Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Comcast Update

It has been over a year since my last update in the Comcast Saga, and an update is definitely overdue.  So here goes.  Last time I wrote, Comcast Angel Raul had reduced the bill from around $115/month to around $75/month.  I was thrilled.  Life was good.  I was told that this was a permanent change, and that life could go on happily.  This was in January of 2009.  In January of 2010, I found out that I had been sadly misinformed.

The bill for January was back up at $115.  I voiced my frustration on Twitter (my new favorite way to lament issues to customer service reps), and immediately received a response from Detreon.  Per his request, I emailed the details of the trouble (below).

"Back in January of last year, I spoke with a representative on the phone (Raul, in the cancellations department) who gave me a discounted rate ($68 a month, pre-taxes) on my internet and phone service.  My bill went from being approximately $115 a month (which I could not afford) to approximately $75 a month (more affordable!).  I asked him multiple times if this was a promotional rate, if the rate would eventually expire, etc. and each time he said no.  His exact words were, "Well, it's not a promotional rate because we're not promoting it."  He said this would permanently lower my monthly bill, and that it would never expire.
This month, I received my bill for $114.38, and when I contacted the billing department, I was told that my previous rate was a 12-month promotion.  According to Customer Service Agent Rowena, there was nothing she could do because my promotion had ended.
Needless to say, I am incredibly disappointed with this news.  Our Comcast service has not been stellar, especially since the digital upgrade (multiple outages, switching between digital channels is very slow, frequent pixellation, frequently dropped internet), and I do not feel it is worth $115 a month.  At this point, I am starting to research alternate cable/internet options.
I don't know why I was misinformed, but like I said, it is a big disappointment."

His response was:

"Unfortunately, the representative you spoke with provided mis-information and for this I apologize. I have asked that our regional office look into why you were not provided with accurate information and the representative you spoke with will be coached. In terms of pricing, we were able to lock you in a second 12 month promotion for cable service at $39.99 and a 6 month promotion for internet at $24.99. This does not excuse the poor service that you received, but I do believe it is a step in the right direction."

So this is where we stand now.  We have cable for $39.99 for the rest of the year, and internet for $24.99 for another few months (at which point it will go up to about $50 a month).  It is very frustrating that service is not more affordable, and that (like nearly every person I've talked to about this) we just keep looking for ways to hook into promotions and special deals, and complain to customer service until our rates are (temporarily) lowered.  I don't understand why cable companies charge so much (ok, I do, it's because they can).  And every other place I've looked (DirectTV, DishNetwork, etc) is the same, so it's not worth dealing with the hassle to switch.  You can get the "low price" for a year, and then your rate nearly doubles.  We'd like to try out ATT U-Verse, because we've heard good things about it, and its DVR seems better than TiVo (as much as I love TiVo and its cute little mascot).

Anyway, there it is.  An update.


  1. kim, i hate comcast too. i totally feel your pain -- i find myself calling them every month with billing concerns. i've considered switching, but i i don't think it's worth the time or effort, since all cable companies are the same. argh!

  2. OK, this update makes me incredibly annoyed. What is the point of customer service reps at all if they are "misinformed" and they cannot be held to the information they give you? You asked him repeatedly, and he said in no uncertain terms that your price-lowering was permanent. GRRRR!!

    It's because of frustrations like these (and poor connections etc, similar to what you mentioned in your post) that I have stopped using cable. Right now I am living on the DVDs of Glee and Battlestar Gallactica, watching the final season of Lost at anyone's house that will have me, and of course mourning my loss of HGTV, TLC, Discovery, and movie channels (mostly... there was other crap I watched but it's almost certainly for the best that I can't watch it anymore! ;)). I am looking into getting an HDMI cable/whatever other technology is needed (I'm a Luddite at heart) so I can connect to my laptop and get Hulu, et al. I tried using an indoor cheapie antenna at the suggestion of friends to get basic channels but it wouldn't pick anything up sufficiently (grr). I may need an amplifier?

    Um. Yeah. I feel your pain so very much. But I do get a lot more done and oddly, feel less "stressed" about the shows in my queue now that I am sans cable and DVR. But it's not really a road I would recommend taking... sigh. We'll see how long I can keep this up!

  3. Jacqui - I know, right? What's the point in switching if it's just going to be the same situation? At least with Comcast, I can say I've been a loyal customer for years, and try to get better treatment that way.

    And Julie - There's a part of me that really wants to give up cable, like, the part of me that's all "Oh I don't NEED it. I'm better than that" or something. But yeah...I want it. I know I do.

  4. We have had similar problems with Comcast, but Time Warner SoCal was way worse. Basically, these companies have a monopoly on their territory, and they do what ever they want. They try to periodically raise your rates, no matter what they told you before, and only give in if they think you will actually cancel cable. Sometimes it is helpful to start negotiations at the cancellation department, because they are the only authorized to make deals.

    We gave up cable too, and between Hulu and Netflix, we haven't missed a thing. We have an HDMI cable from the laptop to the TV like Julie suggested, and it is wonderful. Everything that is not available on Hulu is available on Netflix "play instantly," so we have access to more entertainment than we can shake a stick at. And I can shake a stick at a lot of entertainment.

  5. Yeah, I've usually started with the cancellations dept (see previous posts linked to "Comcast Saga" in the post above). Sometimes with luck, sometimes without. It's just a shame that they can't just keep the rates low. So silly.