Free Ebook.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

« Plan on Budgeting Surprises | Main | Budgeting Pitfalls »

March 23, 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

If you didn't have the twitter/blog following, do you think they would have cared about you or your $19 a month? What you saw was proof of what peopled warned you about. They found what price it took to buy you off and problem solved.

David --

So is that yet another reason to have a blog and Twitter account? ;-)

If you didn't have this site/blog, you'd be screwed just like everyone else. I would think you'd be smart enough to realize this.

Wow, free premium channels, On Demand AND the $19 rate through September? It's amazing that I only got a month free after they accidentally disconnected our service TWICE in 6 months. I'm not a Comcast fan, but they do respond when they feel threatened or are going to look bad. And don't even get me started about the customer service...

No, they responded how most companies respond when there is the threat of exposing them to a large audience. You only got the great customer service because of who you are/who you know.
Like other people said, you would have been out of luck with their customer service had it not been for that. I would hardly consider that a "save" for the company.

They didn't bend over backward for a customer.

They bent over backward for a customer with a megaphone. The fact that you mentioned your 14k subscribers in your very first tweet suggested that you knew this would be important.

I've had bad service from most of the cable/dish companies I've tried, and all of the ones which are available to me where I live now. If I had a well-read blog I might give one of them another shot, with the knowledge that I would have some firepower to force some service.

I'll stick with my antenna, Hulu, and DVDs from the local library instead.

Just wait until you get your next bill for $200 for the full price of the new package, etc. and have to spend an hour on the phone sorting it out. Trust me, it WILL happen.

You did the right thing for yourself - used all the ammunition and leverage you had to get the best possible deal for yourself.

Most people don't even do that. The simple act of comparing and talking about special deals from the Sunday newspaper would have surely generated some retention action.

The real test of Comcast customer service would have been to NOT mention your blog, but act like a normal customer, and see how far that got you.

I realize that people are always whining and have their bad cusomer service stories, so I hesitate to suggest this: Maybe you should ask your readers to discuss the state of service in America: Has service in general in the US got worse over the last 5 or 6 years? The reason I ask is that I have been stationed out-of-country for that time and have just returned.

I fully understand that marketing in the US is much more sophisticated than anywhere else, and it is very obvious that Americans are trained from birth to be excessive consumers.

However, I have been appalled at the level of incompetence I have been subjected to. Staff just seem to be extremely badly trained or inexperienced in so many ways. Have companies calculated that it is cheaper to fix the screw-ups for the few who complain than it is to do things right the first time for everyone. A lot of this seems to be back-end activity such as delivery and installation, rather than the front-end sales.

Your Comcast story is just another example: Either the initial install was wrong, or the person who turned it off was wrong, or the repair guy was wrong.

My latest few examples:
AT&T incorrectly charged an activation fee for Internet service. I called to fix it, was promised (and received) a credit and then they sent me a letter informing me that as a food-stamp recipient I was eligible for super-cheap phone service so they credit me every month now. (I earn a pretty decent salary - they are definitely wrong on that one.)

Crate and Barrel delivered damaged furniture twice and finally got it right on the third try. Promised to compensate in some way - never did.

Chair King scheduled to deliver furniture, then called to say they couldn't make it, hung up on me when I complained and then delivered on time anyway. BUT some of the goods were damaged so they took them back, rescheduled delivery, failed to show up, lied about the reason and offered to credit the delivery and assembly charge. Instead they CHARGED my credit card for the delivery charge again and then reversed THAT charge. Oh - did I mention that the furniture has not shown up yet?

Danish Design delivered furniture and damaged it while installing it in my house. I watched them work, and it was very clear that one of the installers simply didn't know how to assemble the items he was sent to install.

These are not fly-by-night companies, and these are not "offshore" workers in call centers. They are just low-paid, poorly-qualified American employees or contractors.

It seems to me that Comcast is basically paying you a $30/month bribe in the form of valuable free service in exchange for more favorable coverage on your blog. I realize that many bloggers don't normally hold themselves to the same standards that journalists do and the bribe you are receiving is disclosed to your readers directly in the above post. Still it does not seem ethical for you to go around using the promise of favorable coverage on your blog (or, as here, the threat of unfavorable coverage) as leverage to get special treatment from every company you deal with. That is an abuse of your position and undermines the journalistic integrity to which many bloggers aspire.

It really does pay to complain in the public forums of places like Twitter and Facebook. I just went through customer service nightmare with GE. My Advantium Oven failed for the third time in less than a year, same problem each time. Hubby got on Twitter, I on Facebook and complained about the oven and having to be forever on hold. During round 2 we noted that a 800 porn phone number was given to us for response. The repair took two weeks because they had to order a part.
The repairman was wonderful! GE is sending me a $50 check for my inconvenience. (Have not received it yet.) They have been in email and phone contact with me through all of this. They are making the phone calls. They are GE_appliances on Twitter and GE Appliances on Facebook. I still will not buy another GE product but at least this service is OK.

