What do you think of this Comcast deal?

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What do you think of this Comcast deal?

Postby anncatchingup » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:28 pm

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?

Thanks,

Ann
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Re: What do you think of this Comcast deal?

Postby Saving$ » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:58 pm

Call Comcast, tell them you want to keep your same service if you can lower the bill, otherwise you will have to look for other options.

Sounds like this fellow is a reseller. You can try to call him back in 6 months or a year when you get charged for something, but he may no longer work there.

Best to get this sort of thing in writing via an email trail. You email him with the questions about all the blank spaces saying you just want to confirm for your discussion with your husband that all the blanks which are a, b, c, etc. have no charge associated with them, can he confirm. If he confirms back via email you are ok.

I had a similar thing with a cell phone reseller on a too good to be true deal because it supposedly included a $250 credit towards my service. Not surprisingly after I signed up the $250 credit failed to appear. After several phone calls after which it still failed to appear, I forwarded the new person I was dealing with the email string in which the rep clearly committed to the $250 credit. They finally gave it to me, expressing surprise that I had "kept the email."
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Re: What do you think of this Comcast deal?

Postby Tom_T » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:15 pm

I was a Comcast customer for years, until switching to Verizon a year ago. My experience with Comcast is that you are better off calling them. Tell them you're interested in lowering your bill, and are there any promotions available for your current level of service? If you get the right person on the phone, they can usually do something for you (and you may have to call back to get a different person on the phone.). I had cable+internet with Comcast, and yes, every time I called, they wanted me to switch to their phone service (i.e. triple play), and I always told them "definitely not now, I will consider it down the road." I was able to get some sort of promotion every year,

I would not deal with the person visiting your house. That sounds way too "salesman-y" for me, and I would not trust that the person is giving me all the options.
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Re: What do you think of this Comcast deal?

Postby John151 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:43 pm

I received a similar offer from a Comcast sales rep via telephone several weeks ago. I told him that if he would send me a copy of the offer, itemized and in writing, I'd be willing to consider it. That's the last I've heard of the offer.
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Re: What do you think of this Comcast deal?

Postby linuxuser » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:16 pm

If you are serious about lowering your Comcast bill, ask for the Economy Plus internet. I am being charged $29.95 for it.
Obviously, it may be too slow if you stream movies and such.
Limited Basic cable is $16.10
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Re: What do you think of this Comcast deal?

Postby Mudpuppy » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:44 am

It's Comcastic! (sorry, couldn't resist)

My basic premise is if you feel uncomfortable with a deal, there is probably a reason for that and you should back out. At the very least, take the time to re-evaluate and get as much of his verbal promises as possible in writing. The advice others have given about calling Comcast directly are good.

You should also consider prioritizing your TV viewing habits. Perhaps the Digital Economy package would be okay if you could find alternative sources for the shows/channels you watch on the "lost" channels (or just decide if you really need to watch them). For example, I watched quite a bit of SciFi and USA before I cancelled cable, but I decided that waiting for the Hulu delay for the shows to post online was good enough, particularly since it saved me over $50 a month. And the Digital Economy option would save you $50 a month instead of just $20 a month for Option 2. You could use the $30 difference to offset any subscription charges to get access to the shows on the "lost" channels online.
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Re: What do you think of this Comcast deal?

Postby bUU » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:03 am

The deal could have been legit, but if you don't want to do business that way, then you don't have to - if you can do without things, you are often better off doing so, financially (though life isn't all about money - shocking! I know. :) )

Note that a lot of things are being priced better as packages. Companies do this because research shows that it is better for the bottom-line to try to foster such a more comprehensive relationship with customers, not every customer, but the mass-market doesn't accommodate every individual customer's peculiarities. More importantly, it is important to remember that the folks you're talking about have to offer you what they are pre-authorized to offer you - they aren't like sales managers at a car dealership, able to make up whatever deals they feel like. If you're looking for massively-large service providers and massively-large retail chains to create special product and service offerings just for you, you're going to be repeatedly disappointed.
Last edited by bUU on Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What do you think of this Comcast deal?

Postby magicmom » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:44 am

I had a really hard time with Comcast when someone tried to "Upgrade" me over the phone. I never agreed to it but they started charging me anyway. I ALWAYS called the local number not the 800 one to get someone in my area. But now I don't have to worry about it because I use an antenna and Netflix and pay $0 for cable.
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Re: What do you think of this Comcast deal?

Postby pshonore » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:39 am

Any interest in going with a satellite? Direct TV has a "stuffer" in todays paper. 24 month fixed contract $67 - $77 per month + tax etc which includes lots of channels, (free HBO, Showtime, etc for 3 months) high speed internet (DSL) via ATT with local phone service, unlimited long distance, etc and installation. They will check your reception prior to install.

Of course at the end of 24 months that will probably increase to $ 150 - $175. I've had Direct TV for a little over a year and am pleased with it.
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