How Comcast Stole Hours of My Life

I am not one to deviate from the purpose of this blog: things paintball related either directly or indirectly, but here is an exception. I need a public forum to share my experience with Comcast, and my moderately visited paintball blog (synced to my Facebook and Twitter) seems the most visible place. Below is my communication and experience with Comcast. Almost 6 hours, 17 representatives and now at 10 individual phone calls later, I have a company who has shown me that my YEARS of business with them is worth nothing. I am sure many of you have had similar infuriating experiences. I encourage you to comment and share them as well. (Over)Paying customers deserve at least average service, don’t you think?

My email to Rick Germano, Comcast’s Senior Vice President for Customer Operations:

“A little background: I have been a Comcast customer for years,
and was moving from Indiana to Michigan. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to
keep Comcast because of the yo-yo pricing every 6 months with promotions
expiring and always having to call back. I just graduated from Purdue
with my MBA last month and am moving to Michigan for a new job. Moving,
which is an already stressful experience, has been made even worse by my
experience with Comcast. Below is how I have spent over THREE HOURS on
the phone with 12 Comcast representatives transferring my service.

Call #1:
Representative 1: A very nice man who was trying to get me a promotion
when I called to cancel my service. However, the call was dropped from
the Comcast side when he put me on hold.

Call #2:
Representative 2: I was again speaking to her about possible promotions.
I was not thrilled with the idea of only 6 months. I told her I wasn’t
sure that I wanted to take a promotion like that. She starts raising her
voice and being very rude saying Comcast doesn’t have a contract, and of
course it is a good deal. Her aggressive nature led me to outright
cancel my service with no argument from her.

Representative 1 calls me back, but I miss his call. He does not have a
direct line but says that Comcast is willing to work with me to retain
my business. Giving Comcast one more shot, I call customer service back
again.

Call #3:
Representative 3: Sets me up with a 6 month promotion (cable and
internet) and upgraded channels for $86.99 but that I am frustrated I
will have to tackle again in 6 months when the price jumps to $106.99.
She realizes she is not in the correct sales zone to set up my service
and tells me to tell the next representative who she is going to
transfer me to about the pricing she offered me.
Representative 4: Transferred to the Indianapolis office which is also
incorrect.
Representative 5: Transferred to the Chicago office who starts the same
sales pitch over again. Finally finish the sale of the new service and
am getting my service simply transferred from Indiana to Michigan.

Call #4: I receive my new equipment at my new apartment to conduct the
self-install. But my modem isn’t blinking, meaning I don’t have service.
I again have to call Comcast.
Representative 6: I call to say my service is not working. The woman
says there are “no rate codes” put in my account. It sounds like
Representative 5 messed up. But she is not in my service zone (yes, I
already know I should be talking to someone from Chicago.)
Representative 7: Transferred to the wrong office again.
Representative 8: Transferred and put on hold, speaking to someone from
sales who  then transfers me without telling me why or who I am being
transferred to.
Representative 9: Am transferred to technical support. I told him I am
not sure why I am speaking to him because I was told I didn’t have any
rate codes in my account and don’t know why I was transferred.
Regardless, wrong service office! He has to transfer me to Chicago
technical support, and gives me the Chicago number.
Representative 10: I have to go all the way back through the main menu
again and put on hold… again. Finally sets up a service call for a
technician to come out.

I write on Twitter how frustrated I am with Comcast and how horrible
your service is. @ComcastWill responds and asks if he can help. I told
him I am not sure if I even need a technician or if it was a sales “rate
code” problem. He checks for me and says indeed I need a technician. My
only reassurance that I am getting the correct service.

Service technician comes out. He reeks of smoke in my apartment. He
spends almost 2 hours here going in and out. He said he had to run a
cable around the house. I am not sure why this is all such an issue, the
previous tenant in this unit and the other 3 current tenants all have
Comcast service.

