Thursday, May 10, 2007

Comcast: The Nightmare Continues

On several occasions now I have gone off about Comcast's poor service. First it was their decision to not only drop HDNet and HDNet Movies, but to announce the change with a postcard touting their improved service. Then it was the deteriorating internet service, and customer service representatives who, when customers have the audacity to complain, remind you that they don't guarantee 100% service. That's understandable, but when repeated outages start dragging that average hits 80% (5 "down" days out of 30), it becomes ridiculous. And don't even get me started on the rude technicians.

So how could Comcast possibly top itself?

By forgetting what time it is.

When you rent a DVR from the cable company, the time is set by them. There's no option for customers to set it themselves. Consequently, if that time runs a couple of minutes too fast, there's not a damn thing you can do about it. Additionally, if you're not watching the recorded programs until several days afterwards, you're not even going to be aware that there was a problem until it's too late.

I first began to get suspicious when I sat down on Tuesday to watch Heroes, and the show started with the last two minutes of Howie Mandel handing out briefcases on Deal or No Deal. And so what happens at the other end of the recording? Yup, I missed the last two minutes of Heroes. And since pretty much every episode of the series ends in a cliffhanger, I became quite distraught. Even cried myself to sleep.

Then yesterday I ran into the same situation with House. It started with the last two minutes of American Idol, and ended about two minutes prematurely. Same thing with the Medium that I just finished watching.

At first I thought maybe Comcast was getting back at me for dropping their internet service. But when I was checking my counter stats, I saw that one person had come across the site by googling some combination of the words "comcast time wrong warrenton." Not quite sure how that brought them here, but it was enough to tell me that other people have run into the same phenomenon.

I haven't yet watched last night's Lost, and frankly, I'm afraid of what I might find.

I checked the time on the DVR this afternoon, and it appears that they have finally corrected the problem. But still, how freakin' hard is it to learn how to tell time?

In a related matter, someone at a Verizon had told me a few weeks ago that DSL wasn't available where I live. And when I went to their site and typed in my address, I got the same information. But then I tried typing in the same street address but with the apartment numbers of my neighbors, and guess what? DSL was available to them! (Hey, if Bush can spy on Americans, then so can I).

After checking back with Verizon, it turned out that the problem was apparently that I didn't have a land line. Not sure why that made a difference, but apparently it was confusing their computer.

Anyway, my DSL package arrived today. It's now up and running, and so far I'm impressed. Hopefully Verizon's long term reliability will turn out to be better than Comcast's. Now if only they would hurry up and get FiOS out here, then I'll be able to dump our pathetic excuse for a cable company entirely.

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