Comcast Tells Customer On Demand Doesn't Work For Many Chicagoans At Night

Mike writes us to say Comcast’s On Demand service in Chicago is suffering from dropsies reminiscent of Bears receivers. He says a CSR admitted as much when he called to complain. He writes:

I had an open admission from Comcast tonight on the phone about 28 hours of downtime per month for the entire city of Chicago for their widely advertised “On Demand” service. Here are the details.

Over the past 6 months or more, I’ve noticed my “On Demand” highly-advertised feature of Comcast Digital Cable has basically gone offline between 2 or 3am and about 7am more than once a week. The past month has been especially bad when trying to rent films on “On Demand” and halfway through, several films cut out completely and a screen came up saying “Unable to Process Request. Call 1-800-594-1234.”

As I’ve done at least half a dozen times, I called Comcast. The number provided says they’re only available starting at 5am. So I called 1-800-Comcast and was put on a hold line that said the wait would be 15 minutes. I waited 20 and finally got ahold of someone. After a 38 minute conversation, I was told management had recently had a meeting 1.5 months ago about the late night On Demand issue. This is a minor part of my complaint.

The customer service rep (I have his name and employee number available for legal purposes should it come to it) admitted that from 3am-7am for about a week to a week-and-a-half every single month in the Chicago market, On Demand goes down for maintenance. He offered a weeks worth of credit, but I quickly calculated that I’d have to call back in 7 weeks to get another bundle of credit for the downtime. He said this is fine, but offered no other solution. When I asked him if he personally thought this was unethical to require customers to call and ask for this credit when they advertise a flawless product, he simply told me about their meeting and that as a late night worker, this is all he deals with. I do not blame him for anything, in fact he was polite and informative. I do blame Comcast for charging exorbitant prices for a product that is simply not what they advertise to the general public… especially to people who don’t have the patience or ability to call and inquire why their “On Demand” doesn’t work at certain hours for an entire week or more.

How many people are they ripping off if there’s more than a total day (28 hours by my calculations and by admission of their customer service rep) of On Demand per month unavailable to their customers? Every 7 weeks I have to call them up for a credit of the On Demand not available to me nor anyone in Chicago.

I’ve had similar problems with Comcast On Demand in Tucson, and when I’ve called to complain I’ve often got the response that since it’s a free service, I’m not entitled to a bill credit. One time they gave me free HBO for three months, though, so it just depends on which way the wind’s blowing.

Anyone else have Comcast On Demand stories, horror or otherwise?

(Photo: honeylamb)