Internet Cable TV Experiences

Something I was waiting to do before I posted this was to go through all of the installation with Comcast, but I am afraid I won’t get to that point with everything that has happened. Most people would not be a customer of theirs at this point. But, I will be putting down these experiences anyway. My experiences which may or may not be typical, indicate you don’t want to use either AT&T or Comcast for TV/Internet/Voice services.

Let us start with AT&T. After talking with them and setting up an installation that took over six months to arrange, the reason it took so long was ignored and they did this the quickest and dirtiest way they could. I feel sorry for those people who just have it installed. What was this reason? I already had a home with wired phone, cable, and Internet network. I needed the service box at the place where all these services in the past arrived in the home, and did not want them to just drill a hole in the wall and set up one place bypassing everything already installed and in one place. This took six months to get something from AT&T to guaranty to me that this wouldn’t happen. At the time I ordered the services when I started, there was a $400 gift card when subscribing. When the second to the last call to AT&T was made, that was down to $300. Less than a week later, when the subscription was placed, it was now at $100. This never came to me after the 3 months of service as indicated. I will address this issue more in a little bit. Once installed, the tech arrived and sure enough, the quick hole in the wall and one place set up. No phone service in the house, and it was expected that all Internet service would be “wireless” through their router. Great. What about everything else in my house? I had one “wireless” phone, and one “wireless” TV installed. I called and asked what happened? They sent another person and yet again, this wasn’t correct either (he told my wife that everything was working and nothing needed to be done). Fortunately, my wife called me and told me before the person left, and I called them who relayed this information to his boss and then told the tech to do it the right way. So, he finally did, but with a terrible attitude. Go figure. He also cannibalized one of the phone lines by stringing cat 6 line, and then for whatever reason couldn’t figure why the keystones he had wouldn’t work. So, to this day, his “replaced” keystones still hang outside the phone jack box but I will remove his cat 6 line to a network box when I put in the cable TV this time.

Well, everything was put in and then they didn’t have any guides or manuals – think how confusing this setup can be to someone who is blind. My wife is blind, and she was shown how to do things and go places, but for a blind person, AT&T is not the right service. She has never used the AT&T service even with the additional time. I will give AT&T cudo’s for taking the time to do this.

What about the actual service? If you have more than two TVs and one person using the wireless, the throughput on their router just can’t handle this. You will get “spitting” TV and internet on the wireless. I put in a high end gigabit router with WAPs (a business class installation of equipment) only to find it still happened. I will also say that frequently, the data speed from AT&T is around 500-800 Kb/s (clearly not the 18Mb/s that is sold and not guaranteed). I suspect this is because their Internet is shared and oversold because the worst times are around 3-5 PM, and then again 7-9PM (prime times).

Unfortunately for their service, it was too little and too late.  I have had their service for 2 years, and can say whole heartedly, this is worthless. If you want a lot of channels, it is great. But, if you are an internet user, most of us are, or phone user, this isn’t the service for you. You can do better elsewhere.

I need to address the lack of the gift card, and how that was handled. From my point of view, this was “bait and switch” and then not delivered. When the State of Indiana got involved, they basically said “They are going to credit your account for $100, and we will consider this case closed”.  So, for companies like AT&T, in the State of Indiana, they accept the bait and switch. Heck, if you are a company, the State really loves you if you have more than a million in income and defends you from pretty much anything the do. That is just how it is, and by living here, I have to accept this. That means it was a $100 credit, and that was it. In other states, this may or may not be the case so if this happens to you, check with a qualified lawyer in your state as I am not one and what I put here isn’t legal advice.

So, after two years, my bill went up a huge amount that I didn’t want to pay including the “unlimited” data service was capped at 1 TB of data (and if I didn’t have TV, then it would be capped at 100 MB of data), and figured I would try Comcast’s Xfiniti service. This has been a lot of failures from Comcast’s end. Most people probably wouldn’t do business with the number of problems that I have encountered. I try to be patient and wanted to see this through. I will probably update this post once I do have working Comcast service.

