Comcast Lures Me Back With Promotion Only To Later Deny It Ever Existed

Feeling like you’re forced to do business with Comcast because of a dearth of other options is a bad way to start things off, as Consumerist reader M.K., says, “I would never deal with Comcast if I felt that I had the choice not to.” But after checking out a Comcast offer that was priced right, M.K. decided to take the leap.

M.K. admits to past bad experiences with Comcast, but after his Internet service provider was purchased by another company, resulting in an unreliable connection, he thought, what the heck, why not see what Comcast can do?

After waiting a month with unreliable service, I decided to check what service Comcast provided. I saw that they had dozens of sites on the internet offering Comcast deals. One of them offered a free modem(which they didn’t make clear until after placing the order was free after rebateS) and service for $39.99/month for 6 months. For that introductory price, that sounded like a good deal. On November 29, I placed an order.

I got an email asking me to call to schedule installation. I didn’t want “professional installation,” because as someone who works as a network administrator and has a degree in networking, I can set up my own equipment. But I called them anyway. When I did, the person I spoke with said I could also just drive to the Comcast location to activate. The next day I drove there all of the way across the city to activate, but they had no record of my order, so I went home and called again.

They said “Have you ever had service at this location before? We’re showing unreturned equipment.” I explained to them that before I’d signed up with Comcast *last time* I’d read that when people were cancelling, Comcast was claiming ownership of customer-owned modems. Because I had read about Comcast doing that I’d bought my own modem and had kept the receipt, and that after I cancelled, just as I had suspected they might, Comcast called me up and demanded that I return the modem I had owned before ever having done business with them, and further demanded that I drive all of the way across town to prove to them that I had owned it. Only after threatening legal action did I get them to look at my account and see that yes, I owned my modem and they did not.

After I explained that, the rep went away for a few minutes, and said that yes, she would be able to continue. She said that the earliest available date would be December 12 between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM, and that the installation charge would be $20. I wanted it done earlier, but I said that that was okay.

On December 12, at 2:50 PM, I got a call from the installer saying that he wouldn’t be able to make it, because of the rain, and the earliest they could reschedule would be December 15. I immediately called Comcast and explained that I had been waiting for a long time and didn’t want to wait that long. They said they would have someone check and would call me back. They never called back.

The next day when I got home I got a note on my door saying “Sorry we missed you.”

So I called Comcast and their first question was “Were you home all day today?” as if they were going to charge me for the missed appointment. I explained that no one had told me that they were going to send someone out, and this rep said that the earliest available date would be December 19.

After explaining everything, she said they’d try to send someone out the next afternoon. He came, and didn’t have to come inside to set anything up, because I’d already set everything up. All he had to do was unlock a box outside and twist two cable connectors together. He did that and left and everything was good.

Everything was good, that is, until M.K. checked the bill and the $39.99 for six months price was nowhere to be found. Instead, he says he was overcharged.

I called them up to talk to billing. They say they have no record of my promotion, and that I have to call back tomorrow during normal business hours and talk to customer retention. I have a printout of the order, and I’m mad as hell. They overcharged me $57.96, $27.96 for the service and $30 for the installation. Comcast sucks.

One thing Comcast does seem to be good at? Nabbing Worst Company In America nominations. Fingers crossed for this year, Comcast!

Comments

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  1. deathbecomesme says:

    So you were personally aware of their sh*tty service but signed up anyway. You are partly to blame.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Just World Theory, eh? Everything bad that happens to you is what you deserve.

      • deathbecomesme says:

        No, not completely. Part of the blame lies with Comcrap. I had a bad experience with Sprint about 15 years ago. I will never get service with them again because of it. If I go back and they treat me badly again then I will accept part of the blame. We gotta start taking some responsibility or else the companies will never take us seriously

    • little stripes says:

      Wow. The first comment.

    • INsano says:

      It doesn’t help that “competition” in the internet industry essentially doesn’t exist, most markets have 2 broadband ISPs at the most: DSL through the phone provider or Cable through comcast/time-warner/etc.

      I count myself lucky that my city has 2.5; DSL, Cable and wireless through Clear that may or may not work depending on your home’s construction materials, Middle-East peace talks and solar flares.

      • deathbecomesme says:

        I have to agree with you about the lack of competition. Comcast does seem to have those markets cornered. I telecommute so not having internet is not an option for me. But if I did not require it for work and I was having repeated trouble with an ISP I know the only way to get their attention is to vote with your wallet.

        Rule #1 is you dont sign up for contracts/price locks. That 8mb plan you price locked 3 years ago is going for half that rate. Good job locking in a 5 year contract

    • JennQPublic says:

      There’s a link at the bottom of this page called “Comments Code”. It would be great if you would go give that a read-through.

