But the other day, I heard we could get that basic in HD for just a couple of dollars more. I called the cable company, and sure enough. They could even get a tech out that afternoon.
So while waiting for the cable guy, I ordered an HD TIVO on Amazon, expecting to give away or sell our old one, and looking forward to the glory that is LOST and American Idol in HD so brilliant, you can see the hairs in Simon's nose or the food stuck in Hurley's chops.
Cable guy came and did his magic, leaving a little HD box on top of our armoire as he left.
So far so good- at least until the next day when the Tivo came. The HD box didn't have the right outputs to go to the Tivo AND plugging the cable right into the Tivo got me a message- you need two "CableCARDS" to make this work.
Okay, thinks I- how hard could that be?
I called the cable company and was told- Sure- we have those- just go down to the service center and pick them up. Sounds easy I thought.
The next day around lunch time, I head down, take my number, wait my turn, and get promptly DENIED. Not only was I denied, but I was made to feel foolish. "We don't do that" they said. Regardless of what the customer service rep told you- we don't hand out the cards (they actually don't- it's a tech install) and we don't give them out for anything under our basic extended package (two tiers above what I wanted to pay).
Why not? "It won't work- technically it's incompatible" three separate customer service people lied to me.
But I have a friend who already has exactly what I'm asking for. "No, you don't."
Ahh- fine, whatever. Upsell me.
So I left, angry and a lot lighter in the wallet than I wanted, determined to look at the DISH network.
And that's when the magic started. On the way home, at a stop light and definitely NOT contrary to Oregon's newly passed anti-texting laws, I Twittered the following: "I despise the shifty, upselling, lie-telling tactics of @Comcast. "Sorry we just dont do that simple thing we already did for your friend.""
Within minutes I had a reply from @ComcastBonnie asking what had happened. In 140 character increments I told her just what had happened and just how I felt. SHe told me the reps were misinformed and that BY LAW they had to give me what I was asking for.
That was all I needed to hear. I called Comcast and explained my situation to the first rep. Again, denied. We don't do that. I told him I was in touch with a customer representative from their headquarters who assured me they did. I got kicked up a level.
This guy told me the same thing. We don't do that. BY LAW? No... there's no law. Who's telling you that?
Uh... ComcastBonnie? On the Twitter?
No. But we *can* do this with just the basic started package, one tier down from what they had sold me earlier- but still more cable than I wanted.
Sigh- let's do that.
I reported back to Comcast Bonnie what had happened and she continued to assure me I was in the right. In the meantime, I checked Google for this "law" of which she spoke, and sure enough- the FCC/Congress *mandate* that the cable companies provide these cards to whoever asks for them. This is to keep the cable companies from shutting out other devices besides their own- basically making you use their DVR.
Comcast Bonnie asked for my phone number and a 1/2 hour later, I had a call from someone at Comcast, no doubt a few pay grades above the drones I had been being frustrated by all day. She assured me they'd work something out, and after checking and calling me back, told me that YES, they could do exactly what I was asking. Her exact words? "We don't proactively offer this to customers, but we do provide it when asked."
Yeah. When asked repeatedly over the course of 15 different conversations with 20 different reps, you do. Otherwise...
But the thing that impressed me was this: While the traditional route of calling customer service yielded the expected results of frustration and run-around, simply Twittering my anger with them resulted in attention and service beyond anything I've gotten from a company like Comcast. Regardless of their other issues and the fact that they seem intentionally to be subverting the will of the FCC and their customers, they are getting customer service thru social media right.
Kudos, Comcast and @ComcastBonnie. I appreciate this piece of my experience with your company.
And if I have any other problems, I know now how to let you know :)