When we bought our house last fall, we chose Comcast for phone and internet service. At first we weren’t even going to get a land line and just rely on our cell phones, but after Kiara locked her phone in the garage, we decided that for safety’s sake we should have a land line. We would have gone with Qwest, since it’s a bit cheaper and DSL is fast enough for our needs, but no one we talked to at Qwest could find our address in the system, so they couldn’t even provide phone service. Never mind that the house has been there fifty years and Qwest provided service to the previous owners, we weren’t in the system and that’s that.

So Comcast seemed the obvious choice, both for phone and internet (we didn’t want cable TV). A few dollars more expensive, but faster — and they acknowledge the presence of our house. And tech support was phenomenal the few times I needed to call it, even when they were obviously disappointed and confused by my using a Mac. Really, I felt upbeat after every call. How often does that happen with tech support?

And we were pleased. For a few months, at any rate. Then small annoyances started to add up. We would be without internet service for hours, sometimes days with neither notice nor explanation. No, that’s not entirely true: whenever I called, I’d be told it was scheduled downtime. That lasted for days. Downtime happens, I know, but there was an awful lot of it “scheduled.” And although I never used the Comcast email address, we got a lot of spam sent to it.

We were also disappointed with the phone number we’d been given. Whoever had had it before, apparently just a few weeks before we inherited it, left a lot of unpaid debts. I kid you not, easily 90% of the phone calls we got were not for us, they were collection agencies after this guy. We just stopped answering the phone. Had we stayed with Comcast, we would have a new phone number, no question, but is it just a coincidence that a coworker who also used Comcast for phone service had the same problem? Probably, but it’s an odd one.

This spring, Qwest found our house in their system, and we dropped Comcast right away. We didn’t and don’t expect that Qwest service will be that much better, but so far it’s been fine. No unexpected — excuse me, scheduled outages. My coworkers are aghast that I’d go with DSL over cable modem because it’s slower, but I’ve rarely found that to be a problem. Right now I’m more hampered by the flaky wireless on the laptop than anything else. We’re content with Qwest, and we’ll stick with ’em for a while. I’m in no hurry to change my phone number again, and now the phone works even if we lose power. :-)

A few days ago, Comcast nailed the lid on the coffin. They sent a bill for long distance calls made in late July and August. There are two problems with this:

  1. We never had long distance service with them. Our cell phone plans offer that for “free”, so we chose only local service with Comcast.
  2. We cancelled our service on April 27!

Billed for calls we obviously never made. The guy I talked to at Comcast was as confused as I. He couldn’t even see that I’d been billed at all, or had any charges on my account. Great. So I’m ignoring the bill for now, and hoping that the customer service guy really did make notes on my account. With my luck, I can just see this going to collections because their accounting system is frelled.