Bye bye Comcast, hello RCN!

By | November 23, 2009

In response to my recent letter to Comcast, I received a call from a friendly woman named Nancy in Comcast’s New England executive customer care office.  The call went pretty much how I expected.  She had read my letter and understood what I was upset about, but she let me vent at her about the whole thing anyway.  She said she would pass on my concerns to the people in management who are responsible for determining pricing, fees, etc.  She then offered, as a token of appreciation for the fact that I had been a Comcast customer for a long time, to give me their faster Internet service for six months at the the same price as their slower service.  I politely declined her offer.

The conversation was entirely civil, which didn’t surprise me at all.  Most of the Comcast customer service representatives (the ones in America, at least) I’ve dealt with have been both civil and knowledgeable.  Generally speaking, the Comcast employees that you and I deal with on a daily basis are not the problem.  The problem is the people higher up who have constructed a predatory, customer-unfriendly business model.

Last week when I was considering switching to Comcast, I called their sales department to ask some questions, although I wasn’t quite ready to switch yet.  A couple of days later, I received a very friendly voice-mail message from a sales representative at RCN named Lloyd.  He said it was his job to follow up on a “certain number” of sales inquiries from potential customers and wanted to speak to me to make sure that all of my questions had been answered and to see if there were any additional available offers or incentives that I hadn’t been told about.

I called Lloyd back on Thursday.  I am now a happy (so far!) RCN customer, and I a few minutes ago I canceled my Comcast service (again, the woman with whom I spoke was friendly and helpful, and she even wished me good luck with RCN at the end of the call and didn’t sound snarky about it).

Let me tell you all the reasons why I’m happy with RCN right now:

  • Both Lloyd and the other sales representative to whom I spoke last week were helpful and friendly.
  • When my promotional rate expires in a year, RCN will let me sign up for whatever promotional rate is in effect at that time.  Comcast doesn’t offer promotional rates to current or past (within the last two years, I believe) customers.  Lloyd said to me, “A current customer who pays his bills on time is much more valuable to us than a new customer.”
  • RCN still charges only $3 per month for modem rental, not the $5 per month that Comcast recently started charging.  Furthermore, when you sign up for RCN service, they tell you that you have the option of providing your own modem; Comcast never mentions it.
  • RCN’s rates are significantly cheaper than Comcast’s.
  • Lloyd discounted the already promotionally discounted rate for their 10Mbps Internet service by an additional $5 per month for six months.
  • RCN doesn’t charge for installation as long as you aren’t a deadbeat on utility bills (they do a soft pull of your credit report to check).
  • If you aren’t happy with your new RCN service, you can cancel within 30 days and owe nothing.
  • After the first 30 days, the early termination fee if you cancel before the end of your contract is graduated — $75 through month 6, $50 through month 9 and $25 through month 12.  This makes it clear that the fee is to truly to recoup their costs, not just an opportunity to screw over departing customers on their way out the door.
  • I called Lloyd on Thursday.  The technicians were at my house to install my service the next day.
  • The technicians called to let me know they were running late, but they still arrived within the promised time window.
  • The technicians were friendly and efficient.  They replaced, without prompting, a cable splitter inside the house which they said wasn’t good enough.
  • RCN has apparently stopped using overly aggressive door-to-door salesmen.  The reason why we originally chose Comcast over RCN was because of the army of RCN salesmen who kept trying, over and over and over again, to get us to sign up for service.  We haven’t seen them in our neighborhood for years, so apparently they’ve thought better of that sales strategy.  I like a company that learns from its mistakes!

What’s not to like?

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8 thoughts on “Bye bye Comcast, hello RCN!

  1. Cait

    Unfortunately RCN is being a super stickler on “new customer” pricing now…they’ve always upgraded me to the promotional price at the end of my contract, this time, not so much…I’ve tried several times weeks apart too…I’ve decided to get rid of cable now anyways so I’m just switching to Comcast internet for the time being since RCN wont let me drop cable and get the new customer promotion for internet (29.99), which is understandable, but I’ve been a loyal customer for 3 years and pay my bills on time…so rather than drop my cable and give me the promotional internet price, they have lost a customer to Comcast, which doesn’t make much sense…oh well!

    Reply
    1. jik Post author

      …so rather than drop my cable and give me the promotional internet price, they have lost a customer to Comcast…

      Did you tell them that?

      Reply
      1. Cait

        oh yes, I told them, many times…even when I called to cancel, they still let me go right ahead and cancel instead of a last ditch effort to win me back, even after a call a few weeks later to ask again why I canceled, I explained the entire thing and still nothing…its very odd because we all know that it is FAR less expensive to keep a customer happy then to try and win new customers…but i digress

        Reply
  2. JM

    I just read your blog and cannot agree more. I was an RCN customer for the last 2 years and I love their service. Since you wrtoe this blog I can tell you that they are still doing the same kind of serice, at the end of the contractc they will offer you a better deal. when my contract year was almost due I called them to see if I could resign.. not only i was able to, but my bill went down an extra $12 dollars, my internet was boosted up to the next faster spedd and..(drum roll) , they gave added a TiVo box WITH tivo service…..

