Comcast, Stop Scamming Me So I Can Stop Scamming You

Have you ever heard anyone excited to get Comcast service? Of course not. That’s like being excited for a hernia operation.

Here’s my hernia operation: every year or so I have to do a dance with Comcast. You know, feigning the intention to quit their service. The so-called trial period on my TV and Internet package ended, causing my bill to nearly double from $90 a month to $160 a month. So I have to quit. Or at least say I’m going to quit. Both the lowly customer retention associate and I know I’m not going to quit. I hate doing it but it works and it’s the most frustrating thing in the world.

The call goes something like this. Let’s call the Comcast rep Ted. I’m talking in a soft and sad voice.

Me: “Hi there, my bill is too high so I need to cancel my service.”

Ted: “Oh I’m sorry to hear that. Let me take a look at your bill.”

Me: “Okay, but I doubt there is anything you can do.”

Ted: “I see you’re on the digital extended plus basic package with Xfinity Internet with speedboost and extra bloatware. That’s a good package. But you don’t have the home phone service.”

Me: “I don’t need the phone service.”

Ted: “Yes you do.”

Me: “I really don’t.”

Ted: “Okay, I hear you. They make me ask.”

Me: “Sure.”

Ted: “Matt, I’m sorry to hear you want to leave and I’ll do anything to keep you as a customer. What will it take?”

Me: “Well, I don’t know, maybe if you drop the price back down to under $100. I don’t need HBO or anything past the basic Internet.”

Ted: “Okay, let me go ask my manager. We have a special I might be able to work you into.”

Me: “Thanks.”

Ted: “Good news, Matt. My manager snuck you into the super digital enhanced package with 25 Mbps [note – he says megabytes, though] Xfinity Internet with speedboost and extra bloatware. It’s just like your other package but we’re throwing in even more digital channels. How is that, Matt?”

Me: “Sounds good. Thanks, pal.”

Ted: “We would like to sign you up for the digital home phone service too.”

Me: “No thanks.”

See, this is the problem, Comcast. This is why no one likes you. It’s because you force people to scam you to get out of being scammed.

Comcast is the only option outside of satellite in my area. Around me, each neighborhood has a different cable provider. Some have Comcast, some have Charter and some have municipal cable companies. I long to live in an area where competition is allowed and fiber is available. I’m not alone. This is a common complaint and a common practice. Essentially if I didn’t do this dance – which always works – I’d suddenly pay double. It’s like going to the gas station and suddenly prices are $6 a gallon just for you – but you can get a discount if you whine to the guy behind the bulletproof glass. Why does this have to happen?

Of course the company does this for profit and the simple fact they’re allowed to price their service as they see fit. And that’s great! Go capitalism! That’s not the issue. Comcast simply does not care enough about its subscribers to institute fair pricing. Wireless carriers cannot get away with this scam. Insurance companies cannot either. Both of their markets are competitive enough to force the companies to compete on pricing and features. But when areas sign over their souls to a single cable provider, the residences suffer and the companies win.

In Ryan Block’s infamous call with Comcast, the rep he spoke with was clearly just doing his job in doing whatever it takes to keep a Comcast customer. None of the laugh line he delivered suggested that Comcast wanted Ryan as a customer, they just wanted Ryan’s money. Treat your customers with respect from beginning to end, and the profits will follow.

Look at T-Mobile. The company is billing itself as the “uncarrier” and is aggressively advertising its new policies. No contracts. Great selection of phones. Amazing pricing. And it’s working. The company is recovering.

Sadly, Comcast doesn’t need to reinvent itself like T-Mobile. The company is already the top cable provider in the country is attempting to buy its closest competitor. Comcast is swimming in coin like Scrooge McDuck. From an investor’s point of view, the company should expand its practices. They’re clearly working great.

But here I am. Here you are. We don’t have any other options. It’s either give Comcast a fortune or… give Comcast a fortune.