Guy Asks About His Comcast Bill, Comcast Kills His Cable Modem

Matt owns his own cable modem, and it’s worked fine so far with his $165-a-month Comcast Triple Play package. He wanted to check into how he could reduce that ridiculous $165/mo burden, so he chatted online with someone from Comcast to see what his options were. Then he ended the chat and went back to whatever it was he was doing, and Comcast killed his cable modem. Update: Comcast says the end of life (EOL) event was not related to Matt’s chat with the CSR.

Just thought that I could share a little story about my adventures with Comcast. I have been a subscriber to Comcast services for 7+ years, and have always found fault with their services, for a variety of reasons. There aren’t really many options in the northeast US, unfortunately.

As a Triple-Play subscriber, my fees have been increasing regularly, and Comcast has been less than agreeable when it comes to reducing my bill, which tops $165 a month for Premium cable TV, mid-range Ethernet, and telephone service.

This past Sunday night, I encountered an all-new low in customer service. Resting at home after a wonderful weekend, I opened my monthly bill and decided to contact Comcast about the price of removing some services, just to see what my options were. I was also watching a Netflix movie that was streaming to my networked DVD player, and doing some computer work. As it is Sunday night, I have to resort to using Comcast’s horrid browser chat.

As you can read in the transcript, I asked several times that no changes were to be made as this was just a cost inquiry.

Immediately after my chat was closed by the representative, my movie stopped playing, and my browser locked up. Force quitting my browser and re-launching, I see a Comcast logo and a message reading that my cable modem is ‘End-of-life’ and I will have to obtain a replacement. As you can read in the transcript, I stated that I owned my cable modem, and it was not a lease item. No internet, but my Comcastalicious phone works, so I am now dialing tech support at 2AM EST. My first contact was with a young woman who stated that she could not reverse the ‘EOL’ action, and that I had no options. When I stated that the action was taken on a perfectly fine cable modem that had been working up to a few minutes before, she attempted to send a refresh signal and the phone connection was severed.

I called back on my cell, waited several minutes and finally spoke to Scott, who was definitely more helpful, who was able to ‘break open’ (his words) my phone modem to allow a computer based internet connection. He also stated that he could not reverse the action that ‘EOL’ed my cable modem. I would have to call in the morning on Monday to get a replacement arranged. Wahoo!

The following morning, I called to speak with customer service, and it took several attempts of forceful but polite requests for a replacement modem, free-of-charge. I drove out to the local office that morning, and traded my old and fully-functional cable modem for a new Comcast-approved modem. After several attempts to have Comcast tech support provision the new modem, I am proud to say that I am back up and running after more than 24 hours, but also well aware to keep an eye on my subsequent bills for additional lease charges! And I will be having the disconnection of services, like phone and premium cable as soon as I can.

Here’s a shortened version of the chat he had with the Comcast CSR, where you can see that both of them agreed that no changes would be made to the account. (I’ve only edited out phrases that didn’t contribute to the topic.)

user blumarbl has entered room
analyst Rizande has entered room

Rizande> Hello blumarbl, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Rizande. Please give me one moment to review your information.

How may I help you today?

blumarbl> I tried calling, I want to remove voice, and premium cable services, and increase internet to unlimited, but I need to know the cost before I do so.

Rizande> I see here that you want to remove some services but keep your internet service, is that correct?

blumarbl> I wanted unlimited internet, and to remove voice and premium cable, but I want to know the cost first.

Rizande> May I please ask if the account has a bundled package?

blumarbl> Yes, this is a bundled package, but no discount, the cost is $170 pre month, now. Break the bundle, remove services, and recalculate.

Rizande> Let me go ahead and check that on my end to see what I can do to assist you with your concern. [Asks for account info.] What I’m going to do now is to pull up your account and check on my resources. Please give me 2 minutes to process this for you. While I am still pulling up the account, allow me to share a unique Comcast feature. [Blah blah blah upsell.] Thank you for patiently waiting.

blumarbl> Please do not change services, this is for calculation purposes only.

