by David Gracey
It has been several years since I have griped about Comcast so I figure it is long overdue. I have somehow managed to lull myself into a sense of calm with our home Comcast service, or maybe it’s just that Comcast hasn’t done anything in a while to ruffle my feathers and I have a short memory. But their consistent lack of commitment to customer service and delivering a quality product is so astounding that we all need to be reminded. Unfortunately their service has been this way for years.
The Gracey family has a fairly simple setup at home. The irony is that I run a technology company but we have a pretty low tech home system. We have a three TVs that each need a cable box, one DVR, Internet and telephone. Louise and I watch only a handful of channels, including the big broadcast networks (If we are home on Fridays, 20/20 is on.), the news channels and occasionally History or The Weather Channel. The girls watch Disney, Nickelodeon, Animal Planet (Shark week, Cupcake Wars and Phineas and Ferb are favorites) [it bothers me that I know the correct way to spell Phineas and Ferb!] and we rent an occasional movie. When I can pry the X-Box controller out of my 13-year-old son’s hands, he watches ESPN. So we are talking, what, 10 channels or so? (I would complain about only paying for the channels one watches but that’s an entirely different rant for a future Tuesday Tip).
Three years ago when we switched to the “triple play,” we reduced our overall monthly expenses by eliminating another abomination of a company, AT&T, and moving our phone line over to Comcast. A small victory eliminating AT&T but I was now all in with Comcast, which makes me twitch.
So my latest bill came from Comcast and showed a 30% increase from the prior month. A voice in the back of my head said that the “special” pricing we had gotten years ago had finally expired. Louise volunteered to call their customer no-service department to inquire. Sure enough (and an hour later) we confirmed we were now on their regular pricing model and had to fork over almost $200 per month. And we don’t even have premium movie channels!
But the biggest problem of all is that Louise has a Comcast email address. A year ago when we faced the prospect of having to fire Comcast, I told her that she would have to get a Gmail account. That was a grim day in the house of Gracey. Animals and small children hid. She was depressed for days and we hadn’t even made the switch. But the situation was avoided when Comcast relented on their price increase. Time has a way of making things better so this time around, Louise just said “let’s get this thing done.” So regardless of the Comcast issue, we are going to climb the “email change” mountain so we are free-and-clear to fire Comcast if we can’t get a better rate.
So thus here is the pain I must endure:
1. Get on AT&T’s website to get a competitive price for similar service.
2. Call Comcast (another hour), ask for the retention department and then threaten to jump ship if they can’t match the pricing.
3. If that doesn’t work, call AT&T and have one of their cavemen come rip up our house.
Wish me luck.