My landlord is FURIOUS. We live in an old 1900s house converted into
apartments and the cable is run so tight around the house it is at risk
of knocking off some of the historic siding. The rest of the Comcast
cables are zip-tied together but the technician took a cable half as
short and just strung it haphazardly across the house including around
the garden hose which will just pull the cable out. In addition he left
a cigar butt on walkway (my landlady is a meticulous gardener and is out
there every day. No way it came from anyone else especially since he
smelled so much like smoke,) and little plastic bits all over the yard
which could easily be swallowed by the dogs on site. He also sealed some
of the wires with electrical tape instead of correctly. She demands I
get Comcast out here ASAP. She has had issues with Comcast in the past
repeatedly and this seems to be a trend with new tenants as well.

Call #5: Luckily I wrote down the direct number for Chicago technical
support from Representative 9.
Representative 11: Puts in a service ticket which takes an inordinate
amount of time. He says someone will call me back within one hour to set
up my service time. This was at 4pm on Wednesday.

Thursday at 11am, still no call so I call Chicago technical support
again.

Call #6:
Representative 12: She tells me that escalated tickets require 72 hours
before they respond. I say I was told one hour yesterday. She is getting
short with me until I explain the possible damage to the outside of the
house with the cables. She has to input that I am having service
problems (even though I am not) just to schedule me an appointment,
which will be tomorrow (Friday.)

So where are we today? I have service, but a very angry landlord,
incorrectly strung cables and a lot of my time and patience wasted.
Throughout this process I have been nothing but courteous to the
representatives, though Comcast certainly does not deserve my kindness.

Throughout this process I was put on hold almost every time I was
transferred, spending HOURS on the phone with Comcast. All of this just
transferring my service and still I am going to have to deal with this
again in 6 months because the best you can do is a 6 month deal. I have
spent more hours of my life on the phone with Comcast than even makes
that promotion worth it! What an AWFUL way to treat customers. Be sure
my business with Comcast is surely in jeopardy. I know DirectTV would
love to have my business and I doubt they would put me through so much
hassle.”

Response from Comcast

“Dear Heather,

My name is Stephen and I want to thank you for sending in an e-mail to
the office of Rick Germano, Senior Vice President of Customer
Operations.  I apologize for the bad experiences you endured during your
recent transfer of service. As a consumer, I know I would certainly
expect to have a simple, easily activated  install with good cleanup.
This is why we call a major corporation for service. I would be just as
frustrated as you are if I had been trying to acquire a new service
through being on hold and having smoke smelling techs leave debris and
house decor issues behind him. Ms. Owens,, you have reached the right
person. I want you to know that I am committed to providing you with
excellent customer service. I will definitely inform your local Comcast
Executive Support Line team to make sure that your voice is heard with
the correct level of concern. They will resolve this inadequate customer
service concern right away by initiating a communication process with
the right representative.

I do apologize for every frustration you have encountered with this
install process taking so much of your time and patience and causing you
to consider DirectTV.  Your e-mail has been placed in a report called an
ESL Ticket (#   –). I have filed that ticket on your behalf
because I wanted to give you a resolution for all of your issues ( phone
delays, activation issues, tech sloppiness conjuring DirectTV thoughts )
from just one representative. Your concerns will be researched to
prepare for a response that will grant you the most complete resolution
at the soonest possible time.

You can expect a callback from the Executive Support Line team within
24-72 hours from the time your ticket is assigned today. Our ESL team
will also handle all research, resolution steps  and updates in
assisting you with this Installation service  issue.  A member of this
experienced management and development group will take ownership of your
case and follow up on all the concerns you expressed in your e-mail. If
you have any additional questions, before or after that contact, please
do not hesitate to call us  at 1-800-Comcast (1-800-266-2278), or you
may contact us again via e-mail. Our team is always at your service here
at the Office of Rick Germano. You also have the option to select live
chat at www.Comcast.com <http://www.Comcast.com>. You will have the
benefit of using any of these contact points (for technical assistance)
any time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at your convenience.

Ms. Owens, I know that your time is valuable. Thank you  for taking some
of that time and allowing me to aggressively pursue your personal
satisfaction. I was very glad to get your complaint to someone who can
address your frustration with customer service concern. I am truly sorry
I could not resolve all your related service issues by this e-mail.
However, I am more than happy to help you as a Comcast customer by
opening a good, clear line of communication between you and  our Comcast
management team.

