Full disclosure: this blog post is being brought to you by my Cable Company’s very expensive and opaque cable package.
I had a To-Do list to take care of this morning. There were some bills to pay, but primarily, I wanted to see how much I could lower my monthly expenses.
I love the ease of ordering a book or magazine subscription from Kindle but there is the potential problem of Subscription Creep. You know how it is: you see a magazine that looks interesting, so you subscribe. It’s easy: just one click.
Then you realize that you no longer read that magazine — or the 6 others you’ve subscribed to–so it’s time to trim the monthly outlay. I trimmed those down in quick order.
The next item on my list was to get my cable bill down, naive fool that I am.
When I moved a few years ago, I called to have the service moved and said I wanted to pare things down. The lovely woman at customer service offered me the same package, PLUS the premium movie channels and half the rate I was currently paying, so I said, “Sure!”
Trouble is, over time, that low rate creeps up to surpass what you were paying a few years ago, so this morning I set out to cut that rate down.
First, I wanted to cancel the premium movie channels because (1) I don’t watch them anymore and (2) if I do want to watch HBO, I can now get it on Netflix.
So I ask to cancel the premium channels and all heck breaks loose. Apparently, there are penalties for such rogue behavior.
Sure, they can cancel the movie channels, but my Internet speeds will be reduced.
What if I cancel the telephone, which is only used by telemarketers and, hence, never used by me.
No phone? Well, then I can’t take advantage of the special pricing for bundling my services. In short: it will cost me more.
We play this pas de deux for a few minutes. He offers me my same service for a $32 dollar month discount. (Big whoop–I’m currently paying over $200 dollars/month for channels that I never watch.)
Whatever I wanted to cut out resulted in some penalty–slower speeds or higher rates.
So then I ask the poison question: Can they please send me an itemized list of all their services so that I can see exactly what I am paying for?
And he says…
He says that they realize that an itemized list can be very confusing, which is why they offer the packages.
“Do you think I am so dim-witted that I cannot read your list and understand it?” I ask.
“Oh, no, Ma’am, not you.”
“Then please send it to me.”
I’m not sure what he said then. Was it that they understood which channels I watched or that if I gave one thing up, I would pay more for the things I kept? Or was it that he couldn’t send me the list?
I think it was the latter but I reminded him that he did have my e-mail address. Regardless, nothing was settled.
So I left it at this: give me your stupid $32 dollar discount to change absolutely nothing with the understanding that I would be checking out the other options and writing some letters to the Mayor, my Congressman, to whomever is best equipped to deal with this.
Do I jump from cable provider to satellite dish company to just an HDTV antenna? Who knows?
I aim to find out. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for that itemized list from the cable provider.
Let’s not hold our collective breaths on this one.