Free Ebook.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

« The Eternal Question: Rent or Buy? | Main | Latest Best of Money Carnival »

April 12, 2010


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

"That said, they did make it right rather quickly. At least they're good at handling mistakes."

Only for people they consider important. One thing I have found is that talking to one of the people that attempts to fix your cable after hours (so they cannot transfer you to a billing person) is the best bet. Twice I've cancelled my cable during the day and been able to deal with it late at night (you have to call after 10pm EST).

Here's my Comcast story.

There is a reason why "Comcastic" means awful.

We had been Comcast customers for about two years. We signed up for a promotional bundle - TV, phone, internet - for $99 per month when we moved into our Redmond house in September 2006.

September 2007 rolls around - my rate goes up. Not by a modest amount, either. To like $160 per month. Once I realized this, I called Comcast, threatened to disconnect all my services, at which time they put me back on a cheap bundle (this time I think it was $110 per month but whatever). I'm okay up to this point.

September 2008 rolls around and I do the same thing. So I figure this will be a repeat cycle every 12 months. I guess that's okay, albeit a bit annoying.

But I also decide in September 2008 that I want to add the premium sports package (has Big Ten Network plus the regional Fox Sports channels), listed on the Comcast web site for an additional $5.99 per month. I call the rep, and he happily adds it for me. I'm thinking my bill will go up by about $7 or $8 (including taxes) per month.


My next bill goes up by about $60 per month. I call Comcast to ask what's going on and they inform me that to get the sports package, I had to be upgraded about three tiers of service, and THEN it was an ADDITIONAL $5.99 on top of that.

At that point, I threaten to disconnect all my services again and they transfer me about four times before getting to someone who knows how to do anything. She puts me on a bundle including the sports package for $120 per month.

These guys are the epitome of "gotcha" capitalism. Watch your bills. They will try to stick anything and everything in there in the hopes that you won't notice.

I recently quit Comcast in February 2009 and moved over to Verizon. Verizon has faster internet, slightly more TV channels, and comparable phone service. Plus I got a free DVR for six months and $20 off my first bill. And it's cheaper each month (although when I called to turn Comcast service off, they did offer to match the price - too little, too late for me).

April rolls around, and I find out, Comcast is STILL BILLING ME!!! Turns out that when I ported my phone number over to Verizon, that causes havoc in the system for some reason. Anyway, apparently Comcast is like the Hotel California - you can check out any time you like, but you can NEVER leave.

Bye-bye Comcast. I love to see you go.

Love all the people who feel entitled to services at "introductory" pricing forever. That's why they call it introductory, and regular pricing. If a retailer sells an item for $5.00, it can not claim a SALE savings off another price they never sell at{FTC regs).
Remember, Verizon has regular pricing also, and when the "introductory" offer expires, you will find that all providers are pretty much the same pricing.
As to the service calls, at least you can get someone after normal business houre with Comcast. This is not the case with all providers.

Argggh. So frustrating. I've ditched all of them, sold my tv, and switched to on my laptop or DVD rentals from the library.

Haven't found much live sports on the internet (yet), but I live a close walk to a friendly neighborhood pub.

Took a little getting used to, but now I don't miss it at all. My savings account also appreciates it. :)

@Bad_Brad, yeah we got two Comcast bills when we cancelled service and a $200 fee for not returning their equipment...the equipment that they had picked up in person the day before I cancelled my service. I was ticked. I had all the receipts and paperwork, but I was still not a happy camper.

Update on AT&T U-verse. 6 months ago, I requested and received a $20 credit on U-Verse and a $10 credit for our high speed internet by simply stating that I was watching our budget.

When I called to have that extended another 6 months (explaining the salary freeze I found out about 2 weeks ago...yeah, that sucks), they informed me that it was already extended until May. I was ready to hang up and happily wait a month to call back, but the nice lady offered me an additional $10 credit for the month for our "hardship".

I think my jaw literally dropped...I've never received a random discount without asking before. I said thank you and joked "how much do y'all give for a job loss". She laughed a little and said she hoped I didn't find out.

That was the coolest customer service experience I've had in a LONG time.

Be prepared to do this dance with them again and again if you choose to remain a customer.

@ Al - I didn't ask for introductory pricing forever. I was very happy with the introductory price, I was okay with the slightly higher non-introductory price. It was the fact that the true cost of what I was requesting was never revealed to me until after the fact, and then their completely unapologetic tone for it that irked me to the point where I dropped them even though they offered me basically the equivalent of their introductory price to try to keep me to stay. They could have and would have kept me as a customer if they had just been honest about what the true price of the sports package I wanted was.

Also, people think the fact that Comcast does not require you to be on a contract is a plus. I'd say it can also be a minus. Think about it, folks - a contract runs both ways. On a contract, yes I am locked in, but so is the provider. I know exactly what I'm going to pay and what I'm going to get. With Comcast, they can (and sometimes do) change what you pay or what you get unilaterally, and they're perfectly within their rights to do it. They just hope you'll pay it and not notice.

I'm a freem market libertarian by ideology, but Comcast is the epitome of what's gone wrong with capitalism in this country and (in my opinion) a big part of why so many people believe we are better off continuing to move in the direction of socialism, increased government regulation and oversight, and a command / ballot box economy rather than a free market economy. Comcast is gotcha capitalism at its best/worst, depending on your perspective.

I'd love to see "useage" billing for cable. A flat connectivity fee and the I pay for what I look at. Recently cancelled Comcast -- I just hate their business model. Gone to Netflix, Hulu, iTunes and the library.

Stop doing business with Comcast!

