Thinking of making a change / Existing customer trying to negotiate with Comcast

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by srauly, Jan 22, 2020.

  1. srauly

    srauly Member

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    Simsbury,...
    So I've been mulling over my situation, but I'm a bit all over the place right now. I'm a long-time TiVo user and I've also been on a Comcast internet/TV plan that was a great deal for a while, but the promo price ended a while back, combined with them steadily increasing rates. The plan I have used to be called "Blast! Plus" (if I remember correctly) and I think it was originally 150Mbps download speeds, along with an odd cable package that provided *almost* every channel that I cared about, but lacked a few big ones (ESPN, HGTV, and Food Network). At one point it cost me about $85, after taxes, and now I'm paying about $137. They did increase my internet speeds over time, so I'm actually on their 300Mbps download speed internet tier, but the channel lineup has stayed the same.

    So, every so often, I'd have a need to watch an NFL game on ESPN, and would sign up for whatever Sling's cheapest plan with ESPN is. Then I'd try to remember to cancel my Sling plan.

    Recently I checked out Comcast's website while I wasn't logged in, and of course there are several promotional plans being offered. When I'm logged in, though, there's only one plan being offered to me: $119.99/month for 600Mbps download speed, 219+ channels (includes the ones I mentioned that I'd like), as well as Starz, Showtime, and EPIX (I don't care about the latter two, but my wife does like Outlander on Starz). It also includes Netflix, which I have a subscription to, so if the bundle saves me some money on that, that would be nice. And it includes phone service that I absolutely have no desire for (I have an Ooma with unlimited calling, but I don't even use that often, and instead just use my cell phone when I'm home and need to make a call). It requires a 2-year commitment.

    That promo isn't bad, except it doesn't include all of the hidden fees (e.g., broadcast fee, regional sports fee), so I believe the final price after fees and taxes would be over $150. I tried asking a chat rep if it could be upgraded to Gigabit internet, and he ended up quoting me a price that was about $50 more than the total price he quoted me for the promo plan I listed above, which included even more channels (that I don't care about), whereas upgrading from 600Mbps to Gigabit should be like a $5 upgrade according to their pricing card.

    Speaking of the pricing card...when I'm logged into my account, I can view/download a PDF of that pricing card, but if I try to change my plan, it only shows me that one promo plan, and doesn't really give me the ability to choose anything I want from the pricing card, which seems ridiculous. The chat reps are also slow to respond and I've found negotiating with them to be useless...in the end, they tell me to call their 800 number to speak to someone to negotiate more.

    My wife and I both work from home, so upgrading to the Gigabit plan seems like it would be nice, mainly due to the improved upload speed (35Mbps vs the 10Mbps I usually see today with a SpeedTest - I notice, though, that my 300Mbps plan is only listed to offer a 5Mbps upload speed on Comcast's site). But, truth be told, if I couldn't get the Gigabit plan and had to make due with something even as "slow" as their 200Mbps tier, that probably wouldn't be a problem. One of the few things that does seem to be in my favor is that I'm in CT, which is apparently one of the few states that they don't impose their 1TB/month data cap (I've seen some months where we're upwards of 750Mbps, so that would concern me).

    After getting upset with wasting several hours across several days trying to negotiate with Comcast, I then started thinking about getting *just* their Gigabit internet service, which would cost me $108/month + tax (and maybe some fees?). I would opt to buy my own modem (and possibly temporarily live with the one I already own which I understand would cap out well shy of Gigabit speeds). But then I'd need to get something like YouTube TV at $50/month.

    So, if the final price is going to be slightly cheaper with the Comcast TV/Internet bundle, then I'm thinking that I'm probably crazy to do that.

    That said, there's a part of me that thinks I might prefer aspects of having YouTube TV vs TiVo, primarily because it would allow me to have my TV stay on a single input (Apple TV or Fire TV), versus having to swap between my TiVo and my Apple TV, depending on what I want to watch. But it's not like that's hard to do with my Harmony remote.

    I'll just add that I own my own TiVo Roamio (Living Room) and a single TiVo Mini (Master Bedroom). On occasion, my wife will stream something on the Apple TV in her office/craftroom, and my daughter (who is in college, so not home much) will do the same in her bedroom. I've also got a couple of extra 4K Fire TV sticks that I don't use much, but have considered using as my #1 input now that they have access to the Apple TV app and can show my Wyze cams (but I don't really need to see my Wyze cams when I'm home, so that's not a big deal).

