Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Astral Projectiles

Sometimes I wish there was a time machine, like in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure where George Carlin’s ghost walks up to me and says “Don’t worry about your astronomical cable and internet bill, just hop in this here phone booth and we’ll take you back to 1986 when the price of cable, as compared to your income, was actually way worse.”

Today I spent four hours and 13 minutes communicating in some way, shape or form with my local cable company, Comcast, in order to rectify three issues. Two of which, of course, involved the aforementioned exorbitant bill.

The bill is not even really that high when you consider it is for two services I utilize on a daily basis. Unfortunately the time I spent dealing with the situation is absolutely no exaggeration.

Back in March I received a paper bill from Comcast which brought up the first issue and, unbeknownst to me, became the catalyst for issues 2 & 3 today. You see I had signed up to receive only electronic bills as of last fall, you know, since I’m all tree hugger and stuff, so when the bill came in it had to be dealt with.

Funny thing was our promo rate had expired in January and the rate went to double what it had been. Matt ended up making a call when the dead tree arrived in March and there was an aura of awesomeness on the back indicating we were receiving a $32 credit for bundled service for six months! Outstanding!

Then a few days ago I got another piece of pressed wood pulp in the mail only this time there was no little happy minus sign. In fact there was a big indication that I owed money and that my bill was even higher than it had been after the promo expired.

Say what?

I tried to make sense of it all, I pulled up the bills I had paid and added it all up. I shouldn’t have owed anything and what happened to my favorite symbol; the minus sign? I got online with their chat support team at 9:09 this morning.

The first gal chatted my fingers off for roughly an hour and a half while she tried to figure out what had happened by “reviewing my bills”. Although I had made several attempts to actually tell her what had happened I can only assume she was busy testing out some kind of new hallucinogen as a monkey could have reviewed my bills faster.

In the end I was told she was the Internet chat support person and she would have to transfer me to the Cable chat support person if I had a problem with what the cable portion of my bill was alleging I owed.

Really Karen? You didn’t figure that out when I told you 57 minutes ago that I had a problem with my promo rate for the “Digital Starter” service being revoked? Well okay then I guess I’ll speak with Ann.

Ann, in online chat, looked suspiciously just like Karen. Both of their names were lit up in blue as if they were right there next to each other. Hey, I saw My Best Friend’s Girl, I’m quite sure they probably were.

Regardless, Ann was very helpful and over the next 45 minutes I think she did her laundry, washed her hair and took her dog for a walk between the time she posted anything to me. Most of which was to say “Sorry for the wait.” Though she never really said just what I was waiting for.

In the end Ann assured me that there was nothing she could do about getting my promo rate back for the Cable, nor could she remove the overage on my account and if I wanted to sign up for e-bill I should get online. But she sure could give me a discounted rate on my Internet service and would happily give a $20 credit for my inconvenience.

Really? Was Ann just Karen in disguise or was she truly authorized to talk about both sides of the business? Scandal!

She promptly gave me the local service center number to discuss the credit and I connected first with Richard, who took my number (so he could finish his Sega game no doubt) so he could call me back once he’d researched the issue. Then I got Lou who immediately talked over me without letting me complete a thought. When I’d had enough of his snippy attitude I made the magic request.

“Yeah I need your manager.”

Julie, a sort of good listener who’s propensity to utter m’kay at the end of every sentence reminded me of Mr. Mackey on South Park, took over the call after just five minutes on hold. I was impressed at Lou’s ability to transfer the call in such record time. He even came back on the line to tell me it would just be a minute.

I had furiously scribbled a million notes from my various conversations and even saved the chat transcript because, well frankly, I’m no dummy when it comes to this kind of stuff. I’d come that far, no way I was backing down until all was said and done.

In very patient terms Julie explained how the “new people” weren’t used to the system yet (read: they will be reamed out later for telling the client the wrong thing so the client almost gets to save an extra $34 a month) and that she was truly sorry for the mix up but that I really did owe the previous balance and what my new bill would be once the Internet credit was applied.

In the end Julie’s numbers did add up to the correct figures, even if the situation didn’t, but rather than continue to argue, fight it, or whine about it, I figured it was far better to pick my battles, let this one go and know that the $42.96 they shouldn’t be, but are, getting out of me for the next 4 months will somehow come back to me three fold.

I’ve already got the cheap ass television and remote, wonder if I can pick up a phone booth for $515.52? Maybe I can get a bundled service for cable and internet in there. Excellent.


Almost Precious said...

Well at least they weren't speaking in clipped English, but I guess that's just for computer problems that you get a direct line to India.

I know how frustrating it is to be talking to someone on the phone that is not paying attention, perhaps they are too busy playing one of those addictive facebook games? There have been times when I could feel my blood pressure rise and I just wanted to yell; "Can I talk to someone with at least half a brain?" but then they'd probably hang up on me and after having waited 3 hours and 45 minutes listening to some lame music I'd hate to have to start the whole procedure over again.

Your remark about getting a phone booth made me laugh out loud. For $515.52 do you think you could get one of those neat red, vintage British telly booths?

Tabitha Bird said...

Oh gosh! Can life get any crazier!

I love the look of your blog. When did you change it? Looks great!

pastrywitch said...

Lucky for me, everthing is in Bevin's name, so I don't have to deal with it :)

Julie said...

The new look is spiffy-o. :) Reminds me of JK Rowlings site (which is lots of fun, especially if you're a Harry Potter fan).

Sorry to hear about all the headache. What a pain in the butt. Good luck with getting that phone booth. ;)

Bridgete said...

They're always so helpful with me. Although I think I may have said something about "law school" or "lawyer" or something the first time they came to install my cable...I bet there's some sort of note on my account.

WV: Mabdm - One of the many things uttered while Jenn was muttering about Comcast.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Anna that is exactly the kind I was thinking! I don't know but I'm sure looking into it lol

Hey Tabitha long time no chat! its been a few months now, in fact almost time for another new look!

Yeah Kate, everything here is in Matt's name but unfortunately for some reason they actually let wives deal with all that crap. The bastards...

Ooh I'll have to check out her site Julie, I might be the only one on the planet to admit this but I'm not really super into HP so I've never been over there before. I know, I know...

Now see Bridgete, that was the first mistake I made...I let them know I was just a minion! Next time I'm working with your tactic "Oh yeah my husband has studied law..." haha!

Rosebud Collection said...

Here is where I would lose my cool..This business of bouncing people around and no one really knowing what the heck is going on..There is no such thing as "good customer service"..I went around with a phone company..and when I say around..I traveled the world..and kept telling them to get me back to America..finally got the thing settled..Very upsetting to say the least..and I dropped the phone company too..

Hope all works out for you, in the end..xoxoRosebud.