Mark --

You said:

"Maybe you should ask your readers to discuss the state of service in America: Has service in general in the US got worse over the last 5 or 6 years?"

That's a good idea! I think I'll work on a post asking this. Thanks!

Just yesterday I took my old HD cable box to Comcast's local office to get another HD cable box only with DVR added. I hooked it up, called Comcast's 800 number to get it activated, and thought I was good to go.

However, I realized a little later that my HD channels were all displaying in 480i, not 1080i anymore. I called their 800 number again and a CSR stepped me through the menu to change the settings.

I read through the DVR pamphlet that the rep gave me at the office and picked out some individual shows to record during the day and set it to record all "Holmes on Homes" episodes automatically. DVR rocks!

I haven't had any problems with Comcast, and when I called a few months ago to request a lower rate (after reading some tips here or on other financial blogs) the rep kindly gave me an intro package special that saved me around $30/month. I didn't threaten to go with satellite or anything--just asked if they could give me a deal, and the rep did.

Certainly, some people are going to have problems with a company as big as Comcast, but my experiences have been just fine.

Personally. The whole comment about they were not going to sue you for the time used of On-Demand would have pushed me to a law suit in itself. I personally LOVE Comcast. I've tried a lot of internet/TV providing companies and my experience stands far above the rest. But that crappy comment about not suing you for something THEY were giving you (regardless of intention) - a lawyer and the judge too would poop, pee and giggle all over themselves on that one. Further more you stated that they said they didn't know why your on-demand was turned off. Also.. if it was a promotional item that they set up then you were using it legit -(Obviously.) Even if they had a problem where it did not turn off automatically when the promotion expired, that too is their problem. It's not your job to keep up with the calendar date of when you aren't allowed to click the on-demand button on your remote. It's their job to terminate the service on that date, manually or automatically. Legally speaking the only way you would be at fault would be if you had tampered with their services to get it free OR (i.e) you move into a house where the services had not been disconnected from the previous residence and you used it anyhow (simply because it's not your account.) But that falls into legal issues *much akin* to secretly leeching a neighbors internet via their unpassworded wifi router. Threatening a customer for not starring at the calendar to be sure not to press the on-demand button anymore after that date it expires? Wake up, the coffee's brewing. That so-called "we could sue you" comment is called an evasive threat. Their basically threatening you but not threatening at the same time because they have no grounds for which it could stand on. It's like a lil`kid standing behind a bigger kid on the playground making threats to some other kids. It's silly and unprofessional. I would say however that the tech that showed up probably took it upon himself to make such a comment. I doubt it ever came from higher up in Comcast. Also, I agree with you that it was likely sales pitch.. Instead of bating you into buying a better package this smuck wanted to scare you into it. He may get commission (or even brown noser points) on ever package upgrade he sells. It's not unheard of and some people with no morality will do such things. Anyhow, it sounds like the upper level guys that solved the problem didn't know such an event happened. "Perhaps?"

I agree its likely that this was Comcast smartly bribing FMF with a free service to avoid negative PR on this blog and across Twitter. But FMF or anyone else in this situation might have gotten a similar upgrade out of Comcast simply by calling customer service to complain to a supervisor and threatening to leave for their competition. Its not had to get free stuff from Comcast if you threaten to go to their competitors. Thats their standard "retention" tactic.

Comcast screws up all the time. Part of that is simply that they have 20M customers. So even if they are perfect 99.9% of the time that 0.1% error rate leads to 20k screw ups. I've had mostly good service from Comcast. One of their problems is that they have bought and merged with various local and regional cable companies so their systems and processes aren't always streamlined. Its like a Frankenstein monster with a leg from this old company and an arm from that company etc.

Comcast is the worst company out there. Trust me...the OnDemand was a bait and switch type of thing. Just like the free premium channels for 6 mos. They are trying to 'hook' you. When it's gone, you complain and they tell you they can upgrade it for an add'l $30/mo.

Right now our DVR rental fee went from $7.95 to $15.95/month! Now I have to go out looking for a Tivo or dvr from Best Buy since I can't justify paying so much to 'rent' one!