    Anyway, feel free to react to anything I've posted above, but I'm especially interested in the following:
    1) Anyone here an existing Comcast customer who has a semi-recent success story they can share about negotiating a "new customer" promo or even just negotiating *anything* from them?
    2) Any opinions/perspectives regarding the Internet-only w/YouTube TV versus Comcast TV + Internet approach?
     
  2. NorthAlabama

    NorthAlabama tabasco rules

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    as to your first question, success negotiating with comcast for a promotional offer depends on the competition at your address - are there any other cable or fiber isp's available to you at your home?
     
  3. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    I recently cut Spectrum cable. The similarity of your description of the frustrating experience of trying to get straight and responsive discussion about packages and rates out of reps really struck me. It’s like the way it used to be (probably still is) with car salesmen: The only thing you can count on is not getting straight dealing! It amazes and saddens me that apparently the reason they keep acting this way is: it works! Apparently most consumers accept this kind of treatment. A contributing factor is the lack of competition although services like YTTV may be changing that — that’s what I’m on now and will never return to traditional cable tv.

    Some of deals you were offered by Comcast might have been good enough to keep me on Cable for a little while longer but Spectrum wouldn’t offer anything reasonable even when I threatened to cut cable. They finally got serious the day I actually called in to request termination but it was too late then. I had already switched my TiVo to OTA mode and removed the CableCARD, disconnected my TA and was free-trialing YTTV. And I’m sure that within another few months Spectrum would have put me through the agony of trying to negotiate down another big increase. Enough!

    I don’t necessarily expect that internet TV will alway provide big cost reductions over cable. High cost of quality content will continue to be the big cost driver. And the cable operators will increase their internet rates to compensate for losing TV customers — unless there is high speed internet competition in the region. But the transparency, competition and ease of switching services of internet TV make it much preferable even if there is NO cost saving. It’s the wave of the future.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  4. Fugacity

    Fugacity Member

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    I didn't even negotiate i canceled my internet(didn't have cable yet) the last day of the cycle. Was paying promo for 400mb of $65/month. I work from home so I always have att internet as well typically so I wasn't without internet. Then a week later I signed up for the $40 (400mb) plan and $40 spectrum select. So basically added cable for $15. Sometimes its not about negotiation but just straight out cancelling. Overall with the broadcast fees, cable card, etc its actually just under $35 more than I was paying and locked in for 2 years. I returned the equipment at the store and ordered online. The only thing I had to call about was the cablecard/tuning adapter before the install date(which of course wasn't brought) but if I had all that stuff it would have been easier. The tricky part might be you may have to turn in the cable card/tuning adapter for the account to be all closed out properly so you can sign back up as a new customer after the final invoice posts. They say you have to wait 30 or 60 days, but realistically they want your money ASAP.
     
  5. trip1eX

    trip1eX imo, afaik, feels like to me, *exceptions, ~aprox

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    free trial the YTTV. Use it while you keep what you have in place. SEe what you think. I really like the YTTV. I think it's better overall than Tivo+ cable. But I just need it (to) record and playback tv as easy as possible and be able to skip commercials responsively enough. IF it does those things with less fuss and a cheaper price then it's a winner in my mind. And that's YTTV in a nutshell.

    It was easy for me to let go of slo-mo, or fast speed or auto skip or archiving for a decade or "real" fast forwarding (compared to using thumbnails to fast foward thru a recording) or wish list recording or not being able to skip the dead time between football plays as consistently and responsively or thoroughly as you can on Tivo or the better Tivo guide...