Rizande> No worries, blumarbl, there will be no changes.

blumarbl> Thanks.

Rizande>You are welcome. I have reviewed the account and checked on my resources. I see here that the account has a bundled package of $139.99 per month.

blumarbl> Yes. Plus equipment rentals, and voice services, and taxes and fees. What would I pay for unlimited internet, and basic cable TV services?

Rizande> It seems to me that in removing the other two services and keeping the internet services, the internet service would have an estimated monthly price of $46 to $50 per month. The leased modem is $5.

blumarbl> No, I own my modem.

Rizande> I see. As for the basic cable service, the monthly rate is $18.80.

blumarbl> 20 for the cable, 50 for the internet unlimited. Is that correct?

Rizande> Yes, that is correct, blumarbl

blumarbl> thanks, for your assistance. Have a good night!

Comments

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  1. NotEd says:

    That Twitter page with the announcemnt of phasing out the DOCSIS 1.0 and 1.1 devices kinds of scares me.

    • comcastcares says:

      Agreed. Modems usually continue to work but some do not. The changes is upgrade to DOCSIS 3 in the area and changes to frequencies transmitted on. For most of the modems, the older modem will have intermittent trouble

    • ComcastBonnie says:

      Don’t be scared… It’s the wave of the future *whoosh*

  2. JohnDeere says:

    sounds like they owe him a new one anyway.

  3. comcastcares says:

    There is no such thing as an End of Life (EOL) action. A modem is end of life if it does not support existing structure. Many of the modems that are end of life were DOCSIS 1, but there are also others that are no longer supported by the modem manufacturer. Most of the modems that are EOL are 5 years or older. The current approved modem list is available at the following URL:

    http://mydeviceinfo.comcast.net/

    I hope you find the information useful!

    Frank Eliason

    • jp says:

      Frank, I have a Motorola SB4100. Your chart says my model is End of Life as of Oct 2008. How can this be? Its still working. Also, you guys have raised my modem lease from $3 to $5 which was for the upgrade but I’m not getting because of this older modem. Shouldn’t Comcast replace without me asking?

      • comcastcares says:

        When your area is upgrading to DOCSIS 3, we will offer to swap it out. I would still recommend if you have time, to swap it out at your local office. It will prevent future trouble

        • jp says:

          Thanks for replying, Frank. Will do on the swap out. Consumerist should hire you full time being that Comcast seems to come up alot here (lol)

        • Cyberxion says:

          Frank, I’ve contacted you on Twitter several times to seek help with an issue that has been ongoing for months, and you’ve ignored me. Seeing you act so helpful here when you seemingly couldn’t be bothered to care when I sought your help on Twitter suggests to me that you really only care about doing damage-control. I would imagine that I’d have heard from you immediately had I sent my story to The Consumerist and they chose to post it.

          I’m sorry if I come across like an asshole here Frank, but I’ve had ongoing issues with the quality of my cable and internet service for the past four months or so. Each time I speak to a CSR, a service appointment is set up. Each time your techs either blow off the appointment, or they do come out, but poke around for five minutes before telling me that they can’t figure out why my signal is so weak and that they’ll have to have someone come out and check the lines outside. They always promise to have a follow-up appointment set up for someone to come out and do that, but nobody ever comes, and contacting a CSR to make sure that appointment gets set up only ends up making the whole tiresome cycle repeat anew. And each time I contact a CSR and tell them how frustrating this has all made me, I’m either met with indifference, or promised a credit on my account that never gets applied.

          It’s frustrating, Frank. I pay my bill in full every month, but the service hasn’t worked reliably for awhile now, and it doesn’t look like anyone will ever be willing or able to fix it, so I’m sure that you can understand why I’d be a little upset by being snubbed. You gained your notoriety from how much you seemed to truly care about Comcast’s customers, and yet when the chips are down, it appears that you don’t really care any more than any of the other folks to whom I’ve spoken about my problems over the course of the last few months. You only seem to care when a customer’s story shows up in a highly visible place like this website.

