Exciting forays into the TV, movies, books, and web sites worth geeking out over. Will also feature other random topics of interest to the intrepid blogger.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Forgive Me, I Must Take a Brief Break to Rant About Why Comcast is Literally the Worst
A long, long time ago, in an apartment not so far away, I had Comcast cable and internet. It worked without a hitch for 4 years. Then I moved one street over to a new apartment. The night I moved in, I tried setting everything up, but it wasn’t working. I ended up having to call the next day and make sure things were activated properly. No big. That was to be expected.
Then about three days later, I get a voicemail from Comcast asking if I wanted to cancel service at my old apartment. “That’s weird,” I said to myself. “I called and set that all up a week in advance.” So I called and explained this same information to a representative and made sure that the service for the old apartment was off and I was not being charged past the date I had originally arranged for it to be shut off. And that was that.
Or, well, I wish it was. I got back home from walking my dog and turned on my TV. My cable wasn’t working. Okay, seriously? When I cancelled my service, I meant for the place I USED to live, not the place I currently lived. Did they get it mixed up? Sighing, I called tech support. There was much troubleshooting. It did not work. Not only did it not work, but while I was talking to the guy, he kept asking me things about my internet. “My internet is working fine,” I told him. “Please don’t change anything about my internet.”
Then my internet went down.
I was starting to get really annoyed. The guy I was speaking to wasn’t able to help me. He had to pass me off to someone else. That guy also was not able to help me. I had been on the phone for a long time now. My patience was wearing thin. I ended up asking to be transferred to someone who could fix my internet and just said, “Screw the TV. I need the internet more.”
I was transferred to someone who helped me get my internet fixed. My cable was still down.
I called again later to try and schedule a technician visit. I explained that I’d had a lot of trouble with my service. I told her I did not want to pay for a technician and I’d almost rather just cancel my cable, since I mostly watch Netflix, anyhow. I was convinced to have a technician visit based upon the promise that I would not pay a fee for his visit no matter what. I was told that ordinarily, they charge a fee only if the problem is your fault, but no matter what, I would not be charged. (I may have actually been told this by more than one rep. I sort of remember that I was.) So I agreed, and they scheduled the visit for early Saturday morning. In the meantime, I had no cable for about a week.
When the cable guy showed up, it took him seconds to realize what was wrong. “They sent so many reset signals to the box that they fried the card inside,” he explained. “This box is no good. I’ll replace it and you’ll be up and running.” So he replaced it, and lo and behold, I was back in business. He also noted that the last tech had hooked up my cable with colored cords instead of an HDMI cable, which meant that I was paying extra for HD TV for all the years since that tech visited (my now 3-year-old dog was a puppy then), but I wasn’t actually receiving it.
For a while, everything was okay. Then, about two or three days later, I went to record something on my DVR. It didn’t work. I called in for technical support. After going through all the troubleshooting steps again, it turns out that this box was also defective. They promised to send me a new one in the mail. In the meantime, I was without a working DVR for three or four days.
The new DVR came in the mail. I hooked it up. I believe I had to call tech support (AGAIN) to get it working, but it worked. I was relieved. For a few days.
A few days later, I received two bills that didn’t make sense. I called to inquire, and the guy I spoke to was very nice and told me that I didn’t owe anything for the old apartment or the new. I would have no payment that month. He also fixed it so that I could see my account using my old Comcast email address to log in.
I logged in afterwards and noticed that it was showing a $67 bill coming up due. Um, okay, that’s not what he told me. Anyhow, I paid it, because whatever.
I didn’t use my cable for a while. I really don’t watch TV much, at least not outside of Netflix and Hulu. As a matter of fact, I kept trying to cancel it, and Comcast told me they’d jack up my rate for the pleasure of providing me with fewer services. I only got this “discount” because I bundled my services. Again, whatever.
Sunday, which was about exactly a month since I moved, I turned on my cable to watch “Game of Thrones,” which is my absolute favorite show. My cable was not working. My heart racing in panic, I called for tech support. They tried to send a reset signal and my box didn’t react. They had me turn it off and on. After a friend on Facebook alerted me to the fact that I could watch online, I hung up on them. They’d left me on hold again anyhow. I went to watch my show on my computer, vowing to call back the next day and cancel my cable.
When I followed through on my plan, I was met by the usual dialogue: I could absolutely do that if I wanted to, but they were going to charge me significantly more because my services weren’t bundled. We went back and forth, and ultimately I got tired of arguing how stupid it was that I couldn’t get them to do less for me without paying them more money. Ultimately, she offered me a discount on my HD TV Fee and transferred me to tech support.
The person I spoke to next was one of those rare people at Comcast who knew her ass from a hole in the ground. Within a few minutes, she figured out that my cable box was listed for the wrong outlet, which is why they couldn’t send it signals. She fixed it, and I was back in business.
Two days later, I get a bill in the mail. $156 dollars. I’m supposed to be paying $69.99 a month. I have no idea where the Hell this number came from. I call to ask for an explanation. While I’m on the phone, I notice a technician fee. I explain that I was promised by a customer service rep that I would not pay a fee for his visit no matter what. I also told her that the man told me the equipment malfunctioned because Comcast customer service reps sent too many reset signals and fried my box. She scoffed like she knew that wasn’t possible (I’m sure she builds cable boxes in her spare time, she totally knows more than the technician), and she said it’s their policy to charge NO MATTER WHY THE PROBLEM HAPPENED unless you pay additional fees for a customer protection plan. I pointed out how ridiculous it was that I should have to pay a fee to fix a problem Comcast customer service caused. I also pointed out that I was told that they usually didn’t charge if the problem was on their end and not mine. She told me that’s not true. THEY ALWAYS CHARGE EVEN IF IT’S THEIR FAULT.
Ultimately, I told her the charge goes away or it’s the last thing they’ll ever charge me for. She said all she could do was give me a $20 credit and put in a ticket on the remaining $30. She said they’d research my (many, many) prior calls to confirm that I was promised there would be no charge, and that they’d contact the cable guy (who apparently wrote down on his paperwork that the complaint was invalid or something). I have to wait to hear back on May 19th.
At this point, I would sell my soul to get out of having to use Comcast. This is the worst service I’ve ever gotten from anybody anywhere. They overcharge like crazy, and only every fifth person I speak to has any freaking clue what he/she is talking about. They all tell me different, conflicting things every time I call. This is the policy, until I speak to someone else, and then it’s not. This is what I owe, until I double check on the internet and find out that’s wrong. This is the problem, until I call someone different and find out that wasn’t it. I haven’t had consistent, working service for more than four consecutive days since I’ve moved here. I’ve spent more time on the phone with Comcast than I have talking to loved ones. My stress level is through the roof, and their overriding policy seems to be to gouge money from customers in every way possible. If there is service from any other company available in your area, please, for God’s sake, take it. Don’t deal with what I’m dealing with. It’ll take years off your life. I hear Verizon Fios and AT&T uverse are good. If they were available in my area, I’d leave Comcast so fast there’d be a cartoon puff of smoke where I used to be in their customer files.