Re: Consumer Grrr

1

I recently realized that DirecTV had overcharged me by about 200 bucks by signing me up for a service that I hadn't ordered. When they refused to credit me with that amount, I told them I would cancel. I had no intention of canceling, but I got transferred to someone who had the authority to fix my billing. Subscriber services like this place a high value on your willingness to continue to do business with them.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 7:55 PM
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Also: In my locality, Comcast gave me literally the worse customer service experience I have ever had in my life.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 7:56 PM
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I lurve DishNetwork. Every time they screw up, which is often, they give me large credits. I rarely pay them anything. And the DVR works pretty well. Though it seems to break every 2-3 years. Comcast is hell. A living nightmare that will make you crave the quiet peace of death.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 7:58 PM
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OT: Olbermann really ripped Ferraro / Clinton tonight. About time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 7:58 PM
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[]

Meanwhile, here she is.

[]


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:06 PM
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They're discussing her worth at length in other threads.

Give me advice, people!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:08 PM
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Oh OK. Sell your TV, I'd say. I don't even own one.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:11 PM
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Get a second cat.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:15 PM
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Comcast really bites, and the non-Tivo DVRs are widely understood to be incredibly pale imitations that only survive due to questionable cable company business practices. Pay the twenty bucks.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:15 PM
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I would never pick Comcast if there was a comparable option.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:21 PM
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Wow, y'all sure do hate Comcast. I have them for internet and haven't had a problem, but ok, I believe you.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:22 PM
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Magpie and I have been pretty happy with Comcast. Of course, we were on Dish before. In comparison, Comcast kicks ass.

But still, carriers suck.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:27 PM
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I did that. Well, almost. I gave them back the comcast tv box, canceled my tv service and retained high speed cable. First they kept charging me for months for the TV service I no longer had and now, since the first of the year, I'm paying 80 bucks a month (up from 20) just for the internet. Which is more than I was paying before for cable and internet service combined!


Posted by: ixnaythemetier | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:29 PM
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Huh, I've been very happy with DirecTV.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:30 PM
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Comcast is the only internet carrier into my neighborhood (yayyyy Bed-Stuy! do or die!). It's been fine.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:31 PM
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Comcast is actually the successor entity to the state cable service in the Soviet Union. That said, I am basically satisfied with my Comcast service and like the DVR, though the real TiVo is more elegant. As long as you don't have to call them about anything, it's great.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:31 PM
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ixnay, it sounds like you need to get on the phone and start threatening people.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:33 PM
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I'm ok with Comcast as long as I don't have to use their hardware. I just moved from no cable box and a S1 TiVo to digital cable via CableCard in a TiVo HD, and it's all pretty good (and the internet service has been fine for years). I do hear that the Comcast DVRs, TiVo-software or otherwise, suck cherimoya through a garden hose.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:55 PM
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(also no HDTV yet, but the TiVo HD was a good deal at the time, and it's clearly the product in their product line that has a future, in contrast to the S2 and S3 lines)


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 8:57 PM
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On the subject of technology, and since Ogged's initial questions seems to have been answered with emphatic condemnations of Comcast...

Rory just got her new laptop. With her own saved up money, I'm not really that indulgent. (Okay, yes I am. But this time it was her own savings.) Anyway, she's got an old, used iPod and wants to put her iTunes library onto the new computer -- any free software y'all would recommend to accomplish this? (I find lots of programs to buy -- but for $30, she can reload he CDs one by one...)

On a similar note, any software I could use to put school play DVDs onto iTunes?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:27 PM
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20: do you have a network? You can mount the itunes library from the old one and import it, easier than getting them off the ipod. If they only exist on the ipod, that's more trouble.

mac or PC? If you've got a mac and by `school play DVDs on itunes' you mean you want to rip a recorded DVD and play it in itunes/ipod, you can do this with handbrake.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:33 PM
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Comcast is the only internet carrier into my neighborhood

What, no phone lines?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:34 PM
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20: Sadly, we've made the full switch from mac over to PC (though, if anyone has resources for cheaply fixing the backlight on an iBook...) I suppose I should figure out how to network her laptop to the desktop and move all her pix along with all her music.

