Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Hate Comcast

I thought that I hated PECO and PGW, but yesterday, I realized that I hate Comcast even more. A little background...

When CPM and I first moved into our house, we had limited basic cable and a tiny 27 inch television. That was almost 10 years ago. I repeat: we had no premium channels and only 1 television in the house. Oh, the horror. My cable bill was less than $20. Somehow, over the ensuing years, we became the household with a 52 inch flat screen HDTV in the living room, a 32 inch flat screen in the basement, all of the premium channels, and the added bonus of HowardTV. We have high speed internet access. We have VOIP. What does this mean? It means Comcast screws with me, regularly.

Two years ago, I signed up for whatever combo package Comcast was pushing at the time. It combined TV (with HBO, Showtime and Starz), internet, and phone for one spectacular price, but you had to sign a two year commitment. During that time period, I also added an HD box and HowardTV. Sure, I hyperventilated when paying the $170 cable bill every month, but it was worth it. How could I miss Entourage? Big Love? Dexter? Secret Diary of a Call Girl? I need my premium channels! I need my OnDemand!

An aside: The funny thing in my marriage is that I am the gadget geek. CPM would be happy watching old episodes of A-Team on DVD on a tiny screen. I need the full movie theater experience--surround sound and a giant screen.

Yesterday, I received Comcast's latest attempt to kill me. My bill, normally in the $170 range, had jumped to $215. Let's pause here while I clean up the brains from my computer screen, because my head just exploded again. Apparently, my sweet package deal had expired. Thanks, Comcast, for giving me advance notice and the chance to call you up and yell a month ago! Instead, I had to call you while I was shaking in rage.

After getting the first customer service representative (speaking broken English, probably located in India somewhere) on the phone, I expressed my displeasure and was told that I must speak to another representative--ahh, right, the "customer retention specialist." The CRS was very cheerful. I managed to keep my temper in check, even as I inwardly fumed that Verizon FiOS is not yet available in my area. What can I actually threaten to do, switch to DirecTV? I don't think so. Comcast knows this. I know they know this. (The CRS nicely asked if there was anything I could give up to save money. Um. No.) They have me over a barrel and they know it. I'm like a heroin addict with my dealer. I hate them, but I have to have their product in order to function in society.

As the call ended, and I reflect now on my choices, I'm not sure I made out much better. I'm now paying $200 per month, a whopping $15 savings. But, Comcast has added a DVR and Cinemax to my package. Woohoo. Bastards. I guarantee you that when the DVR box arrives at my home, I will hook it up, follow the set-up instructions, and be forced to place a service call. This has happened without fail each time I have upgraded my service.

Fucking Comcast.

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