You Only Have To Call Comcast 9 Times Before You Just Give Up And Go To Their Office

Reader Adam has written in to share his maddeningly typical experience with Comcast. As he says, “They didn’t kill my first born child, but they were a big pain in the ass.”

After his bill kept increasing mysteriously each month Adam and his wife decided that they’d better downgrade their package and get rid of Comcast’s digital phone service. It only took 3 days and 9 phone calls before Adam’s wife gave up and just went to Comcast’s office. And, naturally, when she got home with her new modem the internet didn’t work. And when they fixed the internet the cable stopped working. So far, Adam and Crystal are up to 13 calls to Comcast…

- Monday, I got on the phone and called at 9:30pm to find that their offices were closed at 9pm.

- Wednesday, I called at 8:15pm, got the run around and had to hang up to take care of other obligations. I promised I would call back the following night to discuss the matter further.

- Thursday, I started calling at 8pm…

Call #1-2: The first two calls I was put on hold for ten minutes before getting a tier 1 representative. Tier 1 reps can talk about what is on your bill and why it is there, but can not change anything. When the tier 1 rep put me on hold for a tier 2 rep who could change my account (see above: account specialist) I was disconnected both times.

Call #3: My third call landed me a tier 1 rep again who sent me to hold for a tier 2. When what I thought was a tier 2 rep picked up it turned out to be a tier 1 again. I Expressed my frustration to this rep and was assured that I would be put in touch with a specialist this time. I held for 5 minutes and was disconnected.

Call #4: Call #4 had me back on the line with a tier 1 and begging to talk to someone who could actually help as it was 8:52pm and I knew they closed at nine. I was put on hold for a tier 2 and finally someone from sales picked up. The guy from sales said he could not help me, but would transfer me to a account specialist who could. I told him the department closed at 9pm and that I wanted to make sure I got someone on the line. He assured me that the department was open 24 hours a day even after I told him about the prerecorded message I had heard Monday. At 8:56pm I was transferred and got the message about the department closing at 9pm.

Call #5: While on hold for call #4 I asked Crystal to call as well in an attempt to double our chances. The tier 1 rep transferred her to the tier 2 department at 8:55pm and she got the closed message.

Call #6: Crystal’s final call of the night was made at 8:57pm where upon she got to a tier 1 rep who told her that the account specialist office was closed at 9pm. My loving wife pointed out the simple fact that it was 8:57pm and wondered to the rep if every account specialist left early that night. The rep repeated herself again (in her best monotone put out robot voice) and tried to end the call. Crystal asked to speak to a manager and the rep told her that a manager would tell her the same thing and could not make account changes. The rep then wished Crystal good night and hung up.

- Friday came and Crystal had the day off. She called mid day and went from a tier 1 to a tier 2 the first try. She decided to downgrade our package and drop the digital phone. When the phone call was nearly complete the line disconnected. Having had enough phone calls to Comcast in one lifetime she decided to drive up to the Richmond office. When she arrived she got in line exchanged the combo internet/phone modem for just and internet one and got an estimate for what our monthly bill would be ($125 by the way).

When she arrived home she hooked up the new modem and the internet did not work anymore. She called Comcast repair and was told she had two options.

1. Remove the plan downgrade, get a chance to fix the internet and be transferred to a tier 2 rep who could reapply the downgrade.

2. Wait till August 5th (4 days without internet) for the plan downgrade to go through their system and then get a chance to fix the internet.

Frustrated she choose door number two in the hopes that I could fix it when I got home from work. When I did arrive home I made sure everything was hooked up properly (it was) and called the same repair department she had earlier. I actually got a competent person on the phone and had the internet fixed in 20 minutes, without any mention of downgrades.

The cable TV in our office stopped working later that night and has not worked all weekend. Crystal called and they assured her that the only way to fix it was by sending out some one to repair it. I am going to call tonight and roll the dice (more like Russian roulette) that I get someone smart on the phone. That or yell at a twenty something who makes $10 an hour.

The icing on this crap cake… Verizon sent us a postcard in the mail starting a two month count down for Fios in our area. You bet your sweet ass I am switching!

UPDATE: Comcast Frank sent us the following statement:

We already reached out to Adam on his blog and we are reviewing this experience with our leaders in Richmond. This was unacceptable and we will make sure we learn from it and work to make sure it is avoided in the future. We have apologized to Adam and we will also make sure he is cared for based on the trouble we created.

