Dear Comcast

Comcast uses nasty marketing and sales techniques. I called today to try to get my bill lowered and was surprised to learn about my DVR-cable-box.  This letter was sent right after my conversation with the rep:
Dear Comcast,

I called today to see if Comcast could match or beat AT&T's offer made to me a week ago.

In the course of my conversation with the Comcast representitive it was made apparent that the DVR I currently rent from Comcast is an Hd-DVR that costs $5/month more than I thought.

I do not have an Hd television. Never have. Indeed, when Comcast came to begin my service in 2004 they hooked the cable up to my old non-Hd televisions (2 of them, still hooked up).  When I went in a year later to upgrade to DVR, there were no choices of Hd or non-Hd DVRs, and it was to cost $9.95/month.

Your representative said that because I did not specifically ask for a non-Hd-DVR when I went into your service center in 2005 to upgrade from cable box to DVR cable box, I got what "the majority of customers want" which, according to the representitive, was an Hd-DVR.  I was not asked what kind of DVR I might want.  I was not informed there were two different kinds of DVR (I still am not clear, actually).  I was told upgrading to DVR would be $9.95, not the $15.95 it is now (I didn't know the price went up because I went paperless and it gets paid automatically).

After accidentally (unknowingly?, un-informedly?) upgrading to an "Hd-DVR" in 2005, when all I wanted was DVR, I understandably asked the representative on the phone today if there was a non-Hd peice of equipment that was cheaper that should have been offered to me, as I have no need for Hd and I shouldn't be charged for unnecessary equipment given to me by Comcast due to an omission on Comcast's part.  She said they are all Hd and all $15.95 now.  Then she said, after I asked many questions based on previous statements made by her, there was a crappy one that was cheaper and not Hd, but nobody wants that one.  And on and on she went, trying to save herself from the misdirection, misdirection which is undoubtedly made at the behest of management.  Not offering the cheaper alternative is one way to make money!

What the majority of people want doesn't matter to me, your customer. Let me instead ask how could I possibly know there was a non-Hd-DVR if I was never told in the first place?

Your representitive told me on the phone that if I had wanted to know what kind of DVR I had I could look at my bill. I had no reason to think there were different types of DVRs, so her suggestion was ill-posed, to say the least.  But, I looked. The September 2009 bill (earlier too?  they are not available for download) shows an item listed as only "DVR". This month's bill has "Hd-DVR".  I think the fact that in 2009, and most likely all the way back to 2005 when I upgraded, the item was listed as only DVR when there existed different types, allowing for all the fudging your representative engaged in on the phone today.

So, for five years I have had a piece of equipment that is more than I can use, and I have been charged roughly $5/month during that time for the privilege.

How is a customer to know there are different pieces of equipment at different prices unless Comcast shares that information? Clearly customers can't ask for what they do not know exists, but you are suggesting I should have asked.  I sure never asked for an Hd-DVR!

I was sold (rented) an Hd-DVR because Comcast neglected to offer me the cheaper, less robust one. Your position, that your representative reluctantly had to agree with, is Comcast expects that a customer should know to ask for things that are not known by the customer to exist in this, or any other universe, and if they don't ask, they will be sold the more expensive version, even if they don't need it.

That sucks.

I think you owe me, and probably many others, a refund.

Thank you for lowering my bill though! Competition in business really works!  

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