Comcast Is Up to Its Lying Ways Again

Like everyone else, I’m fed up with Comcast again. In the latest insult, my bill has gone up 35% without notice, and the CSR tells me I’m stupid for not anticipating it.

Here’s a letter I received last fall:

A reasonable person would read that letter to say that my rate is changing to $42.95. And it did, for the next six months. But today, my bill said I owed $57.95. I think I’m not alone in recognizing that $42.95 and $57.95 are not the same number.

So I called Comcast. Amy, one of the most unhelpful CSRs I’ve ever spoken with, insisted over and over that I had signed up with a promotional rate in November, that the promotion was now ending, and that Comcast had been clear and upfront about the price all along.

Well, Amy, you’re wrong. That letter clearly states “we will be reducing your price to $42.95 per month”. Amy tells me that I’m an idiot. The letter didn’t explicitly state that this was a permanent rate, so I should have known that it was a temporary, 6-month promotion (Amy, apparently, has incredible psychic powers not available to mere mortals like me). And I should be happy, anyway, because $57.95 is a great, competitive rate for the service I’m getting.

Thanks for lying to me Comcast. Thanks for insulting me. And thanks for buying out a company with better CSRs and replacing them with Amy.

Anyone at Comcast want to fix this?

Frozen Intertubes

Last week was cold, very cold. I took the standard precautions for my water pipes, leaving a dripping faucet overnight. Who knew, though, that those weren’t the only pipes that could freeze?

Wednesday night, as the temperature dropped, my Internet connection slowed down to an unbearable crawl. The next morning, I had no connection at all. After some trouble-shooting over the phone with Comcast, they scheduled someone to visit us on Saturday.

Mid-day on Thursday, the connection came back. I assumed that Comcast had fixed a line into the neighborhood, that all would be well. End of story.

‘Twasn’t to be. Thursday night, we lost our connection again. Friday morning, it came back.

Friday night, we lost our connection. Saturday morning, it came back.

At this point, I had a theory: packets were freezing in my intertubes. “That’s impossible,” I then told myself. “The Internet can’t just freeze like that.” Nonetheless, it fit the evidence, so I needed a reasonable explanation of how it might happen.

Here’s what I came up with: there’s a bad connection somewhere. Small bits of metal might be contracting and pulling apart from each other, making this connection even worse. When it gets cold enough, the metal contracts enough that I lose my connection entirely.

Saturday evening, the Comcast technician came. I explained what was happening, and he was just as surprised as I. He started at my modem and started looking at connections heading out of the house. After reaching the last connection in the crawl space, he saw that it might have been corroded. He replaced the hardware there, and my connection has worked since then.

Of course, it’s also been 30 degrees warmer since then, so I’m not certain that the problem happened there. But I have an Internet connection, so I’m happy. We’ll see what happens next time the temperature drops below 0.

Update (2009-01-30): Nope, not that connection. Looks like it must be one outside the house. Another Comcast technician came yesterday, but he didn’t want to haul his ladder all the way up our driveway. We’ll have to wait until this weekend to see if we can get Internet access after sunset.

Update (2009-02-01): Somebody from Comcast willing to climb a ladder finally made it out this weekend. Looks like a squirrel ate our cable line, letting water in, which was freezing at night.