Comcast To Baseball Fans: Sorry You Woke Up At 6AM To Watch Nothing, Here's $2

Reader Jeff says:

On a normal day, losing some cable channels for a couple of hours would be an inconvenience. On a day like today, some might use words unfit for publishing. You see, today was the first game of the Red Sox and A’s seasons, played in Japan. The game started at 6AM EST, and plenty of die hard baseball fans rose early to watch… nothing. Comcast gave me a $2 credit for my troubles. There’s nothing like a $2 credit to make me feel valued as a customer.

I’m not even sure what to do. It seems that the problem was so widespread across TV carriers that there’s nobody to run to. Let this be a lesson to everyone: to be sure you’ll see the game, buy an overpriced ticket.

Jeff

It wasn’t just Comcast that had trouble during the game, DirecTV was out too. Any upset fans out there?

DirecTV out? [Boston.com]
(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Comments

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  1. Pylon83 says:

    I’ve never understood the expectation for credit based on your subjective valuation of the service that you were deprived. When I was a CSR for a cable operator, I’d get all kinds of demands for months of free service because someone lost signal for 1hr during their favorite show. I’d do the math, Monthly bill/number of channels * number of days channel was out. If it was less than $1, I’d round up to $1. That’s the only fair way to do it.

  2. Sasquatch says:

    I watched the game on NESN this morning with no problems. Yet another reason I’m glad I didn’t go with Comcast.

  3. Skellbasher says:

    DirecTV was not out. I watched the first half of the game on ESPN2, and recorded the remainder. No interruptions.

  4. CMU_Bueller says:

    I fail to why he’s whining so much. The service was out, you were credited. Can we get someone with a real problem on this site for a change.

  5. amccoll says:

    @Pylon83: Absolutely. Who can put a value on one thing over another? Those affected got compensated the amount of time they were without service on one channel, I think it’s completely fair…especially since it was just one channel.

  6. EJXD2 says:

    I hate when people write “EST” when it’s daylight time (or EDT when it’s standard time). It’s a surefire way to make yourself sound really stupid.

  7. IrisMR says:

    Service outtages happen. Sucks but everything is machinery. And machinery is made to fail someday.

    Sorry but it truly was just worth 2 bucks.

  8. Black Bellamy says:

    people think that they should be compensated according to how much they WANTED to see the show

    but in the end, if you’re paying a hundred dollars a month for two hundred channels, and one of them is out for a couple of hours, well then you deserve .0014 cents

    the headline for this story should be:

    COMCAST CUSTOMER COMPENSATED WAY BEYOND WHAT WAS REASONABLE – ALL CONSUMERS WIN!1!!!!

  9. mattatwork says:

    When our Comcast internet went out for a day, I successfully argued for a $20 credit. It took about 20 minutes on the phone, but I got it from my first CSR (after he talked to his boss). Just keep repeating that “Comcast shouldn’t get the option to turn off your TV and discount your bill” – You’re paying for 24-hour service, not service at Comcast’s will. And throw in a line about “getting offers from lots of competitors” every once in a while.

  10. Anitra says:

    This is the first time I’ve been glad NOT to have Comcast (Charter, our local cable provider, is worse in almost every way). My husband had no problem watching the game on NESN while getting ready for work this morning.

    Also, now that cable companies offer internet service, what happens when THAT goes out? I used to work from home on a regular basis, and if (or should I say WHEN) the cable went out, I couldn’t get any work done. That’s worth a whole lot more than $2…

  11. JStrulleh says:

    To everyone who’s saying that people shouldn’t complain… I don’t think that applies here. This isn’t some one half-hour or hour long television show, this was an almost 4 hour long program, the first baseball game of the season.

    If Comcast or DirecTV or whomever can’t fix the problem within that span of time, then yeah, there’s definitely something wrong with that company.

  12. EllisFan14 says:

    I live in CO and set my alarm for 4am as I’ve been counting down to the A’s season since early October and Directv was out. Tried again at 5:30 – still out. Still at 6:30. I guess I feel better knowing that Comcast was also screwed up.

  13. CRNewsom says:

    I think reasonable compensation would be for Comcast to offer to rerun the game at a later date, at a similar time. Sure, you already know the outcome maybe, but at least you get to see the game.

  14. NinjaMarion says:

    @Black Bellamy: Uh…except NO ONE pays for “Two hundred channels.” Most of the channels most cable companies offer are garbage, and plenty more are just stuff most people wouldn’t want to watch. If you’re getting cable to watch action movies on the movie channels and sports on the sports channels, you obviously couldn’t possibly give a crap less about Lifetime, Home & Garden, and other such channels.

