Friday, March 11, 2011

Educate Thyself

(WARNING - This post is a rant. It may bore you.)

In my previous post, I mentioned a "chat" I had with a Comcast representative because of an outage we were experiencing. You may notice the date of that posting was Monday, February 21st.

At the time, the rep assured me that the outage was 98% fixed and we should have our service restored shortly.

By the end of the day on Tuesday (2/22) we still didn't have service, so my HusBean called Comcast and held for about 20 minutes before speaking with a representative. After we assured her that we had done the appropriate turning off and on and unplugging, etc. she scheduled a tech to come out and help.

The tech was supposed to come between 4:30p and 7p on Friday. A tech showed up at our house Thursday morning at 9a (we weren't even home) and then another tech came at 1p on Friday (2/25). Fortunately I had come home from work early and was actually here.

The tech came in and did his own requisite turning-on and off and unplugging of the cable box, then went outside and discovered what we had suspected: when the local cable & internet competitor had put in their lines in our neighborhood that week they had cut our connection. He fixed the problem, and then traded out our existing DVR/Cable box for a "new" model.

It takes about 24 hours for a box to download all it's scheduling info, so by Friday night I expected to be able to schedule a dvr recording of the Academy Awards which were happening on Sunday. I was having trouble trying to find ANY shows to record, so on Saturday (2/26) I called and spoke with a Comcast rep that instructed me to unplug the DVR box and plug it back in, which supposedly fixed the problem, but now I had to wait another 24 hours for it to re-download its information.

Sunday afternoon before I left for work I was able to finally select the Academy Awards to record to the dvr and then Monday (2/28) when I tried to watch it, the dvr recordings screen said it was 34% full but showed no listings for any recordings.

Tuesday (3/1) we went to Fayetville for a concert, came back Wednesday (3/2) and then spent the next 4 days dealing with The Chou's kidney failure (he's made a good recovery). Starting on Sunday (3/6) the display on our box showed "EAS" which means "Emergency Alert System" and usually happens a few times a week when they are running a storm alert or a test or whatever.

There was no storm this week, and the box would not shut off or play channels or anything. When we called Comcast and put our information into the touch-tone system it told us we were behind on our bill, so we thought maybe that was why we had no service.

We've been discussing lessening our services to save some money, so I decided to get the whole thing straightened out tonight because I was sick of the issues. When I looked at the cable box, it was suddenly showing a channel number again and so I turned on the tv and discovered we had service again, but the dvr showed nothing.

I tried to call Comcast and after again putting all the required info into their touch-tone system was told that they were too busy and to try again later.

Then I tried to log-in online to pay the bill and change the service. I tried to first sign-up for online account management, but it said we already had a profile and gave me the user id. Of course, I had no idea what the password might be since I had never USED the user id online before, so I followed the instructions to re-set the password. Then I was given an error message and sent to a chat with a rep.

I explained to the rep WHY I wanted to get online in the first place and that we've been having issues. The rep fixed the password problem and then offered to pass me on to a service issues rep.

I then spent about an hour and 45 minutes with the 2nd rep detailing all the issues. The 2nd rep agreed to credit our bill for the total time we were without service, helped me (theoretically) fix the dvr/cable box (by.... UNPLUGGING IT AGAIN), and change our service.

I discovered that we had been paying for "Digital Preferred" service, which is basic cable and then a certain set of additional channels. I don't ever watch any of those channels, so that was an easy thing to cut. I also asked what the $4.95 monthly "TV Guide" charge was for, and was told that it is for their magazine subscription (not the actual "TV Guide" magazine we know, but their own specific publication - which I have been quite faithfully dumping in the trash on receipt every month).

I asked that we stop receiving that as well.

I recommend that anyone using Comcast (or ANY company or service) be empowered to actually check out what you are being charged for. Find the breakdown of your service package and see if you actually USE/WATCH the services/channels they include.

Is there a magazine subscription that just got lumped in? We've been paying $4.95 a month for 2.5 years for something that quite literally is garbage. That's just under $150. That's a lot of money to be throwing away.

And yes, some of you will ask why I didn't pay attention to any of this before and it is because I never had the energy.

Well guess what? SUPER-REESE HOUSEWIFE is here and TAKING CHARGE. Rawr.


ComcastCares1 said...

Hello Super Reese!

I work for Comcast and I am sorry for the frustrating experience.

Feel free to contact us (include your account info and a link to this page)if you need further assistance.


Mark Casem
Comcast Corp.
National Customer Operations

ReesePie said...

Thanks for your comment, Mark! I will get in touch with you if everything isn't back to normal...


ReesePie said...

Mark, I sent an email (two, now) to the address you gave, one last night and one today.

The DVR is not playing back - ANY shows that it claims to have recorded.

Please help!