Comcast is an Asshole [A2W]
(Photo: Spidra Webster )

Comments

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  1. Murph1908 says:

    Got FiOS. Love it.

    My story…DirecTV could never get HD to work right, so I moved to Comcast, whom I loathe, on a 1 year, half-price ‘switch from DirecTV’ special, in the hopes FiOS would reach me within that time.

    Eleven months later, I had my FiOS hooked up.

    Sweet.

  2. tedyc03 says:

    I think every comment that could be made about Comcast has been made.

    Tell me again, how did they not win the America’s Worst Company contest?

  3. OmniZero says:

    @tedyc03:

    Because Countrywide ruined the economy by adding to the real estate problems by giving out loans they shouldn’t have.

    Comcast screws over individuals

    Countrywide screws up America.

  4. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    You can checkout any time you like, But you can never leave!

    I’ve been considering streamlining my internet and cable-as it is I have Comcast for cable. I picked my poison, though, my local phone company DSL has marginally better service and support. I’m considering DirecTV, but, from what I’ve heard, I’ll be sticking with the lesser of two evils, or familiar evils.

    I feel for Adam. I’ve never had quite this problem with Comcast (although a similar phone nightmare with AOL) but I’ve come close. I have to work, I have things to do, things scheduled. I don’t expect them to arrive on the dot, but within the window promised. I’ve called them myself and said “Look, you’re late, if you can’t be here in 20 minutes don’t come at all, I have work, class, appointments, better things et al.” Can I come tomorrow? No you may not, we had today scheduled, you may come next week. I’ve wasted entire days waiting for plumbers, electricians for serious work. But for cable? Nah

  5. @tedyc03:
    They haven’t wrecked the economy…. yet.

  6. Corydon says:

    @tedyc03: Because as annoying as they may be, they didn’t wipe out the economy like Countrywide did. Some people consider little things like jobs, shelter and food and gas prices a tiny bit more important than getting the latest Paris Hilton video online or hearing about Britney’s latest exploits on E!.

    Anyways…All of the telephone and cable companies seem to share the same incredibly crappy billing systems and software. It doesn’t matter who you’re dealing with. Making a change to your account is always, always a nightmare.

    You’d think that someone, somewhere could make a killing by creating some decent software that will actually allow you to upgrade or downgrade in a timely manner.

    Sometimes I suspect that the whole system is still running off paper change orders flying around through pneumatic tubes and that these internet providers have never heard of computers and networking….

  7. GiselleBeardchen says:

    Not any different than Time Warner here in Indiana. My internet went out about a month ago. I called tech support (located in Colorado) They told me I needed a service call and made the earliest available appointment for 6- yes SIX!- days later. I heavily suspected the modem as I’d also been having occasoinal download freezup problems recently. I suggested to the tech person that I would be willing to buy a new modem to see if that worked. He advised against it saying that the diagnostics he was looking at indicated my signal was too strong and that he was POSITIVE the modem was not the problem. I asked for a local # for The Time Warner office (to beg for a quicker service call) and was told “they don’t take calls”.

    I made the 20 mile round trip to the local office, where I was told that the phone tech should have suggested that I bring in and swap out my old modem for a new one just to try. The counter clerk then brought out the service manager who gave me a new modem and a business card with his direct phone # to call if I still had problems. Internet service has been perfect since. Local TW staff seem competent and affable. TW corporate just won’t let you get to them!

    I too, eagerly await FIOS!

  8. Carencey says:

    Plus, part of the frustration of all of this, is that after you get that rare-as-a-unicorn competent person on the line, you never really get a chance to just rate THEM. If you get a feedback survey automated call, you end up getting one about your overall experience, or at least that’s how it works in my area. If I talk to four idiots and a genius, I want to give the genius good marks, but I don’t want to make it look like I thought the idiots did a good job too.

  9. robocop is bleeding says:

    If people are going to keep saying that CountryWide ruined the economy, they should listen to This American Life’s “Giant Pool of Money” episode from May:
    [www.thislife.org]

    As for Comcast, I was pondering switching to them after getting the runaround from RCN, but after reading so many horror stories about them on the Consumerist, I decided that we would not be giving them any money.