    Sure, with U-Verse, I get probably 300-500 channels. In my favorites list, however, there are only 20. Those are the only ones I care about, and if they go out, you can be sure I’m gonna be pissed about it. But by your argument, well I’ve got hundreds of other channels. I can just watch Style or Logo or The Golf Channel instead of the channels I wanna watch!

  15. SkipT says:

    Yup, they got me too. I had to sit out in the car and listen to the game in cold weather for 3 and a half hours. Definitely not pleased.

  16. SkipT says:

    @CRNewsom: They actually replayed it at 11 and we’re in the last inning now. I’m watching it at this very moment. I guess this is better than nothing.

  17. Alex Chasick says:

    I don’t think you should value all shows and all channels as equal. For one thing, it’s untrue: media companies force cable providers to prop up undesirable programming in order to get good channels; desirable channels also cost the cable companies more than crappy channels.

    For another thing, it’s unfair: although I don’t know what, if any, compensation was necessary for Comcast’s failure this morning, it was still a big deal: fans in the Boston area woke up early to watch their defending champion team open their season half a world away; businesses like bars and restaurants opened up early to accommodate the fans; and the players, coaches, staff, and journalists disrupted their training and work schedules to be a part of what was supposed to be a special event for baseball fans. If I was Jerry Remy, I’d be livid right now.

  18. @SkipT:
    MLB.com offers all games’ radio feed for $15 for the year. Beats sitting in your car.

  19. ChuckBales says:

    In the New York Capital Region DirectTV/ESPN2 was out, among a few other channels.

  20. Buran says:

    @SkipT: … they rerun your missed show and it’s “better than nothing”? Discovery fed me an hour of ginsu-knife infomercials instead of the show they said would be on and didn’t do crap to make people happy with another airing.

  21. Buran says:

    @Anitra: That’s why you have business class cable at home, right, so they have an uptime guarantee?

  22. punkrawka says:

    Everyone talking about dividing the total number of channels and total amount of time by time of outage is a moron. That’s a horrible blame-the-consumer game right there. How about dividing the total amount of TV they actually WATCH in a normal month by the outage of any programs they tried to watch? If this guy pays $60/mo for cable and watches 60 hours a month (a liberal estimate), and missed all of a three-hour game he wanted to see, that’s three dollars there instead of $2. More if he watches less TV. And then there’s the subjective criteria of actually making a customer feel valued and increasing their loyalty. So FAIL for Comcast.

  23. SkipT says:

    For the sake of clarity, DirectTV provides satellite programming to my school which they repackage for the dorms. Espn 2 was the only station that did not appear to work at 3am this morning.

    @BaysideWrestling: I actually purchased that last year but didn’t use it enough to get my money’s worth. Generally speaking, I’d like to be able to count on the television working.

    @Buran: The nature of live sports though is that they are substantially less compelling when they are being replayed. A replay of a sporting event is almost not a form of compensation.

  24. jtheletter says:

    The problem here comes back to why we want a la carte pricing for cable. Each channel is NOT valued equally by the viewer. For example, if all of the women’s and kid’s channels went out for hours I wouldn’t care, but if Discovery was gone I’d be upset. Right now I pay a LOT for RCN cable, who very nicely “upgrade” my channel package annually with crap I don’t want and then charge me $5+ more a year for those unrequested, unwanted channels. If people who only watched sports only got sports channels then the service credit would end up being more in line with how much they actually valued that outage. As it stands now a $2 credit makes sense mathematically but not any other way.

  25. matto says:

    It never fails to amaze me how tiny-brained people with zero perspective can inflate their little ball game into the most important event in the universe.

  26. Wow, I mean, wow.

    I don’t even know how to respond to this one…
    Are we getting THAT petty?

    I’m a die hard sports fan, but geeez. You can’t put a price on sentimental loss. You don’t blame the satellite companies when you lose signal during a snow storm, or the electric company during a thunderstorm.

    SH*T HAPPENS. Get over it.

  27. oakie says:

    @SkipT: dude, that’s so sad.

    i’m gonna bake you a cookie.

  28. Tzepish says:

    No way would I get up at 6am for $2.00.

  29. SkipT says:

    I’m a little surprised by the vehement anti-complaint crowd here. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that this is on par with producing toys with carcinogens, poisonous pet food or even stranding travelers with marginally inflated expectations of airlines.

