Mysterious Comcast Internet May Cost $35, $48, $62 or $39.99

Reader Scoots was paying a promotional rate for Comcast internet. The rate expired and the bill went up to $48. Scoots called Comcast to ask for the old rate back and encountered a “four-square car dealership rip off” of sorts.

Scoots says:

I had a very weird interaction with Comcast this week. Apparently I’m getting a really good deal, so I hope I don’t come off sounding like a jerk. It was just… weird… and apparently can only be explained with an overabundance of ellipses…

My promotional price for internet-only ($35 per mo) expired, and the price went up to $48 per month. I called and asked if there was anything they could do; any new promotions, etc.

The rep couldn’t believe I had been paying that little, and asked if I had one Comcast service or two. I said one. She said in that case, even with the increase I’m still paying less than I “ought to be”. According to her, someone had miscoded my account as having two services (I had two services until about 6 months ago), which had qualified me for the special internet-only rate.

Huh…? Having two services gets me a cheaper deal for one service? Okay…

Then she said that not only are there no internet-only promos cheaper than the increased amount ($48 per mo), but that she was going to “correct the error” so I’d be charged the full amount ($62 per month) beginning today.

I asked, “So, am I being punished for telling the truth?”

“No,” she said, “I’m trying to keep my job. They audit this stuff every week, so they would have caught it anyway.”

“So,” I said, “I’ll be paying $62 a month from now on.”

“Yes,” she said, “but I’ll set you up for a promo price of $39.99 per month for internet-only.”

Umm… thanks, I guess?

Like I said, I’m not complaining about (comparatively) cheap internet. It just felt a little too much like a shell game, or that four square car dealership rip off I read about on your site. They raised my rate by $4 a month, but apparently I should be really happy about my special deal that doesn’t exist.

Make of this what you will…

I think I learned this story in a college class on Zen Buddhism. It’s one of those things you contemplate during meditation, right?

I wonder if your internet is free if you just say, “mu” and hang up.

Comments

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  1. backinpgh says:

    oh yeah, call five times and you’ll get five different price quotes. I went through this with them. It’s $29.99 for six months (or a year depending on who you talk to) if you don’t already have cable TV. Or some people can rig it to give it to you for $19.99 a month for 6 months (or a year) which is supposed to be the deal if you have cable already. After the promotion, it’s $54.99 a month if you don’t have cable, $42.99 if you do. And that’s only ONE internet speed, they have TWO internet speeds now which makes it even more confusing.

    • JennQPublic says:

      I just keep calling back until I get a great deal. I’ve had internet, digital cable, a HD DVR box, and HBO for $60 a month for a year. It just ran out, and jumped up to $110, but I will cancel it when I move soon, and restart it in my husband’s name to get the latest deal.

    • hammond egger says:

      Actually they have three different speeds.

    • sty says:

      thats because sales, billing, and retention all have different availble promos and depending on which department the ivr wants to transfer you to, as to which department you get

      also there are 5 speeds… 1.5, 12, 16, 22, and 50 mbps

  2. KillerBee says:

    I find it interesting that she first said “there no internet-only promos cheaper than the increased amount ($48 per mo)”

    Then only moments later said “I’ll set you up for a promo price of $39.99 per month for internet-only”

    Hmmm….

    • Scuba Steve says:

      Yeah, I’d be weary of the “Internet-Only” promo, when most likely you’re getting 1 Mbit download speeds and not a promo at all.

      • mandy_Reeves says:

        two words: customer retention. They are probably told to pull this promo out when a customer knows everything ain’t kosher, and acts like they might cancel. I had that happen.

        One time I got offered the triple play for like 79 a month or whatever it was. They told me that even though I had a past due balance of what they said was 80 dollars, I would not have to make a down payment. I was like sure, sign me up! THEN, the day before install, supervisor calls and says the rep who phoned me made a mistake. BUT…because of that, they were only going to have me pay 50 of the balance first and upgrade free for a trial period….I dunno…needless to say, I didn’t bite. I watch all my shows online now.

  3. jason in boston says:

    Why to people call comcast anymore? Just twitter @comcastcares and that team gets the job done. I hate most everything about comcast (overcompressed HD, 250 gig a month data cap, the death of clearQAM), but Frank and his team are the absolute best at customer service. Too bad they aren’t on the comcast business side.

    • backinpgh says:

      Ugh, I lost my QAM channels a few weeks ago and was forced to sign up for their damned services so I could keep watching my shows (I’m practically addicted to TV unfortunately). It was such a shame to have it all for free only to have the rug pulled out from underneath me.

