I did not miss the epic 8 minute recording of Ryan Block’s attempt to cancel his Comcast service.
It’s a tough listen for sure. But I gutted it out enough to at least hear the part where the Comcast rep says something like “I can save you more than $100/mo. over what you’re currently paying!”
My eyes briefly widened a little but then I filed it away.
A few days later I was opening some week-old postal mail and among it was a letter for Comcast that basically read: “you’re already paying SO MUCH for your cable, we are willing to throw in another premium channel! Call us and tell us what you want by September 15 or we’re giving you Cinemax.”
I don’t hate Comcast. My experiences over most of the last decade plus have been pretty good. Over the last 6 years or so my experience has been pretty outstanding.
But my bill…it was pricey. Probably about $60 more/mo ($720/yr) than it was 6 years ago and I’d culled some premium channels off of it and moved to my own DVR and modem in that time frame to get the bill back down a bit.
So from one perspective, I was paying a lot more for less. Because I’m old, that’s not really the perspective I have though.
I remember in the 1980s and early 1990s paying $6/hour for off-peak Internet access that was very, very, very slow. And double that amount for peak access (that was still very, very, very slow!).
So from that perspective I’m paying considerably less for Internet and cable than I was 25 years ago with a much better quality of service.
Still, I’m paying at least $60/mo more than I as 6 years ago and getting less.
So when I got the “Dear Schlub, you’re already paying so much we’re going to throw in an extra premium channel” all I could hear was:
“I can save you $100 a month over what you’re currently paying!”
I picked up the phone and dialed the number to pick my extra movie channel. But when they answered I wasn’t looking to add a channel but to get a specific question answered:
“How much would my bill be if I canceled all of my TV services and only kept the Internet?”
Turns out, unsurprisingly, that I was dialing a special promo number with people not equipped to answer that question.
So my call was transferred. To Mexico. But the rep very quickly answered my question ($66.95 before taxes and fees).
So I said: “Thanks, and wow! I could keep just the Internet and switch to UVerse and get ALL of my existing channels plus ALL of the premium movie channels for less than $100 a month and if I added that to the $66.95+taxes+fees it’d still be a lot less than what I’m paying.
“I have an offer I think you’ll really like,” she said.
She proceeded to offer me something much better than what I had. But, I’d have to add Comcast’s voice phone service to take advantage of it. Unfortunately that required either renting or buying a new modem (I’ve had my own modem for several years).
She said I couldn’t get the good deal without activating a new modem that would handle voice calls. Even though the net savings would be pretty substantial, I wasn’t very interested.
I asked if there were any deals for people who just wanted internet and TV. “Yes, but I am not authorized to make them. I’ll have to transfer you to our customer loyalty department.”
I was transferred back to the United States of America, to Colorado Springs, Co.
I re-covered the previous ~20 minutes worth of phone calls and after a brief question and answer period, and being on hold a bit I accepted an offer that amounted to:
- a bit more then $80 a month less than I’m paying now
- all the channels I got before PLUS 2 additional premium movie channels
- my internet speed got doubled
Some will say, “this is why I HATE Comcast! Why should I have to spend a half hour getting transferred around North America to save $1000 a year and get better service in the process. WHY DON’T THEY JUST GIVE IT TO ME?!?!”
Ideally, I agree with that sentiment. But I’m a realist.
I’ve seen this movie before with DirecTV and at AT&T. They all work like this.
When my iPhone contract expires in a couple of months, there’s a much better deal I can get with AT&T. But guess what? They won’t switch me to it automatically! I’ll have to ask for it. I wish the world worked differently, but I accept that it doesn’t.
In a year, the base fee of my “new” package will rise by $20 and the 2 extra premium movie channels will go from $5/mo to full fare ($19.99/mo) I’ll cancel them at that time. In a few years I’ll have to go through the above process again.
For ~$1,000 a year it will be worth it.
I should note, every rep I spoke to was helpful and pleasant. Particularly the last one. Sure, I wasn’t trying to cancel my service but it was very clear the rep in Mexico would’ve downgraded me to Internet only had I asked for that.