Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fun wit the Comcast/Xfinity Beast

Wasted half an hour on the phone with Comcast aka Xfinity (wasted first ten minutes trying to find their phone number on their site) attempting without success to reduce service to save on my monthly bill.

I have "triple play' which combines TV, internet, and landline in one bill - which has grown to $175 a month over the past year or so. Once again I am reminded how well Comcast organizes its pricing structure to discourage exactly what I was trying to do.

Last year I reduced my internet speed to save money; the standard service is around 12mbps; the *only* lesser option is 1mbps, for which I save about ten bucks. One, or 12 - cute, huh? (Of course, Comcast's internet people can't help themselves: The speed has risen over the past year to 3mbps.) Happily I found that I can tolerate this speed just fine, since I don't watch high-bandwidth shows on my computer anyway, nor do Skyping.

So i called thinking to cut back on the TV side -- research shows that dropping down to the basic package drops off all the channels you most like, such as AMC and the housing shows my wife likes -- so I figured to cut back on HD, since we hardly ever use it (not sports fans) and would not miss it. Turns out that the DVR, which we do like, works on the HD package only -- drop to the "classic" (non-HD) service and bye-bye DVR. 

Also discovered that their DVR will indeed show on the other TV using a wireless gadget that should have been installed last year when I got the DVR but the tech didn't install, and nobody told me about. To have the tech come up and hook it up right will cost me -- $50. No, since it was their mistake, they'll discount that to $35. Nice.

Several "how about this package combo?" discussions later, all of which result in getting more service for just a bit more money, I gave up. It is not possible to reduce these costs. I suspect if I cancelled the phone element of the triple play, the remaining double--play items would add up to -- $175 a month.

I get my cell service from AT&T; I think I need to drop by and see if they can do anything for me. I suspect I will get the same treatment from them too, but the prospect of poking Comcast in the eye is hard to resist. I've been a happy Comcast customer for more than a decade (and its predecessors for another decade before that) but I can no longer afford it. One advantage of AT&T in my case is that I could presumably just drop my landline altogether, since I get my cell service from AT&T. (Last year I threatened Comcast with switching to AT&T and got a temporary fifteen dollar a month discount.)

Any of you have experience with AT&T's internet and TV service? Is it bad or tolerable, and is it just as gouging as Comcast?

Mac McCarthy

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