Friday, November 29, 2013

I Win!

Sorry - this is a bit of a novel, but I thought I should keep a record of this in case I'm ever tempted to change my media provider again.

I am very much not a fan of the big media companies.  You know the ones... phone/internet/tv providers.  In Alberta, we have the choice between Telus and Shaw.  It used to be that Telus had the monopoly on TV and internet, and Shaw had TV but now they both do it all.

I hate Telus for too many reasons to list here, but suffice to say their customer service sucks, and they have hidden (not so hidden, actually) charges up the wazoo.  I have avoided being their customer ever since I've had any other options - Shaw.

This all started a few years ago, when I started working from home.  I talked to Shaw a bunch of times,  about slow connections and cutting in and out; but the responses were hit or miss.  Mostly, I felt like I was being told to upgrade at my own expense before they would bother trouble shooting.

That, combined with the basement renos (which means that I would soon have two TVs) convinced me to give Telus another chance.  It's been years since I've been their customer, and they do claim to be making customer service a priority.  Plus, I like the idea of using one PVR for all TVs, so I can wander from one room to the other.  Also, Telus was giving away TVs when you sign with them.

I signed with Telus in September.  I was all set to switch over to them when a guy from the Shaw retention dept called me and made all sorts of promises.  I wouldn't have to pay to upgrade, because he agreed to give me the fastest internet available (broadband 100) a new PVR, and decrease my monthly bill (for TV/Internet/phone) to $70/month.  He also gave me his direct phone number so that I wouldn't have to deal with the spotty service on their phones.  I agreed. The Telus contract was cancelled, and  a tech came out to set up my screaming fast internet.

Two things about that, though.  The internet was NOT screaming fast, and I didn't get the PVR I was promised.  I called the guy I'd talked to earlier, but the number he gave me was for somebody else, and nobody ever called me back.  That made me mad.  I went down to the Shaw office and talked to a lady there who sent me home with a PVR and booked another tech to address the internet issues.   The second tech came out, spent three hours fiddling with the internet, *almost* had it fixed, but then got a phone call over something urgent, packed up his tools and left without registering my router.  I didn't have any internet at all.  That made me madder.

Long story short(er), that got fixed, but it left a bad taste in my mouth.  Then, issues with the new PVR and new connectivity issues at work that were known to be related to Shaw convinced me to try Telus again.  I agreed to sign up for a three year contract for similar services to what I have at Shaw, only I'd get a whole-home PVR and a new TV.    And I'd pay $145/month instead of $70.

Then I started finding hidden fees everywhere.  If my TV breaks and I replace it, I'd have to pay Telus $100 to come out and reconfigure the digital box that goes with the PVR.  I have to pay to keep my phone number unlisted.  Having it "Private" isn't an option.  I emailed Telus about one thing, which led to a whole bunch of other things and suddenly I realized this was not what I wanted.  A Telus employee and I went a few rounds before I finally pulled the plug and cancelled my contract with them (which I could only do because they hadn't yet set up my services).

Today, since Telus had previously said they'd make the arrangements for my Shaw account to be closed, I called Shaw.  I didn't trust Telus to un-cancel the cancellation, so I wanted to make sure that Shaw had no plans to terminate my services.  I lucked out by being connected to a rare breed of service desk staff who really knew her stuff and wanted to help me out.  All I wanted to do was confirm that my account wasn't being cancelled, but she asked for my reasons for almost leaving so that she could address them.  It turns out that Shaw also has a whole home PVR system that nobody had told me about earlier.   She arranged to send a tech out to set one up for me, and agreed not to charge me anything, as long as I'd return the new-ish PVR that I'd received in September and wouldn't be using anymore.

So, I get the pvr system I want, I keep the discounted rates of $70/month and I don't have to deal with Telus.  Oh, and that free tv that I didn't get?  It's a 42" LG.  Telus claims that it's worth $800.  I got up early this morning and took advantage of the Black Friday deals online.  I ordered a 46" Samsung smart tv that was on sale for $500.  The way I see it, it'll only take 6 months of the discounted rate I'll be paying, and I will have saved enough to cover that expense.

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