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Comcast buy vs. rent movie mistakes will cost you: Customers cutting the cord?

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Comcast is apparently very aware that some of their once loyal customers are now cutting the cord with premium channels like HBO, Starz and Showtime and opting for companies like Netflix which cost under $10 a month. Does Comcast know that their new purchase to own movie offering is also becoming a bone of contention among their customers?

The nation’s largest cable company has just announced that another 100 employees will be added to their Colorado Springs customer service center. These folks will join the staff of 600 in soothing the cord cutters who are fed up with the prices of cable, according to The Gazette on March 21.

Each Comcast Service Center around the nation specializes in certain type of customer calls. The Colorado Springs center’s specialty is to keep customers from leaving Comcast. This service center went from handling general customer calls in 2012 to handling the customer who are planning to jump ship or downsizing their Comcast services from a yacht to a canoe, to save money.

The job posting for these new 100 placements reads:

Agents at the Colorado Springs Center get calls from “customers who may feel the need to make changes either to a lower level of Xfinity (Comcast's brand of television) service or even a different carrier."

Those 100 new positions will consist of people who will go through the training and work with customers over the phone to divert the loss. The customer account exec level 4 position on the Comcast website offers the job description of:

"Your job is to convince them that Xfinity can meet their changing needs better - and keep them in the family."

In recent months Comcast began offering customers a chance to “purchase to own” the movies and TV episodes instead of renting them. Once the movie or TV episode is purchased it goes into page where you can access it at any time, forever. Why anyone would want to spend three or four times the amount to buy the movie rather than renting it is hard to comprehend. In another month that same movie will be offered for free anyway.

The problem is that Comcast has these movies to purchase sprinkled in with the movies to rent and people are hitting “buy” without realizing they’ve purchase a movie for $14.99 and up. Customers are hitting the “buy” (which is all that is said next to the movie) thinking they are buying it for the day.

After watching the movie, they never give it another thought until the bill comes in, then your bill is inflated! If you are someone who watches a lot of movies, this could be a problem. If you call Comcast and explain that you thought you were renting the movie, they take it off, once only. This is what the Comcast representative said during a call on March 22. If it happens again then you are without recourse.

Why doesn’t Comcast have separate pages for these “buy” and “rent” movies? When asked if the “buy” option can be taken off a customer’s account, the Comcast representative explains that there is no option for this. Not only does trying to get one of these mistaken “buy” movies off your account almost impossible, the time it takes to transfer you from one department to the department that handles the “buy” movies is a long wait.

This long wait seems to indicate that others are also experiencing this “buy” “rent” dilemma. This does not appear to be a good system and it leaves the customer with little to no recourse after mistakenly buying a movie they thought they were renting. Especially when trying to get it fixed after the bill comes in a month later, "too much time has gone by," is what one representative said.

If your initial call happens to be routed to one of outsource centers in another country then you should probably save your breath. The folks there appear to talk from a script and will not deviate from that script or will they budge when it comes to fixing this mistake.

Comcast gives you another number to hang up and call regarding this buy to own movie you’ve purchased by mistake, which is 1800-270-0377. These folks handle the purchased movies. When you call this number the estimated wait time is long. For instance, on Saturday, March 22, at 2:58 p.m. ET, the wait was “approximately 10 minutes.” The person on the other end of the phone was Lei when she picked up my call at 3:23 p.m. So the wait time was double than first suggested.

Lei said she was not at "Comcast," but at a "call center" for Comcast. She advised that Comcast will issue a "one time courtesy refund," but if it happens again "they will not be able to refund the price." This is something being told to Comcast customers regularly, as the Comcast forums reflect. Folks are finding this "buying" concept a strange offering in the Comcast forums. Many of the other Comcast forums are calling for separate pages for buy vs rent movies. Other want the option to buy out of their menu offerings all together.

Comcast appears to realize that the world of technology has just started to cut corners and all the great movies and series from premium channels are now offered at prices that are a fraction of what the premium cable channels cost with Comcast. Many of the newer companies, like Netflix, will run you under $10 a month. According to the Gazette, people are opting to use these companies more and more instead of the premium movie channels.

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