Every 6 months, I like to review my subscriptions and make sure that things are what I expect them to be. Ideally, I would do this more often, but I’m Lazy, right? In the course of looking through my subscription expenses yesterday, I came across two that weren’t what I expected. It wasn’t just that, but each company’s policy stood out as something that I thought I should warn readers of.
Let’s start off with Ooma. A while back, I wrote about how Ooma gives us free lifetime phone service for $150. (Free doesn’t apply to taxes and federal service fees, which amount to around $3 a month for us.) That’s a tremendous deal. When does the deal start to lose its luster? It’s when Ooma automatically enrolls you into their Premier plan for $9.99 a month. I was careful not select any premier services when I signed up. Still, I was put on this plan without my knowledge (there may have been a small mention in the fine print somewhere). The really shady thing that Ooma does? They give you a 60-day free trial of it and then start charging you. So for the first couple of months, I was paying the $3 thinking that I was saving some big dollars over my $17 Vonage plan. In the third month, the trial ended and I was charged $13 negating much of my savings. I didn’t catch this for a few months. Shame on me for not checking my bill earlier. At the same time, it is pretty sneaky of Ooma to put someone in a Premier plan when they explicitly chose not to add those features to their account.
A quick call to Ooma had someone answer the phone promptly and they refunded me two months of charges. That was at least a pleasant customer service experience.
Next up, Comcast. I noticed that I had been put in a Digital Preferred package that was costing me $18 a month. It was a bunch of channels that I don’t watch. I was surprised to find a couple of months ago that I got the NFL Network, which I thought was on a higher tier. Shame on me for not realizing this. I’m not sure how it got added to my account, but there’s a reason why I didn’t watch those Thursday night games on the NFL Network last year, I had canceled it in the past. Again, shame of me for not realizing it.
I decided to call Comcast to get it removed. Navigating through the Comcast phone tree on a Sunday brought me to a menu where I could press 2 to upgrade my service or 3 to downgrade my service. I pressed 3 and they said that there was no one in the office that could help with it because it wasn’t during their business hours. I called back and this time selected 2 to upgrade my plan. Sure enough, they have staff on the phone working Sunday for something that will increase their revenues. I asked the representative to remove the service and to Comcast’s credit he did.
One more thing that I found when looking at my Comcast bill… I’m supposed to get HBO for free (they have it added and then subtracted out as some kind of promotion). Unfortunately my Windows Media Center with CableCard says that I don’t have an HBO subscription. It’s probably a CableCard issue. One thing I’ll need to keep an out for though is when that promotion expires. That will trigger a $20 charge for a channel that I clearly don’t watch. (However, once I get it working, I’m going to DVR everything in sight and save it to my 3 terabyte hard drive.)