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.
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.