          • Cyberxion says:

            Never mind. I’m such an asshole. Turns out that Frank did suggest that I e-mail him at the comcast cares e-mail address, but it got buried under a bunch of other tweets and I didn’t notice it. Now I feel like a huge heel.

            Please accept my sincere apologies Frank. I’m such a dick. :(

      • Coelacanth says:

        A device can reach “End-Of-Life” (as many Microsoft Windows operating systems that you’ll still probably encounter in the wild) while continuing to function. It becomes a problem when you try to call that company’s support, and they’ll officially no longer be able to support it.

  4. dolemite says:

    I like how he wants an exact price of what he will pay, and the service rep responds: “It seems to me”..” the internet service would have an estimated monthly price of $46 to $50 per month”.

    Is it really that impossible to plug in the packages he wants, and give him a bill of what it will cost, *INCLUDING* taxes, fees, etc?

    • comcastcares says:

      Actually it is because of all the different taxes based on township, counties and states. I would love to see a much more simplified approach

      • thompson says:

        Frank — thanks for your advice elsewhere in this thread.

        I do tend to agree with dolemite though. I totally understand that the regulatory/tax framework for utilities like Comcast is a total disaster, with things changing on a block-by-block basis.

        With that said, if Comcast can figure out how much to bill me at the end of the month, it seems like it isn’t impossible to take a given address and level of service and run it through some sort of database/algorithm and come up with a final amount.

        • Anonymously says:

          This. If you can figure it out once, you can figure it out again.

          Though, I suppose it’s possible there are “per-transaction” fees for looking up tax info from their tax database provider, in which case an accurate quote would cost Comcast money.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Comcast guy is right, its nearly impossible to calculate your EXACT bill including taxes n stuff from some national CSR office when you don’t know the exact town/state/municipality/county tax rates.

      • Cyberxion says:

        I never considered this before, but it occurs to me now that every time I’ve asked them to tell me how much I’d be paying for a specific service by itself, the CSR must have been ballparking it to account for taxes and whatnot. That’s not something I’d expect them to do, so it always seemed weird to me that they couldn’t tell me exactly what a certain internet connection speed would cost me, for example. I’ll keep that in mind next month when I call to see about dropping my bill as far as I possibly can by dropping services.

  5. temporaryscars says:

    I’m kind of glad there’s no Comcast where I live…

    • comcastcares says:

      Ultimately the upgrade to DOCSIS 3 will provide speed of up to 50/10 (higher in the future). What speeds are in your area? The base package will go from 6/1 to 12/2 with no increase in price.

      • thompson says:

        I’m in the East Bay, SF Bay Area… I’m on the “performance high speed” running a DOCCIS 2.0 modem. Speed tests say I’m getting around 12 downstream, would I see an improvement at my tier with a DOCCIS 3.0?

        Thanks for the help!

        • comcastcares says:

          You should not, but I have heard of people who have seen improvements with the D3 modems. I have been thinking of trying it for myself

          • thompson says:

            Cool, thanks!

            Since the WOM transition, for whatever reason I’ve seen my signal strengths and sustained speeds seem to level off at a consistently higher level. All in all, very pleased with the new HD and such (though getting my Tivo HD + CableCard all setup with Comcast was a, well uhh, adventure).

            • Cyberxion says:

              I envy you. I know this sounds like sour grapes, but since June I’ve had nothing but nightmares with Comcast. All I want is a consistent level of quality out of the service I’m paying so much for. Is that too much to ask? :P

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        Considering the monopoly my current cable company has on our area and the speeds that Comcast is advertising elsewhere in the country, I WISH Comcast was here. (or at least, in my apartment complex)

      • Cyberxion says:

        Really now? That’s kind of cool. I’ve noticed a sporadic increase in internet speeds (when it works…), and I wondered whether or not you folks hadn’t bumped up my connection speed.

        As an aside, I was wondering if you folks offer a truly unlimited internet package. 250GB is a generous enough cap I suppose, but being that I play online a lot, and (legally) download a lot of games on my consoles, I would be willing to pay a bit extra if I didn’t have to contend with that cap.