Comcast’s experience starts with calling on the phone from one of the “mailers” they send and stating you can earn a $200 gift card with a qualifying triple play package and then lists it must have voice, data, and cable services. So, after going through this with the person on the phone, who did a great job, I was told a price for a set number of services, and then told that I didn’t qualify for the gift card (even though the mailed flyer said I did). Ok, arguing with the person is pointless, so I accepted the price and set up a time for them to install my services. This was fairly quick, about 4 days. This is good, confirmed the price, and thought we would be on Comcast by the end of the week. This didn’t happen.

I received an email welcoming me to Comcast’s Xfiniti services and listed everything I had ordered. As I looked through the list, there were three additional $10 services that I was told were included in the package. As a matter of fact, even the Internet site indicates they were… but for some reason the amount was changed and additional charges charged. When I called back about this, I was blanket told that the these are the charges and there was nothing that can be done. Either I want the service at the “new” price they set, or I didn’t want the service. I told them I didn’t want the service. I was transferred to a “retention” operator who then spent a half hour telling me to “give him a chance” to make good on this, and nothing more. Talk about a waste of time. I told him to cancel my service or tell me what he wants to say because I was going to hang up otherwise and consider my services cancelled. He came up with a new price for all the same services and it was $20 higher than the one in the email. I informed him of this and said that there would be a complaint to the appropriate people about this changing of prices.

I should also mention that Comcast advertises that they are here for you 24/7, and they have you covered. Well, when this email came through and the next day after 8 AM, they didn’t. Going through their painful maze of a phone system is horrible. Then, if you get through to anyone (and so far, always the wrong person), nothing transfers through to them. So, if you need to get someone on the phone, don’t expect to find anyone there. I was also told by one of their representatives that I needed to install on my phone their “App” so that I can do everything possible with my account. I am sorry, no. I am not going to put someone’s app on my phone just because they want me to install it. Isn’t it my phone? What if I didn’t have a phone? Every company wants THEIR app on your phone. Even AT&T.  I don’t know about you, but does anyone have a phone with unlimited space and something that secures it 100%? I know I don’t have unlimited space, and phones are notoriously insecure. This is why I don’t put apps like this on my phone. Yes, you will hear how secure “their” app is, but it comes down to your phone and that a cell phone isn’t secure.  Heck, what assurances do you have that installing their app won’t compromise your phone or won’t install software to spy on who you are? You don’t. Worse, what business is it of theirs to know where you go, what files are on your phone, and who you associate?  It isn’t.

So, walking through Walmart to get something quickly needed, I run into some guy who works for Comcast as a contractor through a different company. Well, I asked him what is going on and he said that is just Comcast. So, he looked at what I ordered, and told me that the email confirming the order is $30 too high. Go figure. So he gives me a contract in writing what is included and it even includes the $200 gift card, and I sign on the dotted line with the guarantee that this will be the right price and if it changes, to call him so he can take this up with his boss. The confirmation was for the right price, and we are back in business. I also agreed to a “self install kit” instead of installation, so I saved myself $60 for that service and I would know this was installed correctly. No repeat of my previous problems.

The equipment gets here and I go through it all, and guess what is missing? The one component that I need – the gateway and wireless adapter. Great. Just what I needed, they can’t appear to ship the needed equipment. I call and manage to get through to someone who then forwards me to another queue for the right person. I talk with them and since I am such a valued customer they will ship it to me priority and without any shipping fees… but I will see it in 4 days. Remember, this is THEIR fault it didn’t get here, but the person made it seem like it was my fault but I am such a VIP that they will bend over backwards to make me satisfied. I felt like I needed a shower because it was so overdone.  I made a mistake and never confirmed if this was 4 business days or 4 calendar days. So, I waited 4 business days and asked where it was. The person said that I received and even signed for it… Nope, it turns out that was the initial shipment. So, no order and no equipment. Well, I must not be that valued customer. The new person apologized just like the last one and then said that I had a “payment center” 11 miles away and could give me the part in 15 minutes. So I said I would pick that part up there. He did the paperwork, and said it was ready to be picked and even offered to email me step by step driving instructions there. I knew where it was, approximately, and declined the instructions.

