Well, I have internet and cable again…for now… but I still hate FiOS

Friday’s blog created a little bit of a stir online, so I figured it deserved a follow-up explaining the incident that sparked the song and letter to Comcast.

I’d been a Comcast subscriber in every apartment I’d had since graduating from college. That didn’t really make me a Comcast fan, however. In general, I’m against any company that holds a monopoly because with no other options, there’s no reason to keep prices low or provide high-quality service.

And there were plenty of times when Comcast royally pissed me off, usually relating to the commonly-held misconception that any woman who calls for help with cable or internet service must have the television on the wrong setting because she can’t possibly understand how these things work.

Which, if they’ve spoken to my grandmother, I understand why they would feel that way.

But because I’m actually fairly tech-savvy, I get annoyed quickly with customer service people who automatically assume that two x-chromosomes make you an idiot. And I had that experience with Comcast on quite a few occasions.

Up until last March, however, I had no other options if I wanted high speed internet and cable tv. My condo rules prevent me from getting a satellite dish, and no other services were available in my building. So even though there were other companies around, Comcast held a de-facto monopoly in my building. Which, through no fault of their own, annoyed me.

So when a FiOS rep came to my door one Sunday afternoon, offering a faster internet, more high definition channels, and lower prices on a different network that was newly available in my building, it sounded like a great deal.

And for the first month, I was thrilled. Sure it took all day to install the new service for no reason that I could understand. And true, my internet didn’t actually seem any faster. And it was annoying to learn a whole new set of channels. But I was out of Comcast’s monopoly! I couldn’t have been happier.

Then my first bill arrived. The FiOS rep who had sold me on FiOS had told me that my total bill, with internet and cable, including a multi-room DVR, HBO and Showtime, would be $99 a month. So I was pretty surprised when my bill was well over $200 a month.

I called FiOS, positive that they had made a mistake. “No,” I was told. It was no mistake. The representative must have made a mistake when he gave me that price. But while they were terribly sorry, there was nothing they could do about it. I had signed a contract and to end that contract early would cost me $360.

I was pissed off, but there wasn’t anything I could do. And as long as my service was working, I wasn’t that unhappy.

The first time my FiOS tv and internet went out completely was in June. I’d gone to see the Gaslight Anthem in NYC, came back very late the same night, and when I woke up the next morning, I realized my service had been out since the previous afternoon. I called FiOS, and they got a repairman out the same day to fix it. I was awed—Comcast had never been that quick. Granted, Comcast almost never needed to send anyone out to fix a problem—most Comcast problems could be fixed with a reset signal. But after that, it worked fine through the whole summer and most of the fall.

Until three weeks ago, when it stopped for no reason.

This time, I was pretty annoyed. There’s no reason for a service person to be sent out twice in six months. It happened on a Wednesday, and after two hours on hold and another forty-five minutes of walking through troubleshooting over the phone, I was told that the earliest anyone could come to fix it would be the following Tuesday. I said that was unacceptable, spoke with a supervisor, and was eventually given a repair date of Friday, between 1 and 5, but as I couldn’t get home until 3, I was assured the repairman would show up after 3.

I didn’t realize that meant 7:30pm. And when I called them to see where the technician was, I was told there was a three-hour grace period. And when the technician DID eventually show up, the problem was that when someone else got FiOS, that tech had pulled my wiring out by mistake.

Three weeks later to the day, the same thing happened. But this time, after speaking to a supervisor, I was told that they could come out Friday between 8am and 8pm, but that I had to be home the whole day to wait.

Which means that they think that a FiOS repairman is more important than a high school teacher.

I made enough of a fuss that they agreed to come after 3 again, because I refused to take off of work for a problem that I hadn’t caused. But of course the technician this time called me at noon to say he was there. I explained that he was just going to have to come back at 3pm, and was not too happy to have to deal with that during a class that I was teaching.

Then, when word of my anti-FiOS internet campaign got around, Verizon Support began tweeting me on Twitter, trying to resolve the problem. Their solution? Log onto their website to register the problem.

I asked the question back on Twitter, how exactly did they expect me to do that when my Verizon internet service wasn’t working? I could tweet from my phone, but really? Wow, way to be out of touch, Verizon!

The technician did show up at 3 that day, ignored me when I told him exactly what the problem had been last time, then seemed surprised when it was the exact problem that I had said it was.

Which means that twice in three weeks, a FiOS technician has screwed up my service and I’ve had to deal with it. They’ve made no effort to adjust my bill for the time that I spent without the services that I’ve paid them for, and no attempt to address the problem with any kind of a real solution.

And on the flip side, Comcast at least showed that they have a sense of humor, by replying to Friday’s blog with a comment saying that they miss me too, forgive me for leaving, and are waiting for me with open arms.

