Meet Stacy. Stacy moved into a new apartment. The person who moved out of the apartment had Comcast. Her neighbors all have Comcast. Stacy, however, cannot have Comcast. Why? A clerical error. And another one. And after that, still another.
On December 1st, 2009, my boyfriend and I moved into a new apartment in Chicago. Since December 2nd, we have been unsuccessfully attempting to get cable and internet service through Comcast. Where we live, Comcast and DirectTV are our only options, and we prefer cable. Comcast has, of couse, given us a variety of reasons why they haven’t been able to start our service.
At first, we were told that there was already an open account at our address, and a new account could not be opened until the previous account was cancelled, or we brought in our lease. Easy to fix, right? We called the previous tenants of our apartment to remind them to cancel their account. They assured us they already had. We called Comcast back to make sure their records reflected the cancelled account.
Comcast then told us that the problem wasn’t the previous tenants, but a clerical error that they made when the neighbor across the hall started service. Comcast had mistakenly recorded our address on his account, and although they had been aware of the error since October, they had not yet corrected it. Now, we were told, bringing in our lease would do us no good until the clerical error was corrected. Unfortunately, that guy who could correct it was out on vacation. For the next week or two, we went back and forth with Comcast, trying to get the clerical error fixed.
After the address fiasco, Comcast told us that they could not provide service to our building because it was under construction. While our building had been rehabbed a year ago, most of our neighbors have Comcast, including the guy across the hall. Also, the tenants who lived in our unit immediately prior to us, and who had been living there since the construction was completed, had service with Comcast. At this point, we were getting major network stations and a few cable channels out of the cable jack in the wall. We asked if Comcast could just send someone out to the apartment to check, because we were confident they could provide service. We were told that was impossible.
Convincing the support rep that the building was not under construction took another couple of weeks. The delay also involved various key Comcast employees being out on vacation. After resolving the new construction issue, Comcast told us our building had too many units to serve us individually and they needed a contract with the entire building. Again, this was despite the fact that most, if not all, of our neighbors, AND the previous tenants, had cable through Comcast.
On Monday, we went to talk to the landlord, to see if she could straighten the issue out. She was surprised we still were not receiving cable, because Comcast had apparently contacted her early on in the process of us trying to get service, and had attempted to get a contract for the entire building. SInce the building was not large enough to require a contract, the Comcast agent told her he would correct the problem, and the landlord thought the issue had been worked out. Comcast assured us that it was just a mistake, but now, the guy in charge of signing off on service to our building was on vacation until Wednesday. On Monday we also stopped receiving any of the network or cable channels. We told Comcast we were out of patience, and they had until Friday to resolve whatever the problem was.
Yesterday, Comcast called to say they were still in the process of negotiating a contract with the building. We told them we were done. I’m not sure why Comcast tried so hard to prevent us from giving them our money, but starting on Friday we’ll be giving it to DirectTV.
Stacy tried unleashing the EECB, but the Vice President she contacted was still unable to fix the error and hook her up for service.
I sent an email to one of the VPs I found on your website. A few days later someone from Comcast called to apologize that service was not available in our building. I tried to explain AGAIN that service was most certainly available both in the building and in our specific apartment unit.
Me: You can provide service to our apartment, the guy who lived here before us had Comcast, and so do most, if not all, of our neighbors.
Him: I’m not sure what the problem is, then.
Me: It’s just a clerical error.
Him: What clerical error?
Me: That you don’t provide service to our apartment!!
It was so infuriating. We ended up going with satellite and DSL, which I’m not that pleased with. The satellite company installed these wires that just hang off the side of the building and the DSL doesn’t really work that well with my Macbook. Every time I think of our 2 year contact with what I consider an inferior service provider I get angry at Comcast all over again. If they had just bothered to send someone out one time in six weeks we could have straightened everything out. Instead of assigning one person to manage the problem from beginning to end, it just got kicked around from service rep to service rep, without anything actually getting resolved.
Stacy, this exact thing happened to me when I lived in Chicago. In fact, the Chicago branch of Comcast is probably the reason I have this job. Yes, DSL sucks, but it’s better than Comcast in Chicago because at least you do not have to deal with Comcast in Chicago. Living in a cardboard box is almost better than having Comcast in Chicago, but not quite.
In short, Stacy, it may not seem like you are better off — but ask yourself if you really want to deal with this every time your internet breaks. Because it will.
If you didn’t already have DSL and a contract, I would tell you to try Frank on Twitter at @comcastcares, but really, you’re better off.
Any tips to make Stacy’s DSL work better?