The title of this entry is basically the password to my Comcast account, for any of you mischievous readers out there.
Rightly so, in my opinion, since as with Godwin’s Law – which basically insures an Internet conversation will ultimately include a reference to Hitler or his misdeeds – any conversation about internet service will most certainly include the words fucking Comcast at some point. I’ve actually had this post knocking around my brain since the end of last year.
Comcast is one of those utilities that I always seem to have a bill pending with. Usually, it’s inaccurate-ish, too. If I get an email about a bill that says my balance is $XX.xx and immediately click on the pay button, I’m taken to their website and given the option to pay twice that amount to basically catch me up to the next bill closing date.
Then there’s the occasional random $5 this-or-that charge.
But in late December, I was hellbent on getting out of the year with some resolution on why my $90 monthly bill was usually $130.
You know I called.
Unsurprisingly, the deal I had had expired some months ago and I’d not caught it, my assumption was that I had just missed a month and paying my regular $90 and occasional extra $5 was simply carrying a balance due across time.
Look, I just want to get back to paying less than $100 a month for Internet. I’m not gaining anything for the extra $40 you all are suddenly getting.
I was channeling my inner Maxine Waters and “Taking back my money!
You know, I almost felt bad for my customer service rep when he had to correct me and tell me my monthly charges were $150, versus the $130 I had thought I was paying.
It’s weird, last time I “negotiated” a bill with Comcast – let’s stipulate that the “fucking” is implied, shall we? – they were pursuing me. There was some effort put into getting me on the phone and then getting me to accept the new terms.
Faster internet speeds – and it seems like it was up to 5x faster than what I supposedly had at the time.
Bonus local network TV – which I didn’t have or miss, but with Will & Grace returning to TV…I kind of wanted.
Double Bonus HBO – which I for sure didn’t have, but thought maybe I could check out this Game of Thrones thing that people with nothing better to talk about had been mentioning.
They were falling all over themselves to get me to agree to this for $90 a month. In retrospect, the reality was probably closer to I got a CSR that wasn’t making his sales goals…
Closer to home, the reality was that I watched part of a movie on HBO once. Turns out, movies on HBO don’t magically start when I turn on my TV. The GoT catch up was a pipe dream because I could only do that on the streaming service and that was an additional $12/month. Again, Will & Grace didn’t just appear when I switched my TV from AppleTV to Comcast, so I downloaded the NBC streaming app and got the latest episode on my timetable.
Plus, switching over from AppleTV to the Comcast Box was a hassle. It’s like I was supposed to keep a mental picture of what ports in the back of my TV had which cords plugged into them. My brain is not wired for that crap, so I put it in my phone and forgot about it.
Trust me, I was definitely going to forget about it, so I was happy that I at least remembered to make a note of it. Notes is probably my favorite built in app on my iPhone. All you step counters can say what you will, but I know that on any given day I either walked a long way or I didn’t. On the other hand, what I need The Fox to pick up at Winco or the Costco for me or how to make a particular dish, or how to keep my TV off The Ring channel…I may know that on any given day, but there’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to access that information when I need it.
What I always say about my memory is that
I have an excellent file storage system, but the retrieval system is garbage.
So, this poor schmuck has told me that my Internet bill went up ~70% at the end of my contract.
I told my CSR that I wanted to drop TV from my plan and just go back to Internet. His response was a can do, “Sure thing! And that will take your new monthly bill to $180!”
Nono, take off the TV/HBO crap since I think I’ve used that service less than a half dozen times.
“I did. You’re all set!”
Fuc…well, you know where that’s going.
Since he wasn’t so eager to help me find a deal, I put him on speaker and pulled my account up. Then I gave him hell.
What’s the deal?
My demand was partly fueled by my suspicion that I was now in the age range where my Internet bill would just gradually increase each year until I was paying $300/month for nothing. Gradually loosely translating to $40+ increases a year with no additional service or benefit.
