"...it's like Will Rogers, Jean Shepherd and some grumpy Jewish man all rolled into one."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

To Xfinity And Beyond!

Cable companies are such easy targets, aren't they?

Scene 1:
We move during the summer. I call Xfinity/Comcast/KableTown (whatever they're calling themselves these days) regarding a special "move-in" offer. A very nice guy gives us a great deal on re-establishing our services (nearly 50% less than what we had been paying). We just need to pretend this is a "new" account, so now the cable will be under Carol's name rather than mine. He says he'll take care of everything to "transfer" the account, and even arranges to have the installer come the day after we move. Fantastic!

Scene 2:
The move was... harrowing, as described in other blog posts and email updates. Beastly hot, too much stuff in way smaller place, boxes and clutter everywhere, general exhaustion. The installation is rescheduled several times and finally takes place about three weeks after we move.

Scene 3:
Cable charges come as e-bill via our bank, as expected. Bill includes charge for installation, not as expected since the nice guy said there would be no charge for that. Lengthy online chat with Xfinity leads to a credit being applied, reluctantly. I pay the "true" amount. The next month's e-bill comes through with the correct amount and I schedule the payment pronto.

Scene 4:
While on vacation, I get a call from Xfinity asking about our "old" account, the one at the address we moved from. They have no record of us requesting a disconnect, and the new tenant in our old apartment can't have cable installed until I indicate we're done with the service there. Hmm, I say -- that nice guy I spoke to several months ago said he'd take care of all of that. We are long-gone from the old place and old service. The very nice woman says she'll update her records and oh! by the way -- you're entitled to a sizable refund for overpaying on your old account. Gee, how'd that happen? I wonder...

Scene 5:
We come home from vacation and sort through the mail. Comcast (not Xfinity? I'm confused) sends a Final Notice of Disconnection, stating we owe for 2 months' service and need to submit the past due balance no later than... 3 days ago. We still have cable and internet on in the apartment (and somewhere in there is also phone service that we never use; how are these "bundles" cheaper when you add something you have no use for?), so I decide to follow up the next day.

Scene 6:
Turns out our services weren't transferred -- a new account was established with a new account number, which I failed to notice and therefore didn't update the online bill payment settings. When I now compare the two, both start with the same six digits, so I likely glossed right over that when the first "new" bill came through. Payments for our new services have been applied to our old account -- the one that apparently was never closed after we moved. I provide the agent with whom I'm chatting a bunch of information regarding the payment history, including the serial numbers on the currency I'd deposited into our checking account to cover the balances due. In response, she tells me there will be an "investigation", I'll get a call from the "Investigations Unit" within a day or two, and as a result the payments will be redirected to the correct account. (Not sure what they're going to investigate since the outcome of said investigation seems to be staring us all in the face.) I specifically ask the agent if our current services will be interrupted at all due to this snafu; she assures me that the new account will not be interrupted. I keep a transcript of the chat.

Scene 7:
We come home after a long day at work and grocery shopping, prepare a quick dinner, and sit down in front of the TV for a little relaxation. Cable service has been interrupted. Message on screen advises to call, and recording on the line asks us to pay up, pronto. Chat Session #2 goes over much of the same territory as Chat Session #1 the previous day. This very nice person (gender unknown; name and chat vocabulary are both asexual) says s/he will make sure the account is re-established immediately, while the investigation allegedly launched the day before will now be re-launched right after this chat session. Cable should be restored in 30-45 minutes.

Scene 8:
Two hours later, I am entrenched in Chat Session #3 since the only thing I see on the TV is a floating message saying "No Signal". Very nice tech sends three reset signals of varying magnitude (one of them turns on our toaster), and finally I am watching "The Big Bang Theory" on TBS, which is what we wanted to do hours before. Carol has since gone to bed, but not before our mounting exasperation with the situation leads to a few terse exchanges between us -- I snap at her, she tells me to drop dead, and finally we shake hands and retire to neutral corners. We're good like that; 32 years married and we know when to ignore each other's invective.

Scene 9 (staging TBD):
What will happen next? Will we see the credit transferred to the correct account? Will the Investigations Unit ever call, or will two men in black suits looking suspiciously like Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones show up at our front door and flash that thingy in our faces so we forget all about this fubar? And what about the mysterious call this afternoon from yet another department at Ex-fun-ity asking me to call back and discuss a "third-party email" used to attempt access to our account? What were the first- and second-parties and why wasn't any booze served?

Tune in tomorrow for our next chapter of: "TO XFINITY... AND BEYOND"!!!

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