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Comcast the Free Router and the Monthly Fee: a Story of Thanks

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Have I been helped or did I run up against a new marketing ploy? You tell me.

In conversation with Comcast after my router stopped working, they said,

“Hey, we’ll give you a free router. It’s part of our service to you!”

Cheery words! But wait—what’s the catch?

“No catch,” said the Comcast representative. “Look, I’ve already put in an order for you.”

Cool! Of course I want a free router! It would take five days via UPS—is it possible I could pick up an old router from the local Comcast store while I’m waiting? Just to keep the signal moving through my home?

“Certainly.”

So I did and the old router worked mostly well, though it drops the signal for about 30 seconds every hour or so. But I could live with that while waiting for this new Netgear router. The new Netgear router came: easy instructions, which I followed. No signal. Called Comcast:

“Sorry for your troubles. You’ll need to order our Xfinity service plan. It’s only XX per month. But what I can do is walk you through turning your router on and off.”

OK. Hmm. No service plan for me, thanks. Yeah—sometimes turning everything off and on helps. I’ve done it half a dozen times, but maybe I got the order wrong. I’ll try that. Didn’t work. Called Netgear. After an hour with a kindly gentleman from India, he concluded my router had been loaded with special Comcast software that would not bend to the will of his computer screen directions and superior knowledge.

Called Comcast. My router doesn’t work. Can you send me a working router?

“Sure. I’ll order one right away. And thanks for being a Comcast customer!”

I reinstalled the older Comcast router and it worked, though with the peculiar dropping of signals once an hour. And I anticipated the new Netgear router making it’s way across the land on a brown UPS truck. New Netgear router #2 came: same easy instructions. Same result. No signal. Called Comcast:

“Sorry for your troubles. You’ll need to order our Xfinity service plan. It’s only XX per month. But what I can do is walk you through turning your router on and off.”

No Xfinity plan, thanks. And actually, I’m now pretty good at turning it on and off, but thanks. Called my Netgear friends from India:

“I don’t understand why Comcast tells you to call us when they install special software on the routers. You’ll have to call Comcast. Here’s the special Comcast Router help numbers.”

What’s that? Special numbers for router support? That smells suspiciously like real help! I call both numbers—excited to encounter experienced talkers. How’s that? One number is out of service? What? The other number connects me to an Xfinity service plan automatic ordering line and I can be connected right now. No thanks. Back to installing the old router that drops signals. Still, it works. And for that I am grateful. I could just go buy a router and probably will. They get cheaper every week.

So—was I helped or was this just an elaborate ploy to get me to start another monthly fee to support the free Comcast hardware? I’m still not sure. But I’m thankful for the free old router that drops the signal with military precision once per hour.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and especially to Comcast and my Netgear friends in India!

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Image credit: Via We Love Typography, Good Deeds by jon contino

Written by kirkistan

November 23, 2011 at 8:59 am

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