Saturday, January 14, 2012

How not to feel like a valued customer

I can't believe we are two weeks into the new year already! With Christmas out of the way, we've been on a bit of a mission to sort out a better deal for our cable and internet.

It all started when Shaw switched over to digital late last year. Our main TV in the living room was OK, we already had a digital box for it, but we also have sets in our bedroom and the playroom which lost most of their channels, including most of the kids' favourites.

Sure, we could pay extra for more digital boxes, but as customers we were offended to be asked to pay more simply to continue receiving a service that we were already paying for. We were quite happy with the old service, thank you very much.

The whole thing reeked of extortion.

So we shopped around.

OK, Ali shopped around and did all the research and phone calls. I don't really watch TV so I have no interest in this side of things.

With Telus, she priced up a package that looked like a much better service for less than we were currently paying. So we arranged a date for them to call in, and phoned up Shaw to cancel our account.

This is where things got strange.

Shaw said they didn't want to lose us as a customer and would cut us a deal. OK. What have you got? Looked at the price and it seemed at least comparable and better than what we currently had. Double-checked with Telus only to find that the price we thought we'd be paying didn't include all the equipment and so would work out more. Shaw now ahead by a whisker. Checked back with Shaw, only to find that they hadn't included everything either.

So we were being ping-ponged back between two sets of customer service departments, both claiming to want our custom, but somehow the price kept on going UP.

Ummm...if you're trying to entice someone, isn't the price supposed to go down?

In the end, thoroughly frustrated, confused, and trying to cut through all the murk of features and offers that were being dangled in front of us to cloud the true price and which, although they sounded good on paper we realised were actually of no value to us, we were at this stage...

When we did the analysis, we also realised that Shaw weren't actually cutting any kind of deal anyway. Cut away the fluff, and it all amounted to "pay us the extra like we asked you in the first place".

This does not make me feel valued.

So we will soon have a new service provider.

10 comments:

  1. At least you have a choice. There is only one cable company here and the alternatives (dish) just aren't that great. One way or another, they have us all by the chin hairs, it seems.

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  2. Truly, if it was up to me there wouldn't be a TV in the house. Who needs an electronic billboard in their living room?

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  3. Ugh. I think there are more bullies in high-rise offices than on playgrounds these days.

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  4. I changed my provider too, for the same reasons. When I called to cancel and they offered me a better deal, I asked why they couldn't just offer that price in the first place. She didn't have an answer.

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  5. Whoops! Even with Blogger's natty new "reply" feature I've utterly lapsed on my own replying! Bad me :(

    Danette, only one company to choose from kinda sucks. I thought America was all about free market competition and all that goes with it!

    Delores, yeah, that's part of the "all that goes with it" downside to free market competition.

    Carrie, that's probably true. I can't blame the people we were dealing with, though, they were just following their scripts.

    Sarah, that was pretty much my reaction too. But what really pissed me off was that they didn't actually offer a better deal after all.

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  6. This is why we don't have a working television in the house... we have one for watching movies and that's it. I swear being a good consumer is a full-time job! Even without a TV, we are constantly having to be assertive with what we "buy" be it services, food, clothing, or anything else.

    Good luck with the transition.

    Saloma

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  7. Ugh, I am so annoyed for you. We just set up our Cogeco cable, and already the On Demand feature isn't working. With what we pay for cable, you'd think they'd roll out the red carpet. Sigh.

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  8. I went for a while without a TV, Saloma, but I think the rest of the family would be hard-pressed to do without :)

    Jennifer, I hope you get your teething troubles sorted out soon in your new house. It always takes a while to get everything working as it should.

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  9. That sounds very frustrating. We've dealt with the same thing recently with our cell phone service. When we moved it wasn't working properly so we switched providers, they charged us $650 for leaving their service early, even though their service wasn't working where we are. Nice!! I hope you find a better service! Good luck to you.

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  10. That's tough, Heather. I guess cell phone companies can always argue that they are under no obligation to provide a service where you happen to be, but that's a pretty steep penalty!

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