Merry Christmas from Comcast, part 2

I discovered that Comcast will be giving us the MLB Network (on channel 516), so I made the decision to add a third converter box to our setup. This has been one of the best customer service calls I have had with Comcast, ‘though it was not without its problems.

I’ll be the first to say that I’ve not been a fan of Comcast. I really loved Insight, but it switched to Comcast last year and the transition was not painless. We were fortunate that we didn’t have nearly the problems as other people, but it was annoying to have several rate increases before getting additional services/channels/etc.

I really got steamed every time I heard the “we have more high def that satellite” commercials (and we heard them quite frequently!) Up until a few weeks ago, we had a measly 13 HD channels, compared to my mothers 90+ on DirectTV. As we still can’t get our local/Indy channels on DirectTV, we were stuck with Comcast. So I did not expect the additional box changes to go smoothly or happen without gouging us with more fees.

I couldn’t justify getting a third DVR (at another $15/month) so I decided to stick with the standard digital box (at $7/month). I called Comcast and was told that they would charge an additional $40 for the service call/installation or they could mail me the box for $2. I asked if I could simply go pick the box up at the local office and was surprised to hear “yes” — I had previously been told we couldn’t do that anymore since the main office moved to Kokomo after the transition.

We went to the Lafayette office and picked up the standard box; ironically, she initially tried to give me the HD/DVR by mistake. I took the standard digital box home to set it up and then realized that it didn’t have an HDMI or Component Outputs, so that put a major crimp in my plans.

I called Comcast again to activate the box and talked to the nicest lady I’d ever have fortune to talk to — she looked at our bill and said “you are paying way too much money, let me see what I can do.” Long story short, she dropped our monthly bill $38, making it comparable with DirectTV and that includes the cable modem service. With that lower monthly amount, I could afford the HD/DVR box and solve all of my problems! 😉

We went back to our local office to exchange the boxes; after a decent wait (they were very busy today) we were able to swap the boxes out. They also sold me a decent HDMI cable for $11 — try getting it for that price at Best Buy! Even Walmart sells it for $19, so this was a bargain.

So I now have MLB Network in my office/mancave, along with our HD channels! Woot!

Comcast actually gave us more high-def

Comcast finally gave us more high-def channels; we’re now up to 42! Still have a way to go before we catch up to Mom’s 90+ on DirectTV.

Unfortunately, the rep I talked to said we won’t be getting the MLB Network anytime soon; why am I not surprised? UPDATED: We are getting MLB Network; in fact, it’s already on our system. Sweet!

We can’t switch to DirectTV because we still don’t get local channels; every county around us can get the Indy channels, but our local CBS affiliate is somehow blocking all locals in our county. I’ve written to my state Congress reps; a single station should not be able to block all locals. If we could receive the Indy channels, we’d switch today — I was concerned about losing WHMB, but LeSea does have a channel on DirectTV, so that would be fine. Now the only thing keeping us with Comcast is the local channels issue.

As much as I really dislike Comcast, I’ve got to admit that I love their “Bill won’t change” commercial — I don’t know why, but I find that really funny. 🙂

Circuit City extended warranty fun

With my recent drive failure, I got to experience Circuit City’s extended warranty process; the drive was purchased from CC last year and I did purchase the extended warranty, which in hindsight was a good thing! 🙂

Getting my drive replaced wasn’t a bad experience, but it could have been better…

I had used the extended warranty once before. We bought an HP 2575 All-in-One printer and when I got it home it wouldn’t scan properly — it left a large black streak through every page. So we boxed it up and took it back for replacement.

The second one scanned fine and appeared to print fine as well, but exactly two days after the return date had elapsed, the printer started having problems feeding the paper. Per CC’s suggestion, I contacted HP and they said that it needed to be cleaned (a brand new printer? dirty?) So they sent me a kit to clean it. The kit appeared to fix the problem for a few days, but then it still had problems. I contacted HP again, who said that the printer was probably defective (really? :)) They sent me a replacement and it has been rock solid. Yay!

Jump forward a few years: now I have a bad hard drive. I called our local CC and their menu directed me to call another phone number. After wading through the second menu, the operator sent me to a third number; that third number didn’t have a menu item for my problem. So I called our local CC again and spoke with a rep and they gave me yet another phone number — but he was polite and told me to call him back if that number didn’t work. That number also didn’t have a menu item for my problem, but it did mention that I could go online to http://www.cityassure.com to start the return process. That website has an online agent chat program, so I started talking to that agent.

She asked me the usual questions (no, I did not drop it or spill a milkshake on it) and then asked me a few seemingly nonsensical questions: why does it matter what operating system I’m running and if I’ve recently installed software? A hardware failure is pretty obvious when you’ve been working in the industry as long as I’ve been.

Long story short: they are shipping me a new drive. And next time, I will go to their website first instead of trying the phone method.

Update 10/18/08 — Instead of sending me a replacement drive, they sent me a gift card for $109.99 which I suppose was the original price of the drive. Unfortunately, that drive now costs $119.99 and that doesn’t count the new extended warranty. So I checked my options, and decided to use the gift card to buy a different larger drive. I bought a 1 TB Western Digital drive; I didn’t like WD for a while, as all of the WD drives we purchased for work had problems. Granted, that was many years ago, so I’m willing to bet that they are better now. Plus, this new drive is a Green Drive, using less electricity than standard drives and it is quieter. Add to that the fact that there are several reviews of my old Seagate drive talking about drive noise, I decided to make the switch to the bigger WD. It’s now installed and my data has been transferred over, so I’m a happy camper! 🙂