Thank you again for using Comcast for your cable provider. Our Comcast
Customer Guarantee is our promise that we will provide a superior
customer experience every day. This is a reflection of our confidence in
our products and services, our network and especially our employees. In
order to do that,  we constantly strive for  improvement on all your
Comcast services for your full satisfaction.

Sincerely,

Stephen
Office of Rick Germano”

I tweet @ComcastWill again as he asked me to keep him updated. I told him the appointment did not go well, but he does not respond. Next I get a call from Comcast Executive Customer Service locally (Call #9 if you include the 2 calls mentioned in the next email, I reference them as 7 and 8.)

I speak to a woman named Antoinette who repeats 3 times that my call is being recorded and apologizes over and over again. That’s nice but her apology solves nothing. It is clear from our conversation the email she saw from me was cut off at the second paragraph so I offer to send her the full text. She says she will send me a few pay-per-view coupons (which I have not received as of 6/26 and our call was over a week ago, so not holding my breath on that) and that if I call back in 6 months she MIGHT be able to try and extend my rate… The sales people had me sign up as a new customer even though I was simply transferring service and because I am now in the system as new, she can’t provide me any other extended discounts. If I had stayed on as transferring I would have received a better deal she says. I was told to sign up as new to get the better deal. She apologizes but said that was the responsibility of the uninformed salesperson. I am annoyed but extremely friendly on the phone. I assume my troubles are over. Here is my response to her after a second technician visits my complex and I have finally lost all of my patience.

“Antoinette-

Please find below my original email along with the response from Executive Customer Service as it seems my email forwarded to you was cut off and only told you of my first few conversations.

To add to this, I would also like to point out that the service technician who was supposed to be here between 1 and 3pm today has not shown up after I received a confirmation call last night and this morning. I am extremely upset because I called at 3:15 and the customer service rep (Representative 13 on my 7th call now) said my appointment is from 8am-8pm at any time and that I do not need to be there. While in fact I had TWO confirmation calls saying 1-3pm and was told I do need to be here because they will need to check the service after the rewiring is done. The manager I spoke to (Representative 14) says that my 1-3pm appointment was canceled, which I was not informed of and that I don’t need to be there. My landlord however is insisting that we both be here to make sure the wiring is done correctly (unlike last time.) Now I have wasted five hours waiting on a technician. Representative 14 is also trying to tell me I don’t have service, which I do. I managed to get the $25 for a technician being on time, but this is just on par with my whole experience with Comcast. He then told me the technician would be here at 4pm. I call the status of the technician when he doesn’t show at 4pm and it says 4:45pm. When they did not show up at 4:45pm I called back again and the system said 5:45pm. So now we are on Call 8 with Representative 15 who says he can’t do anything, so I speak to his supervisor who is Representative 16 who also said he couldn’t do anything and there were still 2 appointments ahead of me. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. The only redeeming part of this experience was the technician who came out (Kevin –, employee number –) who fixed the botched work with a smile on his face. He did an excellent job.

An “I’m sorry” is not enough for the continued hassle with Comcast and I’m wondering how much Comcast values my business. Contacting Executive Customer Service did not help this process at all as I still ended up calling Comcast twice and speaking to 4 representatives after we spoke. A few free pay per view coupons and a “we’ll try to reduce your rate when your 6 month promotion expires” is not going to be sufficient especially when hours of my time and cell phone minutes are worth more than that. And I’m going to have to go through this 6 months from now by getting the run around from more customer service reps? I’m wondering what Comcast plans to do to retain my business?”

The next day I receive my bill and write Antoinette again…

“I will attempt to call you tomorrow. I would also like to note that I was charged $30 for installation on my first bill when I was told I would not be charged as I ordered the self install kit and it was Comcast’s fault that my service was not working correctly. Please add this to my list of grievances and things I expected to be fixed.”

I then play phone tag with Antoinette for a week as I have started my job and am no longer sitting by the phone waiting for Comcast to call me. In the meantime I see I have DirectTV and U-verse available at my complex and could be receiving 207 channels for the same rate as Comcast!