        • CCtech says:

          Business class services have no cap, might be worth checking into as the prices are competitive you just have to sign a contract, but you do get other perks in that contract

    • Bohemian says:

      I am thankful every single day there is no Comcast where I live.

    • The Cheat says:

      You know what’s nice? AT&T U-Verse. You know why? Because it’s the same programming but the DVR software isn’t crap.

      DVR doesn’t pause and act weird when recordings are starting/stopping on the other tuner but you want to watch a prerecorded show? Check!
      DVR doesn’t tell you that it finished recording a show in a gigantic box on top of what you are watching now? Check!
      Screen saver isn’t just the 4:3 area letting whatever is behind it leak through? Check!
      Channels are (for example) 123 for a SD channel and 1123 for the same station’s HD? Check!
      Searching for a show, you can use the numeric keypad to enter letters? Check!
      Selecting a show to record, it shows BOTH the SD and HD channel and lets you select one without jumping through a bunch of hoops? Check!
      When a recorded show ends, it just goes to screen saver instead of playing whatever the hell is on the TV at the time (usually Hannah Montana)? Check!

      I never had a problem with the service but using the DVR was like jabbing my eye with a hot poker.

      It has yet to be seen if power cycling the Uverse DVR will make all the tv listings magically disappear like on the Comcast DVR, not to be seen for an hour after it boots up.

    • tomcat1483 says:

      Be very glad

  6. Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

    What likely happened is someone flagged his MAC address as EOL, either to be a jerk, or by mistake. I’m curious, though, how Comcast can get away with doing this to a modem that isn’t their own.

    • comcastcares says:

      EOL is based on model not mac address. An agent would not be able to make a model of modem end of life

  7. gellenburg says:

    I would just like to point out that @ComcastBonnie is a ray of light in the otherwise dark nether reaches of space when dealing with Comcast. She and Comcast Frank and his team have truly done a remarkable job reaching out to try to help customers with issues whether they be CATV, HSI, or VoIP.

    Not to say that Comcast is now perfect (by any stretch of imagination), but if you do run into problems it pays to hop on Twitter and reach out to them. They genuinely want to help (and unlike most CSRs are actually in a position to be able TO help!)

    • comcastcares says:

      Thank you! We are trying to improve on all communication channels. I should reach out to Chris to share more

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    It will be interesting to see whether the OP has been billed extra next month, or whether services have been changed, and if so, to what.

    Since the OP is looking to lower his monthly bill, why didn’t he just drop his services and go internet only, which is what he wanted to do originally. Internet alone couldn’t possibly top the $165 a month he was paying.

  9. JohnDeere says:

    ive had the same dsl modem with at&t for going on 9 years. should i worry? thats all greek to me.

  10. Suulia says:

    Comcast didn’t kill the modem, the manufacturer did. “EOL” stands for “End of Life” which means that manufacturer of the modem no longer supports it. Once the manufacturer no longer supports a modem, Comcast also no longer supports the modem.

    EOL is NOT something that an agent can do to your modem. It is completely normal for modem updates to be sent Sunday evenings.

    • Suulia says:

      LOL, Frank Eliason totally beat me to it :-P

      “comcastcares December 30, 2009 3:36 PM

      There is no such thing as an End of Life (EOL) action. A modem is end of life if it does not support existing structure. Many of the modems that are end of life were DOCSIS 1, but there are also others that are no longer supported by the modem manufacturer. Most of the modems that are EOL are 5 years or older. The current approved modem list is available at the following URL:

      http://mydeviceinfo.comcast.net/

      I hope you find the information useful!

      Frank Eliason”

    • meadandale says:

      I’m not sure I buy this….I have a Linksys BEFCMU10 version 2 DOCSYS 1.1 modem that I’ve been using with Cox for more than 6 years. It hasn’t been in their list of approved modems for a very long time and it still works. It’s not like there is some magic switch in it that is going to cause it to self destruct at some point in the future. If the cable company is still supporting DOCSYS 1.1 modems, this one should still work.

