The time has come where my fraudulently foisted on me against my will 2 year indentured servitude to AT&T ends.
Oh Boy! Jump for Joy! – not quite.
You see, now I get the unenviable task of finding something less abusive while still functional. This, of course, means looking at 5 x 3 x 5 x 28 x 12 different combinations of all sorts of things I don’t want. Plus reading all the associated Fine Print that makes that great Killer Deal suddenly be a visit from Dearth Vader.
One example would be my present “deal”. As refresher on the story, my ADSL service died. I called AT&T and said “Fix it”. Several days later with no fix in site, they said “How about Uverse with faster speed for the same money and we can get it to you quicker?” Sadly, I said “OK.”, but they did get it to me in a few days more. HOWEVER… Along the way they asked if I wanted to have unified billing on my Internet AT&T account and my DirecTV account (they having bought DirecTV). I asked several times about cost and this was just billing, right? After assurances, I again said “OK.” and then spent about 4 months not having unified billing, having confusion between AT&T and DirecTV as to the payment status of my bill, and more horrors not fit for small children.
Somewhere in the middle of this chaos, about week 3, I got a fat package of Legal Terms, Marketing Crap, and Account Statements in the mail. Looking at it on week 4 plus a couple of days, it had buried in the fine print nobody reads but me, the statement that I had now initiated a Brand New 2 Year Lock In (despite having had both prior services for decades) and was screwed unless I opted out 3 days in the past. Oh, and the actual cost was not going to be the low price the phone person assured me was all it would cost, but about $100 more.
Needless to say, I’m not keen on AT&T and now it’s time to dump them.
But the only other really fast and pretty good provider on the pole behind my house is Comcast / Xfininty – the Cable Company. Looking over their stuff, they have about 1/3 the options on their web site that the sales guy said they had (in Walmart they are pushing this) and they cost more than asserted. Not a lot, just instead of $10 / month more for no contract it’s $20 / month more on any other than the nearly-no-service plan. OK, I can live with that I guess. I can get a 60 Mbps service for $30 / month (no phone, no TV channels as I don’t need them). Then I dive into the fine print.
Pricing & Other Info
Offer ends 05/07/18. Restrictions apply. Not available in all areas. New residential customers only. Limited to Performance Plus Internet service. 1-year minimum term agreement required. Early termination fee applies if all Xfinity services (except for Xfinity Mobile) are cancelled during the agreement term. Equipment, installation, taxes and fees, and other applicable charges extra, and subject to change during and after the promo. After 12 months, or if any service is cancelled or downgraded, regular rates apply. Comcast’s monthly service charge for Performance Plus Internet service, ranges based on area, from $64.95 to $66.95 (subject to change). Service limited to a single outlet. May not be combined with other offers. Actual speeds vary and are not guaranteed. Xfinity hotspots included with Xfinity Internet Performance (and above). Does not apply to Performance Starter and below. Available in select areas. Requires compatible WiFi enabled device. 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee applies to one month’s recurring service charge and standard installation up to $500. Call for restrictions and complete details. ©2018 Comcast. All rights reserved.
Unstated restrictions apply. No idea what those are. I’m a new customer so get to dodge the rape old customers process. This is the “Performance Plus” package that’s only one step above the bottom dregs. Can’t get out early with the pocket picking operation.
Then that gem “Equipment, installation, taxes and fees, and other applicable charges extra, and subject to change during and after the promo” so to actually GET the service, there’s going to be a load of glue on charges for all kinds of shit, and those charges are going to go up as soon as they can do it. “During” the promo can mean your second month of service…
Change ANYTHING, you get a fee hike and if you do stick it out to the end of the contract, you get a fee hike. About $65/month, but they will let you know later (and likely higher).
Buy hey, you get a single internet spigot so shut up. (Unclear is if I get to attach my own WiFi router and make it more spigots, or what). Oh, and you won’t get the advertised speed anyway. I mean, it’s not like a contract ought to benefit YOU on any terms or be binding on THEM…
Oh, and in their limitation on what you can get back in the “let me out!” 30 day “guarantee” they tip the hand that installation can run to over $500 but you can’t get it all back if they are crap.
And folks wonder why we don’t like the Cable Company…
Buy hey, if you want to know all the rest of the ways they will screw you over and what you are really signing up for, you can call them on the perpetual hold robot nanny line…
Sidebar on Copyright: They put a copyright on the terms so they can sue / scare folks who want to publish it. As I’m educating folks about ISP buying, this is notice that I’m using it under the Educational exemption. Also, as I’m ridiculing it, under the Lampooning and Parody exemptions.
Now the basic problem is that only so many folks can hang wires on a set of poles. This is “regulated” by the government with LOTS of lavish campaign contributions to assure your representative has you in mind (as a lever to use to get more from the “regulated” industry by selling you out to them).
This means that any OTHER service providers that might be mandated to have access must run over somebody else’s wires. You can guess just what kind of fair deals they are offered by AT&T to compete with AT&T using AT&T wires…
In theory, there’s about a dozen here. So far, I’ve found 4 (I think) that claim to actually offer services where I’m located. Exact terms are usually a bit better on lock-ins and opt-outs but with less data rate. Then you also get to find out what data volume limits apply. (So for AT&T I’ve presently got unlmited because they get a big bucket of money, but on their more limited price “unlimited” plans I get a data limit per month… or a slowdown of speed, or both. Similar things get bled over into the other repackager services).
Now, just to make it all more fun, the death of Net Neutrality will mean that AT&T can choose to give their direct buyers more reliable speed and when congestion hits, differentially throttle the 3rd party resellers. You get to discover this by buying the service and experiencing it for a few months…
IF congress really wanted to help “the little people” with fair and equal internet access, they would mandate at least one simple minimal plan without all the crap. HDTV uses about 4 Mb/s and 10 Mb/s is below the bottom speed either AT&T or Comcast is offering at the moment, so it would not be a burden to say a 10 Mb/s plan ought to be standardized without any date caps and with guaranteed actual 10 Mb/s speed all the time. Basically, deliver what you are claiming to sell.
Were there a “By the month no contract” plan for 10 Mb/s actual and guaranteed speed, for about $30 / month; I would be signed up right now and not even think about it. It would run 2 TVs at once, plus be more than fast enough for the computer stuff I need to do. Yeah, no downloads while watching TV but I can live with that.
Then I’d set about deciding if I needed an uplift on any features or speeds. That whole “add a phone” or deciding I wanted to run 4 HDTVs and a laptop downloading the entire library of Congress at the same time.
As it stands, I’m sorely tempted to just shut off AT&T and live on my T-Mobile hotspot. It was a bit slow for 2 TVs when we “tested” it (really, when my AT&T router died and the replacement was ‘in the mail’) but workable.
Oh Well. Once more into the breach…