      • jason in boston says:

        It was the girlfriend factor that is leaning me back to maybe getting a box and paying for their crap HD offerings…until I found HGTV on Hulu! That, and the protocol that shall never be talked about. I don’t mind waiting 30 minutes for a show.

    • JennQPublic says:

      Because if everyone goes straight to the Twitter team instead of trying first to resolve things through regular channels, the Twitter team will be hopelessly overwhelmed, and going to them will become less effective. Kind of why you should try talking to the store manager before sending an EECB to the CEO.

      • jason in boston says:

        Frank’s team is marketed as a first line customer service. I never have seen where they are the equivalent of Executive Support.

    • bhr says:

      I used to work with their business team, could get you a good contact if you want.

    • GrymOne says:

      Comcast lost my business when they removed QAM.
      Much happier now with My Fiber Optic service ( 15 bucks LESS a Month for much faster net speeds )

    • Twonkey says:

      Frankly, Frank and pals are just as innefectual as the rest of Comcast’s “customer service” is, unless of course they happen to be mention on this site, in which case they’ll bend over backwards to fix whatever it is Comcast has managed to fuck up. If you take your concerns to Twitter without first sending your story to every consumer-advocacy site out there, you may as well have not even bothered, because you most likely won’t be paid attention to, much less ge the help you need.

  4. soopah256 says:

    Scoots:

    Yes, having two services will decrease the amount per service. Just like when you buy anything in bulk, costs will usually go down.

    As for “being punished for telling the truth”, you can’t expect them just to waive company policies just because you were “honest”. That’s like a bank robber expecting not to go to jail after admitting his/her crime having not been caught.

    • ScarletsWalk says:

      For most services and products I would agree with you, but in something like this where they can and do charge wildly varying rates, I think it is punishing to charge the full rate. The rep made good, so it all’s well that ends well, but if she hadn’t, I would be very frustrated as the customer.

      When I did billing for customers and we saw they were getting some crazy, outrageous rate they shouldn’t, we would let that offer expire on its own and then charge them full to continue (until they complained and we’d give them a discount). It wasn’t worth the money we’d take in at the correct rate to piss off someone enough to cancel altogether mid-contract.

    • SerenityDan says:

      A bank Robber knows they are getting something not theirs, so poor analogy.

    • edison234 says:

      I wouldn’t consider that purchasing ‘in bulk’. It is purchasing multiple services and receiving a discount. To purchase the internets in bulk it needs to be for multiple service points/locales. That would be a good thing – a collection of neighbors purchasing under one bill and receiving a discount. But they (cable co) wouldn’t let that happen so start a revolution and have your municipality purchase internet service and distribute via wifi tech – like 4G. For small communities in metro areas this would make sense as long as it isn’t outrageously priced.

      • coldfire409 says:

        You see multiple family dwellings, HOAs, and apartment complexes do that all the time. My apartment complex did that with Bright House.

    • Hooray4Zoidberg says:

      I don’t think it’s really because it’s “bulk” it’s more because they make their money selling ads and if you subscribe to internet only that’s one less person they can say an advertiser’s ad will reach. The more people they have suscribed to their services the more they can charge for ad time.

      This strategy now has the added bonus of keeping people around who are realizing they no longer need cable TV as they can get most of it from the internet these day. Comcast makes that almost impossible though unless you’re willing pay more for less service. It’s actually more money to just get internet from them than to get both internet and the most basic cable package.

    • Major Annoyance says:

      No it’s not.

  5. Keep talking...I'm listening says:

    I had to explain something similar to a coworker this week –

    (locally) with Comcast, if you want only internet service they charge a $22.95 surcharge for not using them as your cable provider. Their basic cable package is $17.95. So you pay less if you get basic cable + internet than if you just get internet.

    Their whole pricing scale appears to be arbitrary.

    • weestrom says:

      When I actually cancelled with Comcrap and switched to ATT, I got a fourth phone call back after I had my ATT service activated and all my servers working correctly behind the new connection offering my top tier high speed cable modem service for $24.99 a month for six months with no cable. I politely told them that I didn’t want to set up service with ATT again in six months to get a fair rate for their service and would prefer to have a flat (higher) price for my service without the games, so my business was staying with ATT.

    • catnapped says:

      Actually it depends on the area…in at least SOME places (here included), you’ll pay MORE for bundled HSI and limited basic than just HSI alone

  6. Brian Cooks says:

    No she was right. Internet only is more expensive than if you have basic cable and the exact same internet package by about 12$. My promo rate expired 2 weeks ago and my internet bill went up like 15$ a month so I called to get my service knocked down a bracket and they gave me the promo for another year to keep me from doing that. Good times.