      The same should have been true for the OP unless Comcast shut him off specifically.

  11. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    I can’t help thinking that Matt and all other Comcast customers would pay whole lot less if Comcast weren’t wasting so much money on direct mail begging me to “come back.” So far this week, I’ve gotten FIVE pieces in THREE days.

    It’s over guys, I’m with FIOS now; have been for almost two years now, and we’re very happy together.

    At least spend the money on planting a few trees instead of killing them.

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

      For my part, I would like to apologize to all the Verizon FiOS customers for their rates, since Verizon is spending a budget appropriate for a small country to get me to sign up for FiOS which has been in my neighborhood for four years, but just not in my development.

      • larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

        VZ isn’t really better on the paper wasting front. They continually send me solicitations to sign up for a “double play” bundle — IN THE BILL for my triple play bundle. Not the sharpest knives in the drawer over there ….

    • bigmil87 says:

      Maybe its over for you but not all of us are so lucky to have another choice.

      Comcast is the only cable internet provider in my area and FiOS is not available and Verizon has specifically stated that Minnesota is not in their operating area and will not be for the foreseeable future.

    • tonberryqueen says:

      I’ve had a few phone calls, despite the fact that I told them when canceling at my old apartment that I was doing so because one of my new roommates has a Comcast account already.

      Still not as bad as Vonage. When I moved, I didn’t do a change of address at the post office–I updated everything I wanted/needed to keep current–so Vonage stops sending me so much friggin’ junk. (When I canceled Vonage, it took an hour on the phone. AN HOUR. Anytime I interrupted the CSR’s script to tell her that literally nothing would convince me to keep the account, and no, I didn’t know anyone that would want to take it over, she just re-started the script. She put me on hold at least five times, too. I assume to make me so frustrated that I would give up.)

  12. RandomHookup says:

    I would think you would at least get offered hospice care first.

  13. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Go Frank, totally on the Comcast defensive!

  14. jeffbone says:

    “The following morning, I called to speak with customer service, and it took several attempts of forceful but polite requests for a replacement modem, free-of-charge. I drove out to the local office that morning, and traded my old and fully-functional cable modem for a new Comcast-approved modem. After several attempts to have Comcast tech support provision the new modem, I am proud to say that I am back up and running after more than 24 hours, but also well aware to keep an eye on my subsequent bills for additional lease charges!”

    Scratching my head a little here. My reading of this passage indicates that he traded his old, customer-owned modem for a new modem at the Comcast office. If correct, he just traded his piece of hardware for a Comcast-owned piece of hardware, so it should be no surprise if legitimate lease charges start showing up on his bill.

    Not only that, but the previous paragraph implies that the OP has Comcast Digital Voice service, which requires a leased modem, at least according to the information I’ve read on Comcast’s web site. Seems to me OP should have been paying lease charges all along for the phone modem; it’s not common to use a separate modem for HSI in that case but it’s possible.

    Unless I’ve missed something, if the OP wants to minimize his bill by eliminating phone service, he’ll have to buy another HSI-only modem or start paying the lease charges for the modem the Comcast office gave him.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I was a little confused at this point as well. Is it possible to replace your customer-owned modem with a Comcast modem for free if an EOL event occurs and with no lease charges? What other reasons could you do this for free?

      Please help us, Frank Eliason!

      • comcastcares says:

        No I was confused by the same. Since he has phone, he would have the lease fee, so he will not see a change unless he discontinues phone service

  15. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    Was there any communication to customers before this 2AM EOL blast? For that matter, was there any communication to call center reps about this so they’d know how to deal with calls that would start coming in?

    Sure sounds like Matt is going to be hit with modem lease payments now . . .

    • comcastcares says:

      Yes. If he is an area with DOCSIS 3 upgrades we would have called and mailed alerting to this.

      • Corporate_guy says:

        Sadly neither method is acceptable. There is no reason why they couldn’t do a temporary redirect 30 days before the cutoff. One where you can click “I understand” to get another 30 days before the ban hammer drops.

        Seriously, mail? Hilarious.

