So its been 6 days since Concast came and switched my family over to one of their triple play bundles. It took about 1 week just to figure out how to order the thing. Their website (my preferred method of ordering things) does not take into account the fact that we are existing customers of internet and television. Several phone calls later I ended up getting some bundle. I’m still not sure what it is, but the first bill will explain that to me.
I wasn’t here for most of the install, but I felt the technician was pretty knowledgable. He left without finishing the installation of my EMTA (the voip modem), but I felt qualified to install the battery and clean up the wiring. I disliked how Comcast activated Voicemail for me, I would have liked to opt into that feature instead of defaulting to it. I called and the lady said she would cancel it, but I have no real way of confirming this. My biggest problem has been with the TV and the digital cable box we have. I was really looking forward to getting a digital output to my digital tv, be it DVI, component, or HDMI. Of course the box they left me with had 2 outputs, composite and RF [standard cable]. That wasn’t exactly taking advantage of my tv that had gone for years with a fuzzy signal. I was also interested in getting the free HD channels that I used to get, like my local ABC affiliate 40-1 (840 on the box). The box I had couldn’t handle passing this signal through, so I called comcast. I gave up the first few attempts. Customer Support representatives said that I had to pay to get HD channels or I couldn’t get them. I would remind them about these free channels, which seem to be the exception in Comcast’s channel lineup. They have a special footnote that reads something like “HD capable hardware required”, whereas the pay HD channels say to the effect of “Extra HD service required”. I wanted the hardware, not the service. No one seemed to understand me. I would even settle for not getting the HD channels, but at least getting a digital output from my digital cable box.
I was finally told by a representative that I could get an HD capable box for $3 a month. That was a pretty acceptable price, under $40 a year. She told me to bring my current box to my local Comcast office and they could switch it out. If it was only that simple…. I showed up at my local Comcast office in Westfield during my lunchbreak. It was packed. At least 5 people ahead of me in line, and the current customer was trying to sign up for a bundle. Only 1 representative was working. I waited my 40 minutes and got up there to explain my situation. Since the account is under my mom’s name, and I don’t look like my mom, the representative told me she would have to call my mom. I informed her I was permitted to act on her behalf for all Comcast related decisions. I told her I had the account number, a bill, and paperwork from my mom (like her SSN) to prove that I was able to do this. This lady would have none of this. I had waited in line for 40 minutes for nothing. My mom was out to lunch, so of course no one was here to authorize me as a representative of her.
I went back after work got out that day (in a rush because I had to be home to make it to the bank before 6). Luckily another representative was there. She was much nicer, and believed I was who I said I was. I told her I wanted a box with digital output for $3 a month. This lady hadn’t heard of such a box, nor anything for $3 a month. I happened to have a printout of my chat with the Comcast.com support representative, and she acknowledged that I had been quoted $3 a month, but she wasn’t really able to do anything about that. I told her to just give me the digital box, and I’ll call someone at Comcast to try and sort this misunderstanding out. We’ve now got the box, and it works fine. My mom has only screamed at it once, when she turned the volume up too loud before turning the surround sound on. I have now bypassed the surround sound, she can’t handle it. But back on my Comcast story. I don’t know exactly what I’ll get billed the first month, but I have a feeling it will be like $8-$9 a month for the digital box (which gets me the HD channels).
I’m interesting in resolving this. If that means I pay $3 a month than that’s great; but if I have to pay the $8 ot $9 a month than that is OK too… as long as the rep that quoted me that knows she made a mistake. Of course calling 1-800-COMCAST got me know where. When I was at the Payment Center in Westfield, there was a local number I could call to talk to someone, but the two representatives at the window had “accidentally” placed their name tags over the last 5 digits (413-4 was all I could see). I plan to look over this month’s bill and figure out what we’re actually paying for, compared to what we actually get.
Today we had our first major outage, the cable lines across the street got fried in a thunderstorm so we were without internet, tv, and phone. It was under an hour before Comcast got everything working (to my knowledge at least). We’ll see how it goes.
Continuing the comsumerist movement, I’ve got to get a new phone sooner rather than later. The battery lasts 1 or 2 phone calls max before it died. Katie may be switching providers in July, so I’m trying to hold off and see. I also think the new iPhone coming out may help adjust some of Verizon’s prices. It looks like Andriod is at least 6 months out, boo hoo.
Yesterday my dad turned 62, and to celebrate we went to a Yankees game at Yankee Stadium. My dad has been a Yankee fan since before he was 10, so its a pretty long time. He’s never been to Yankee Stadium, and wanted to go before they closed it down to open the new one. We had decent seats to the right of home base, 15-20 rows back. Paul Simon was sitting in the row infront of us. My mom was trying to freak out and wanted to call people and take pictures and everything, but since she gave up both her cell phone and camera for me to carry, I would have none of it. (Mom didn’t want to deal with the security people if they asked her about those dangerous cell phones and cameras. Its an everyday occurance that someone carries dangerous weapons in seemingly harmless technology to a baseball game.) He was there to enjoy the game, and if he wanted to be bothered with fans he would have brought his guitar or have broken into song or something. I also didn’t really know who he was until I got home and read the internet. The Yankees won, my mom is terrible at being in an urban enviroment, dad decided he would never come visit me if I was in a city due to the driving, and Kevin wore an orange ponch. I had a rain coat.
In other news, I have been helping Katie look at laptops for college. We’ve narrowed it down to a few choices, and I’m confident she’ll end up with a super one. I expect to repeat the process for my brother when he’s ready, but I might not make a spreadsheet that computes the value per dollar for each choice. This reminds me I need to replace my small form factor pc at some point. I’m between a Mac Mini, one of those little Linux boxes, and another Shuttle Barebones.
I’ve finished battling with online banking for now. All the banks recognize me online now, and I think the basic features I want are working. Polish National Credit Union ended up making me a new account and just abandoning the old one, so I have yet another username to remember. Its not too bad though, unlike their web interface… now thats awful!
Time to break from writing and start doing. I’ll be back later.