Another Comcast Bait and Switch

It took Comcast all of a day after our move to Utah to get on my “not impressed” list. In the intervening 8+ years, I can’t say they’ve done much beyond striving for mediocrity. From incompetent technical support to unexplained YouTube slowdowns to Netflix buffering at bizarre hours, it’s always been a case of least bad option. Unsurprisingly, they managed to disappoint once again.

About a week ago, I called in to get pricing on their 105Mbps service. For years, their website has claimed to not be able to figure out where I live. Tired of not having access to pricing information (seriously, who else HIDES the price of service?), I decided it would be worth the 15 minute phone call to satisfy my curiosity. It was a little too rich for my blood (basically double what I’m paying now), but the CSR made an offer to hook me up with a promo rate that was about 20% less than what I was paying for being “such a good customer”. The only catch was having a tech come out to check the lines. I double-checked both that this wasn’t adding on any extra services (which I neither want nor need), I wouldn’t need to do anything when the promo rate runs out, and I wouldn’t have any costs associated with having a guy come to my house.

Yesterday, the guy shows up. I’m thinking he’s doing the line check, but the work order revealed something very different. Not only was he there to add video service that I had explicitly confirmed I didn’t want and would not be part of the deal, he also had a rental modem in hand to place the one I own outright. I had him leave and took a day to cool off before giving Comcast a call to figure out why they’d done this kind of slimy bait and switch.

It seems that the original CSR had lied right to my face. The reduced rate was a promo rate if I added on basic cable, and that rate would jump after 6 months to more than I was currently paying. I’d end up with a cable box (no doubt at an additional rental fee) that would have to be returned to their office if I canceled the video service. And insult to injury? If I decided to now go forward with the promo deal, I’d be charged installation because I cancelled the previous appointment set under false pretenses!

Unfortunately, I’m kind of a hostage in this situation. Though CenturyLink offers a similar speed for about half the price, Comcast knows how bad they suck and won’t bother trying to make any deals. The “best” they could do was offering up a small credit for the “inconvenience” of them lying to me. I simply wanted them to honor their word and they’re proving it’s about as valuable as sand in the desert.

This is why I’m trying to start a fiber cooperative in my neighborhood. CenturyLink is dying a slow death and Comcast won’t bother competing as a result. When there’s no consequences for treating customers poorly, what else can you expect?

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7 Responses

  1. Jeff says:

    It’s available here on Columbine and works pretty well. I’ve had it for over a year. There was a lot of confusion getting it set up; most of the people on the phone claimed they’d never set one up before and the tech at my house claimed I was only the second person in the SLC market to order it, but they eventually figured it out.

    The prospect of Google Fiber has already spooked Comcast a little bit; they dropped the cost from ~$200 to ~$120 shortly after its announcement. Still overpriced, but the best option we have at the moment for residential access.

  2. Jason Porter says:

    Do what Frank did, send in Gephardt and also do a BBB complaint. As well as do a big social media piece.

  3. ComcastMark says:

    Hi Jesse – I work for Comcast and I just want to extend my apologies for the troubles you are experiencing. I will reach out to my local colleagues to ensure that this is looked into. Please feel free to contact me, provide your account info and a link to this page as a point of reference.

    Thanks in advance,

    Comcast Corp.
    National Customer Operations

    • Jesse says:

      I’d sent an email right after you left this and returned the voice mail I got the next day. It’s now been radio silence for a week.

      Lesson learned: even executive customer service drops the ball.

  4. Martin Golan says:

    I found this discussion after searching in frustration — really rage – at what I’m now going through with Comcast,.
    In late August, a sales rep knocked on my door (yes!) with the goal of luring me back from Verizon FIOS. He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, roughly $80 bucks a month for triple play, including HBO, for a year, and then $108 a month for as long as I stayed with the company. I asked three times if there were any additional charges for anything, and he said no. I have this in writing.
    Then I got a bill for over $300. I called, and was told it was a mistake and they would fix it, and call me to confirm. No call. I called the next week, still no confirmation, even though the phone rep said I was right.
    I also called the guy who came to my door, and he also said it was a mistake and he’d fix it and let me know. As someone else here said, radio silence.
    In every instance, the price I’m being charged changes, and they’ve lately added a “late fee.”
    I told them they’ll have to sue me to get any money — it’s clearly a bait and switch by a very dysfunctional — if not dishonest — company. I will also report them to anyone I can find and every newsgroup I belong to (like I’m doing here). I have their offer in writing and not only do they refuse to honor it, I get the runaround each time I call.
    I don’t expect to find help here — tomorrow I make call No. 7 to Comcast, – but thanks for listening, I needed to vent.

  5. Kari Hll says:

    Tape record your conversations with Comcast. File a complaints with the FTC, BBB, and Senator Al Franken who is trying to stop Comcast’s merger:

  1. September 25, 2013

    […] with them, it gives me an idea of how high the markup is. The real irony is that the entire issue started when I had to call because I couldn’t get a price from their […]

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