So how much time have I spent until now? About 9.5 hours. I haven’t even started the installation. The next morning, I receive a call stating that AT&T has refused to process the phone number change and it will take them a couple of weeks to get AT&T to release the phone number. This is really bizarre as AT&T processed this change two weeks ago, sent me revised billing. Great, I am stuck with yet another delay… so no phone service even if I get the system up and running for another 2 weeks.

I finally get to the “payment center” and am faced with 8 people lined up out the door trying to return or get equipment fixed. Or, there is a cheap tablet of some kind that you sign in on. Ok, I try signing in on the tablet. It doesn’t work. The touch screen dowsn’t work and the little that it does work, it doesn’t do what it is instructed to do. I indicate this to the gal at the other line and I am told to get at the end of the line in order to get help. That is the only solution. No one else seems to care. So, on to the end of the line. That took about 20-30 minutes. So, I am now signed in. Great! This should be 15 minutes. So, I wait, and wait, and wait. After an hour after being signed in, I get up and walk around because their list has me as their next person. Low and behold, the next person is called and it isn’t me. I talk to the person who didn’t call me and ask to talk to a manager – I am then told I needed to sign in for the manager prior to them closing (this is already 20 minutes after they closed their front doors.) So, I go to the person at the front who signed me in, and I was told that they closed, and I can’t be changed or added to see a manager. I asked how long it would be before I would get to talk to someone, and I was told it would be another hour as there are now at least 7 people in front of me.  She graciously told me that there is no way for the list to change, after indicating my concerns. I then asked if 2.5 hours is a reasonable amount of time for them to service customers, but she declined to answer other than saying they are understaffed and have been since the beginning of the year. So, now, I am this VIP customer who they think nothing of his time and that their under staffing their location means I should give them a break? Nope. I ask for a manager’s number or email who is not at this location. I am handed the Assistant Manager (who is on duty with no phone numbers other than the 800 number to the phone tree from hell.) Apparently, someone who works there is a manager who doesn’t work at that address, but I could point to her right over there. I said thank you, and left. We are up to 16 hours including travel time there and back. Still no service, no part, and I’m upset yet again.

As soon as I get home, I call the 800 number and talk to a representative, who is overwhelmed with what is going on and puts me on hold to “talk with her supervisor” and wants her supervisor to take care of this call because it is a disaster. Another hour burned on this call and getting no where. She tells me that her supervisor will call me back within 15 minutes. OK, yet another call I won’t get. After 8 minutes, my phone rings and the manager is on the phone. He restates the problem from what the previous person who I talked with at the 800 number (it was wrong, and I corrected him), and then complains that I should have talked to him BEFORE this. Great! My fault yet again as the customer. I must not be that VIP customer that I was led to believe. He does something I haven’t seen from ANYONE at Comcast yet – he takes the problem on as his own, schedules someone to drop off the equipment to me in the morning (it is after hours, I am not going to tell him to have someone drop one off after hours), and even offers to have the person dropping off the equipment to check the cable into the house and make sure it is OK for this service as it has been a few years since I had there service (2003). He then indicates he will call me around 12:30 to make sure that all this has been done, the device dropped off, and that I am on the road to having service. This is customer service, and what should have been done from the start. Amazingly, this call only lasted about 25 minutes… 1.5 hours more. So, at this point, I am at 17.5 hours of my time. Still no service, but it looks hopeful. As you can see, if you can’t take their constant blaming you, the customer, and changing prices, and really poor customer service, they might be for you. As I don’t have a working service after 17.5 hours of my time, I have to say it is unacceptable.

 

I will update this post later once Comcast is up and running. I also hope if either AT&T or Comcast representatives read this, they will garner ways they can improve their respective services for the problems I have encountered. And, unlike them, I am giving them this advice for free even if they aren’t a VIP in my mind.

Update 26 March 2017: Still no Internet, phone, or cable from Comcast. I ended up spending an hour (I was told 10-15 minutes) on Friday waiting yet again for someone at the service center. They finally provided the equipment I needed. At this point, I am waiting on activation.