Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Xfinity vs. AT&T Uverse

Last Friday I made the switch from AT&T Uverse 300 to Xfinity Double Play. There were two reasons why I left AT&T after over 10 years as a customer. The first was realizing that paying over $200 to watch tv, have a phone I never use, and to surf the internet was an act of insanity. The second reason was the substandard customer service. After surveying my friends, the consensus became clear, Xfinity had better rates, better customer service, and faster internet. I was apprehensive about switching companies. I am a person who doesn't like to change once I've made myself comfortable. Yet, I was no longer comfortable with my provider. I had to remind myself that I don't owe loyalty to a company. That is a privilege reserved for humans. If a company has high rates and poor service, I should find another as quickly as possible. So I made the call to Xfinity. 

Customer Service

As I said before, customer service is one of only two reasons I left AT&T Uverse. I live in California. The call center hours changed from 6am-10pm, to 7am-8pm, to 8am-6pm. The wait to speak to a representative averaged 8 minutes per call. I tracked my hold times. This was an unintentional practice that I started once my husband began working as a call center supervisor for a health exchange. At one point I was able to speak to a representative located in the United States. I should state for the record that I am xenophobic in the sense that I don't like strange people but not in the sense that I dislike foreigners. I truly don't care where a representative is, or what type of accent he or she has, so long as we can understand each other and my concern is resolved. This was not the case for AT&T Uverse. All of my calls were routed outside of the country to people who could not understand what I was saying. I understood their accents. They did not understand my California accent. The first 5-7 minutes of every call involved me repeating the pronunciation of my name several times, along with my account number, Uverse phone number, the last 4 digits of my social security number and my 4 digit passcode. Bear in mind, all of this information had already been entered into the automated system. Almost every call resulted in a statement credit due to representative error or flat out rudeness. I was yelled at, cursed at, and hung up on several times. Imagine my frustration having to call back and speak to a voice activated system, only to be routed to the wrong department before finally being transferred to the right place. 

Xfinity customer service was the polar opposite. The first thing I noticed was that I could schedule a call back. There's no waiting on hold. There also isn't an annoying voice activated system that refused to allow me to key in my responses. There was a human, available at a convenient time, who understood what I said the first time and never once mispronounced my name. 


Uverse installation was free the first time I had it. However, when I moved into my new house, I had to pay $99. The technician was scheduled to arrive from 1pm to 4pm. At 6:42pm he had not arrived, nor had he called to inform me that he was running late. I had to go through the customer service, voice activated maze to reach a representative. She flatly responded, "Your technician has until 8pm to arrive." That was it. No explanation, no offer to locate the technician, no apology, no credit for the time I had to sit there. The technician arrived at 8pm on the dot and didn't leave until 9:30pm. I had already been up since 5am that morning. In the end, he needed to schedule a second appointment to complete the installation because he couldn't see what he was doing in the dark. After one month of technician appointments, my phone, internet and cable finally worked properly. I was given a one month statement credit due to being without services for a month. 

Xfinity installation was $89. Unlike Uverse, I was allowed to break up the cost over my billing cycles. My technician arrival time was between 1-4pm as well. If he was late, I would receive a $20 credit. My technician arrived at 2pm and left my house by 3pm. My services have worked flawlessly. 

Cost and Quality of Service

I found that both Xfinity and Uverse were equal in prices. Xfinity offered less channels for the same price. I also had to drop the home phone to keep my monthly rates as close to $100 as possible. With Uverse, I could have phone internet and cable for about $150. My Xfinity Double Play is about $120. Having a home phone wasn't worth the extra $30. It should be stated for the record that the Uverse price is only with a special discount. The actual price would be about $190 a month, $213 with tax, for what I received in the Xfinity Double Play. But again, I would have more channels. 

Let's talk about those channels. The channels I lost were channels I didn't even know I had. So I don't miss them. I do however miss having Cartoon Network West and AMC West. Having Cartoon Network West means that my children can watch a cartoon that normally comes on while they're at school, just before leaving for school in the morning. This is because the channel is on eastern standard time. I am a die hard fan of The Walking Dead. I don't like waiting until 9pm pst to watch. With AMC West, I watched at 6pm with the east coast. I don't have that option with Xfinity Double Play. Majority of my channels are sports channels I will never watch until football season. So, not only am I getting less channels for the price, but also, the channels I have are channels I don't watch. There is a balance to this. Shows that were not available to me on Uverse On Demand are available on Xfinity. I didn't need the apps I downloaded to watch past episodes of Underground or Supernatural because they were all On Demand, unlike on Uverse. This makes up for the fact that there is absolutely nothing to watch in my Xfinity channel line up. Still, I may downgrade to just internet only this summer. 

Then there's the quality. The first thing I noticed about my cable was that it made my eyes hurt. The first time I got an HD tv, my eyes hurt becuase I wasn't used to the high resolution. That happened again with my Xfinity HD channels. Shows I had seen at least 5 times each episode, looked almost like they were in 3D. I was paying an extra $10 per month for lower quality HD channels with Uverse. After the first day or so, my eyes adjusted to the higher quality Xfinity HD channels. Almost every channel I had was in HD. This was not the case with Uverse.  

Even the Xfinity equipment is of a higher quality. I love being able to talk to my remote. It is larger than the Uverse remote but also simpler. Xfinity turned my smart tv into an even smarter tv. Everything is streamlined. When I needed start over with programming my DVR since all of my recordings left with my Uverse DVR, all I had to do was speak the name of the show and press "ok". This was such a time saver. Also, my children are less likely to alter a setting on the tv by pressing the wrong buttons, which happened frequently with my Uverse remote. My 6 year old can record her PowerPuff Girls without waking me up in the morning. 


There are only 3 downsides to Xfinity. The first, I can't preview the shows in the guide. I have to change the channel first to see if the show is on a commercial break or to see if this is a channel I am even subscribed to. Uverse allows a preview of what's on the channel before you click "ok". Tis keeps you from channel hopping because every choice you make lands you on a commercial break or an unsubscribed channel. The second, wifi that is supposed to be available outside of the home, isn't really available in my area. When it is available, the signal is so weak it's pointless to try. The third is that I am getting fewer channels for the same price. 

None of those issues are enough to send me back to Uverse. They offer stellar customer service, streamlined technology, higher quality HD channels and internet speeds. For an example of the frustrations I faced as a UVerse customer, follow me on Twitter, and see for yourself the tweets I posted while enthralled in poor customer service. 

No comments:

Post a Comment