    • kurtmac says:

      Similar thing happened to me last week. Had Digital Cable + Performance Internet for the $69.99 6-month promo, which expired and went up to $106.99 (!!!). I called to remove the cable TV (something we’d planned on doing anyways) and keep the internet only. Told that internet was $59.99 alone, or $44.99 bundled with another service. Then I was told Basic Cable (antenna channels) was $14.99, bringing the total to the same price as internet alone. At least now I can plug my TV directly into the wall and use the remote that came with it, instead of the crappy Comcast box and remote. And I’ve found it is quite liberating not having to click through all those extra channels I never watch anyway.

  7. apd09 says:

    cable providers do this all the time, I only wanted internet and TV from FiOS, which was something like 120 a month, if I added phone to it the cost was 115.00 (numbers not exact). They basically said it was their way of trying to price out Comcast and take customers from them.

    The less products you have from a company the more you pay, the more you have the less you pay. All the introductory prices are meant to steal customers from each other, and then when the rate is over you realize it is the same cost as what you had but you are not willing to go through the hassle of switching.

    • rpm773 says:

      Exactly. And once you’re out of the promotional rate period, your only option is to try to bluff the provider into thinking you’ll leave, and perhaps they’ll give you another temporary promotional rate.

      But that doesn’t always work, and then you’ll either have to go through with the hassle of switching or hang your head in shame and pay full price.

  8. Dutchess says:

    I had the same thing happen…I called up to install wireless internet with Comscam.

    Rep: I have a special offer….3 months for $24.99 then our regular price of $42.99

    Me: On your website it says….6 months at $19.99 then regular price of $42.99

    Rep: Really? (Fake surprised sounding voice) Let me check that on the internet…(2 seconds later) I see it right here…I can give you that deal.

    Me: Why, thank you.

    Rep: I’ve also signed you up for our Free Super High Speed cable for three months at no extra charge.

    Me: NO, I don’t want to have to call back in three months and change my service.

    Rep: But it’s free and we’ll send you an email.

    We go back and forth a couple times about this…

    Me: What part of no I don’t want to call back and argue with a rep like we’re doing now, Don’t you understand?

    Rep: Okay sir…I’ll take that off….

    • rpm773 says:

      Me: NO, I don’t want to have to call back in three months and change my service.

      Rep: But it’s free and we’ll send you an email.

      Me: Don’t make me get my air horn and blow it into the phone!

    • CoachTabe says:

      Always, always, always deal with Comcast customer service via their live chat system. That way you have a written record of everything.

      • barty says:

        Beware that the local offices that you actually get your service with usually WILL NOT honor any deals offered online. It went back and forth with Comcrap a couple of months ago when our promotional rate expired and got the whole, “yes sir, we can offer you this package” when I asked online, only to be told “you’re an existing customer, you have to pay full price” as soon as I was instructed to call to complete the transaction.

        Of course this could be due to the total lack of competition in my area. You either get Comcrap or satellite. There are no other options in this area.

  9. AngryK9 says:

    Reminds me of Insight here in KY. They promote the ‘triple-play’ package (TV, net, phone) for $89.99 a month. By the time they’re done adding on all of the hidden fees and surcharges that they don’t tell you about, and then the taxes, you end up paying $120 per month.

    • Krang Krabowski says:

      I work for comcast, and having had directv for 6 years, those taxes and such are going to be included with any provider you go with. Generally speaking comcast txes are a bit less than doing bundles with qwest or other phone providers.

  10. Tim says:

    I got something similar to this. I moved, and some people said I was eligible for the $20 internet only rate because I moved, but other people said I wasn’t. I was on a $30 plan before I moved, and I wanted it back.

    I eventually used Twitter and got it to $30.

  11. Santas Little Helper says:

    If I did not absolutely need internet for business I would not have it anymore. It costs so much money and there is very little in the way of alternatives. DSL is a joke for the most part, their speeds are almost dial up these days. I resent paying for cumfast, especially their basic cable, $17 a month, are you kidding me? For mostly spanish and QVC channels? Give me a break.

  12. Kevinsky says:

    Wow, and I thought Rogers was a rip-off artist!

