Our story begins about three months into my battle with Comcast over television service. Month after month I paid the bill, but all I got was a big “Not Authorized” message. I spoke with phone support, who claimed the issue was fixed. I tried the chat feature on comcast.com. I even tried their email form to no avail. But television is isn’t a high priority in our house and I didn’t have incentive to press the issue too hard. That was my mistake.
Suddenly, it was Shark Week Eve, and we were still without The Discovery Channel. This was Thanksgiving without a turkey. Something had to be done. I called Comcast:
Comcast Woman: How may I help you?
Me: Ok. I have a bunch of problems. But I want to focus on just this one. Let me start by asking you a few questions.
Comcast: Go ahead.
Me: First, are you able to tell me which television package I am currently subscribed?
Comcast: Yes sir. You have (mutters something “Latino Plus”)
Me: Great! Ok, now, does that package include The Discovery Channel? I know there are lots of channels but I want to know if it includes that one specific channel.
Comcast: Please hold. (Puts me on hold for a good 2-5 minutes) That package has the spanish language version of The Discovery Channel.
Comcast: Wait. No, it has the english version too.
Me: Ok, Great! My wife it fluent in spanish, but I am not, so that would have been a problem. Next question… I’m looking at my television right now. It’s on, the cable is on. I’m looking at The Discovery Channel. It says Discovery Channel on the screen. I see the title of the program on right now. A description of the program. But where the show should be, there’s a big blue box with yellow letters that say “Not Authorized.” Can you make it so that message is replaced with the program that’s supposed to be playing right now?
Comcast: I’m working on it right now.
At this point she goes through some process that involves remotely restarting my cable box. Nothing is changed, it still says “Not Authorized.” The Comcast woman determines that my box is malfunctioning and Schedules an appointment for a service tech to come to my house between 7:30 and 9:30 AM.
I get a call from the service tech. He says, “I’m on my way right now”. He arrives at 9:37AM.
Comcast: Something wrong with your modem?
Me: No no. The television. The woman I spoke with yesterday said I need a new box.
Comcast: (Gives me an odd stare) Just one moment sir.
At this point he returns to his truck for a solid 5 minutes, then comes back in to my house with a cable box. I lead him to the television and he proceeds to disconnect my son’s PlayStation 3.
Me: What are you doing?
Comcast: You said you need a cable box.
I gently take the Playstation from his hand and lead him to the other side of the television where the cable box sits. He swaps our the cable box and, sure enough, we both see the same “Not Authorized” message.
Me: This is the same issue I had with the other box.
Comcast: You’re not subscribed to this channel.
I ran him through the conversation from the day before. He proceeds to call his super secret Comcast number. There’s some discussion back and forth but they both conclude that I am not subscribed to The Discovery Channel and I need to call the support number.
Me: You’re here because I called the support number. If I call them back they’re just going to send you back out here. Is that what you want?
Comcast: There’s nothing I can do for you sir. You have to call the support number.
Me: May I speak with the person on your phone please? I think they know something about my account that the other support people do not.
Comcast: No sir. This line is for technicians only.
Me: Sir, please, let me speak with him.
At this point he hangs up his phone, quickly writes out a receipt for the service call and starts heading for the front door. I’m left in my living room, dumbfounded. Not knowing what to do next, I called Comcast:
Comcast: I will sign you up for (some name) package and your new total will be $160. (Last month’s bill was $122, up from $70 last year.)
Me: I’m paying for this channel already. You disconnected it and now you’re saying I have to pay more to get it back?
Me: Hold on. Back up. Tell me again what package I’m currently subscribed to?
Comcast: (Says that multi latino thing again)
Me: Does that package include the Discovery channel?
Comcast: No sir.
Me: I went through this same conversation yesterday and the woman I spoke with told me it does include the discovery channel. Now you’re telling me that she lied to me. The person I spoke with yesterday OUTRIGHT LIED TO ME! DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE SERIOUSNESS OF THIS?!
At this point we go through a back and forth. He eventually quotes me a lower price. On the $160 package and we went with that. 15 minutes later I was watching shark cams and happy to save ten dollars a month.
|# of Problems to Fix||1|
|Total Time||6 hours (over 3 months)|
|Consolation Prize||$28/mo increase in cable bill|