Comcast - Should you change???


OK, let's take this easy. I am going to start from the beginning.  I'll take it step by step, so it will be easy to follow my thoughts, feelings and outrage.


When we moved to central Virginia back in 1995, we went with the most common providers for internet, phone and television.  This was (I don't remember, for the internet - it was dial up) Centel for the phones, and Adelphia for the television. 

PHONE -  Centel became Sprint.  Whoo hoo!  Things are going to improve with the new owners, right?  Wrong.  Then Sprint became Centel again (sorta) for a very short time and IT became Embarq.  With Embarq, service was even worse.  I called up tech support and complained.  This is the response I got, word for word:  "I don't see how your service could be worse than Centel or Sprint, we haven't changed a thing".  Now, does ANYBODY see the irony in that statement?  The 'service' and equipment kept changing hands, but was NEVER upgraded or improved.  Embarq became Century Link, and service went even further downhill.

Internet - when we bought our home in November of 1996, we went with the internet service provided by Sprint/Centel.  Better than dial up.  I guess.  But SLOW and subject to service interruptions at really odd points, and no you DON'T get a credit on your bill because you couldn't use your phone/internet!  Why should you????  When Embarq came along, we upgraded to the 'FAST' dsl service.  Fast?  Really?  It would take literally 5 minutes for a page to load sometimes.  And it wasn't unusual for a video on YouTube to stop SEVERAL times to load further data.  Even once the video and run through, replaying it wouldn't help.  No, these problems were NOT from our equipment - we upgraded that several times.  Which is more than I can say for our provider.

Television/cable - When we moved to the area there were 3 choices:  antenna (3 stations, one strong - NBC29, and 2 very weak - PBS and one other) or a service (can't remember the name) that sent the signal wirelessly to a small antenna that was mounted HIGH above your rooflines and was subject to interruption by weather, trees, electronic noise, etc. or Adelphia (cable).  We went with Adelphia.  Crapola.  Some channels were very noisy ("it must be your inside wiring, and we can send a tech out, but you PAY for that" - only, they INSTALLED the wiring when we signed up!), some channels would just not be there at times, and you paid through the nose for anything other than basic.  So, after about 3 years of this crap, we switched to Dish Network.  When we discontinued our Adelphia service, we went down and turned in the cable box AND GOT A RECEIPT.  For over TEN MONTHS, we kept getting nasty letters from Adelphia threatening to 'turn off our service' if we didn't pay the bill!  Then we went another 6 months with them sending us outrageous bills for the past service and for the equipment that we 'kept'!!  Remember, I said we got a receipt?  If we hadn't, we would have had to PAY over $400 for that equipment!!  They (Dish Network) had good rates and we got satellite!!!!  Whooo!  Only, they don't tell you about the service interruptions from storms/rain/trees growing, etc.  And the prices kept going up.  And the channels we actually LIKED kept getting moved to more expensive 'plans'.  And don't get me started on:  the religious channels (about 30 of them), the home shopping channels (about 30 of THEM), the sports channels (exactly how many ESPNs do you NEED?) , the 'government' channels and the Spanish language channels.  That left, out of 250 channels, about 25.  And we weren't interested in but about 5 of those!  But what were the alternatives? Direct TV (same channels, same problems, and hidden 'hook' charges that doubled or tripled your monthly rate), go back to cable (now called ComCast) or drop back to an antenna (now there are 5 channels!!) - oh yeah, you also needed a 'converter' if you didn't want to pay for 'cable', because Big Brother decided that ALL broadcasts had to be 'digital' - no analog allowed - at the time, MOST televisions were still analog.  So, you had to buy a converter box.

We went on until this spring - count the years, folks.  I make it to be 17 years on the phone service.  We went 14 or 15 of those years with the phone ISP for internet.  We switched from Adelphia after a couple of years and went to Dish Network - that's 13 or 14 YEARS with them.  A guy came around the neighborhood last year, (apparently, he had a chart showing all of their customers, so everyone ELSE was a potential sale!) trying to talk us into switching to ComCast.  Oh, we've improved things!!  Prices are lower!!  Service is better!!  AND, you'd have phone, internet AND cable all on one bill and we'll SAVE YOU MONEY!!  Go away.  He went.  He returned in a couple of months with the same pitch.  Go away.  He went.  Repeat the above mantra.  FINALLY, we said, OK, we're tired of the crap with our current providers.  Can you guarantee that ComCast will be better??  YES!  OK.  We signed with ComCast.

Now we come the meat of this rant.