  13. Hollihocks says:

    I’m currently playing this game with Comcast and have for several months. As I’ve learned after getting to the executive level (contacted the person listed on Consumerist – it’s out of date – but he sent my info along anyway), that you can only have one promo at a time. Period. If they try to add something, change it, do whatever, it starts playing a game of system kickbag tag. Promos disappear, reverse themselves, you name it. Even the Exec Lady goes to the Finance team to approve our rate and promo and then it still disappears next bill! Mine’s STILL doing it. I will win this war, Comcast. ALSO:

    I work with Miss Powell in Atlanta – 770-559-7225 BUT on her VM she lists the national number, 1-888-610-0995 Good luck!

  14. sendmoney2me says:

    I have their xfinity internet and basic tv and pay $29 a month. i hate comcast but for internet and tv thats pretty good.

  15. evnmorlo says:

    This is what happens when there is no competition to keep prices somewhat related to the cost of the product. Comcast can charge whatever it thinks you will pay.

  16. petermv says:

    I can’t believe how much you guys pay in the US for such crappy internet services. Over here in London I pay about £15 per month for up to 20mb ADSL2+ service from my mobile phone company, which includes £5 off. I could go with Virgin Cable but it would cost me a bit more. Up to 10mb is £20 per month, 20 is £30 per month and 50mb is £38. You can save £5-10 per month by getting your phone line with them as well.

    • bhr says:

      your government also covered most of the initial infrastructure for the cable and cell phone systems, so you are subsidizing your internet prices through increased taxes.

      • petermv says:

        Our taxes no longer go to BT, and haven’t since the 80′s when they were privatised. They never went to cable companies. So it is no different to the US today.

        Our mobile providers have better pricing as well. I have not paid for a mobile phone since I bought my first one. I have a £40 per month plan that gives me 900 outgoing minutes, all incoming is free, and unlimited texts and unlimited mobile 3G data and wifi. I regularly get top of the line phones for free when I renew my contract every 18 months. Even the jesus phone is free if your plan is high enough.

    • 4Real says:

      Yeah but the Pound=Dollar exchanges is about 1pd=2$ so you are still paying $30 for it all.

      • petermv says:

        If you were to buy it with dollars that would be correct, but for the most part the prices for things are roughly the same here in the UK as they are in the US. Since we earn and spend pounds the exchange rate does not come into play. For example at McD’s we have the 99 pence menu and you have the 99 cent menu.

  17. frank64 says:

    I have Verizon DSL with no other services from them at $29.99 a month. It is not a special price and the speed is fast enough for me to stream Netflix with no problems.

    I like that they are not a cable company because they may have no desire to cap my usage. Hopefully they won’t feel they are losing out of me buying cable because I am streaming?

    • therealchriss says:

      http://www.verizon.net/policies/vzcom/tos_popup.asp
      “Restrictions on Use. The Service is a consumer grade service and is not designed for or intended to be used for any commercial purpose. You may not resell the Service, use it for high volume purposes, or engage in similar activities that constitute such use (commercial or non-commercial). If you subscribe to a Broadband Service, you may connect multiple computers/devices within a single home to your modem and/or router to access the Service, but only through a single Verizon-issued IP address. You also may not exceed the bandwidth usage limitations that Verizon may establish from time to time for the Service, or use the Service to host any type of server. Violation of this section may result in bandwidth restrictions on your Service or suspension or termination of your Service.”

      Sounds like they have the urge to cap your service from time to time.

  18. crucislancer says:

    I had a similar thing happen a couple of months ago. I had the triple play with HBO, it was costing me around $150 a month. Since the deal was ending I decided to dump everything except the broadband. They were going to charge me $75/month just for broadband. Instead, I got broadband and basic cable for $50/month for a year.

  19. Groanan says:

    I pay $190 / mo. for Comcast Internet.

    I can’t use any other plan without violating their 250GB monthly cap.
    Sure, 90+% of their users only use 2-4GBs a month, but that only means that 90+% of their users, if their data is accurate, really do not need high speed internet access, they probably only check their mail and browse webpages.

    I have a house of four (sometimes six) adults, all who know how to use the internet for entertainment (Hulu, Steam, Network sites, etc.)

    The $190 / mo. is their business package, with a 2 year obligation, and a 50 mbps speed (the commercial 60mbps line, without obligation, costs $80 with the cap).

    The one large difference I felt after switching over (aside from the stoppage of the harassing phone calls from their Customer Safety (Security?) department about my internet usage) was that the customer service was phenomenally better. When I called I talked to a real human being, with a name, who sounded professional. They knew what the plans were, what the costs were, how long it would take to install, etc., and I got all of this from the first person I’d speak to (no being redirected/transferred).

