I made several technological leaps recently. Out of thriftiness, I switched my phones from Verizon to Cavalier. A smooth-talking Comcast CSR named Sheila persuaded me to upgrade cable TV from analog to digital. And with glee I abandoned dial-up for high-speed Internet access with Clearwire.
Two out of three decisions I lived to regret.
Clearwire was the only company who delivered as promised. I had their modem within 24 hours, it took seconds to install, and it worked perfectly. They’ve billed me exactly what they quoted.
Not so with Comcast. I was told digital would cost about $5 more a month, but it’s actually $15.
The new digital box compelled me to shell out another $250 for a VHS/DVD recorder to replace my analog VCR and a DVD player.
I was getting lousy reception on NBC and the Food Network, so I called for service. Comcast replaced my digital box without telling me, which caused the universal remote to stop working with my new DVD recorder, and I can’t fix it. Then they billed me $24.95 for the call, like it was my fault their “upgrade” botched up two channels.
My honeymoon with digital TV was brief. Channels jerk and skip content. HBO goes black for extended periods. On Demand isn’t always available. TV has become hit-or-miss.
But Cavalier Telephone took dishonesty and incompetence to new heights. They started me off with no phone service for three days. During that time, I spent literally hours on hold on my 10-cents-a-minute-only-for-emergencies prepaid cell phone, only to have Cavalier do nothing when they finally did answer but blame Verizon.
When the phones started working, some significant functionality was missing. This inferior service ultimately cost more than Verizon because Cavalier failed to quote $27 in additional monthly taxes and questionable charges, like the extra $8 per month per line to use phone lines.
The only time Cavalier excelled was in disconnecting me yesterday when I crawled back to Verizon. I had no phone for another half-day while I waited for rescue. Verizon, playing their upper hand, forced me into a FIOS upgrade, but at least I got all my calling features back.
So, now I hear a tinny echo when I talk, and God knows what FIOS is really going to cost. Verizon sold me unlimited long-distance to ease the pain.