    However, most people are paying for their television service one way or another (I say this because in my case, I’m not actually directly paying for mine). As such, there is an expectation that the service will be provided as expected. Its frustrating when you don’t receive what you’re expecting and doubly so when its obvious that its difficult to make up. I think this frustration is fairly obvious in the original complaint and I hardly think anyone is asking that continents be moved, just that they get what they pay for.

  30. privatejoker75 says:

    I wish the entire country would cancel their comcast subscriptions. Such a shitty company

  31. Buran says:

    @SkipT: How, exactly? Someone wins. Someone loses. You get to see the exact same thing.

    I TiVo everything. I’d rather watch it when *I* want to watch it.

    6am? No thanks …

  32. newportj says:

    I think that what I “lost” is indeed a fair way to value the service not received. Why should the service provider be the sole arbiter of what I lost?There is but one season opener, and getting the kids up at 5-something to have a family event only to get nothing but a blue DirecTV screen and false assurances that the service would be up “shortly” (defined a while later by a DirecTV supervisor as “up to two weeks”) is ridiculous. Insulting a customer’s intelligence and loyalty by offering 14 cents (and then telling me I lucked out because the previous guy, with a cheaper plan, got 12 cents) is simply bad business. I did much better in the end (by a magnitude of more than 1000), but had to go pretty far down the road toward cancelling my service to get there.

    Here’s the analogy. You agree to sell me your car for $100, and after we reach agreement but before the money changes hands I find someone who will pay me $250. If you break our deal, I have a legitimate claim for the $150 I lost. In a business relationship, the value to the person who is harmed determines the loss (absent an agreement/law/regulation to the contrary). I suspect that as a technical matter, my “agreement” with DirecTV does limit its liability to the 14 cents, but when I have the leverage of walking, I am entitled not to accept that.

  33. adambadam says:

    @SkipT:

    That is the way they do it in my dorm too. I have a friend who woke up for the game at 3AM mind you out here on the left coast and got a “no signal” for the entire game. He had to flip over to Mike and Mike on ESPN News to get updates.

  34. SkipT says:

    @Buran: Knowing how something ends nearly completely removes the drama. Do you like it when people tell you the end of movies that you want to see?

  35. frizzante says:

    Direct TV was out in the Northeast – they kindly acknowledged that it did not return until well after the game was over. They offered me three months of showtime (no cancellation fee – it will automatically shut off) and I accepted, seemed reasonable.

    Best way to get through to them was 1-800-824-9081 – took about 15 minutes to reach them (don’t say a work or press anything) and 5-10 minutes to agree on a
    resolution.

  36. exuma says:

    In Colorado, my DirecTV was missing about a dozen channels at that hour, including ESPN2. There was no message on ESPN2, just a blank screen; most of the other channels had a message “No need to call, we are working on the problem”. Later that message went up on ESPN2 also. The other ESPN channels were OK. The fact that it happened on both Comcast and DirecTV tells me it was some kind of satellite problem.

  37. nequam says:

    @matto: That’s kind of unfair. Different people place different degrees of importance on different things. I’m sure there is something in your life that is exceedingly important to you that might seem a waste of time to others.

  38. bigdtbone says:

    @SkipT: I knew that damn ship was going to sink, but it didn’t ruin the movie.

    No seriously, this doesn’t seem to be Comcast’s fault. It appears the problem was global and the fact that OP was able to get anything for it is actually quite amazing. The real culprit is MLB, they should have made the Japanese watch the game live at 6AM so we could all enjoy a nice prime time game in The States :)

  39. Buran says:

    @SkipT: So don’t read spoilers?

  40. exuma says:

    DirecTV finally released the following statement this afternoon: “We experienced some temporary technical difficulties early this morning that resulted in some channels not being available to customers. The majority of our channels were not affected and we have since corrected the problem. In the case of the Red Sox season opener, we were able to bring the NESN channel back up at the top of the seventh inning. ESPN2 came back on later, after the game was over. We deeply apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our customers – and particularly Red Sox Fans. ESPN2 is planning to carry a repeat of the game at 2 p.m.”

    If you were working in high definition on DirecTV, you were fine, and caught every pitch. Perhaps today’s game was brought to you by Best Buy, urging you to upgrade.

  41. SkipT says:

    @Buran: If I want to find out about any sports news (and I do, a few times a day), I’m going to come across the one I conceivably want to put off learning about. Furthermore, friends and I are going to talk about whats happening with topics we are interested in, in this case sports. It would be a bit much to ask that people stop doing so.

