DirecTV was offering me all of the channels that Comcast had steadily taken away from us over the years (while simultaneously raising our rates), HD receivers in every room in our home with a television (Comcast had only given us two), DVR service (we had none with Comcast) and free HBO for two years.
I set an install appointment and called Comcast about terminating my television service but keeping the Internet, as unfortunately, they are the ONLY high speed Internet game in my town.
“I can put a note in your account and the service will be terminated at midnight on that day,” Bill said cheerfully.
“Beautiful. What will the total be for my next bill?”
“Well, you’re not under contract so you’ll receive a partial bill for the television service through the termination date…”
“Great! Thanks, Bill,” I said trying to extricate myself before he could begin his sales pitch again.
“And your next bill for just the highspeed internet service will reflect the new total of $90 plus taxes and fees.”
“Excuse me? I’ve been paying $60 per month for … I don’t know how long, I own my own modem, what the hell?”
“The $60 per month was part of the TV and internet bundled pricing, if you cancel the TV service, you’re no longer eligible for that rate.”
My $20 per month saving had quickly turned into a $10 per month deficit, and there was only one thing that I could do about it …
I told Bill to call back the next day and waited for my wife to get home from work. After passionately briefing her on Comcast’s treachery, she nonchalantly said, “So try to get what we want from Comcast,” as she began to prepare our dinner.
“What I want is vengeance.”
“Okay, well I’ll settle for SpikeTV and the same rate as DirecTV,” then added sarcastically, ”Make me proud.”
That night I reran all of my calculations, scoured my notes on alternate Internet services, but eventually surrendered grudgingly to the realization that we would be staying with Comcast.
But it was going to cost them.
The next day, Bill called right on time.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Marion, this is Bill from Xfinity, we spoke yesterday about your desire to cancel Xfinity Television service but you keep our high speed Internet service, is that still the plan?”
His opening move was bold; I expected a “What can I do to make this right?” sales pitch, but instead he was going to try to make me beg.
He underestimated his opponent.
“No, new plan, Bill … just cancel everything. Right now.”
There was a brief silence during which I could hear other CSR’s in his call center in the background happily spewing their Xfinity propaganda to their customers.
“I am sorry to hear that Mr. Marion, you’re a long-term customer …”
“I believe the term that you’re looking for is ‘long-suffering’. Look, Bill, in the last 12 years your company has messed up my account multiple times, sent me defective upgrade equipment, and continued to raise the price on my service while actually giving me less. It’s all there right in front of you in my record. What I do for a living is highly dependent on high speed Internet service, but I would rather plan around slow Internet than give your company one more penny. Read my record and tell me you wouldn’t do the same.”
“Yes, your experience hasn’t been the best … For starters, if you stay, I can increase your Internet speed by a factor of 5. What is DirecTV offering you?”
“Spike, CMT, IFC …” I continued on with the list while he typed.
“HD boxes in every room …”
“All premium channels free for two years …”
He stopped typing.
“Which premium channel?”
“All of them.”
I could hear his fingers as they stabbed the keys.
“Two first class airfare tickets to Florida and an all expenses paid Caribbean cruise for my wife and I.”
Couples waving as cruise ship leaves dock
Bon Voyage, douche nozzle!
“Mr. Marion …”
“Okay … you caught me; I made up that last part. It was worth a shot. But for reals, DirecTV was going to give me all of that other stuff for ($30 LESS PER MONTH THAN WHAT WE WERE PAYING COMCAST).”
His fingers danced on the keys for a few more seconds …
“Okay … here’s what I can do … I can give you the HD boxes, and every channel on your list except CMT. There’s nothing I can do about CMT. I can give you one premium channel of your choice for two years, and increase your Internet speed to the current residential maximum. I can do all of that for ($35 LESS PER MONTH THAN WHAT WE WERE CURRENTLY PAYING). How’s that sound?”
“It sounds like I’ll be staying with Xfinity. Thanks, Bill.”
“Thank you, Mr. Marion and …”
I hung up before he could finish his sentence, content in the knowledge that if we were going to have to coexist, we would be doing it on my terms.
And smugly satisfied that Bill had given up so much to keep us as customers when the DirecTV offer was not only nowhere near as good as I’d described it, but I’d already cancelled the install appointment before he called.
Little did I know that, as always when Comcast is part of the equation, my happiness would be brief.
Tony Marion is a writer and filmmaker who splits time between Lancaster, PA and Baltimore, MD. He lives for the work of Descendents (the band), Chuck Palahniuk and Rian Johnson. Check out the digital embodiment of procrastination he calls his website here.