    In turn I gained unlimited storage for 9 months. No deleting stuff. Unlimited tuners. No prioritizing stuff. I don't have to pad recordings or select # of episodes to keep or reruns or new or any of that stuff. IT's just click something and you'll get the episodes. YTTV seems more responsive than an original Mini connected to a Roamio Plus over Moca. Interface is easy and more useful overall except guide navigation can be a bit slow/limited. No expensive equipment needed. I get the exact same experience and quality of life on mobile devices as on a TV. Maybe even better in some ways. You get accounts for every family member so everyone has their own recordings. Channels can be re-ordered in the guide. Easier to get to places in longer recordings. Also can use voice to skip. CAncel anytime in seconds. Pause service (and not pay) for up to 2 months (and keep recordings.) You get all your other streaming apps on the same device/tv input. Often there is an on-demand version of a movie or show you haven't recorded yet or forgot to record. thumb nail fast forwarding (which doesn't require timing your button presses.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
    NashGuy and mschnebly like this.
  6. srauly

    srauly Member

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    Simsbury,...
    Yeah, I meant to mention that...I basically have no other option at my house for high-speed internet. No FIOS, no Google Fiber. I'm sure that Comcast/Xfinity is smart enough that they maintain a database with that sort of information so that they know which of their customers have real options outside of them.

    Yeah, I'm planning to sign up for the free trial to check it out.
     
  7. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    Twice in the last four years I've gone in to my local Comcast office and had success at getting a good deal.

    Last summer my two year contract was just ending and my bill was going to go up at least $50 a month. I told the rep my goal was to avoid the increase. He was having trouble finding just the right bundle and in the end asked if he could add a small bundle of channels (one of which my wife does watch) and that qualified us for the best price.

    I left with the same monthly price, more channels and gigabit Internet speed. And no contract. The Comcast rep encouraged me to come in whenever necessary to see about getting the current promotion.

    The 1000 down/50 up has been nice. And Comcast does not enforce the monthly data cap in our state, in an effort to remain competitive with FiOS. (We went over 1000 GB in December...three adults with lots of time off and heavy use of Disney+ and Apple TV+).
     
  8. reneg

    reneg Well-Known Member

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    I used r/Comcast_Xfinity on reddit last year and had success for TV only pricing. Follow their instructions and post publicly. Seemed to generate good results with minimum time and effort for me.
     
  9. SNJpage1

    SNJpage1 Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    Atlantic...
    I renewed my comcast triple play two weeks ago here in NJ. My other package had 240 channels, 300 down load speed and the phone. It was $189 before other fees and charges. My new package has 300 channels plus Netflix, 1000 internet speed and the phone line. The package is $149 a month plus the other fees. So I saved $40 a month. But as of Jan. 1st their other fees all increased. So I only ended up saying about $25. Even though my package says DVR service is included I have to pay $9 a month for a DVR.
     
  10. randian

    randian Active Member

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    Is U-Verse considered competition? That's my only alternative to Comcast. Their web page calls 50Mbps "fiber-fast speed". What a joke. Proper AT&T fiber isn't available in my area, and I suspect never will be even though they claim it's available in my city. Their map doesn't give enough detail to see what areas are actually being serviced, I suspect on purpose so you can't see what they're really doing.
     
  11. NorthAlabama

    NorthAlabama tabasco rules

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    yes, comcast would be competitive against an at&t bundle, call them to see what they're offering new customers for a double or triple play at your address, then use it as leverage against comcast.

    i know 50mbps seems like dial-up in today's broadband market, but u-verse service is solid, and if you don't need 3 or 4 simultaneous streams in your home, i think you'd be satisfied.
     
  12. NorthAlabama

    NorthAlabama tabasco rules

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    sweet home, al
    yes, most isp's maintain a database of competitive offers at customer addresses, so if there's no fiber or another cable provider, you're pretty much at their mercy. our market has multiple cable and fiber offerings, and while it doesn't help much, i can always be someone's new customer. :)

    i will add that when i ported my phone away from comcast (dropping to a double play package), then called to disconnect, they were very agreeable in allowing me to continue my old promotion for another 2 years on a triple play with no interruption. the local office even offered to give me the same deal immediately following my disconnect if retention didn't work with me, so you might try the local office.
     
  13. srauly

    srauly Member

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    Apr 26, 2000
    Simsbury,...
    Thanks again, everyone, for the ideas. A couple of responses to some of the replies:

    Reddit: Yeah, I found that, but possibly made the mistake of trying to message the Comcast rep directly, rather than post a public message, and I haven't heard back (yet). I was going to then post a public message (which I may still do), but then noticed that a lot of recent threads had gone unanswered, and a couple of people there posted that the reps seemed to be ignoring Reddit.

    Local Comcast office: I think the last time I got a good deal involved me going into one of their offices, so I am considering that. Again, though, I found some posts (somewhere) where some people indicated that they had did not have success (recently) at their local Comcast office. And it would really bug me if I wasted the effort of driving to an office and spending a lot of time waiting around just to find out that they wouldn't offer me anything. But that may be a last resort.