That brings us to today…

I finally got in touch with Antoinette today (Call #10). She is no longer saying she is going to extend my rate. The one possible compensation is a lie. She says she will take the $30 charge off, which was incorrectly put on in the first place as a Comcast employee via Twitter said I would not be charged for that service. I tell her a coworker of mine had Comcast issues and received a month of free service. She tersely said she cannot discuss other’s accounts and can only discuss mine. I ask what she is going to do for me now that I am on the 10th call (including my calls with her) and my 17th representative (including her.) She points out I was given a $20 and $25 credit. I remind her that those were for missed appointments related to Comcast’s appointment policy, nothing to do with my rates or the SEVENTEEN representatives I have gone through. She says she feels “I have been adequately compensated for the 17 phone calls and my time.” I responded, “WOW. Are you kidding me? I spent 5 hours waiting on a technician, 6 hours on the phone which used my time and my cell phone minutes and you think that is worth my time?” She responded yes and that she would be doing nothing further about any of my costs. Let’s recap real quick: I received 2 credits only related to one service call from 2 normal customer service reps and she simply corrected a $30 error that was a mistake to begin with… SO EXECUTIVE CUSTOMER SERVICE DID NOTHING. And yet I have been adequately compensated? I asked her if I get all of my costs back if I cancel today since I am still within the 30 day satisfaction window. She said yes, so I stated I will be calling back to cancel my service and hung up on her.

Let me add that not included in this documentation is 2 phone calls and a very angry email from my landlady to Comcast as well.

I am of the philosophy that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, which I tried to do with the undertrained and clueless Comcast representatives. Posting my experience online was a last resort. It wasn’t until representative 14 that I lost my patience. I have been a customer for something like 5 years and Comcast is treating me like dirt. Do I think they would ever do this to a new customer? NO WAY. It is the tiny service provider market in cable and internet that allows companies like Comcast to have terrible customer service and leave us with so few options. If this is how the top executive customer service in Rick Germano’s office operates, they should all be out of a job. So now I will have to go through the trouble of canceling service (and I HIGHLY doubt they are going to fully reimburse me) and then go through this all again with another provider. Thank you Comcast for STEALING HOURS OF MY LIFE.

Sincerely and unsatisfied,
Heather

I am also sending executive customer service a copy of this post. Maybe they can use it for training purposes along with my 10 recorded phone calls.

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5 responses to “How Comcast Stole Hours of My Life

  • Melanie

    Wow, unbelievable! You have much more patience than I do. That sucks, I hope they fully reimburse you… keep us posted if they respond to you further!

  • Jordan

    I had a very similar experience with Charter when I left Athens. I highly recommend DirecTV. You will pay slightly more by splitting your tv and Internet but I found them to have great customer service and much better quality when it comes to their product. So worth the switch.

  • Thomas

    It does sound like it depends on the office/region you get on the phone. I had a good experience transferring service to DC from Nashville, where I received a one year promotional rate with no sales pitches. I’m only sad that I’m not moving this year to keep the excellent $78 rate (I negotiated down to $109 from $177 at the end of the promotion).

    I personally think promotional rates are bullshit. The $78 rate is not subsidized by higher rates later on in a contract. If I can cancel at any time, then the $78 price is the honest cost for the service. I explained that to the first rep and was told there is nothing they can do for 90 days. I looked at the competitors offer and called back. Apparently when you mention that you are considering a competitor, you are transferred to a retention department who have more options.

  • John

    You have more patience than I do! After graduating and moving back to Oregon last summer I tried to transfer my account out here. The problem was that every time I called in it would direct me to an Indiana office because that’s where my service used to be and they couldn’t do anything for me. After multiple failed attempts at transferring me to an Oregon office I finally got through and was able to change my service. After doing some research I ended up switching my service to DirectTV because I saved over $30 a month, got more channels, higher speed internet and a DVR that Comcast wouldn’t give me. That and the service I received was very pleasant. I was given a window of 8-10am for my appointment and the tech for DirectTV was at my house by 8:15 and was done sooner than expected. Overall it was a very pleasant experience. Since I switched I went into the office to return my gear and get my refund since it was withing the 30 days. That was 10 months ago, so I have given up on ever getting my $120 back that I should have gotten!

  • Anoop Datar

    Wow!! that’s surely an ordeal. I have had such experiences with DELL but not as bad. This was terrible.

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