That was exactly my thoughts on the school play thing -- so much easier to be an obnoxious braggart of a mom if I can carry the acting career around on the iPod to subject people to. I'll check out this handbrake of which you speak. Thanks!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:42 PM
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20
i used this to convert video files for ipod
if it is what you need
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/jodixipodvideo.html


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:43 PM
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It's possible to get mp3s off an iPod onto a computer, but you have to have a steady arm and a soldering iron.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:48 PM
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Awesome, thanks read!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:49 PM
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i pay 45 for the comcast internet, so from the second yr it becomes 80? they give me rebate, so it's like 20/mo
the last yr i enjoyed free wifi, thought it's because the public library is around, but may be it was stealing someone's connection, i'm not sure it was just an open connection


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:51 PM
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Thanks, Adam. I'll give that a shot. But, you know, preemptively: any advice for treating 3rd degree burns?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:51 PM
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my pleasure, DK
nice that it was what you were looking for


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 9:52 PM
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I think you are paying a lot for cherimoya is what I think.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:00 PM
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I have Comcast internet and it's insanely expensive ($67/mo. for just internet), but I had to call them recently about a problem and they were actually very helpful. It turned out the problem was with my computer, so they couldn't fix it, but they did a lot to try to help.

Relatedly, I finally answered the 800-number that keeps calling my cell phone during work hours and it turns out to be Comcast customer service doing a follow-up interview on my experience. I gave the service good marks, because I was indeed satisfied, but the woman doing the interview sounded so incredibly bored and uninvested in doing this that I had to keep from laughing. Now there's a job that must suck.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:03 PM
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I think you are paying a lot for cherimoya is what I think.

Eight bucks a pound!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:05 PM
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Somewhat OT, but the interview about customer service reminded me: the other day on the train, the guy behind me was on the phone, doing some kind of really detailed survey. If I were the type to steal someone's identity, this was my chance. At first, it seemed like he was applying to a temp agency or something, but then he started talking about what his job was, what his hobbies were, answering yes/no questions (all no, some very emphatically).

I had two questions after this experience:
1. What the fuck was he even doing?
2. Why did he have to do it at the top of his lungs right behind me when I was trying to read?

A further question:
3. Is violence an acceptable response to such a situation?


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:07 PM
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I think the appropriate response is to turn around and say, "OMG, like that is totally one of my favorite hobbies, too!!" And then repeatedly attempt to engage him in conversation.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:12 PM
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3. Is violence an acceptable response to such a situation?

Wasn't there a post on a guy who became the Bernard Goetz of cell phones? He took some girl's phone away on the train or something. Also, this.

One thing you could do is come over to him and say, "I heard you say you're a fan of [hobby x]. I've been interested in getting into that! Where do you get your supplies? I also heard you say ...."

But probably he'll want to make friends.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:14 PM
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Dipwnd!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:15 PM
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Huh, I don't think I've ever pwned anyone before.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:18 PM
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Wrongshore took DK's pwn-virginity!


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 10:31 PM
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$67/mo. for just internet

wow. i pay about $18.50/mo, after taxes


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:36 PM
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See, Adam, if you just had an iPod you wouldn't have to listen to other people on their cell phones. The only answer to obnoxious technology is . . . more obnoxious technology!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:42 PM
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how is an ipod obnoxious?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:46 PM
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iPod ownership eventually leads to saying, "Sorry, what?" every time the cashier asks, "Credit or debit?" (At least among college students)


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 03-12-08 11:50 PM
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in fairness, they really need to stop asking "credit or debit?". I've noticed some markets have figured this out.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 12:20 AM
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wow. i pay about $18.50/mo, after taxes

Yeah, I happened to buy when they didn't have any promotional deals going on and got screwed.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 12:46 AM
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43: Yeah. As the drunk kids in front of me have time and again proven, when you can't see the screen well enough to punch in your pin number they can just call it credit with no adverse effects.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 1:13 AM
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re: 33

