Friday, June 24, 2011

The final straw

Anyone who has followed this blog for a while is probably familiar with our stormy relationship with tv services. We've tried more than once to ditch Comcast and get AT&T's U-verse, to no avail. Yep, we're too far to get a signal because of old lines in our neighborhood. So we've grudgingly stuck with the cable company.

Well, that has finally ended. We're done. I called and canceled service this morning. We ordered DirecTv last night, to be installed tomorrow. Yes, I canceled before the new service is up and running, but we haven't had cable since Tuesday and weren't going to have it back until Monday. At least we're saving a day or two of paying for service we can't use.

So here's the story. The cable suddenly went out Tuesday. I didn't call right away, because sometimes it's just a flaky connection. I wanted Chris to take a look first. He couldn't make it work, so we were pretty sure it was once again a bad box. We've had several before.

I called Wednesday and let them walk me through various steps to confirm that, yep, the box is bad. I know the drill: get a new box. Only problem? The service center in Bloomington is gone. The nearest one is in Columbus. They offered to send a tech to switch out the box, at no cost, with the caveat that if they did find it wasn't the box we might be charged. The time-frame? Thursday between 1 and 5. No problem. I was going to be home all afternoon.

Thursday. No one came. Apparently the tech did call, but I missed answering and there was no message. When I called at 4:50, they told me they had called, but since I didn't answer, they didn't come. Um, aren't those courtesy calls anyway? Why didn't they come knock on the door? Or leave a message? Seriously, even a message that I needed to call and reschedule would have been better. The soonest they could schedule another tech to come out? Monday afternoon.

So what would you do? Would you drive an hour to Columbus, then an hour back, to replace the box? Or wait for the tech to come Monday? Since this wasn't our first experience with poor customer service from Comcast, we chose option 3. We jumped ship and signed up for satellite service. They can install it on Saturday. Considering it was 11 p.m. Thursday when we did this, I think Saturday afternoon is darn reasonable.

Want to know the kicker? When I called Comcast this morning to cancel, they tried to make it all my fault. I didn't answer the phone. Their notes showed there was no way to leave a message. Bullshit. My answering machine works just fine, on the 4th ring. I even got 2 messages on it yesterday. Bye-bye Comcast!

I know this is getting long, but I have a few more things I'd like to mention. First, have you ever noticed that people will recommend their satellite or other alternative service but NO ONE likes their cable company? It seems consumers are realizing this but the cable companies aren't.

Second, related to the first, when I posted to Twitter and Facebook last night asking for recommendations and griping about our experience, I got several interesting comments that I would like to share:

Third, just for those interested, the reason we chose DirecTv is that they have the best 3D programming, which we can't take advantage of yet, but we'll eventually get a 3D tv, what with Chris's avocation being 3D, so we wanted to be prepared.

"Good for you! Eff Comcast and their awful customer service!"
"I just saw you went with DirecTV. I love our Dish Network, although we still need to get them off our ATT bill!"
"we are planning on doing this when we move but we move in 20 days so we are waiting till then.""I'm glad to be done with Comcast altogether. We always had great techs with DirecTv and good customer service."
"Comcast is ridiculous. Isn't it more of a courtesy call to say they're on their way? They should still show... We liked Directv."
"We got fed up w/ comcast & cancelled. We just have Netflix right now & the local HD channels that are free."
"one of the reasons I hated Comcast, at least in this area."
"Thinking about doing the same next week!"

Third, just for those interested, the reason we chose DirecTv is that they have the best 3D programming, which we can't take advantage of yet, but we'll eventually get a 3D tv, what with Chris's avocation being 3D, so we wanted to be prepared. 

Also, if anyone wants to switch to DirecTv, let me know and I can give a referral through their "Refer a Friend" program where both of us would save $10 for 10 months on our bills. (You need to sign up through a special website or phone number and give them our account number to take advantage.)


  1. Wahoo! J. and I are pretty happy with DirecTV, but they do tend to pull a few billing scams at the outset. If you're signing up with any kind of coupon or special deal, make sure it's in effect *before they install the service*, or they'll charge you full price for a month or two before applying the coupon. Second, they'll add channels like Showtime, HBO, etc. without asking you (or telling you), and it's up to you to *cancel* those channels within the first month or two, or they'll then start charging you for channels you didn't ask for, don't watch, and didn't know you had.

    Keep a close eye on the bill for the first few months, and I'm sure you'll be happy.

  2. Raser- the confirmation looks right with the discounts so far. And they are adding HBO, etc, free for 3 months. We couldn't immediately remove them, but once it's all set up I was going to cancel those so we don't forget.


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