What’s this “Network TV Surcharge” of $8?
“Oh, it’s a fee we have to pay for local access.” This chipper lil bastard was starting to annoy me with his continued insults to my intelligence.
So there’s a fee on the service that I pay a monthly charge to use?
“Uh-huh!” I felt like he was mentally patting my head.
Well, forgive me, but isn’t that a little like buying a gallon of milk and then getting charged to drink it?
Sucker…I don’t even drink milk!
“Well, it’s an extra fee that we have to pay on top of what our service costs…”, and I could tell I was rattling him a little.
Yeah, that’s why I’m canceling my TV service. But when I’m cutting TV and it’s associated charges, I’m not sure why my monthly bill would go up. Explain.
“Well, you had a bundled promotion…”
I’m gonna stop you there. I find it hard to believe that you would offer me a deal that lost Comcast money. Plus $8. What’s it gonna take to get my bill under $100? What’s the $40 5x charge?
“Oh, that’s a speed upgrade that gives you download speeds of up to”…and I stopped listening.
What does regular speed cost?
“$85 a month.”
And I can use my phone while I’m streaming Netflix?
“Yes…you should have enough bandwidt – ”
Good. Let’s do that.
“Well, ok…”, and for whatever reason I can hear the reluctance dripping off this guy. “But for just $90 a month, you can keep your network TV service, too.” Suddenly there’s a “deal”…
TV. Which I don’t use.
“Sure, but you’d have it. For things like the Super Bowl!”
Wrong audience. Break down my bill for me.
“Well, there’s…”, and I tune out until I hear him say, “and $10 for the Network TV Surcharge – ”
Hold up. Did the $8 fee I was paying because I didn’t have a bundle just go up to $10 in my new bundle?!?
“Um. Yeah…it looks like it did. It probably increased between 2017 and 2018…?”
Forget it. That’s rubbish. I’ll just got with the $85 Internet that you can barely break even on.
“But, if…”, and I’m tuning him out again. I’m distracted by my own curiosity as to why Comcast is so friggin’ desperate to keep me in TV.
Then it hit me: the modem and the TV box.
I’m paying an equipment rental fee each month. Two devices, more revenue for my pals at Comcast.
And then it hit me again…if I quit TV, I’m gonna have to get their damn TV box back to them. They’ll even probably find a way to charge me extra if I don’t get it back to them yesterday.
Putting on my most, “You Win” tone of voice, I tell him
Ok, you know what. I’ll stick with TV and slow internet for $90, as long as I can change my mind tomorrow if I rethink this.
I know my procrastinating self isn’t going to make it to a Comcast office to return this box anytime soon. Looks like I’ll be renegotiating pricing with Comcast until I die. And then it’s someone else’s problem!
“Oh, you absolutely can! There’s no contract on this plan like there was with the special on faster internet!”
I hang up with him and hold the phone away from my head and say, “Fucking Comcast” while shaking my head in disbelief.
I’ve been kicking this around for a couple weeks, not sure I’d actually write the madness of Comcast out. After the service change the next day, I thought less and less about it. I haven’t noticed a bit of difference since my download speed decreased by 80%…so it’s fading from my mind.
That is until this morning when I had breakfast with my dad. He mentioned he’d had to run into “town” the day before because he’d noticed his cable bill went up $40. “Town” being St Helens, a widening of the road about 25 miles outside of Portland.
“Here we go…”, I thought. And sure enough, his story was more expensive, equally confusing and unhelpful and included phones in addition to Internet and Cable TV.
Regulation NOW! Should be the attitude we adopt as internet consumers instead of Fucking Comcast…maybe I’ll write Maxine Waters an email once she’s done playing with Trump like a cat plays with a mouse.
Don’t worry, I’ll copy my own senators on my email. They’re pretty cool, too, but they don’t have hilarious (only slightly racist, if you squint and tilt your head a certain way) memes like Maxine does…
God, I love deservedly sassy public servants.