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Comcast botches Peacock changes for Xfinity customers

Some customers with paid-up subscriptions weren't able to access content, while others couldn't take advantage of promotional deals to keep their service.

Some customers with paid-up subscriptions weren't able to access content, while others couldn't take advantage of promotional deals to keep their service.

The home screen of Comcast's streaming service Peacock. (Graphic by The Desk)
The home screen of Comcast’s streaming service Peacock. (Graphic by The Desk)

Comcast carried through with a promise to begin charging its Xfinity video and Internet customers for continued access to the premium tier of streaming service Peacock on Monday, but many found they were unable to take advantage of various promotions to continue receiving their service for free or at a deep discount.

Those perks included a promise to provide Xfinity Internet customers with Gigabit speeds continued access to Peacock Premium for two years, as well as a loyalty perk that extended free access to Peacock Premium to some Xfinity Rewards customers for 12 months.

Eligible customers should have been able to take advantage of those offers on Monday, but many complained online that they were unable to take advantage of the deals or stream anything other than a limited amount of free content that is now available to all Xfinity customers. While Comcast’s support website claimed the process should have been relatively straightforward, customers grumbled that there was no way to actually redeem the free Peacock Premium perk, no matter where they looked.

Two customer support representatives who spoke with The Desk confirmed the issue was due to various bugs that Comcast engineers were working on, but provided no timetable for when these problems would be fixed. At least one customer support agent suggested checking back on the Peacock and Xfinity websites on Tuesday to see if the problem had corrected itself.

The bugs also appeared to affect Xfinity customers who paid $5 a month to remove commercials on their free Peacok Premium plans prior to Monday. The perk, called Peacock Premium Plus, was still active on their accounts, but customers said there was no way to actually use the feature because their Peacock Premium subscriptions had been downgraded, with no way to subscribe to content.

A Comcast representative confirmed the issue with Peacock Premium Plus, but did not provide an explanation for why it was occurring or when it would be fixed. The representative also declined to say whether customers who could not use the Peacock Premium Plus feature that they paid for would receive a credit or prorated refund.

Related: How to cancel or change your Peacock subscription on any device

Other Xfinity subscribers said they were able to take advantage of a loyalty perk that allows them to continue receiving Peacock Premium at a discount. That discount shaves $2 off the monthly price of $5, and is good for 12 months before customers are expected to pay the full amount. A handful who complained that they couldn’t access any promotions simply started a new account under a different email and signed up for Peacock Premium using a discount code that knocks the annual price of the service down to $20 for the first year.

For the first three years of the service, Comcast offered Xfinity video and Internet customers with X1 set-top boxes or Flex streaming devices free access to Peacock Premium. Over the past year, Comcast executives have floated the idea of charging Xfinity customers for Peacock Premium as they sought to recoup a return on their multi-billion dollar content and marketing investments in the service.

In May, Comcast formally announced it would charge most Xfinity subscribers for continued access to Peacock Premium, with June 26 announced as the cut-off date for the freebie. The company said it had plans in place to continue offering Peacock Premium at a discounted rate for some customers, including free offerings for those who reached certain levels of its Xfinity Rewards program or had its most-expensive Xfinity Internet plans.

Comcast recently said it had around 22 million paying Peacock subscribers.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).