The saga begins a few weeks ago.
In an effort to save some money I had been going over our monthly bills to see where we could make some adjustments. Our biggest monthly bill by FAR, aside from rent, is our Comcast bill. We had been in a bundle for the past few years (for those lucky enough not to be involved with Comcast, it is usually cheaper to bundle your phone, internet and cable service into one package than it is to pay seperately for each). As a result of this bundle timing out, our monthly bill leapt to about $250 a month (up from about $160).
Now, I know there are adjustments we could make at home to drop this bill down. We get the movie channels, the NHL Package (sigh), have two DVRs, plus high speed internet. And we like having these things. So I am not expecting to pay small money, neccesarily.
But I am also not expecting to be reamed.
I casually twittered about our Comcast bill a few weeks ago and within minutes @ComcastBill contacted me with an email address of someone at Comcast who could help me. That was helpful. Thanks Comcast Bill! So I sent off an email about what we had and what we were paying and what can you do for us? Within a few hours a woman named Nancy called me, cited my Tweet and told me she wanted to help me lower my monthly bill. What a doll!
"Ain't technology grand?", I thought.
So I talked on the phone with Nancy for about twenty minutes and while she was nice and helpful, I deduced almost immediately that she was also clearly a Company Gal. Someone who was not as much interested in helping me save money as she was in helping her company get the most money out of me. She would give me pricing info but it was vague. She would answer my questions about induvidual pricing but always steer me back to bundles.
And every bundle she tried to sell me came in a THREE YEAR CONRACT that costs $275 to get out of if you try to before your three years are up. I am not at all interested in committing myself to a cable package for three years. Especially one that increases by $20 a month every year you are in it. Are you serious?
I told Nancy that I would be moving in the Spring and could not guarantee that I would be sticking with Comcast when I moved. Perhaps this was not smart to say but I wanted her to understand how little sense it made for me to lock myself into a 3 year contract that comes wth a $275 early termination fee when I knew I would be moving (and if at all possible leaving Comcast) in LESS than a year.
So after some hemming and hawing she told me I could lock in a somewhat reasonable price for the next six months, that included all of our channels and the internet (but not AS high speed) and I would return the DVR in the bedroom (sob!) to save an extra $25 a month. I would have to call after the six months was up and see what new pricing was availabke but I am willing to do that. Easy peasy.
A few days later I realized that I may have been misled about keeping all of our channale since some had dissapeared (TMC and Turner Classic Movies). Now, I don't watch these channels every day and it's not the biggest of deals. But I found it a little suspect that I had been told I could keep all of my movie channels and I clearly could not.
I had it on my list to call Comcats back and find out what had happened when a surprise came to me in my mailbox. And what was it? AW! A two year contract from Comcast. That included none of the things I had spoken to Nancy about. How lovely. Especially after I told her I wasn't interested in signing a contract. She shouldn't have!
Really, she shouldn't have.
I called Comcast with the contract in hand and spoke to another woman about my confusion. Hadn't I just spoken to Nancy and she quoted me a price for a six month contract with no early termination fee? And she also told me I didn't have to bundle in a phone since we don't have one and dont use one. Oh no, this rep assured me. Nancy was dead wrong. In fact there was no record on Comcast's end of Nancy making ANY changes to our current contract. This is fishy to me since
1) Why did two of my channels suddenly dissapear
2) What prompted me getting this bullsh*t contract in the mail?
I expressed my dismay to this rep who assured me "IF" Nancy had told me those things, she was incorrect. I loved the "if" casually thrown in there to let me know that she doesn't entirely believe me. Then I was informed that it is impossible to bundle your services for anything less than a two year contract but at least the two year contract only comes with a $75 early termination fee. But still! Why do they need thatmoney? Why can't the accomodate a normal person who doesn't know what their living situtation will be in a year and doesn't want to have to pay a fee for being in this situation. I mean I love a money hungry monopoly as much as the next person but really?
If you are thinking I should just not bundle my services then I am right back to paying over $200 a month because that is what our cable package and internet cost together without a bundle.
So after going back and forth with the rep I excercised my right to t ake 30 days to sign this wretched contract and in the mean time weigh my options. Within the 30 days I will continue to pay what I have been paying and recieve all of the services. Fine. Whatever.
The next morning I was treated to another surprise, Comcast style! I opened up a web browser on my laptop and lo! The comcast homepage comes up asking me to log in and confirm my infofmation and accept their terms and conditions.
I opened up another web browser and lo! The same thing. Internet Explorer. Firefox. All with this comcast homepage beseeching me to log in and create an account and confirm my contract information. Or else I can't get on the internet
Once again I hopped on the phone and called my very good friends at Comcast. They were TOTALLY surprised. "We don't see the comcast homepage showing up on your computer on our end". Really? How interesting. How interesting that the day after I tell you I don't want to sign my contract you basically make it so I have to sign my contract before I use the internet in my own home even though it says right on the contract that I have 30 days to decide.
So after almost an hour and a half on the phone during which I was led to disable my router and my modem and then Adam had to swoop in and save me from breaking everything, we finally were able to get online without signing our souls over to Concast.
But the clock is a ticking. I now have 23 days left to make a decision. And what stinks the most is we probably WILL have to sign that contract because doing so and paying the early termination fee is still cheaper than not being in a contract at all because Comcast makes it so that is the case.
So enjoy my $75 when you get it in April. It is worth it to finally cut ties with the devil.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The saga begins a few weeks ago.