    Very very sadly, I just moved to Quincy were they do not have RCN (they only do boston) and my only choice is Comcast… I hate it, I hate their menus, their DVR, the iphone app never works, the price is about 30 dollars more and I don’t get why you have to turn the TV off to access a hidden menu to turn closed captions on…… I can’t wait for RCN to get to QUINCY..

    PLEASE RCN IF YOU READ THIS COME TO QUINCY I LOVE YOU!

    Reply
  3. William Hewitt

    I understand. I appreciate your empathy which serves as a good example to remind us all to live with humbleness while still too remembering we all are being done favors when held respectfully accountable to our word in doing what’s ethically right so we can free our minds to be able to relax and enjoy life.

    Irony is that we feel ‘safe’ with being anonymous and dealing with ‘real’ 800 number sales folks who’s paychecks are less impacted incorrectly inflated orders which immediately benefit them at their customer’s expense or heartache! LOL

    Good luck holding any corporation accountable which is stupidly how I’ve wasted countless years and gray hairs trying to do. I truly am still learning the ways as we speak. It’s an interesting lesson for sure when all they care about is numbers…
    Bill

    Reply
  4. William Hewitt

    (to clarify: emotional abuse is not in reference to police but rather the people I encounter with such strong dislike to being approached).

    Actually, might you not publish this as it is pretty late so I’m sure I should have proofed this before sending you a reply…

    Your consideration is appreciated,
    Bill

    Reply
  5. William Hewitt

    Hello Mr. Kamens,

    job well done on your blog. Seriously, you’re a good writer.

    The expert advise I provide both my customers and my company improves the quality of life for us all and it’s because I’m the direct door to door salesman overcoming the perpetuated angst we’re all fostering towards the direct saleman plus the telecom industry where the direct connection for improvements occurs.

    Please realize this is one very troubling misrepresentation you make that affects my well being. The “overly agressive” comment failed to mention that it’s not just the fly by night feet pounding the streets guys trying to sell you but also the fault of the management who is skirting the responsibility to properly police the reps of how a sales territory is supposed to be managed.
    (On the flipside, there are no less than 2-4 telecom commercials per prime time hour to further convince you they are in fact real people who care beyond you’re being just another sales number). I would seriously be surprised if 2% of our doors are knocked/year because this stigma is so strong against our profession.

    Of course I think I would love it if all men were honest and transparency traveled both ways both to and from but let’s be real. It’s every man for himself no matter what naive ideals I insist upon keeping alive. Irony is it’s the prospects answering their doors who are the biggest fibbers just so they can ‘not be sold by some guy at the door’!

    I am the old fashioned way of doing business and because of that I am held to much higher standards than practically any 1 800 rep of any company, no matter how likable or polite they seem like they are!
    -My commission is stripped if you’re not satisfied or don’t pay your bill;
    -I have a reputation to defend;
    -Every order has a third party recording;
    -I am registered with the police and can be arrested, shot, or emotionally abused (practically daily).

    And I can praised. This of course, believe it or not is the main factor of what keeps me going… It’s certainly not making people believe they are good managers or consumers as they take my ideas and leads as if they were their own somewhere else leaving me without.

    My reputation is that there are very few stones unturned when it comes to doing what’s right. The old fashioned way of doing business with a factual actual local person who answers his personal phone accomplishes that.

    Ethics without hubris.

    Remember $50 for referrals and you can add me to facebook if you would like to see more info: http://www.facebook.com/mycableguy

    I sincerely appreciate your business and I’m always here to help and advise you or your friends no matter who the provider.

    Thank you and all the best,

    Bill Hewitt
    Territory Manager
    956 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington MA 02476
    617-590-6693 (cell)
    [email protected]

    Reply
    1. jik Post author

      Bill,

      Thanks for your enlightening comment. Responding to one aspect of it, there was no “misrepresentation” in what I posted. I made no effort in my posting to identify the individuals whose “fault” it was that the RCN sales reps were being overly aggressive several years ago (and to be clear, as I noted in my posting, it has long since stopped being a problem), because it was and is irrelevant. That may be a reasonable question to ask from inside the RCN corporate hierarchy to determine where the problem needs to be fixed, but from outside that hierarchy, the blame simply lies with RCN, and that is why my wife and I first chose Comcast when we had to choose between RCN and Comcast.

      Of course, since then RCN has completely cleaned up its act in that regard, and on the flip side I discovered just how awful Comcast is, which is why we’ve switched to RCN and are quite happy with it.

      Reply

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