Suggestion for next month's edition: "Comcast Blows it, then comes through quickly".

Strick, that made me giggle.

This is so weird--you're happy with them?

After they can't even bill you correctly and forced you to waste all that time on the phone trying to get it straight?

I've had worse problems with Verizon than Comcast. I have Verizon for phone & Internet and Comcast for cable.

Ok, so our pessimistic predictions were correct. Despite the fact that you have a very loud microphone, making you a VIP in their eyes, they STILL can't get it right.

Now imagine how they treat the rest of us and you'll know why many of us want nothing to do with them.

Their product is overpriced, their service is a joke, and their only saving grace is that, for most of us, their competition is no better.

I'm left with a choice between awful cable service & no cable service, and due to that I've had no cable service for a year and a half.

I am sure Comcast sucks. Unfortunatley nearly all cable providers suck.

I do not believe the problem is with capitalism per se but with how certain bubbles in capitalism are allowed to persist. I think its lack of an open enough system to allow real competition. I don't know all the regulation rules and protections of transmission lines but I will compare it to the long distance carriers.

Recall back to about 12-15 years (can't recall exactly when this happened). They removed the protections on the long distance carriers that allowed the to retain exclusive control over their delivery lines. They required them to open them up and allow third party providers to rent the usage of their lines to deliver long distance service to people's homes.

Prior to this change there were about 3-5 major providers of long distance. AT&T, MCI, Sprint, (maybe Qwest and the baby bells, again, don't recall all the players). And of course they all had their different "programs" but they all amounted to variations on 15 cent a minute long distance billing.

After this change in law you started seeing all the advertisements for 10-10 numbers. These competitors drove long distance rates down to about 3 cents a minute or less. These were small startups bringing the big companies to their knees. These big companies had used these lines for decades. Paying for them many times over with their profits. Yet these small competitors were providing the same service at prices these big companies could not compete with. Why? They got fat and bloated and we were all paying for it. MCI went defunct, AT&T basically went broke and only saved the name by purchasing cingular. Sprint re-invented as a cell phone company. What changed? A group of old dinosaur companies were replaced by efficient companies who didn't have to live on their cash cows. And we all benefited.

Monopolies make capitalism look like a failure. Allogopolies do effectively the same thing. Cable companies are somewhere between a monopoly and an allogopoly. Yes they have competition from the 2 main dish providers, and some areas of the country have a couple choices of cable providers (I don't). But basically its no better than the long distance providers. Now the cable companies have the problem of the networks holding them hostage for content as well but there is no real competition in this industry and it promotes poor pricing and poor servicing. Your alternatives are not drastically better. Certainly some are better than others but none are great.

I am reminded of a joke that I heard a comedian tell well over a decade ago that still makes me laugh. He says he calls up the cable company to get service and the lady on the phone asks him oh, how did you hear about us? He says how did I hear about you? Oh kind of like I heard about the IRS. Are you implying I have a choice.

Cell phone providers are in the same position the long distance companies were 15 years ago. Until they force cell phone companies to open up their towers for sharing, we are going to be stuck with their allogopolistic price fixing and crappy service as well. You can't get competition from 3-4 multi-national conglomerates who all know how to play nice and not rock the boat. Capitalism is a tricky system that requires the injection of competition into areas where it has been artificially removed. Any participants in capitalism will always seek to erect or to sustain barriers to entry. They like to talk about how competition makes us all strong. That's just PR and its bull crap. Not a one of them believes it. Competition takes away their profits and you can bet they want it limited as much as possible. I would.

As long as cable companies have something near an allogopoly as far as competition, everything they produce will suck, but at least it will be expensive, so we have that going for us, which is nice.

You got it right in your title: Comcast Blows, nuff said.

MC --

They made it "right" didn't they? What could they have done to make you happy? Anything?

So, basically the supervisor's response was "quit bugging me! I'll be more than happy to wait another month until your bill with late charges comes in when I can say that I don't recall saying anything like 'ignore your bill'!"

Sounds like a headache.

If you want to pay $19 for cable you will have to put up with this kind of situations over and over. If instead you pay $40 with U-Verse you will get much better service than Comcast's at a reasonable price. I switched 6 months ago and could not be happier. $400 rebate was also part of the deal.

Our solution: free over the air HD programming (cost $300 to install 3 years ago, and is rarely watched in our house, except for PBSKids) and netflix streamed direct to our tv via a blu ray player, cost $20 per month.

No hidden fees, surcharges or other weird billing. Saves us $$ and hassle.

All the best.

Re above post. the $300 was the cost to get a HD TV antenna installed on top of our house.

Keep an eye out for that $19 to go to collections. I've had Comcast on two occasions in two different cities and what a headache; both times it took over 3 days to install cable and wireless internet and after that, there would be a problem with billing about every third statement. Not to mention the service outages. Both times I canceled the account, they billed me for additional services, non-returned equipment, etc. Both times, when I called to fix the issue, the CSR said to ignore the bill and a corrected bill would be sent the next billing cycle. Both times, they sent to a collection agency before I even got the corrected bill. Ridiculous.

Be prepared to spend at least a few hours every other month to deal with their issues. The issues that you've had so far will only repeat.

I dropped cable a long time ago. Now use over the air digital, combined with netflix, redbox, hulu, library, and the websites of the cable channels (discovery, history, HGTV, etc.). I have more entertainment options than I have time for. Nothing will change as long as people keep putting up with crappy service just to pay minimum prices. Companies won't change if their revenue stays the same and they continually slash costs (less customer service, poor customer service). Obviously in their mind people are still willing to put up with it.

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.