I know that this is not the purpose of this blog, but it is a frustration born of my geeky need to stay connected to the Internet and have access to view the shows I want to see.
After a very frustrating hour on the phone with Mark, then Carlos, Mark’s supervisor, I’m no closer to understanding your magic math that makes $15.95 = $23.90.
I’m moving and taking on a roommate. I currently have a double play package for cable and internet for $79.99. In my new apartment, where I am transferring my account, I would like to take advantage of the triple play package that fits me best, which is $99.99 per month.
I currently have a digital cable box. I do not pay anything for it as it is included in my package.
For my new service, I would also not pay anything for this digital cable box, as it is included in the NEW package as well. I asked Mark how much it would cost me to add a DVR cable box for my roommate. He quoted me $15.95. That’s fine, about what I expected to pay. Everything was going smoothly. We settled on an install date and he informed me that the cable install would be free since it’s a transfer (YAY!), but that I would still have to pay a $75 install fee for the Internet and Phone service. *sigh* Fine, I can deal. Still cheaper than new service.
So, at the end of the order, Mark runs through what my monthly bill will be, as he is supposed to. I will interject here and say that Mark was fantastic. I work in Call Center Technologies so I know a good CSR when I hear one.
Mark: $99.99 for the Triple Play
Mark: $5.00 for your internet equipment lease
Me: Yup, got it
Mark: $15.95 for the DVR box
Me: Totally. On board.
Mark: various taxes and fees for TV and phone service
Me: Completely expected, I’m with you.
Mark: $7.95 for the Digital box
Me: Whoa. Wait a minute!!!
So, he explained to me that adding an advanced feature box to my plan makes THAT box my primary and so the digital box that I currently have becomes secondary and now requires me to pay for it.
I asked to speak with his supervisor and reach Carlos. In this conversation with Carlos, I learned that it is simply standard Comcast customer service to create disincentives for me to want to purchase more products from you.
See, the package I want installed includes:
Digital Starter Cable Package
Digital Tuner Box (for On-Demand etc)
Digital Telephone Service
All for the very reasonable and even attractive price of $99.99
I want to add a Comcast product that costs $15.95 to this package, resulting in one Digital Tuner Box and one Tuner with DVR. Reason states that my new total would be $115.94, plus everything else up there. I’m fine with that. That is totally what I’m wanting. Value paid for value received. However, that’s not what I’ll be paying. See, Comcast has rigged the game. I am now expected to pay $7.95 extra for a product and service that is included for free today. Carlos explained to me, during the hour the poor chap had to listen to my pleas for explanation, that once an advance box is added to the service, I forfeit the Digital box that is included with my package. In order to have the Digital box that I get for free as part of the package today, I now have to pay $7.95 for the unit price of that digital box. Now, my package price is not being reduced by $7.95, of course. It’s still $99.99. I would completely understand this if I were choosing to forgo my digital box in favor of a more advanced featured box like a DVR or HD tuner. That makes sense. I have made a choice not to partake in a part of the service I have been offered, in favor of a premium.
Restated, if I were to only have the DVR tuner and NOT a Digital box on my service, I would expect to pay the $115.94 that Comcast would charge me because I have chosen to give up the lesser free item, in favor of the premium one, the unit price of which is $15.95.
If I wanted to only add the DVR box to the full package that I have been offered for $99.99, I would ALSO expect to pay $115.94, but, in actuality, I must pay $123.89 because Comcast has now decided that something that was free in a package price must now be paid as a separate unit.
However, if I only wanted to add another Digital tuner box to the one that I already have, resulting in two, I would only pay $7.95 more per month ($107.94). I would NOT have to pay for BOTH Digital boxes because the first is included in the package!
It is the same as this scenario:
McComcast: Welcome to McComcast! may I take your order?
Me: Yes, I’d like a Quarter Burger with Cheese value meal.
McComcast: That will be $4
Me: I’d like to add a Big Com. How much is a Big Mac?
McComcast: A Big Mac costs $2.50.
Me: Cool. One Quarter Burger with Cheese Meal and one Big Com.
McComcast: That will be $8, sir.
Me: But $4 and $2.50 = $6.50. Where do you get $8?
McComcast: Well, the Big Com is a more advanced sandwich that the Quarter Burger, so it becomes your primary burger. You pay the package price of $4 for the value meal, and then you add the cost of the Big Com, and then you add $1.50 for the Quarter Burger, which is now your secondary burger.
Me: Soooo … Since I want to purchase MORE of your service and products, and I’m willing to pay the price you quoted me, $2.50, you have decided that I’m not paying you enough “more” and want to create ill-will and destroy incentive to buy more of your products?
Me: What if I just wanted another Quarter Burger?
McComcast: Oh, well, since that is not an advanced sandwich, you would only pay an extra $1.50 for the second Quarter Burger – a total of $5.50.
Me: Why? How does that make sense?
McComcast: Because that’s the way it’s always been done. (which is what Carlos told me)
By making the DVR box the primary, Comcast has not reduced the package price by $7.95, nor is the FIRST DVR box a lower or discounted price than any subsequent DVR box, so there’s no benefit there. It’s all one big scheme to squeeze another $100/year per customer out of their install base.
I don’t believe I’m the only person who has ever complained about this. I’ve been a Comcast customer for over 10 years (although some of that time was under my ex-wife’s name), and this is the first time I’ve truly felt ill-treated by Comcast. I feel that this policy is unjust and, frankly unethical. What’s truly wonderful is that, in my living situation, Comcast is my only choice for subscription television and Internet, leaving me with little choice but to take my position on the proctology table so that you can extract every last cent you can from my wallet.
I know it is only $8/month, but the principle of it drives me crazy. Either the Digital converter is a value-add, in which case it is part of the package, or it is charged by the unit price, which means the package should be reduced by $7.95/month.
This does not give me any faith in your treatment of your customers.