    • dwb says:

      I believe customers are continually notified starting about a year before the modem is no longer supported.

  16. diasdiem says:

    Was it time for Carousel?

  17. headhot says:

    Dosis 3.0 is one of the reasons they are EOLing modems, but they also have a piracy problem with old modems that have been “reflashed.”

  18. lotussix says:

    i use cox communications and they replaced my modem for free. they said that my old one would not be supported.

    kudos.

  19. lalaland13 says:

    This worries me a bit, because I thought my Cox modem might be able to go into the new year, even though Cox had me buy a new one for $9.99. I was thinking of letting it go into 2010 just to see what happened, but since I’ve already been billed the $9.99, perhaps I should just go ahead and switch em out. It can’t take long. I’m just lazy.

    That is bad timing, if nothing else.

  20. blogger X says:

    I’m going to have to do the same thing, $159/mo for internet and TV w/HBO is too much. I can’t part ways with the DVR and HDTV service, that’s 23/mo there. Does anybody know or have a special number to Comcast so I can sweet-talk them into getting a better deal?

  21. ComcastBonnie says:

    Posted this on twitter, reposting over here for you guys!

    For those of you wondering: [**Comcast Modem Replacement Program**] http://bit.ly/7O81df [**What's EOL?**] http://bit.ly/7ho1Q1

  22. djanes1 says:

    Under Obamacare, all of our nation’s modems will receive mandatory End of Life consultations in front of a death panel, not just the Comcast ones. Just sayin.

  23. Lukecadet says:

    Hey look its the comcast cares people. So since you all in to being helpful how about these issues:
    1. Where’s that bandwidth meter that was promised soon over a year ago?
    2. Why can’t you get a DVR that doesn’t record duplicates of shows. I look at the guide and it says NEW for the description. I set the recording to be for NEW only. It then records other episodes that don’t have NEW in the description. Traded DVR out 3 times. Emailed your team about 6 months ago and sent a bunch of info. Then nothing.
    3. When are you going to good DVR technology? Have you seen what AT&T is doing with the ability to record 4 shows at once and then watch them on any of the tv’s in your home? And setup recordings from the internet?

    I say let 2010 be the year stops being the “Good enough company with ok service and technology” and starts being the “Best Company with the best service and best technology”

    • Logan26 says:

      Go with verizon/DirectTV they already have it.

      • Logan26 says:

        And lest i ferget, Verizon DOESN’T DO network monitoring and has NO INTERNET BANDWIDTH CAP hidden or not.

    • comcastcares says:

      1. It is in use now in Portland and will spread to other areas when testing is complete
      2. The latest update corrects that. If you have a motorola box you should see it soon (I am in the Philly area and just received it. I love the folders for the shows and the record history feature which shows why something may have not been recorded)
      3. Recording over the internet is part of the update mentioned in bullet 2. Family DVR is in testing also, but I do not know the ETA for that

      • Lukecadet says:

        Well that’s great Frank. I am in the Chicago area. Want to make a bet on what comes first?

        Bandwidth Meter, Update to fix DVR schedule and Internet recording
        vs
        The year 2011

        If Comcast wants to be a GREAT company then things like a bandwidth meter or fix to DVR scheduling should not take over a year. I remember the end of 2008 when you announced the bandwidth meter.

  24. Logan26 says:

    Why anyone would want to be with comcast and their NETWORK MONITORING bullshit is simply beyond me. I’m a service tech for PCs and Comcast has got to have the sorriest rating in maryland. Constant slowness is what I hear from alot of my customers. They really need to be left alone and allowed to whither for the way they treat their customers.

  25. jeremy11 says:

    I had a similar issue… I called to find how I could reduce my service costs yesterday with comcast and actually turned off showtime….. When I got off the phone I tried to get online and found my internet was not functioning. My modem was working but it was at the “TECH INSTALL” page anytime I tried to do anything. Comcast was able to get me back up fairly quickly, but it was funny that I had internet issues shortly after talking to them.. The rep I talked to said all day they were having long delays in requests from their systems…..