    This is the only time I’ve ever gotten up this early to see a sporting event. Its hardly the norm. In fact most of the time, the time of day day that sports are shown at is actually incredibly convenient. Sports are live drama, I don’t understand how that can be avoided without at least risking ruining the suspense.

  42. trujunglist says:

    @Pylon83:

    I’d say that’s a somewhat flawed way of coming up with a fair price for someone’s favorite show/channel. You use the equation monthly bill/# of chans * days chan was out. Well, everyone knows that the majority of channels from any cable provider are basically complete shit. Whenever I’ve had cable, I usually ended up exclusively watching 1-3 channels. Anyway, since no cable operator that I know of lets you decide which channels to take and which channels to get rid of, you’re stuck with an inflated and worthless denominator. So, the real way to do it is to determine how many channels the user actually views, aka the channels they’re actually paying for.
    Also, I’m not sure why you have two different time variables. It should probably be daily bill/# of channels * days of interrupted service. Not that I’m opposed to getting several months of 1 (or however many go out) channel free, it’s just not the correct metric.

  43. flconsumer2 says:

    For the people who think “Oh you have 200 other channels to watch!”, that is INSANE. I think at least you should get a days credit rounded up to the nearest $10 (or $5 in some cases). Expescially if I had to sit on hold longer than 5 minutes. If you make me wait 30 minutes or longer, I then expect a $20 minimum credit. Not only did you fail to provide the service but you also forced me to waste my own time unreasonably.

  44. Pylon83 says:

    @trujunglist:
    You’re correct in the fact that I left the /30 out of my equation. However, there is no possible way for a cable company to fairly compensate every customer for something like that. You watch 20 out of your 200 channels, billy bob watches 3, and suzy q watches 1. The subjective method is not feasible, and the only objective way is the equation I laid out. Anyone who expects 100% uptime from either cable TV or internet has unreasonable expectations. You don’t expect your power to work 100% of the time. Inevitably, at some point, the power goes out too. People need to learn to be the slightest bit reasonable.

  45. Pylon83 says:

    @flconsumer2:
    That’s absurd. Why should you get compensated for waiting on hold? That’s part of life, and part of a relationship with a business, and expecting compensation because they have a long hold time is wholly unreasonable. And the cable company isn’t always the one who “failed to provide service.” Most times if a single channel is out it’s at the source.

  46. Buran says:

    @SkipT: Then before you get into a conversation, tell people you haven’t seen it yet. Don’t read sites/papers where you might come across spoilers. It’s not anyone’s problem but yours whether or not you get spoiled. I’ve been able to handle not seeing a movie the instant it comes out. You can do it.

  47. zibby says:

    If I got up at 6am to watch some G.D. baseball game, I’d send Comcast $2 for the extra sleep.

  48. nequam says:

    @Buran: A ha! But don’t you know that I can change the course of a game just by hoping hard enough? That can’t happen with a recorded game. I’m not THAT powerful.

  49. flconsumer2 says:

    @Pylon83

    re: “expecting compensation because they have a long hold time is wholly unreasonable.”

    Why is this unreasonable? I shouldn’t have to waste my time in order to correct an issue with their service. Maybe if they were forced to compensate customers for the insane hold times they would go down quite a bit. I will give 5 – 10 minutes free but after this I expect a credit for my hassle. It isn’t my fault that they didn’t hire enough reps. I shouldn’t have to waste two hours of my time because of it.

  50. Televiper says:

    It’s difficult to think of a fair calculation that actually gives the consumer more than $2 of compensation for 1 missed program. I don’t know, maybe it should of been $4 or $5 because it’s unique, live programming.

  51. SkipT says:

    @Buran: “It’s not anyone’s problem but yours whether or not you get spoiled.”

    And that is exactly why I watch games live.

  52. notallcompaniesareevil says:

    It’s not EST for most of the eastern time zone these days. Maybe you didn’t change your clock?

  53. Pylon83 says:

    @flconsumer2:
    You aren’t “correcting” an issue with their service. You’re reporting an outage that they are most likely well aware of. Maybe next time you call for an issue that is of your own doing they should charge you $20 for their time. It’s a two-way street, buddy.

  54. CMU_Bueller says:

    @flconsumer2: What we have here is a head that’s so inflated, everything else revolves around it.

  55. .apostle. says:

    No game this morning, but as I’m watching it on ESPN2 this afternoon, they showed the final score (6-5 GO SOX!!!) in the TOP OF THE NINTH when the score was tied 5-5. Nice.