  20. JonBoy470 says:

    I got Comcast internet by going to Circuit City and buying a cable modem and “Comcast self-install kit.” Got it up and running in 45 minutes, counting driving time to and from the Circuit City, using the install CD included with the kit. Comcast proceeded to not bill me for the Internet for 6 months. Finally it stopped working one day. Called into tech support, mentioned the lack of Internet, but not the billing snafu. Took two hours on the phone, but I was given a promo of “$24.99 for 4 months” for my trouble, which magically turned into “$19.99 for 6 months” by the time I was transferred to the account rep who actually applied the promo.

    • Krang Krabowski says:

      is this a legitimate complaint? let me paraphrase what you just said”they didn’t bill me for 6 months, when they turned me off they assisted me in getting connected, though it took a while, they gave me a better promo for whatever reason, so now i’m mad!” I dunno, it sounds like you might wanna look at what you just said.

  21. 4Real says:

    I hate comcast and since my building only has Comcast im stuck with it. I had the same problem. I was paying $24.99 for TV and 29.99 for internet for a full year then when it expiredd they charged me $60 for each one. I complained and they said they can give me TV and Internet for $56 a month I agreed but I lost half my channels and Ondemand. They are such a rip off

  22. AlexDitto says:

    This is standard procedure for Comcast. Something very similar happened to me at the end of February.

    I called several times over the course of a few days, asking for prices, because my “promotional rate” for internet was set to expire. I had signed up for both internet and cable. The internet was 19.99 for six months, the cable 29.99 for a year.

    Before the six month promotion was over (set to expire the beginning of March) I called in, several times, to find out what my new rate would be, and whether I could negotiate my price. They told me they couldn’t do anything until the last week of February, but not to worry, that I wouldn’t be charged anything. I called in three times over the course of the last week of February and the first week of March, each time the rep told me they couldn’t do anything, that my promo hadn’t expired.

    They then sent me a bill for $42.95+29.99 = 72.94 for internet (42.95) and cable (29.99). I was pretty pissed. I called in and told them so. The rep told me not to worry, that I should just pay that amount and they’d credit me later. I told them I would do no such thing. As far as renewal options, I was given the choice of a reduced speed internet for 24.95 a month, or my current internet option for $57/month, if I were to cancel my television service. In both cases, I’d be paying more than I had previously.

    I decided to ask my family members for their opinions. When I called back, I was quoted a price of $59/month for just internet service. In the span of about 30 minutes, the price had gone up two dollars.

    I hung up, and called back. This time, I was offered $60/month for just internet, or $33/month for current internet speeds. This after I had received a bill charging me $42.95 for internet. Television service would basically be costing me only $3.

    I figured, fine, whatever, for $3, I’ll keep the TV. I went for that one, and was informed there would be a $1.99 transaction fee to put that through. Even though I hadn’t changed anything! None of this was my fault.

    At this point, I was very angry. I don’t think that’s an appropriate way to treat a customer, yanking prices around like that. I tweeted comcastcares to tell them so.

    Suddenly, I had a flurry of apologies and responses. They told me to email me my complete complaint. I did so, gave them a phone number, and a representative called me to talk with me. They gave me a long spiel about how they can’t offer promotional rates forever. I told them I understood that, but there was no reason for changing the price on me like that.

    All that happened was I got the $33/month internet price, and they “waived” the transaction fee, since I told them it was ridiculous, and basically got them to agree with me.

    The price on the television is set to expire pretty soon, and I know I’m going to be given the run around again. I’m ready to cancel my television, but the fact that there’s no other internet provider in the area and the fact that I need internet access for the work I do means I’m left without much of a bargaining chip here.

    Comcast is a huge pain in the neck.

    • therealchriss says:

      You know what wouldn’t be a pain in the neck?

      If you just paid their regular prices instead of begging for a handout.

  23. jayman419 says:

    No shell game or scam here, just a glitch in the system and an inexperienced phone operator. Having two or more services lowers the price for each. Canceling one or more services raises the price of the remaining ones (plus usually kicks in fees or penalties for early cancellation depending on the terms of the deal).

    The prices are still separate in the billing system so the different taxes and fees associated with those services can be properly applied (line tax, whatever) and so profits can be measured by division.

    When OP canceled his second service, the system should have automatically changed the price, but some sort of manual entry overrode that, leaving OP paying a “bundle” price for a single service. (Putting the lie to her “audit” claim a second time.)

    The tech could have handling the problem better or explained things a little more but she’d probably never seen anything like it before. That still doesn’t explain her giving the wrong information about current deals.