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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Feel the Love

I live in an apartment complex where cable TV is included with the rent. We had Time-Warner cable, but recently Time-Warner sold our area to Comcast. Last week, we all got letters stating that our cable service was going to be cut off because of a problem with the bill, and that if we wanted to keep our cable, we should take it up with the apartment management. These letters were dated a full week before we got them.

So I asked about that, and the manager told me that she'd checked, and there shouldn't be a problem with the bill. She said she'd got a similar letter for her internet service, even though she actually had a credit in her account.

So I figured that Comcast was just welcoming its new customers by sending them pre-emptive threatening letters, regardless of the state of their accounts. Smooth mooove.

Came the threatened day, and the cable stayed on. But that day a tropical funk (not quite a tropical depression) passed through, and it poured with rain for most of the day. The next morning, returning from a walk, I found Comcast men fiddling with the cable box by our complex. Were they shutting off our cable? Yes. Yes they were.

So I went in to see the manager, and before I could open my mouth she said, "I'm on it!" She was on hold, said she'd been on the phone all week trying to make sure it was straightened out. Later in the day we all got notices saying that Comcast admitted they'd made a mistake and the cable would be switched on again the next day. (I was dubious, but just after 5:30pm it reappeared.)

Now I wonder if Comcast's computer hadn't just spit out dunning letters to all its new customers with no human oversight, so there was no one to say, "Huh. All our new customers from Time-Warner are behind in their bills. What are the odds...?"

Apparently we have more of this sort of thing to look forward to. Now, the first thing any cable company is going to want to do, upon acquiring a new system, is to scramble the channels around so you don't know where anything is and all your recordings are screwed up. That's just the nature of the beast. But apparently Comcast is prepared to go above and beyond this basic level of aggravation, all the way to the point of switching channels in the middle of a baseball game. A playoff game.

At least we didn't have to resort to this. Although it would have been an interesting sight if even a small portion of my neighbors descended on the local Comcast office wielding hand tools. They might have had to send a Ranger.

My title comes from the Comcast advertising brochure we got in the mail yesterday (while, incidentally, the cable was still off). On the outside: Feel the Love.

Here's a related site: That's actually a front for a Blogspot blog, which is awfully slow to load. How slow is it? It's so slow that Comcast will fix your problem before the site loads. Can you feel the love?