  10. rorschachex says:

    I’ve had similar problems with the internet with both Comcast now (just moved into a house with a few roommates on rotation in a development program from work) and with TWC in NYC (where I normally live). With both companies, whenever I got a cable modem self-install kit and they assured me that the internet was up and working and that if I connected it I would be online, it didn’t happen. With Comcast last week, I asked them 3 times if it was ready to go or if I would have to call them to activate it and they said I wouldn’t. Sure enough, after trying to get it to work for over an hour on Friday I called and they said that they would ‘turn it on’ now. I’ve had Comcast for less than a week and I already hate them, enough so that I kinda wish I had TWC still. :(

  11. warf0x0r says:

    Man, I wish Verizon would come to my area /sniff

  12. kretara says:

    When I tried to return my combo internet/phone modem to the local comcrap office, I was told that a ‘special’ tech had to come to my house and pick it up. They refused to either let me exchange or return the combo box to them.

    It is so nice having DISH. It’s not so nice having ATT for DSL, but at least the DSL always works and doesn’t drop to sub 56k speeds every evening like Comcrap’s did.

  13. MyPetFly says:

    We’ve got Verizon (not FiOS though), and although we’ve been pretty much trouble-free, we did have a recent issue.

    We moved to another apartment in the same complex. I moved and hooked up the DVR and cable modem, no problem. A few days later I switched out power strips and we list our Internet connection.

    I went through a loooong “robotic” troubleshooting session with no luck (sort of cool though, how it was connected to the systems to do troubleshooting). I got on the line with a live person and went through the same troubleshooting steps. (Note: I work with network stuff every day at work.)

    No luck troubleshooting the connection with the live rep, so he said the next step would be to have a tech make a house call. Now… since I hooked up the modem myself — plugged in the Ethernet and coax cables — it was considered a “self install” and that would mean an $84 charge for the service call. The first word out of my mouth was “Bullshit,” which got a chuckle out of the rep on the phone.

    I asked about switching out the modem for a new one, and he said he would transfer me to customer service. I was transferred, but the phone menu didn’t clearly indicate which number to push for customer service. I pressed “0″ and got lucky.

    After asking about switching out the modem, I was told that it’s certainly possible… after having a service call… at $84. I ended that call pretty quickly, realizing I wasn’t going to get anywhere.

    I figured “screw it,” so I opened up the modem and found a loose connection, which I fixed myself.

    My question is, should I bill them for the time, soldering iron electricity and solder? If so, should it be for $84?

  14. BrAff says:

    Wow… i will remember all these Comcast stories every time I get mad at TimeWarner for something…

  15. 2719 says:

    Why would anyone try their luck and call 5 min prior to closing time? Even if you get to talk to someone they will most likely do everything to end the call ASAP and go home, they can make stuff up and flat out lie to you. Of course once you call in again they will have no record of you calling in.

    Also I could never understand people making remarks about someone making $10/hr but at the same time expecting perfect service.

  16. theblackdog says:

    I am suprised the OP didn’t go all “Hammer lady,” but I wonder if she thought about it once or twice.

  17. CoolTri says:

    @MyPetFly

    I got Comcast to take a moth off of my bill for reconnecting my cable after the Bone Head Comcast Contractor disconnected me at the box. I convinced them it was cheaper to credit me then it was to have the Tech come back out, clam that it took 2 hrs to do the work and mess around for 1 and 45 min, waste gas and miss doing one or two more calls. I ended up leaving Comcast for dish.

  18. MyPetFly says:

    @2719:

    Also I could never understand people making remarks about someone making $10/hr but at the same time expecting perfect service.

    Maybe not perfect service, but hopefully $10 an hour worth of service. ; ) If they take the job knowing the pay but aren’t willing to provide what they’re being paid for, it might be wise to move on. Or be moved on against their will…

  19. 108Reliant says:

    I am thoroughly disgusted with the increase of horrible customer service. Not just Comcast, but with many other companies. We have to remember that the people that are hired to do these jobs are just there to make their $10 an hour and go home. You the customer are just another page with a number on their computer monitor to get by so that the reps customer count can go up. Every time that I have to call Time Warner on cable problems, I cringe. It obvious that a good customer service call from these crappy cable companies is a pipe dream!!

  20. TPS Reporter says:

    I loathe and hate Comcast. The fact that I have service thru them because it is my only choice right now makes me feel like I need a shower.

  21. vastrightwing says:

    Seriously, anyone in this forum interested in having a toll free number 1 mis-dialed digit away from Comcast? It’s a hoot! If you are, reply in this forum and I’ll setup a temporary gmail account and let you all know what it is.