So while I know everyone is exceptionally polarized about which service provider is better, and I know that quite a few Verizon fans would like to argue with me, all I can say at this point is that the next time a FiOS tech messes up my service, I expect to be released from my contract WITHOUT paying the $360 fee. And Comcast, you’ll be getting a call from me as soon as that happens. Which, if the next couple of weeks are anything like the past couple of weeks have been, should be pretty soon.

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I hate FiOS… Comcast, baby PLEASE come home!

Dear Comcast,

Well, you said I’d be sorry for leaving you for FiOS, and you were right. This isn’t easy for me to say. I’m not used to crawling back to my exes. But I was wrong to leave you. I miss you, and I want you back.

When you first moved into Cable TV Montgomery’s old building in my neighborhood, I didn’t really notice much difference between you and CTM.  Sorry, I’m just being honest.  I was a kid—what did I know?

But I definitely remember running into you again in college. When you got to the University of Maryland, you were the biggest deal around, which is saying a lot considering we were there when the Terps won the NCAA basketball championship!

Everyone wanted you, and I was the one who was lucky enough to get you. I still remember how special I felt when we would spend time in my dorm room together. We made everyone who still had aluminum foil covered rabbit ears on their televisions so jealous.

Our relationship weathered some incredibly difficult times. You were there with me through September 11—I remember how I felt when you told me what had happened, but you were there with me that whole awful day, reassuring me that it would all be okay. Don’t think that my leaving meant that I didn’t appreciate any of that. I do. And I always will.

I know that you were shocked when I told you it was over between us. Please know that it wasn’t that you did anything wrong specifically. We were fine together. But by the time I left you, we had been together so long that it felt like the spark was gone. And I’m not going to lie, you really hurt me when I wanted us to move to Xfinity together, and you told me that you weren’t ready for that.

If I’m being totally honest, that’s what sent me into the arms of FiOS. You and I had been together for over ten years, and I felt like you weren’t ready to commit to taking that next step with me. And if you weren’t ready then, I felt like you wouldn’t ever be ready. And I didn’t want to spend my whole life waiting for something that wasn’t going to happen.

That’s when I met FiOS. I wasn’t looking to leave; FiOS just showed up at my door one day. Literally. It came knocking at my door, promising me all the things that you weren’t giving me. Fiber Optic speed. More high definition programming. A multi-room DVR. Lower prices than you had. And a commitment to all of that, right away, when after ten years, you still couldn’t give me that. I mean, you didn’t even have Comedy Central in HD. I felt like you were never going to change.

When FIOS and I first got together, I thought I was so happy. Everything felt perfect. I should have known better though. When something seems too good to be true, it usually is.

And in this case, it definitely was. The honeymoon ended quickly. FiOS had much higher fees than I’d been led to believe, and my bill was more than it ever was with you. But I stuck with it anyway, because I still thought I was getting what I wanted.

And imagine how hurt I was when I saw that right after I left, you went to Xfinity with other people! Ten years with me, and a month after I leave, you’re doing THAT? Well, I had no intention of coming back to you after I heard that.

I did see your Xfinity a few times though. I didn’t tell you that I saw it, because I couldn’t face you yet. But I saw. And I was so jealous, because even though I wasn’t ready to admit it, I missed you. And I wondered what was wrong with me that you couldn’t give ME Xfinity. I kept telling myself I’d made the right choice, because FiOS was giving me the things you weren’t. But that wasn’t true. And I wasn’t happy.

Last night was the final straw though. FiOS didn’t come home. Again. With no explanation, no reason, no warning. And as I sat there, with no cable, internet, or phone service, I asked myself what I was doing.

I tried calling last night to get an explanation about the sudden disappearing act. But the only answer I got was that I should wait at home from 8am today until 8pm for FiOS to come back. A twelve-hour window of waiting. And I said okay! That’s how bad the relationship had gotten. I was never a doormat like that before. And as I sat there with no distractions to prevent me from thinking about the situation, I realized that I deserve better than this. And the only time that I really GOT better treatment was when I was with you.

I don’t want to fight with you or rehash any of the problems that you and I had over the years. We were both wrong at times. But I realized something important last night: I don’t love FiOS. I don’t even LIKE FiOS. I liked the idea of FiOS, but the reality never once measured up to the image I had in my head. And in all the years I spent with you, I never felt as unappreciated as I did last night.

Comcast, I’m so sorry for the way I treated you. I should have told you what I was feeling and waited until you were ready to take the step to Xfinity with me. I know that now. And I don’t know if you can ever forgive me. But I hope you can. It’s over between me and FiOS and I wish I’d never opened my door that day. You’re the one that I want. The only one I can truly be happy with. So Comcast, baby, please, please come home.

Love,

Sara