Chris L. writes in to let us know that the EECB (Executive Email Carpet Bomb) is probably the only way you’re going to get Comcast to fix a network problem that affects your entire neighborhood. Calling and talking to the “zombies” at the call center will just result in yet another “truck roll” (where Comcast comes to your house and says everything is fine.)
I figured I’d give some props to the Consumerist and their trips on EECBs, as that seems to be the only way to get things fixed with Comcast after dealing with their utterly inept “roll a truck” zombie call center.
So I’ve been avoiding calling Comcast on a latency issue that only came up between 4:30pm and 8pm for about 2 weeks now. Not because I didn’t want it fixed, but because I didn’t want to waste an afternoon waiting for a tech to come and say “no problems here”. I eventually caved in about a week ago and called. Of course, they wanted to roll a truck because the the CSRs don’t have either the authority or the desire to actually check networks for problems and instead just roll a truck regardless of the problem. I tried to schedule a time to do it, but the CSR told me I was trying to do it too far in advance since I could only do it when it was an actual problem. And like it seems how they are trained to do, I felt defeated and just gave up.
Fast forward to last night and I come home to a total area outage. No cable, no internet, nothing. Obviously this is a problem at the node level feeding into the apartment complex. Long story short, I call them, they admit it is a node issue, they say a tech has been dispatched and they have no ETA. 11pm rolls around, it’s still down, and I go to bed.
As expected as the time on a Rolex, I wake up to everything still being down. I begrudgingly call again. Except this time, the tech can’t even check on the network, either due to laziness or ignorance. Of course, I get the “when can we send a technician to do nothing but waste yours and ours time?” from a decidedly sassy woman, I decide to just do the EECB that I found here.
Now, it’s a shame that the only way to get something done correctly at Comcast is speaking directly to VPs, but it is what it is. Within minutes, I get phone calls from a regional escalations manager and the maintenance supervisor. They send techs out and promise if they can’t fix it, they’ll have as soon as I come home. I open the door and everything is running as it should be. 2 minutes after I get home, a tech comes to verify everything is working. Well, it’s up, but I have no idea of the 5pm daily network problem is going to come up yet. He said that the line to the node feeding the apartment was disconnected, causing the outage, and they found a source of major RF interference causing the latency, and I was one of multiple people (including a police officer who lives here) complaining about this problem. He said he’ll stay in the area for an hour or 2 to verify everything is good. On top of that, I got a month of free service credit.
All in all, the EECB was a huge success. It taught me that Comcast’s biggest bottleneck is their utterly inept and lazy call centers through which all support must initially go. Maybe if Comcast restructures their call centers with people who actually know what they’re doing and they minimize truck rollouts they won’t be one of the worst hated consumer companies in the country.
But I somehow doubt that.
– Chris L
Here is the letter I wrote to them:
I have been a Comcast subscriber for my entire life. A came home yesterday to the worst outage I have ever experienced with Comast; a total TV and internet outage. Given that I work in the IT networking field, I did all necessary troubleshooting on my end prior to calling Comcast customer support as a last resort, given their past unwillingness to do anything to help me whatsoever besides “rolling a truck” (their default answer to any problem I have). After being on hold for over 45 minutes yesterday evening, I was abruptly disconnected. I called back and spent another 30 minutes before someone finally picked up. I explained my situation to them and she informed me that my node was down, which is exactly what I thought happened. She said that all she could find is that a tech has been dispatched and there was no ETA of a fix (it had already been down for hours). I wrote down the ticket # she gave me (CR131333452), hoping that it would be back up shortly.
I woke up this morning to all of my services still being down. No morning news, no e-mail, nothing. I was shocked that if the entire node was down, which means at least my entire apartment complex of 800+ tenants was down, that they couldn’t have gotten it fixed in 12 hours. But frankly, nothing with Comcast shocks me anymore. I called back while getting ready for work and spoke to another person. I gave her my ticket # and told her the situation. But this time, she said she couldn’t figure out of the entire node was down. Now, how can one technician know that there is a downed node, effectively killing the entire area, and the other not? Either the first one lied or the 2nd one didn’t know what she was doing or was too lazy to check. Given her flippant attitude towards me and her pushing to get me to agree to a truck service, I’d say the second was true.
I informed her that I work an odd schedule and that the only time I have available anytime soon is this evening. I work 6am to 6pm Friday, 6am to 6pm Saturday, I have plans Sunday, and both Monday and Tuesday I have job interviews. In essence, she did not care about this scheduling problem and insisted I take the Friday service time. Of course, this appointment would solve nothing and only waste both my time and Comcast’s time anyway, but since customer service just wants to roll a truck to get off the phone as quick as possible regardless of whether or not it fixes anything, a truck it is.
I asked her about compensation, since I’m paying for a service I can’t even use for a week, to which she basically said “call back later and get a credit”. After nearly 2 hours on the phone, I need to call and request that I not be charged for services I’m not getting? How absurd. I pay a premium for high speed internet and silver package cable with 2 premium channels and an HD DVR, yet your customer service department could care less.
I’m sending this e-mail because I’m afraid, as it is almost guaranteed to happen with Comcast, that I’ll come home and there will still be an outage. I’ll spend another hour on the phone only to have another confused technician totally unwilling to help me, or even acknowledge that the problem is at the node level and not my apartment. Prior to this, for the past few weeks, I have HORRIBLE speed issues around 4:30pm-8pm, prime usage time. From the troubleshooting I did, I can determine that the node was simply overloaded and did not have enough capacity, which is a problem that needs to be fixed at the green box feeding into the apartments, not in each individual apartment. I called Comcast about this and once again, they wanted to send a tech. When a specified that I needed them at a time I could show them this, they refused to even schedule!!!
For the past month, I’ve had horrible network speeds. At least I can say when Comcast was unwilling to fix this I at least HAD internet access. Now I have nothing, except an endless amount of aggravation spending hours on hold to talk to someone whose sole answer is “send a truck because you have nothing better to do with your life than wait for someone to show up and not fix the problem”. The fact that I’m being charged out the nose for these services I can’t even use just exacerbates the problem.
All I want is my cable TV and internet connection up when I get home at 3:30PM EST, my speed problems fixed when they come up at 4:30pm, and I want to pay a fair price for the service when I actually do get it. I can be contacted at the number below.
I hope that as you are all prominent people in positions of authority that you can actually help me when I need it instead of brushing me off like your call centers do.
Good job, Chris! For more information about launching your own EECB, click here. Here’s a collection of posts with Comcast contact information, or you can also contact Comcast on Twitter, which they monitor pretty closely these days.
(Photo: mytoenailcameoff )