Comcast: Sorry We Never Installed Your Cable Correctly

Reader K. wants to let us know that our tips for writing an effective complaint letter helped her solve her parents battle with Comcast. For months they’d been complaining about faulty internet service — only to be told they had the best signal they could get. Turns out, however, that their cable had never been installed properly. Whoops!

K. writes:

I’ve been lurking on your site for about a year now and would like to thank you for the ongoing advice on how to write an effective complaint letter. I was visiting my senior citizen parents who have Comcast service — other cable options are being blocked and I usuallly only have time to solve one problem each visit.

Comcast is in the midst of a digital upgrade in their area. The tech person came four hours after the window given for the service call for the required upgrade, fiddled with the TVs, disabled the cable and left, saying that he needed more boxes and would be returning at 9 the next morning.

The next day, they got a call at 1pm saying that he was on his way and of course he never showed up.

By the time I arrived for my Dad’s birthday, everyone was very angry at having to stay at home for hours on end and NOT have cable service to boot.

On Sunday, after a couple of talks with surly CS workers who insisted there was nothing they could do (and finding out that my parents had been overcharged for a year for converter boxes), I went to Consumerist and composed a short letter (not an EECB, but to We_Can_Help@Comcast.com) saying that we needed service visit the next day, a credit for listed overcharges and credit for the four days they were without service.

Shortly thereafter, I received an email from someone with a name (fancy that), who said that she was looking into it. A competent tech person arrived today, who also discovered that their internet connection had never been installed properly (they had been calling about internet problems for months only to be told that it they had the best signal they could get).

We are still working on the overcharges, but at least they have service. if I had not been a reader of your site, I’m convinced we would have been caught in the endless loop of uncaring CS reps and waiting for disappearing tech people, ending in termination of service and endless calls from my parents about how to fix the cable issue.

Worst Company in America, indeed. They will be getting another cable provider by the time I visit this summer.

Thanks!

You are quite welcome, K.

Comments

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  1. StutiCebriones says:

    Still not the Worst Company in America.

    • Geekybiker says:

      No kidding. Comcast is bumbling and uncaring, but at least they aren’t malicious like some of the competitors.

      • jiubreyn says:

        How’s about we just send Comcast a copy of each customer complaint the Consumerist receives so they know where they need to improve to avoid receiving the title, again, for the third time in a row.

    • S says:

      Here we go again. How about this as a solution, since people can’t seem to quit whining about an online poll:

      A. WCIA should be done quarterly with an end of the year runoff.

      B. The company that wins WCIA should only be pitted against the winner for the next year. The 2008 winner should not be in the running in 2009 except against the finalist (NOT finalists) for the 2009 WCIA.

      C. Anyone who wishes to complain about the outcome of WCIA in threads unrelated to WCIA should be disemvoweled and directed to an open thread titled “My candidate didn’t win” to discuss their views.

  2. Boatski says:

    I spent 50 minutes on the phone Monday with Comcast just to get my cable modem provisioned. Why? Because when we canceled our phone service, they decided to remove the modem that I own and also remove the modem they owned for the phone service. This was about 3 weeks ago. Our service went out and they SAID they added it back. But they didn’t…

    I’m not sure how I had service, but I was able to connect to the net. Although, my connection would drop about every 20 minutes. I called them again and they couldn’t find my modem. I told them to add it, which I figured would take about 10 minutes and I’d be done. No. I had to wait a good 30 minutes on top of the stupid things they wanted me to do, which I had already done.

    And to add to that, they said that a tech couldn’t pick up my modem when one was in the area. Meaning that I have to drive 30 minutes just to drop it off.

    • Marshmelly says:

      I had a similiar issue. I had a cable/internet package and I wanted to cancel the cable, but keep the internet on the package. The person I spoke to assured me she would be able to just take the cable portion out of the package…but then later (when my internet was disconnected) I found out that they cancelled my entire account and opened up a new account for the internet (which of course they didn’t transfer over the modem and router information for) I was on the phone for over an hour with 3 different people just to get my router/modem info to them and get my internet service back. *headdesk*

    • Malicious A says:

      Comcast removed our HSI when we canceled our digital cable. The person at the physical location that we returned our boxes to actually put the information for the modem on the return receipt. I spent an hour and a half explaining that I couldn’t have possibly returned the modem as the modem was still sitting in my entertainment center.

  3. burnedout says:

    Don’t you love when companies work so hard to KEEP their golden poo?

    Me neither.

    • dohtem says:

      Sigh… they claim they are trying but I dunno.

      Have you seen the new commercials where they claim they wear “boot covers” before coming into your house? I have never known a Comcast tech to do that and I had one in my house 2 weeks ago. It’s not that I care if he wears boot covers but why lie about it?

      • TornadoRex says:

        Because the public image is better than truth. When I had Comcast install cable in my house the dude left a hole in the wall. He didn’t even put up the little cable outlet cover. Just ran a cable through the wall and left it. Then they tried to charge me $30 for having someone come fix it. They also left the cable splitter in the basement just hanging from the ceiling. That was the other thing they came to fix but it would have taken too long so I told them not to worry about it (it’s an unfinished basement used for storage).

        I know for a fact some technicians are very professional. I have a few friends who work for Comcast that do a very good job, and one of the contractors I had (note that’s like 1 out of probably 15 contractors) was very good. Still though, I think the main problem with Comcast is simply their quality control.

  4. Polish Engineer says:

    First, don’t forget you get a 20 dollar credit everytime they miss the declared appt window.

    Second, try to remember the techs name who declared the installation was incorrect. If that is the case, you had not received the service you paid for x months and are due either a refund or steep discount.

    Third, try to get the initial fee for the install waived, as it was done incorrectly.

    Have them put you on a nice promotion for the new service just for your trouble. Get em to throw in some movie channels.