    So far, I've only crunched some numbers, thought about what I really want/need, and wasted a lot of time trying to haggle with the chat reps. So I still haven't even called their 800 number and tried to haggle with them, which will be my next approach before trying a Comcast store.

    One other question for anyone with Comcast's Gigabit service....I'd plan to purchase my own modem (right now I have a Netgear CM600 which I believe caps out at well under Gigabit speeds), and I see several options on Comcast's site. I plan to do more Googling on this subject, but if anyone here has done any research on this already and can tell me any pros/cons on the various options, that would be appreciated:

    - ARRIS SB8200
    - Motorola MB8600
    - NETGEAR CM1200
     
  14. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    I was in the same boat, the modem I owned was not up to gigabit speeds. I found the Arris SB8200 reviews to be mixed, but purchased anyway. I've been using the SB8200 since last summer and it has worked fine. No problems.
     
  15. schatham

    schatham Well-Known Member

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    The easiest way to get a good deal on Comcast is to cancel TV and keep internet. Wait for your billing cycle to end then check online and you will get all the new customer offers for double play, triple play etc. I've done this twice and got the $79 double play each time. They won't offer you double play if you have TV active.

    Wait until near the end of your cycle. I had to wait only 2 days for the offers to show.
     
  16. chiguy50

    chiguy50 Well-Known Member

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    Atlanta, GA
    In order to view the offers available to the general public, you will need to open a private browser. Otherwise, your IP address will still identify you to Comcast's servers as a current customer.

    I believe the bundle you mention is the Signature Triple Play (see below), which also includes a speed increase to gigabit for the first 12 months.

    Depending on your zip code in Simsbury, you might also want to look into the Super Triple Play bundle, which I think is a better offer--especially if you like HBO (see the details below). You do not need to use the Xfinity VOIP service that comes with any bundle, but the $12 discount for Xfinity Mobile is an attractive feature if you want to switch cell phone service providers (XM uses the Verizon network). My wife and I have had XM for over a year and love it. The $12 will offset the fee for up to five lines using up to 1GB of shared data leaving just the taxes and pass-through charges. Other plans are available for more data usage.

    signature triple play.jpg
    Super Triple Play.jpg



    Right, you should add approx. $30 to the standard service charge to reflect the various add-on fees. I believe that Comcast is now more transparent about those fees at the outset so you should be able to get their reps to give you a final all-inclusive package price before you commit.

    Even where they impose the 1TB/month cap, Comcast will exempt you from the $50 overage charge up to twice within a 12-month period. So if you infrequently exceed 1TB/month it should not be an issue for concern.

    I agree that one of the service bundles represents your best value. Try talking to a telephone CSR or go to your local Xfinity store. But bear in mind that there are not a lot of special deals or discounts anymore in the Comcast ecosphere since they changed their fee system to "Simple and Easy." The published deals are pretty much it (with a few exceptions for those of us who like to wheedle:D).

    I like the Netgear CM1200. You can also consider the older model CM1000 which is good for gigabit speeds and should save you around $50. But note that none of these models is suitable for Comcast VOIP service; if you ever decide you want that option you would need the CM1150V.
     
  17. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    Or just call and select cancel/downgrade service to get to a retention rep that can offer new customer deals. Been doing that for over 10 years now.
     
  18. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    In the ATL
    And more importantly never make the mistake of going over 3 times in 12 months, then you never get the free overage months back. I forgot about this a few years ago with a teenage son living with us, but fortunately now that he's moved out we never hit the cap.
     
  19. WVZR1

    WVZR1 Active Member

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    The WV...
    A change in Xfinity 'VOICE'!! If it matters to anyone (it does me) the PC & CONNECT TEXTING FEATURE is going away 3/24. I relied on that feature for communication with medical, financial & friends. My VOIP # that I've had for 35+ years won't port to most inexpensive mobile providers. I don't speak so 'RETAIL MOBILE' for just TEXT is silly maybe. For sure won't port to Verizon/Xfinity!
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  20. NorthAlabama

    NorthAlabama tabasco rules

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    that didn't work with comcast for my last renewal, i actually had to cancel something before they'd negotiate.
     

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