Why I’m Quitting Comcast (Again)

With great power comes great responsibility -- on that front, the cable giant failed me.

Dear Comcast,

I won’t burden myself with pleasantries. Frankly, for reasons we both should be keenly aware of, you and I are past that point. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t do this type of thing, but I really take issue with you, and I feel you’ve left me no other choice.

Two years ago, when I moved out of my apartment, I did what you asked me: I returned my equipment to 1700 N. 49th Street, and despite the routine nature of my business that day, I did not complain about having to wait upward of a half hour to be serviced. Could there have been an express equipment return line to expedite things? Sure, I thought. But the slow pace would assure that everything was accounted for… Or so I believed.

When I got to my new place, I experimented a bit; we’d had our previous differences and despite your market dominance in the Greater Philadelphia area as a provider of cable and internet, I dabbled with Verizon’s high speed Internet, which was anything but. Frustrated, I called you back a few months later to begin our relationship anew, and like a jilted lover, you’d were vengeful. “We can’t activate your service,” said your customer service rep over the phone. “There is a $250 charge on your account because you didn’t return our equipment.”

News to me! Not only was it untrue, I’d never been notified of any outstanding balance. Had I not called to reactivate service, I would’ve never known! Remembering the painful wait at Parkside, I disputed.

“Oh wait. It says you did return it,” she said at the turn of a dime with a shrug in her voice. “Hm, wonder why that’s there.” Through the phone, I heard the click-clacking of the keyboard and was told that the charge would be removed from my account within days. “Call back in three business days. It’ll be gone by then, and you can set up new service.”

And so I did.

And two years later, I am your customer, and on frequent occasion I wonder why I pay for your services at all, seeing as you have shown little interest in providing me with a reasonably priced cable/Internet package—for the millionth time, I don’t need home phone service!—or competent support team.

On Friday, a home mortgage specialist ran my credit report and notified me that a $250 delinquency—you know, the one I never owed, the one that was said to be removed, enabling me to start new service—had been sent to collections, negatively impacting my credit score at one of the three bureaus.

When my $90 cable and Internet bill arrives each month, I find myself amazed that I pay so much money for such crappy service and crappy entertainment options that I don’t even watch. That’s not only a reflection on you, dearest Comcast; some of the credit also goes to these television execs who think we need more episodes of Big Brother or The Bachelor.

A lack of quality options and the sinking feeling that one is paying for something he or she did not ask for is the reason streaming services from Hulu, Amazon and Netflix have become so popular. As these companies move into creating their own original content (Orange is the New Black, anyone?) they are primed to compete against the old guard of cable TV. Netflix is already making history with the first major category Emmy nominations for a series delivered online; it won three of its 14 categories last night.

And so, as I write this letter to you, I am preparing to cut the cord, feeling duped by extravagant and enticing offers for free HBO. It’s like my great grandmother used to say, “Things don’t change, only situations.” At this point, there are no customer service credits that can be offered to make up for the damage done to my actual credit—however temporary. (I’ve had my issue escalated to your your higher-ups, which could be another letter entirely.)

According to Forbes, more than five million U.S. homes have “zero TV,” up from just over 2 million in 2007. I will soon join their ranks.

Research is turning up interesting options like Roku, and I’ve already have learned to take comfort in the reliability of Redbox.

You better hope I don’t find an alternate Internet provider.

I hate that it’s come to this, a tawdry open letter of grievances, though you should be accustomed to this sort of thing by now (I’ve seen your mentions on Twitter). Soon enough, I’ll be returning my cable box—for the last time. Fool me twice; shame on me. Fooling with cable? Shame on us all.

Never yours again,