Comcast vs. RCN
In my absence, my editor Stacey Palosky has offered to post an item, giving one more perspective about customer service.
I'm in the midst of a big move and have been dreading dealing with the whole cable, phone, Internet conundrum. Do I continue with separate companies, to whom I paid a combination of $141 last month, or fold them all together? Which to choose: RCN, our current cable company, or Comcast, our current high-speed Internet provider? I knocked Verizon, our phone company, out of the picture a year ago, when I tried to switch to their DSL. They mangled the order so badly that I was left with no Internet connection for two weeks before they admitted that we needed to start the entire process over from the beginning. At the time, Comcast was able to install service within two days.
So, finally, I sit myself down and call Comcast. The sales rep on the phone was the pressuring sort, talking too fast about the features for each. Every time I ask about specific features, such as porting the phone number, extra televisions, wireless networking, there seem to be extra fees tacked on. I dutifully took lots of notes. The monthly fee for all three services, combined, would be $99 per month for a year; could she go ahead and schedule me? But wait, I ask, "What happens at the end of that year?" I'm told that Comcast doesn't know what their promotion will be a year from now or what they'll charge. But how could you not know, I ask. Surely there must be some combination of what each costs individually that she could tell me. Alas, no. I tell her that I need to talk things over with my husband and sort through the fees. If I'm interested, I'll call back.
Fed up, I then look online to compare Comcast and RCN. RCN's latest offer posted online is $99.99 for the deal comparable to Comcast's $99 per month. But what about all the extras? Does that include home networking and multiple televisions? What kind of high-speed Internet connection? Do they charge us to port the phone number? My husband calls to find out. Unfortunately, RCN left him on hold "indefinitely," prompting him to send our cancellation to them via e-mail. Eventually, someone did pick up the phone, just as he was clicking the send button on the e-mail, only to tell him that she had to transfer him to a different department and more holding. "Really, really horrible," he e-mailed me.
Back to Comcast. This time, I speak with a much less pushy representative and talk through each service. The extra fees for multiple televisions no longer exist. I opt not to have them set up my home networking, figuring that I can try myself first. Turns out there's an unavoidable $3 fee for an eMTA, an embedded Multimedia Terminal Adapter, which as best I understand is essentially a modem for digital phone service. And I still have to pay $29.95 to port the phone number.
Again, I ask the crucial question: What happens at the end of the year? I'm told that Comcast is working on figuring out what they will charge a year from now. I push but still can't get a straight answer.
In total, it's still a savings of $39 per month from what we pay now. So it's decided; Comcast is coming on Thursday. Even though I know that a year from now I'll be back on the phone comparing again, fighting to keep the cost from going up.
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Posted by: P. Allchin | June 20, 2006 8:20 AM
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Posted by: Someone up there loves you...DirecTV! | June 20, 2006 11:35 AM
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