By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman

I decided yesterday to cancel Comcast’s Xfinity TV service and keep its Internet plan. I had been considering it for some time due to the company’s escalating prices for video service and the fact that I wanted to free up some money to subscribe to some live streaming offerings for work. (I subscribed to DIRECTV Stream today. YouTube TV is next.)

One reason I hesitated to cancel before yesterday was the overwhelming suspicion that it would be a major hassle based on past experiences. However, after completing the process yesterday, I still can’t believe how easy it was.

I called Comcast’s customer support line and was quickly met by a live person after hitting the Zero button. I explained to her that I wanted to cancel video and keep the Internet. I expected that she would try to talk me out of it and read some prepared script about the joys of cable.

But she didn’t. She just asked me why I was cancelling. I said that the video plans are too expensive. She said she understood and immediately began processing the cancellation.

This is a cable company? Wow.

Within two minutes, she made the change in the company’s database, and she thanked me for being a Comcast customer for the last several years.

But this is the best part.

In the past, if I cancelled Comcast, I would have to bring the Xfinity set-top and remote back to the nearest Comcast office, which wasn’t always very near. (The closest Comcast office to me now is about 25 miles away.) But Comcast now has a deal with UPS where you can bring the equipment to any UPS branch in a Comcast service area. Once there, a UPS staffer will scan the set-top in its system, hand you a receipt, and then do all the packing and send the equipment back to Comcast. At no cost to you, and the whole thing takes less than a minute.

Over the years, Comcast, and other cable TV operators, have earned a reputation (often justified) for not being consumer friendly. But perhaps the emergence of the streaming industry, which allows you to subscribe or cancel with just a few clicks, has changed their thinking. I know it has definitely changed mine. I would now be more likely to resubscribe to Comcast knowing that it’s not difficult to cancel at some point if I need to.

Kudos to Comcast.

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— Phillip Swann