When You Change Cable Packages, Don’t Assume Anything

When subscribing to cable TV or making changes to your plan, get a list of what your package includes in writing. Otherwise, you risk what happened to Alyssa’s household. Alyssa writes that she called up Comcast to downgrade her plan, paying extra to receive some channels in high definition. The problem was that she didn’t get all the basic cables in HD…which included the channels she actually wanted.

It wasn’t a mistake. They were paying to get some channels in HD, but not all of ‘em. Alyssa writes:

My husband and I recently went to downgrade our Comcast plan. When we talked with the CSR, she offered us a plan that would be $89 / month, which included most basic cable channels (among others, she listed Animal Planet, Spike, and Comedy Central) as well as internet. We paid a bit extra for the HD package, and ended the call happy.

Fast forward a few days, and we start to realize that of the channels we remember her listing, we aren’t getting. We call back Comcast Customer service, and after a very long wait, the customer service rep confirms we should be getting those channels, but the TV says “Not Authorized” when we go to them. After about 10 minutes of her searching their documentation, she asks us to try the non-HD versions of those channels, which come in just fine.

She then states that the package includes those channels, but does NOT include the HD version of those channels, despite us paying extra for the HD package. The first CSR never stated that the HD package offered different channels (generally it’s understood that not all channels come in HD, but if my package includes Comedy Central, and I pay extra for HD, I assume I’ll get Comedy Central HD since it exists).

Of course, at this point, she can’t transfer me to their cancellation department, because they’re closed for the day. My husband and I don’t watch much TV, and given that Colbert and Daily Show are both available online, we’d be fine with going internet-only. We just keep it because it tends to be a couple dollars per month more than internet alone. Unfortunately, even if we cancel the TV service, we’ll still be stuck with Comcast for internet because they’re the only option in our area.

We sent Alyssa over to Comcast’s elite customer service squad on the Twitter team, and they…weren’t able to help either. The package they’re paying for has the channels it has, and that’s all. So they cut the cord instead, keeping Internet service and canceling cable TV. “It seems counter-intuitive that if you’re told you’ll get channels like Comedy Central,” she writes, “and you pay for the HD package upgrade, that you wouldn’t receive that channel in HD, assuming it exists.”