Old 11-15-2005, 09:15 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Elgin IL
Posts: 8,540
Comcast or Best Buy?

So Iím looking at finally getting home internet service, and the provider thatís available to me is through Comcast. I saw a commercial on TV to go to Best Buy and sign up there, and they hook you up with all the equipment you need. That sounded capital, so off I went.

Hereís where I canít figure it out. If I go through Best Buy, I have to pay up front for the install kit and the modem, to the tune of $110 after tax. Itís all rebate oriented, and itís all free after said rebate, plus I get a $50 Best Buy gift card. The $110 isn't going to bankrupt me while waiting for the rebates, so the money isn't the real concern.

If I just call Comcast, the modem is rented and itís $5 a month over and above the access charge, and if it breaks, not my problem.

Are there any benefits for me purchasing the equipment outright (besides the gift card), or is renting the better way to go? Which is the better plan?
Old 11-15-2005, 10:22 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Somewhere near Boston
Posts: 9,895
Well, it's hard to think why renting would be the better option, considering that you're getting the modem for free. Unless you like paying Comcast an extra five bucks a month. (Considering the frequency with which they jack up cable fees, it would actually be a positive thing if you enjoyed paying Comcast money.)

It is true that cable modems will occasionally fail due to lightning (buy a surge protector) or other reasons, but considering that they cost about $60.00 (Best Buy's prices notwithstanding), it's a pretty safe bet that it will last long enough to make it worth your while.
Old 11-15-2005, 10:31 AM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 9,766
Originally Posted by Cluricaun
If I just call Comcast, the modem is rented and itís $5 a month over and above the access charge, and if it breaks, not my problem.
Make sure this truly is the arrangement, I have had DSL modems go bad and SBC told me it was my equipment, just that I was paying them extra over the long haul for the no charge for the modem up front. YMMV.

Remember how businesses think, something has to either save money or make money or it doesn't happen.
Old 11-15-2005, 10:45 AM
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Central New Jersey
Posts: 681
I work for Comcast, so perhaps I can shed some light on this. I can't actually answer the question, but here are some of my observations after working here for eight years:

First, I have heard many a complaint form a customer who claimed Best Buy offered him promotion X, only to get his bill and find out that he had been somehow misled by, or misunderstood, the Best Buy salesperson. (Not that the same hasn't happened with our own reps, but the point here is to make sure you read the fine print rather than taking the salesperson's word.)

Second, there are certain tech support reps who seem to think that every single problem with the online service is caused by a bad modem. It's frustrating and infuriating, but when a tech gets a work order to swap a bad modem, he will probably hand the work order back to dispatch and tell them he can't do the job, because the customer owns his own modem and we don't swap those. The reality is in my three years working in the online division I saw very, very few modems that were actually bad, and yet I saw many, many work orders put in by tech support claiming the modem was bad. I guess the point here is that if someone tells you your modem is bad, don't take their word for it.

As for cost, the office I work for in New Jersey charges 3$ for a modem rental/month. We raise our cable rates once every year (Jan 1st, like clockwork), but our online rates have actually only had one increase since 1997. Since we started charging for modem rentals a few years ago, the price of the modem has only changed once--from 5$ to 3$ (at the same time the price of the actual service went up).

For what it's worth, I think you're better off getting your own modem, just be careful about whatever promotion Best Buy tries to sell you--make sure it's in writing. And if one of the tech support reps tries to convince you down the road that the modem is no good, don't take his word for it. Fight to make sure a line tech actually comes out to troubleshoot the signal problem.

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