OK. Here’s what happened. We have Comcast cable and internet and a local land-line phone. Our cable bill has gone up over the last year from around $100 to $150 per month, as we lost our “promotional” discounts. I’ve been meaning to call Comcast to ask for a rate reduction, but it’s such a long, tedious, unpleasant process that I’ve put it off. A couple of weeks ago a Comcast residential account representative left me a phone message that he could help me reduce my cable bill. Yesterday he came by to talk to me about it.
Here’s what he offered at first:
1) Drop down from Digital Starter to Digital Economy package. This would remove some channels that we watch. Monthly cost would drop to around $100.
2) Expand to Digital Preferred package, which would give us a lot more channels, only some we would probably watch. He would throw in Streampix and Starz. Our monthly cost would drop to around $130.
So this seemed like a pretty straight-forward choice. Then things got a little more complicated. He said this $130 charge would bundle my cable and internet together and they’d show up on my bill as one charge, not separate items as they are now. And he would throw in a free cable modem/router. We already have our own modem and router. (We bought our own modem when they started charging for the “free” one.) He said I didn’t have to connect it, but just having it included would entitle me to free tech support, which I’m not entitled to on my own modem. And then if I ever needed to use it, I would already have it, set up is easy, and it’s free, yadda, yadda, yadda. I said, “I don’t want a charge to suddenly appear for the modem later on.” He said, “If that ever happens, call me and I’ll get them to take it off. Or, of course, you could always turn it back in.” Okaaayyyyy, that didn’t seem too risky.
Then he offered to give me “free” phone service. I said I wanted to keep our local land-line phone. He said we didn’t have to connect the phone service, but that it would be there as a “place holder” and if we ever wanted to hook it up, there would be no additional charge. It’s part of the internet service anyway. We would have a different phone number for this service, but it wouldn’t be “active.” However, if we wanted to, we could plug our phone into the back of the modem and use it to make calls. Okaaayyyy, not real comfortable with this for some reason.
Then he started writing this up as a “retention package.” No contract is involved; we can still quit at any time. It would be good for a year and then after that we would be guaranteed to go back to our current rate ($150/month) and not have to pay for any price increases for another year. And at that time I could call him and he would see what he could do to reduce our bill again. As he was writing it up, I got even more uncomfortable with all the blanks that weren’t being filled in. “These don’t apply, because you’re not being charged for them,“ he said. I said I needed to think about this some more and talk to my husband (always a good stalling technique) and he left and agreed to come back on Monday.
I’m wondering what I should do. I feel like he’s trying a roundabout way to bundle me into their Triple Play service (internet, cable, phone) and I’m not comfortable signing up for equipment and services I’m not planning on using right now, even if they are “free,” which I doubt they really are. I’m afraid this will come back to haunt me sometime in the future.
I’d appreciate any thoughts or advice from any Bogleheads out there. I realize this is a long post and thanks for reading this far. I don’t want to go the route of antenna, Hulu or Roku, streaming TV through my computer, etc., right now. Maybe when I retire in a couple years, I’ll investigate the alternatives to cable, but right now we want to keep it, just at a lower price. Any advice?