The tech stood us up for the install.  Apparently, ComCast has TWO schedules - one for corporate, and one for technicians.  The first is supposed to 'populate' the second.  It didn't.  They rescheduled.  The tech showed up - a personable young man.  One who obviously knew absolutely NOTHING about what he was supposed to be doing.  He neglected to disconnect the phone lines coming into the house from Century Link.  So, we had a LOUD, 60 cycle hum on the phone line making it impossible to use the phone.  He also did NOT bring a router with him. "Oh, I thought you'd have one!  I'll put in for them to send you one."  How long will that take?  "Could take up to 2 weeks."  2 weeks of not being able to use our internet?  Kidding, right?  He also draped the cable across our front yard, hooked it up to the house AROUND the fence and made the cable short enough that it was suspended in the air at both ends.  He then neglected to schedule to have the line buried.  It was draped across our yard for almost 2 months.  You have any idea what it is like to try and mow your grass every week with something like that? It only took 3 phone calls for the line to be scheduled for burial - and that took another 2 weeks.  We have 2 connection points for televisions, even though we only have one TV at this point - yes, you read correctly, we only own 1 TV.  So, they sent a digital module for the second connection point, for when we DO buy another TV for the family room.  He managed to take that back with him, but we are still being charged for it!  There wasn't SUPPOSED to BE a charge, that was why we had them send it anyway!  Because there WOULD be a charge for it if we ordered it in the 'future'.  So, we are now on the hook for the DVR that we didn't want, but "it's FREE for a year!!" and for TWO of the digital converter boxes, only one of which we actually HAVE.

There is still a nasty 60 cycle hum when we use the TV with cable, and the ground post is 'hot' - you get a distinct "bite" if you touch it.  We have called about credits to the account (supposedly, we were supposed to get a $20 credit for the tech standing us up, we are still getting SLOW download/load speeds at odd times, we are being charged for a piece of equipment we don't HAVE ("you get charged for the router or the modem - only one charge for both, even if you don't have one of them" - so the little weasel cost me $80 for a router that you were supposed to provide anyway???? - "well, you COULD have waited for us to send you one, and then you wouldn't be out the money")  I have NOT been able to find anyplace to talk to someone about the total LACK of satisfaction with ComCast, and anyone you DO get to talk to - well, "that is not my department".

We are going to cancel with ComCast as soon as the contract period is over - in fact, we are going to cancel 2 weeks in ADVANCE of the anniversary date.  We are going to do away completely with our house phone (we both have cell phones.  What do we need with a land-line?), get rid of the cable/satellite service - go back to antenna - we don't watch TV anyway! And we are going to go with a stand-alone ISP for internet.  That should reduce our bills and aggravation by a lot.


So.  Should you switch to ComCastI do NOT recommend it, and I DO recommend that if you are unhappy with them, CANCEL your service.  If you have a cell phone, you don't need the land-line.  If you don't watch much TV anyway, why do you need cable?  You can download all of your favorite show episodes from the internet!  Yes, you can.  Reduce your dependence on these people.  NO ONE seems to remember that "SERVICES" are supposed to SERVE and that without customer satisfaction, the SERVICE is totally UNNECESSARY.  If more people stand up and bitch, PERHAPS we can get service providers to actually SERVE their customers.


COMCAST - I hope you are reading this - I'm going to send the link to this page to the corporate offices - and I hope you realize OTHER PEOPLE are reading it as well.  Get off of your greedy asses and actually DO SOMETHING about the quality (or LACK thereof) of your service.  Because you have lost customers here.  Hopefully, more than you expect.


UPDATE:  We discontinued our Century Link service when we went with ComCast - remember?  May 2012.  I, myself, called Century Link to discontinue the service.  Yes, the account is in my husband's name (not uncommon.  Most households only have ONE person's name on the account), but they took the call from ME to discontinue.  I asked if they wanted the modem/router back and was told NO.  Fine.  I gave it to DAV with a bunch of stuff on one of their collection days.  No biggie, right?  Wrong.  We kept getting bills from Century Link, and they were still charging us for service we were no longer receiving.  I called them back.  "What is your name, ma'am?"  I told them.  "I'm sorry, you are not on this account, and we cannot discuss anything to do with this account with YOU."  What?  After I had cancelled the service, they would no longer deal with ME, only the account holder.  Fine.  I got hubby to call and see what was wrong.  "You haven't returned your equipment, and until you do, the account is open"  WHAT?  That modem/router is LONG gone by now.  I put an ad online asking for a Sprint/Embarq/Century Link modem/router - condition didn't matter.  Got a call from someone I've dealt with before, and he gave me a name and number for a 'dispute facilitator'.  They mediate and facilitate dispute resolution for Century Link.  Great!  The woman told me I didn't owe them anything (equipment), and yes, the charges would all be reversed, and yes, we would get our money BACK.  Newsflash folks, it is now September and we STILL have not gotten our money back from Century Link!!  And yes, we HAVE called, numerous times, to ask them to PLEASE give us back our money.


SOMEHOW we have got to let these people know that SERVICE means just that.  Service.  Which means that people can and WILL find other service providers if we are unhappy with the SERVICE we are receiving.  But you know what?  They will never understand that if we do not TELL them when we are less than overjoyed with their 'service'.  So you should get off of your backside, steel yourselves for a bit of "confrontation" and LET THEM KNOW!!  Write, email, call - whatever.  But TELL them!  I do.  But I am in the minority.  People are too busy complaining about 'political correctness' (they will certainly speak up when you offend them - even if they mis-heard, mis-understood or simply THOUGHT you said or were thinking something they didn't like) than the actual issue - service.