Saturday, February 13, 2021

New Cable Provider Causes Xtreme Pain

A couple of months ago, it dawned on me that I had not smashed a hammer into my thumb in quite a long time, which meant I was overdue for some self-inflicted pain. So, unable to locate my hammer, I decided to do something equally as painful: switch to a different cable TV provider. To prevent corporate lawyers from coming down on me like a load of bowling balls dropped from the Goodyear blimp, I will not mention the name of the cable company, other than to say it may or may not rhyme with the word “Bombast.”

They actually have a different brand name for their cable service, which for legal reasons I also will not mention. But if you remember from math class, the letter “X” stands for an unknown, while the term “infinity” means something that is endless. So, if you combine an unknown with infinity, you will get both the brand name plus the answer to this question: “How long will I have to wait on-hold to speak with a Bombast customer service representative?”
My intention was to sign up at least for high-speed internet, and if the price was reasonable, add on a basic cable TV package. If the TV price was too high, I planned to get only the internet and subscribe to a streaming service like Hulu or YouTube TV.

After waiting on-hold for approximately three-and-a-half infinities, a customer service rep finally got on the line. I explained to him what I wanted. He said they had a special offer just for me: high-speed internet plus the basic cable package with over 100 channels for only $89.99 per month. When I asked what internet alone would cost, he said $1,000 per month. (No, I’m kidding. I forgot the exact amount, but it was not much less than $89, making the internet-only and separate streaming service not an economically wise option.)

Then I asked him a question that seemed to catch him by surprise. “So, you’re saying,” I began, “that my total bill each month — the TOTAL amount I have to pay — will be exactly $89.99 and not a penny more, correct?”
“Well, um,” he hesitated, “that is the price of our special offer.”

“But is that the total amount of money out of my pocket, or are there additional charges?” I asked.
After going back and forth for a couple more infinities, he finally acknowledged there sometimes are additional fees and charges. (He was, of course, using the definition of the word “sometimes” that means: every single stinkin' time.)

At that point, it was way past my bedtime. My head was throbbing. I remember having this thought: “I wish my hammer wasn’t missing. The pain in my thumb would’ve subsided by now.”

I finally gave in and agreed to sign up for a two-year plan with, quote, “Great features and a super low price!” My best estimate is that it would cost me about $140 per month.

So, a few weeks later, I received my first invoice: $233.84. What?! Once again I called customer service, this time to complain. After waiting on-hold for the requisite three-and-a-half infinities, a different representative explained there was a one-time $75 installation charge included in the amount. “You mean for the guy in the van who plugged in the cable box and the wifi modem, and then left three minutes after he got here?” I asked.

“Exactly!” the representative cheerfully replied.
It turns out the regular monthly charge will be $161.25, which is probably not terrible for high-speed internet and over 100 TV channels. 

But for that kind of money, I could’ve bought a lot of hammers. 

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