Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New name, same lousy service

      Today, I'm just going to do a little bitching about one of my least favorite companies, Comcast, or as they're trying to re-brand themselves now, Xfinity. They apparently think people are so stupid that they won't realize that the only thing that's changed is the name and they're still the same awful company. I can't stand them. I can't count how many times my internet service or TV service has gone out or I've had certain TV channels go dark for several hours for no apparent reason. And then, of course, there's the fact that they have over the last couple of years taken channels out of the package I was paying for without any warning and, of course, without reducing what I was paying even though I was getting fewer channels. In fact, I believe what I pay has gone up at least three times in the last couple of years. And for what, more content, better service ? HA !
      Anyway, for the last couple of months, at least once a week, it seemed, I had been getting mail from Comcast telling me that I could switch from the Expanded Basic package I had now to Digital Starter for no extra cost. I was not interested. At the last place I lived, I had a problem when I moved out and canceled the service. I had bought my own cable modem and had been using that, yet Comcast tried to say that I had been using one of their modems and that I had to return it or pay them for it. So, the last thing I wanted to do was have any equipment I would have to give back to Comcast when I move (or as I keep hoping for, when Verizon comes to my area. I don't know anyone who's switched from Verizon to Comcast who isn't extremely happy they did.)
      My wife said that they might force us to switch to digital at some point, that they had done that to someone she worked with. Sure enough, last week, I got something in the mail saying that as of March 22, they would be changing their signal and if you didn't have a digital converter box or digital adapter hooked up to your TV, you wouldn't be able to get your channels anymore. So, yesterday, I went online and ordered the necessary equipment. I chose the option of picking the equipment up. I didn't want to have it mailed to my house and be sitting on my front porch for somebody to take and Comcast wanted to charge to have someone come hook this stuff up that we had no choice about getting. After work, I went by one of their locations and after standing in line for half an hour, I picked up a converter box and two adapters. 
      I got home and hooked up the converter box. At first, it seemed to be working, until I tried to turn on ESPN2. At which point, I got a message saying that I wasn't authorized to receive that channel (keep in mind, with this "digital upgrade", I was supposed to still have all the channels I had before "and more") followed a few seconds later by a message saying that I wasn't authorized to use the set top box I had just picked up !!
      I called the number on the screen and after going through 5 or 6 menus, I finally got to speak to a real person who was able to send a signal through and get the box working and all my channels to come up. I was still getting a message that I wasn't authorized for On Demand, which was also supposed to be part of this "digital upgrade". I mentioned this to the guy on the phone and he said it might take a little longer for that to come up.
      This morning, when I got up, I checked and found that I was getting the same message. Figuring that 12 hours was more then long enough to wait for the On Demand to be there, I called Comcast again. Now, if you've seen some of the commercials they've been running lately, they've been trying to indicate that they're all about the customer, they want the customer to be happy. Bullshit. They never have before and they're not starting now. But they're sure trying to sell that idea. When the woman I spoke to this morning answered the phone, it wasn't just "Thanks for calling Comcast". It was at least a 5 second spiel (wish I could remember the exact words) that basically came down to "We sure love the customer here at Comcast, please don't switch to Verizon despite all the good things your friends tell you about it.")
     She told me that the reason I wasn't getting On Demand was that nobody had switched the "code" in my account to indicate that I was now supposed to have Digital Starter service. So, let's review, I went to the site they included in the mail they sent me about this "upgrade", logged in with my account and ordered the equipment. Then I spoke to someone face to face who pulled up my account before handing over the equipment to me. Finally, I spoke on the phone to someone about issues I was having with this new equipment and, at no time, did anyone bother to make the necessary changes to my account. I might understand it not being automatically changed when I ordered the stuff online, but the guy who gave me the equipment doesn't think to do it ? Certainly, you would think the guy on the phone who knew I was having  a problem might have picked up on it. But, of course, this is Comcast we're talking about, so expecting competent service is really too much to ask. I HATE Comcast and I will be so glad when I'm able to switch to Verizon and tell Comcast goodbye forever.

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