But FMF, you have the power this time...they will be looking to you to give them a good review. It still won't convince me or their millions of unsatisfied customers to change our opinions. A company that constantly increases their fees by 5% (at least) without even so much as an explanation does not get my respect. Google "I hate Comcast"

Yeah great. But what about this new junk about every TV needing a DTA box? A box that eliminates the local HD channels that are supposed to be broadcast in ClearQAM over the cable signal. A box that only has an RF connection meaning terrible signal quality. A box that must occupy yet another power outlet and can't turn off. Comcast is seriously irking me right now and I'm tempted to just quit all together. I could save that money for a few months and just get a decent laptop with HDMI 1.3 out and use that to service all my entertainment delivery needs.

Holly, you're talking about "limited time promotional offers". That is NOT a bait and switch.

I googled "I hate Comcast" and got 750k hits. I then googled "I love Comcast" and got 2.6 million hits. Comcast has >20M customers. They're sure to have unhappy customers, all big businesses do. I don't think Comcast is perfect by any means but they aren't evil either.

BTW, HD Tivo costs $300 to buy + $13/month. Plus you may have to pay $2-3 /month for a cablecard.

I'm glad it worked out for FMF, but it didn't work out as well for my husband and I. I didn't have a blog at the time, but I will make note to mention it in the future (not that I have 14K readers or

I don't think it's wrong to use all your "megaphone" power to your advantage, but please don't interpret their ultimate help as regular good customer service. That's not how they handled any of our 11 or so problems.

After 3 straight months of interrupted service, broken DVR boxes, cruddy customer service, and messed up billing, we moved on.

We are now happy AT&T U-Verse customers. Our U-Verse DVR has gone out too, but the installers who came to fix it showed up on time and knew what they were doing (they explained it to me as they went).

We also received a credit to our account as promised and have been receiving a $30 discount for 6 months as promised. I'll call in April to see if I can successfully have that continued.

Comcast in Houston, TX is also about $130 a month with DVR and internet while AT&T is about $120 with the same services...we are currently paying about $90 a month due to the discount I requested.

Does anyone know why cable is so much more expensive here than elsewhere? I've never even seen promotional rates below $50...

If you want good customer service, you need to pay for it. My trick is to sign up for a business account. You pay more, but the service is great.

At one point my internet wasn't working. I called the business support line and got right through - no hold. We tried to troubleshoot over the phone to no avail. So he asked me: what time would you like us to be there tomorrow? Not: we will be there sometime between 8 and 4, he asked ME for the SPECIFIC TIME I wanted them to show up!

Note: this was not Comcast

I had been with Comcast for a very long time - up until they couldn't fix a problem I was having and gave me the runaround for months. The techs were worthless, customer support gave incorrect information to me and to the techs, it was very frustrating. I finally told customer service that I was considering going elsewhere and they didn't care, so I did. I was not able to get satisfaction by trying to escalate to a supervisor either. So, I decided to try a new provider. After signing a contract with a satellite service, I called to cancel with Comcast and then got transferred to a "retention specialist." I explained what I had been through and after they reviewed my records agreed that it had not been handled well. They refunded the service charges that had been charged but shouldn't have been (lots of misinformed reps) and couldn't really argue a case for me to stay with them. I've been a very happy satellite customer for a couple of years now and would be very reluctant to ever return to Comcast. I'm paying less - even though I'm no longer under the promotional rate - and I'm getting a lot more. I guess I should actually thank Comcast for setting me free!

Try Time Warner for a few months. You'll be begging Comcast to take you back.

Christina, Comcast bought Time Warner in my area...Time Warner kicked butt until they were taken over. They must have switched to a completely different customer service company or something because service got worse within 2 months of the switch.

I am also a Houston Comcast customer and pay a very high rate for the Comcast services that we enjoy. I recently called them to change my bundle tv-internet-phone to the current deal at the same price.

I was not under any contract with the existing plan, and the current one offered a different channel selection, so I thought we could move over to what was current. Boy was I wrong! The rep rudely told me no, they wouldn't give me the current equivilent package (same rate mind you - over $150 per month) because it is only for 'New' customers. When I complained, she proceded to inform me that if I didn't like it, I could cancel my service. She then transferred me to account cancellations. I cancelled what I could and wrote a complaint letter to Comcast at their customer service area, which was never answered. I guess the regular person 10 year customer is of no value to them.

I am currently looking to change to another provider for the remaining services I still carry with Comcast. Anyone have suggestions? U-verse and Verizon Fios are not available in my area. Thinking about antennea and an internet phone service but then I am still stuck for internet service.. had ATT at one point but the connection was terrible.

Ahh to have your amount of leverage FMF. Being a regular customer among many sucks.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Start a Blog


  • Any information shared on Free Money Finance does not constitute financial advice. The Website is intended to provide general information only and does not attempt to give you advice that relates to your specific circumstances. You are advised to discuss your specific requirements with an independent financial adviser. Per FTC guidelines, this website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise. All posts are © 2005-2012, Free Money Finance.