I just got off the phone with Comcast to sort out why my phone bill is so damned expensive even though I don’t use long distance and to understand how the cost has mysteriously crept up over time. Now, I’m usually a kind and diplomatic person. But there’s something about phone companies that really bring out the worst in me. Either that or phone companies only hire customer service agents who are apathetic, unhelpful, and uninformed.
For all of my other bills, I have automatic withdrawal set up because those companies have proven themselves to be predictable and reliable. But, with the phone company, somehow I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m getting screwed, that they are changing the rules out from underneath me, and then I’m being lulled into settling for whatever they give me out sheer frustration and desire to get off of the phone with them.
I actually used to have U.S. West cum Qwest (the only analog provider in town). They were just as much of a pain in the ass but also had the nerve to endlessly telemarket to me in an attempt to get me more entangled with them. I switched to AT&T Digital Phone cum Comcast, mostly out of sheer frustration with Qwest rather than any real enthusiasm for the new company. But at least the new company was much cheaper. Or, at least, it used to be.
Since I’ve signed up, my phone bill has doubled in the last few years. 50-some dollars a month! Without long distance and bunch of the other features I don’t use, Comcast was willing to knock it down to 30-some. When I expressed my disappointment in their service and concern, they were like “too bad for you.”
So, in yet another fit of frustration, I have signed up for Vonage. Soon I’ll be unwired from the phone jacks and have gone entirely broadband. 500 long distance minutes a month, I get to keep my old phone number, plus I get all of the other company’s fancy features and then some for a completely reasonable … $16.94/month.
Let’s hope this honeymoon lasts longer than my previous phone company relationships. This also means that I’m getting rid of my still perfectly working, multi-line, multi-mailbox (“Press 1 for …”), digital answering machine (and an ability to screen my calls except by caller id, sigh). If anybody wants it, it’s yours for $20 OBO.