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That's customer service for ya...

For some time, I've noticed that my cable box has a little glowing light labeled "Messages" on the front of it. I've often gone and checked to see just what Comcast wanted to tell me, but every single time it's been some Pay-Per-View event that I had absolutely no interest in. So I've grown to ignore that baleful little red light.

Finally, I called Comcast and asked them about it. Is that "Message" function ever actually used for messages, or is it just about advertising?

According to the rep I got, yes, it is. No, it's not. Well, mostly advertising, but occasionally it's used for notices about changes in service (channels added/removed/moved, etc.)

So, if I simply turn the message function off, will I be missing out on anything important?

No. Well, maybe, but we'll mail you such notices, too. Most of the time.

Sometimes I think that marketing geniuses like the Einstein who thought up this one are a bigger blight on our society than lawyers.

Comments (19)

Interesting... my bad exper... (Below threshold)

Interesting... my bad experiences with Comcast began when they showed up for their install (late) and then destroyed a 10x12 section of landscaped flower bed. Had them for a couple years. At one point my cable modem was sparking and their tech. insisted the problem was with my computer. The state attorney general helped me clear up some problems, but I am a Comcast subscriber no more.

I agree with Aaron. Comcast... (Below threshold)

I agree with Aaron. Comcast High-Speed Internet is the best advertising campaign Verizon DSL has ever run.

Well at least I'm not the o... (Below threshold)

Well at least I'm not the only one who thinks the "messages" feature is idiotic. DirecTV has it, and all it is is ads and promos (pay-per-view events, etc).

I'm sure it's supposed to be targeted based on viewing habits, but mostly it just sucks big-time.

(Don't tell me they aren't collecting that viewing-habit info. Why else do I need to have a phone line attached 24/7? And don't tell me it's just to download the program grid. Please.)

When Comcast took over A.T.... (Below threshold)

When Comcast took over A.T.&T. in Pittsburgh, the first thing they did was convert the city over to digital cable. When they got to my neighborhood--on a Monday--my cable went down. It stayed down until the following Saturday when a technician finally showed up. (There had been at least two Comcast technicians in my apartment building every day that week.)

The techie examined my cable box and informed me that I needed a new one; my old one wasn't compatible with their system. (Never mind that a mass mailing I got from them listing the brands of boxes that had to be changed didn't include mine.) He also informed me that I would have to wait until the next day; he didn't have one on the truck.

That was my introduction to Comcast. In terms of price and quality of service, it was all down hill from there.

I think the ACLU should inv... (Below threshold)

I think the ACLU should invesitgate this!! This is an invasion of privacy!! How does Comcast know I might want to watch the Pay-per-view editon of Asian Anal Sluts 9 if they are not monitoring my PC activity...

I have to say I have been h... (Below threshold)

I have to say I have been hearing about these issues with Comcast, but I will say that if I was forced to choose either Comcast or one of the dish providers, I would go with Comcast (but I am on Charter right now), simply because my experiences with Dish are far worse than anything I ever experienced with any cable provider. But, at least with Charter, it's pretty good service. My internet works almost perfectly all the time, and I've only had one TV outage and it was fixed next day (seeing as the Charter crew cut the line, they got it fixed pretty fast).

Sounds almost as brilliant ... (Below threshold)

Sounds almost as brilliant as the marketing genius at a nearby Taco Bell. They put up a big sign in front of their little fast food joint. Want to guess the marketing slogan they decided to put on the sign?

"We Sell Tacos"

I had Charter for a year, a... (Below threshold)

I had Charter for a year, and they hiked the rates 5 times in one year. I thought I would be paying $35/month, and by July, I has paying $50. Cable companies are all monopolistic thieves. UNPLUG!!!!

Am I the only one with dece... (Below threshold)

Am I the only one with decent Comcast service?

I was lucky enough to be in their test market for @Home high-speed internet back in '97. Had it ever since.....

Hmmmm.My particula... (Below threshold)


My particular nemesis are packaging engineers.

There are times when my office gets new computers, gadgets, gear and software. And I'll be damned if sometimes it's harder to get this crap out of the box than it would be to steal it from a store.

The fight I had last night with a USB printer cable packaging was epic. EPIC I say! The stuff of Homer and Pliny the Younger. Something that should be carved in stone for future generations to wonder over.

Damn thing took nearly 20 minutes.

"Sometimes I think that mar... (Below threshold)

"Sometimes I think that marketing geniuses like the Einstein who thought up this one are a bigger blight on our society than lawyers."

Maybe so, but they certainly don't compare to the station wagon driving self-proclaimed nobodies with no meaningful life experiences or special skills to blog about. There's little worse than a person who has a forum, but nothing to say except trash talking the hard-earned professions of others. Get a life and maybe you'll have something interesting to say.

Mark, that's very sagacious... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Mark, that's very sagacious advice. If I ever meet someone who fits those very specific criteria, I'll be delighted to pass it along.

In the meantime, though, how do you like my stuff?


I think there should be a r... (Below threshold)

I think there should be a rule that product packaging should not require explosives.

At least, nothing more powerful than an M80.

Some idiots started to adve... (Below threshold)

Some idiots started to advertise their business here by putting notices in the tv guide that comes with the Sunday paper. Not on the pages, on separate half-sheets that aren't bound in, so as you turn pages the damn things fall out and float around.

Do they have ANY IDEA how much crap like that pisses people off?

My particular nemesis ar... (Below threshold)

My particular nemesis are packaging engineers.

ed, I was introduced to one of these guys recently during a tour of a shipping warehouse.

While it was obvious that his devious planning and cunning spite burned me up as he just smiled at me, you'll be glad to know that I didn't say anything to this person, I just glared at him. All the while - knowing, knowing what he does to us all is intentional. I get pissed off at him anytime I have to take a product back and have to put the shit back into the box.

Jay Tea, don't you just love advertising for something that you already a subscribe to? I mean, the channels already speak for themselves, right? Pay per view or not or not available - I think is how it goes.

I also hate ads about radio on T.V. or T.V. on the web, or whatever - what is that?

Hah, I don't even look at... (Below threshold)

Hah, I don't even look at the modem any more - I put a little chunk of masking tape over the Messages light and voila, no more caring about ads being dumped onto my hard drive. I still get very nice speeds, so I am otherwise happy with my internet service.

I will say this about their digital cable service: it is abominable. My biggest issue is the constant (and I mean this in every sense of the word) "tearing" of the picture and pixelization that goes on. Its like I'm running the older versions of RealPlayer on my television. I paid for high-definition pixelization!

The other time is when the box went kaput on a Tuesday - the next time they could get out there was SUNDAY. It wasn't as if I lacked the technical acuity to install a new box myself - just give me the damn thing and I'll do it! I had to make do with basic while we waited those five days.


joe said:"Am I the... (Below threshold)

joe said:

"Am I the only one with decent Comcast service?"

Actually, I'd say yeah.

Alex,I unplugged m... (Below threshold)
OC Chuck:


I unplugged my DirecTV phone line the minute the installer walked out the door. I've gotten download updates since and no (noticable) adverse effects on my service in the 6 months since. I don't subscribe to any PPVs.

I switched to DirecTV when it became the same price as my basic analog cable. And no more ghosts!

hey, there is no movie call... (Below threshold)

hey, there is no movie called "Asian Anal Sluts 9". not even an "Asian Anal Sluts" series.

what a raw deal :-(






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