(By the way: for the Comcast hacks who are reading this, hello. This is Chat ID #EDF3552A-BD69-4B8C-93C3-49857AC2D365 I am talking about if you want to confirm that I’m not the one lying here.)
On March 5, 2012 when my cable bill more than doubled overnight, I went into a webchat with some operators at Comcast. Eventually I wound up with a supervisor allegedly named “June.” I had the foresight to print out the webchat so I had a permanent record of whatever was said.
After getting no love now that Verizon has announced the end of FiOS buildout (a half mile down the street from my neighborhood’s connection no less), Comcast has decided that they will not offer any incentives to customers in areas not covered by fiber to stay. They like having a monopoly in areas they have no competition and know that their customers really have no place to go.
Eventually, I dropped the bomb.
That’s right. I decided to cut the cable. I can get a top of the line antenna for two months’ worth of my Comcast bill. Installing it will be a pain since there don’t seem to be any professional installers around here, but it might be worth it in the end.
“June” pretended she didn’t know what I was talking about.
Please note my statement “the channels we watch outside of the networks” (which means those I can get with an antenna) “the most are BBC America, Current, GSN, AMC.” I forgot about LOGO, but now that almost all the gay programming is disappearing from it that’s not as big an issue as it might have been. So look at the four channels I mentioned.
So since I was talking about going antenna, June decides to be aggressive. Without permission from me she decides to downgrade my service.
Then, knowing that her customer is slipping away, comes the lie to keep me on for another month.
Got that? She says that the channels I mentioned (BBC America, Current, GSN, and AMC) are included in Digital Starter.
In case you want to double check for yourself, Comcast’s channel lineups can be found here. My ZIP code is 08361.
Under “All Channels,” here are the locations for those four channels.
73, 74, 107, and 114. Right?
Now let’s change the display to “Digital Starter,” shall we?
Wait, where’s 73? The operator told me that
73 was one of the channels I mentioned. It’s not included in Digital Starter.
But maybe 107 and 114 are, huh? Maybe I’d only be losing one channel.
No, 107 isn’t listed. 114 is listed now, but was not there when I pulled up the list the morning of 3/5 trying to find a way to lower my bill myself. Still, half of the channels that I called dealbreakers (the only reasons I had cable television in the first place) were not in the package she unilaterally decided to impose upon me before I forced her to stop, and lied to me to try and milk one last month of cable service out of me.
I watch so little on BBC America nowadays anyhow that it won’t be a sacrifice to dump it, but the other two are a big deal. I’m not joking that outside of the four networks and CW, those channels (plus Logo, which I forgot to mention and also isn’t included in Digital Starter) are literally the only channels we actually watch on cable. And AMC is only for stretches twice a year when The Walking Dead and Mad Men are on. But those two programs aren’t worth an extra $80.00 a month year round while we wait for them to come on.
This is now more than just a question of switching to antenna. This is a prime example of unfair commercial practices. If I can spare the $25.00 filing fee attached to it (and I just might) I will ask for a formal hearing before the BPU and include this chat transcript as evidence in my attempt to get a formal investigation of the company’s pricing and practices.
By the way, I think June might have realized there would be a paper trail on this conversation because she tried to get me to move it to the phone.
I immediately got suspicious.
That was not a lie on my part. Bryan was asleep as I was trying to deal with this. But Comcast won’t talk to you on the phone if you try to record the call, so there is no proof that anyone said or did anything. With chat there is. And that’s a problem for Comcast because…