named Dorothy. Sadly, Dorothy did not do what I wanted, which was to say "oh, never mind, we'll just extend that promotion for you." She did, however, apologize on behalf of Comcast for the mean man's behavior earlier, and offer a few (unsatisfactory) options: to get slower internet for around $10 less per month, or to only get channels 1-35 (instead of 1-80) for approximately $45 less per month. Well, unfortunately, these options don't really work. My internet at home isn't brilliantly fast as it is, and the only shows I watch really are on channels 50+. I could also sign up for the Triple Play, which is $33 each for phone/internet/cable, but I don't need phone, and besides - I'm trying to SAVE money here.

I started feeling like a bit of a whiner with my whole "I can't afford an extra $35 per month but I'm not willing to give up my TV shows or internet speed...wah wah wah" shpiel. Even I wasn't really buying it. I thanked her, told her I just didn't know what I was going to do, and that I would have to think about it. She gave me her personal extension and told me to call her back directly (I'm believing it's because she's nice, and not because she's getting commission). Several hours later, I still don't know what I'm going to do.

My options:
  1. Stay with Comcast. Suck it up and pay the extra $35 a month - part of which is being reimbursed by work (thank god), so really only $23.99 extra a month. Still a lot of money, but not awful. This means not having to go through the ordeal of cancelling and joining up with a new company, going through the installation process all over again, etc. I don't know about you, but that almost makes it worth it.
  2. Cancel with Comcast and get DirectTV for my cable and find something else for internet. I don't even know where to begin here. The thought of not only having to research and choose a new company (two new companies!), but also to have to arrange for installation and figure out how to set up a whole new system just makes me cringe. The thought of doing this TWICE makes me even more annoyed. Especially since this would mean setting up the TiVo with something else as well, resetting my router, etc...it's just not a pretty thought. That's three separate technological things to rework, rewire, and re-figure out. Ugh.
Only two choices really - I'm not willing to give up on TV and internet altogether. I'd like to say that I am, but I'm just not. I live alone, and I like my Jon and Kate plus 8. Is an extra $287.88 a year worth not having to deal with all the crap listed in option 2? It might be.

I have a few weeks to figure it out, since my bill isn't due until mid-August, so I'm going to do some research and see what's out there. I've heard really good things about DirectTV, so it's really just the internet thing, and the setting everything up again thing (really, it's one of my least favorite parts about moving, and something I was looking forward to NOT having to do for once...since I'm finally at a stage in my life where I'm not moving every year or two). And really, it would mean two bills to pay each month instead of one, but that's not a big deal, since I have bill pay on my bank account anyway.

Does anyone have any advice/suggestions? Is it worth the hassle to just keep Comcast?

Sorry for the long rant, but it has been a while since I dumped my brain out on this blog, and I guess I was overdue. I'll post something more fun and happier later. Maybe even tonight. I went to the gym right before I left work today, and I feel cleaner and fresher (mostly from the shower) now. I'm looking forward to making myself a nice, simple dinner (I'm thinking salad and Trader Joe's goat cheese pizza) and maybe a glass of wine. And of course, Jon and Kate.

5 comments:

  1. Call back a second time. You'll probably get someone else who won't know what the first person said, and will likely give you a different rate, which may be better. If it's a higher rate than the first time, call a third time, and hope for a third different rate that's lower.

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  2. O.M.G. THIS EXACT SAME THING JUST HAPPENED WITH US AND TIMEWARNER. I won't tell you how upsetting it was because you already know. And what did we do? Well, we're too busy/lazy to deal with researching new companies and we don't really believe that we'll save money going anywhere else as we chose TimeWarner because it was the cheapest option, so we just ate the price increase. But it gives us something good to bitch about.

    This is just one of those things that PROVES how evil corporations can be. They can up their prices and treat you like dirt because you very likely won't use a different company. Because there very likely isn't a different company you can turn to. And when I say "you" I mean it in the collective sense of the word.

    I wonder how much longer I can babble on and how long I can actually make this comment?

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  3. GG @ This Writer's WalletJuly 29, 2008 at 7:25 PM

    I have no advice, only a THAT STINKS and I LOVE JON & KATE + 8. :)

    Stuff like this always gets me so frustrated, too, so I am so with you. You'll make a good decision.

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  4. Do what i did when i left chicago. Call up, cancel, and when asked why, tell them: you are an evil effing corporation whose ability to service their customers is surpassed by a street corner prostitute.

    then call back a week later and pretend to be a new customer to get the cheap year. If they say you cant, keep climbing the management ladder til you find someone who doesnt want to listen to you whine

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  5. As a fellow Berkeleyite, I've always done this, call and say you want to cancel your entire service (yeah, call their bluff). If the act like they want to keep you, they'll transfer you to their retention dept. Their retention department is much more keen on keeping customers and is willing to search for deals to keep you. I've been doing it for awhile every so often to get my internet bill lowered (I use Comcast for cable+net only). It's kinda nonsensical that they treat 'new' customers better than their old ones, but that's that way the game is played i guess ...

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