    Finally, switch when you get back up there.

    • PAZ002 says:

      They aren’t techs, they are contractors. I have dealt with a lot of cable contractors and they are no where near as educated as actual cable technicians. (That is just from personal experience with cable contractors.)

  5. Scuba Steve says:

    I feel your pain, K. I had horrible quality and speed the first few weeks with Comcast. Luckily for me though, they have to investigate any problems with the phone if you’re using theirs, and mine sounded like I was talking underwater.

    Otherwise I’d just be forced to deal with the crappy Speeds (couldn’t even load webpages) and get the run around.

  6. Malicious A says:

    I had a problem with comcast that was somewhat similar at my old apartment complex. I would have intermittent outages, and sometimes i would have crazy fast speeds. Other times I had connection, but frequent packet loss.
    We had no less than 2 technicians come out and inspect everything, and both times they said and i quote (one technician):”Theres something crazy wrong with your wiring coming into the building, but I’m not sure what it is, so I can’t fix it.”
    really sucked when it went out and I had to turn in an assignment for school.

  7. AllanG54 says:

    My mother has Comcrap in Florida. They came the other day to switch out her cable box and the tech lost the remote to it so…mom had to wait at home until he could come back with another remote. I suspect that one day they’ll do SOMETHING right.

  8. Remmy75 says:

    I had a similar problem with comcast a few years back. Comcast comes and installs cable, internet and phone. Well internet and phone work but signal has issues and digital cable and HD won’t work. Tech says he will have to come back tomorrow and install a booster box cause our building is old and the cable signal isnt very strong for the digital, um ok. So they come back the next day and put the booster on. Great TV works, but I go to get on the internet and now its not working and there is horrible noise on the phone line.

    Call Comcast and they sent out a Fix tech who promptly tells me that the installation techs are contractors and do crap work. He said they installed the cable wrong and created the noise, and by installing the booster they just cranked up the bad signal which made the TV work but the extra noise screwed up the phone and internet.

    Happiest day was went my FIOS was installed!

  9. womynist says:

    Comcast is so bass-ackwards. We recently called to complain about our cable freezing and skipping (most often at pivotal points in my shows) and they offered to knock $10 off the monthly bill and provide a free 1 year upgrade to an HD cable box and DVR service. So, instead of taking care of all of that at 1 appointment, they did it in 2.

    First, a cable tech came to the house to change the wires, blaming the tv skipping/freezing on bad wiring. We got a new box and wires. Then a week later, another tech came to unhook the new box they had just given us, in order to install the HD box. I can’t figure out why they couldn’t have just come out once to unhook the old box that was skipping and hook up the HD box with new wires. This is why they won the WCIA contest, and I voted for them all the way!

  10. sponica says:

    I have noticed that emailing comcast is soooooo much more effective than calling comcast. I’ve emailed Comcast on a Sunday and had a tech on a Monday.

    Although I have noticed that sometimes the techs say contradictory things…but they’ve always been polite and apologetic for the short notice and/or disruption to the day. One tech even said it’s almost always better to send the email.

  11. skapig says:

    Comcast farms out their on-site service jobs and isn’t very discriminating about who they hire. The result is that many are not sufficiently trained. They know how to perform only the most rudimentary tasks and are helpless when problems arise. Rather than taking the logical step of seeking out help themselves, they play games and don’t communicate their issues with the company. Customer are then forced to fight with the company themselves in order to get the job done right.

  12. ComcastBonnie says:

    I said it last week and I’ll say it again today, if you guys and gals run in to problems with us…

    Email we_can_help@comcast.com with your info and the issue
    or
    Email bonnie_smalley@comcast.com (that’s me!) or tweet @comcastbonnie on twitter and I’ll see what I can do to help.

    My specialty is handling technical issues more than billing stuff, so I’ll give you fair warning about that. I can, however, get the right folks involved in ANY situation to make sure you’re taken care of :) I enjoy the impossible-to-fix stuff, so if you’ve got a persistent issue that has yet to be resolved? Drop me a line!

  13. tricky1 says:

    I just had a great experience with Frank on twitter and with the tech who I happen to know from church. Had a new drop run since the previous one was showing age. Neighbor woudln’t let him run the new one across his backyard (previously it made a 90 degree turn around the tree at the corner of his fence) so the tech ran it on the ground on Sunday gave me his personal cell number and came back today to help me bury it. :)

  14. BCGA82 says:

    I recently moved from an area where Comcast has a monopoly on cable service to an area where it doesn’t. The difference is like night and day. Their internet service was so terrible that downloads on any pc in my house would always get corrupted. I’m not talking about gigantic 10 gig torrents either, i’m talking about 10 and 15mb exe files. I jumped through all their customer service hoops. I replaced the router and every cable in my house. I talked to my neighbors that use Comcast and they all had the same problem. I literally had to go to a wifi hotspot to download drivers to a flash drive when I replaced a hard drive because they would become corrupted in Comcasts terrible infrastructure.

    Also it wasn’t uncommon for some of their cable channels to look all pixelated like they were coming in through a digital antenna. I’d never use them again if my life depended on it

  15. what says:

    They still owe a family member of mine $80 and it’s been over 2 years. Every time they call, they insist that they are sending out the check to them, yet they never receive it.

    Also, when I cancelled (which they continue to bill you until THEY decide to come unhook the box on your cable line) they insisted that I had a modem of theirs and were trying to charge me for it.

    Hold onto those work orders people!!! Those little yellow slips the tech leaves behind.
    It was my only saving grace. The tech wrote on the work order that he took back the modem…..phew! Otherwise, I would probably STILL be fighting them over that one.

    Yeah…I’d give them at least in the top 5 of Worst Company in America.

    If it came down to Comcast or no cable…I’d go without cable.