  22. thelushie says:

    This sorta happened to me with Verizon. We were going to VoIP with our regional (excellent) cable company. It was a couple of weeks off when our voicemail was shut off. I called Verizon to find out what was going on when the girl on the phone informed me that she could not help me unless we stay with Verizon. Oh really. I said no. She told me that I would really find out what VoIP was like. Actually I am very tech savvy and have had it before and was very satisfied with the service and value. She said is there anything else I can do for you? “Yes, please transfer me to your supervisor” “Yes maam” and was promptly hung up on. I called back and told the woman that I wanted to be transferred to a supervisor immediately. When I got one I asked her why I would want to stay with a company with such passive aggressive service. After some more chatting…she told me she would look into it and call me back. Within an hour my voicemail was restored.

  23. FrankenPC says:

    Weird…out of ALL the craptastic companies I’ve had to deal with, two of them: Comcast and BofA have NEVER given me an ounce of trouble. Yet, these two companies are harped on like they came from the womb of satan. Comcast mysteriously upgraded mne to 20Mb service overnight for no charge. How awesome is that?

    But, I have NO loyalty to any company. When FIOS hit’s my street, adios Comcast.

  24. globalman says:

    Normally I wouldn’t comment on Comcast, because, well, everybody could say a few choice words on their service. However, since at the bottom of the blurb it says they are dealing with Comcast in Richmond (Virginia, I am presuming) and being a resident of said locality, I’ll vouch for their ineptitude.

    I bought a house almost a year ago, supposedly having my internet transferred from my apartment to my house (the cable was part of the rent, so I only purchased internet from them until I moved). Since I was in the new place I decided to go ahead and get the triple play package. That was a mistake from the beginning, and I mean beginning! I have been using a cell phone for years now as my only phone and I thought with the new house, I’d get the digital phone service with it. Why not, right? Well, even though I never hooked my phone up, according to the call log online, I had a few messages, but literally hundreds of missed calls. Turns out, as soon as you get the digital voice service, they sell your name, address, and probably anything else relevant to the number to whomever wants it. Well, there happens to be another guy in the city with my same first and last name, and same middle initial. This guy has terrible credit, apparently, as many of those calls were “war-dialed” from collection companies. I never plugged the phone up, nor did I call any of those back, for I didn’t want them to think they had the guy they were looking for. So, thanks to Comcast’s personal information disclosure, and my unwillingness to pay a fee for them to make it unlisted, they directly caused the result of me cancelling their service!
    One other thing, I brought the cable modem with me when I moved to my apartment, as I bought the thing years ago when I had the option. I told the service guy that I had one and I wouldnt need the one they brought out with them. He said he would take it back, but they kept charging me the rental fee. I called them and explained the situation and they took the fee off. But when they closed out the account at my apartment for the move, they kept calling wanting their modem back. It took about 5 calls to straighten it out.
    I feel lucky now, as I have seen the Verizon FIOS trucks on my street and I will be the first in line to get it! Comcast may still suck, but I won’t be waiting around for it.

    Another reason….It’s been tested and verified (you can Google it) that Comcast recompresses their digital TV signals so they can maximize their bandwidth, but HD suffers. I urge anyone thinking they are getting the best quality to check it out.

    Sorry for the length, it was my first post on here!

  25. .Trenchant. says:

    How many times must you call that close to 9PM before you realize YOU’RE NOT GOING TO GET THROUGH TO THEM AT THAT TIME? I don’t get it… I really don’t.

  26. ocirats says:

    If I’m an hour or two late past my e-payment deadline for a credit card, I get a hefty surcharge fee, if not a ding on my credit report. Imagine if I don’t pay off a balance for a month or two (all the time reassuring the bank that it will be paid, but for some reason I never do) – what does that do to my credit worthiness?

    Why is it that Comcast can continuously get away with this slipshod performance, but individuals can’t? If I screw up on the timeliness of my payments or my ability to perform my job, I would likely be a candidate for job loss and/or credit rehabilitation. How is Comcast above/beyond this?

  27. nikalseyn says:

    I don’t understand all of you people who complain about Comcast and apparently detest them, yet still pay for their crappy service. If they were that bad, then you would no longer be a customer. Simply drop them and get a life without their lousy cable. Or are you too stupid to do a simple thing like that?