    18-1.

  56. Hambriq says:

    This annoyed the shit out of me for a few reasons. Mainly because I ordered DirectTV’s sports package about a month in advance for the express purpose of seeing the Red Sox season opener.

    And then when I read all these posts about getting over-compensated, yadda yadda yadda… That assumes that all channels, all shows on all days hold equal value. Which of course, is patently false. I watch about 10 hours of television a week out of the… about 4,800 hours of programming available every week. So are those 10 hours that I watch only worth 0.2% of the entire bill? Not when they are the only reason I purchased the service.

    Now, that’s a dangerous slippery slope because, although if I missed my weekly episode of The Office due to some technical failure on DirecTV’s part, $2.00 seems like an entirely reasonable reimbursement. But it could easily go way too far, and plus, how do you concretely measure the number of hours of T.V. you watch (and therefore the worth of each television show).

    But, come on. This isn’t just a television show. This is the baseball season opener. Even moreso, this is the Red Sox season opener. This is something that happens once a year in the world of baseball, and even farther apart in the world of the Red Sox.

    I understand it’s an unforseen problem, and shit does happen. I get that it’s just a game, I could have Tivo’d it, etc. etc. But what it comes down to is, I paid for a service that I didn’t receive.

    Which is why I didn’t feel the least bit guilty when I demanded that the woman at DirecTV refund me the value of today’s NESN service: $0.38.

  57. glass says:

    wow… two whole dollars! gee willicers! with that, i could almost get half of a coffee drink at starbucks! thanks comcast!

  58. tortcat says:

    Cable companies are generally only going to give credit for the actual amount of service that is lost, pretty much the same as any other company. If I pay $2 a day for cable and the service goes out for a day, I would expect a $2 credit….If I pay $20 for a PPV event and it doesnt work, I would expect a $20 credit.

    Seems straightforward to me.

  59. evilinkblot says:

    I have comcast and hate it, but yesterday and today’s games were fine.

    PS- ESPN2 has afternoon reruns……….

  60. mrand90706 says:

    A few longwinded points:
    It is pretty easy to avoid learning the outcome of any program if you want to. I’ve found it much better to watch almost everything via DVR. My wife is a big American Idol fan and I usually watch with her. It’s not difficult to avoid knowing who got canned. We can watch the show, skipping all the commercials and any other fluff (no comment about that being the whole show) we don’t care to see, which saves time too.
    Regarding the $2 credit, I think it would have been easy for Comcast and DirectTV to refuse any refund because the situation was probably out of their control. If both Comcast and Direct TV lost the same event, it seems reasonable that a satellite link or something else not controlled by either company was the problem.
    As for one channel being worth more than another, wouldn’t the company have to start charging more for some things too? Comcast could have put the Red Sox opener on E-Bay and charged the highest bidder accordingly, along with everyone else who wanted to watch. If it’s worth $50 to me, it must be worth that to everyone else too, right? Hopefully they don’t read this and get any ideas.
    The reality was explained to me once and made sense, and hopefully I can relay it correctly here: Suppose ESPN wants to make $4 million and Comcast has 1 million subscribers. They charge Comcast $4 per subscriber for the one channel and everybody gets it whether he wants it or not. If it was a la carte and only half of Comcast’s customers wanted ESPN, they would each pay $8, 25% of subscribers and it’s up to $16 and so on. For some channels, which would only be watched by 1000 people, they would have to pay $4000 per month. These channels would not exist, obviously. We’d never have any new channels either, so eventually we’d end up back with the 3 channels we had 40 years ago, if that. So if ESPN gets boring and you feel like changing the channel, there would be nothing else to watch. Great for those few out there who never want to watch anything else, but terrible for those who have more interests and like to see what other channels have to offer. Never know what you might find on the other 200 channels that you’re paying so little for.
    Yes, I know I have too much to say.

  61. MelindaBear says:

    While I understand that the level of importance is very different,
    isn’t this similar to paying for servers and then having them go out
    at a crucial time? Isn’t that why I paid for the servers? So that
    they would be guaranteed not to go down? What then? Do you just
    prorate the amount of time the servers were down? What if the client
    was a hedge fund, and lost millions resulting from the down time at a
    crucial moment? If I paid the same amount for the service, do I
    deserve any less because my loss was not millions of dollars? Hell,
    what if I ran a sports bar, where not having the game broadcast in my
    bar cost me a very large amount of money? At the very least, refund
    the cost of the god damn sports package.