Most people I know have had similar experiences. I've told people to shut the fuck up before, as have about half my friends. Trains here now have designated 'quiet' carriages where, in theory, you can get away from cellphone-shouting fuckwits. I've generally been polite about it, but I did once see a guy physically threaten someone who wouldn't shut the fuck up on a late night bus. The guy was rabbiting on at 3am on his phone, top of his lungs, and the guy trying to sleep in the seat behind him finally lost it. Very amusing.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 3:04 AM
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41: Or for that matter, how are cell phones obnoxious? Technology doesn't annoy people; people annoy people.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 4:07 AM
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Supposedly there's something more psychologically disruptive about only hearing one half of a conversation, which is why you can often tune out two people chatting but are driven nuts by an equivalently loud cell phone conversation.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 6:36 AM
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There's that, plus people often talk louder on cellphones. And, for some reason, usually share intimate stuff at volume that they'd only whisper to someone next to them.

I sat on the bus listening to some girl discussing her friend's boyfriend's heroin problem, once.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 6:38 AM
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I heard an absolutely fascinating cell phone call once where a man was advising somebody on how to get their active service relative into mental health treatment and (I assume) out of being deployed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 6:50 AM
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My Comcast DVR blows goats.

Nathan, how does your Tivo with Cablecard work? Do I just pull the access card out my existing receiver, or do I have to do something else?


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:02 AM
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Comcast is pure evil.

Their customer service is completely ineffective. They consistently know less than I do when something goes wrong (I don't know much) and they are unable to help with anything that can't be solved with a script ("Yes, I already tried unplugging the box and waiting 15 seconds before plugging it back in. No, I won't do it again just because you want me to."). I had to call customer service four times before somebody was finally able to give me service that included ESPN Classic (they were broadcasting Big Ten football games for some reason) because nobody knew what they were doing.

The Comcast HD-DVR (and the standard DVR, which I think is the same box) is widely considered worst-in-class (a Google search will bring up threads everywhere). I personally had three of them die on me (either DOA or went bad over time) and I had to walk two miles to exchange them myself (this is exacerbated by Comcast's horrible inventory management where they throw broken boxes back into the pool with minimal checks). Even when the box is working, the interface is laggy and ineffective (it is especially horrible compare to TiVo, but is bad even relative to other cable offerings).

And Comcast is just pure evil. They will take every opportunity they get to fuck you. When I changed my cable service to the federally-mandated $8.99 basic service (the discount on my internet service for having cable is greater than $8.99) because I was sick of their shit, they charged me to have a technician come out to put a trap on my line (because their outdated infrastructure in this area doesn't allow them to cut off analog channels remotely).


Posted by: Comcast-hating Lurker | Link to this comment | 03-13-08 9:23 AM
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Long-time reader here anonymously, also been in the cable industry for a long time. Take it from me: Fuck Comcast. They overcharge for every service, charge you for calling in to ask questions about your account, charge you to pay your bill, and you get shitty customer service to boot, if you can get anyone at all.

The branch I work for was recently taken over by Comcast, and the whole operation is like a corporation of monkeys on computers. They don't care so much that you get your services as long as you're paying them, and additionally, they underpay their local employees and work them into the dirt without giving them any kind of proper training to actually do their jobs.

Stick with DirectTV. The only reason I have Comcast is that I work there and get it all for free.


Posted by: Anonymous Comcast Employee | Link to this comment | 03-14-08 3:07 PM
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Well then, it's decided.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-14-08 3:08 PM
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Oh lord, people, I'm sorry I offended you with my intemperate remarks about ipods and cell phones.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-14-08 3:09 PM
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Chopper: I've never had a cable box, so I'm not sure if the access card is the same thing - since cable operators were basically forced to implement CableCard against their will by the FCC, I kind of doubt it.

The TiVo plugs in to the coax, and you get a card from the cable company ("S-card" for a single-channel one, or "M-card" for a 2-channel one; the tivo takes two of the former or one of the latter), and the card does all of the deciding what channels you're allowed to have and any decryption. There's a setup process that usually the techs do that is essentially calling in to their office and reading them the unique ID number of the card - they often get this step wrong, annoyingly. Video-on-demand services don't work at all. But the TiVo gets access to the digital stream of digital channels, so you don't go through the digital->analog->digital dance you'd do with a cable box.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-14-08 5:24 PM
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