  2. sugarxo says:

    Wow… I switched comcast for the same kind of crap customer service.. I had to get 3 modems and 4 dvr’s in a years time.. the rep even told me that they use faulty ones and are constantly replacing them. That very thing is what prompted me to switch to Verizon. Verizon is great.. but the price we all pay for cable and internet is LUDICROUS.

  3. SerenityDan says:

    I’m confused, so they promise him $39.99, charge him $27.96. Where is the problem? Did he think he wouldn’t get charged for them coming out to the house? It doesn’t matter you did most of the work yourself if they still send a tech out, there is a fee for that.

  4. crispyduck13 says:

    This bait and switch crap happened to my husband when we moved and had to call in to set up service at our new address. Guess Comcast makes a habit of pulling this shit. Total of around 4 hours on the phone, they refused to honor the original promotion quoted, and insisted we HAD to have “installation” done even though the previous owners had Comcast and my husband knows how to do that shit. In the end we were stuck with them because they are the only reliable provider in our area unless we want to go to Verizon, which I do not.

    I submitted my story months ago to Consumerist but I guess they were too busy reporting on idiots who lose shit on airplanes and then try to blame the airline, etc.

  5. Rachacha says:

    Customer Drops Comcast because of bad service many years ago
    Customer Sees enticing deal from comcast & decides to give them another chance
    Customer encounters 4 incidents of bad customer service before service is activated at house and continues to pursue installation.
    Customer realizes great deal was not such a great deal after installation occurrs

    I have to blame the customer here.

    When I dropped Comcast several years ago, I said I would never go back unless they paid me every month to take their service. While Verizon does have some areas of stupidity, you can usually find staff that are knowlegable and want to help you. Every interaction I had with Comcast was horrid.

  6. momtimestwo says:

    Not everyone has problems with Comcast. We’ve had Comcast for over 10 years (starting when they were @home) and we’ve never had a problem. My only complaint is that most of the In Demand selections cost money.

    • Traveller says:

      Comcast’s problem is they are so huge they are guaranteed to fail. And with so many customers even a 0.01% failure rate (who wouldn’t mind 99.99% of the time right) is 25,000 customers. That’s a lot of people, plenty of whom are apparently consumerist customers.

      That said, they should do better. I worked on the other side of the coin for several years at a startup telecom company. We had better customer service than the incumbents, but that’s not saying much. Still had screw ups and dropped balls. Other problem is even when not outsourced, customer service, especially consumer level is a $10/hour job with crappy working conditions and you get yelled at all day long.

  7. Quixiotic... Yea it's a typo (╯°□°)╯彡┻━┻ says:

    I’m confused why in the beginning he wanted to self-install but he accepted a tech?

    I recently ordered comcast and was upgrading my internet only to internet/tv, there was no option to select self installation but the summary page showed “Self installation: No” so I did a live chat, told them I wanted self installation, after several are you sure?’s they mailed out my box, installed it, yada yada yada…

    • Traveller says:

      He was likely going through some 3rd party offer that required installation as part of the deal. The third party may have been getting a bonus, but only on installation.

  8. Brian Cooks says:

    Then they charged you a fee. Comcast loves them some fees for everything. Self installed your cable modem, there’s a fee for that. Want basic cable, there’s a $50 install fee for that.

  9. pythonspam says:

    I just cancelled my cable service with charter (still have their internet).
    When I initially signed up for the internet, a phone rep called me after I had scheduled the installation to up-sell me cable TV (basic for $10/month). Supposedly, it was Risk-Free® and I could cancel it at any time and keep my internet as originally contracted. However, when he added the cable, he turned it into a bundle. When I tried to cancel just the TV, the price of the cable would shoot up to greater than the price of the bundle.
    It took a Customer service supervisor and then a “Retention Specialist” when I threatened to cancel everything to get it fixed.

    • Raider Duck says:

      I had a similar experience with Cox. Signed up for Internet, but not TV (as we use Dish Network). A year and 1/2 later, our Internet bill jumps by $30/month.

      I call Cox, and they said “You’ve been on the Internet/low end cable TV bundle this whole time, and that promotion just expired. If you didn’t want TV, you should have told us that you were receiving it when you didn’t want to.”

      I acidly informed them that we were on Dish this whole time, and never knew we were getting Cox cable TV, as we had never connected any of our TV sets to the coaxial line. They dropped the price back down, but it was still aggravating.

  10. Dallas_shopper says:

    Sounds similar to experiences I’ve had with U-verse. It was such a ballache moving my service from one address to another that I confess I am afraid to cancel it.

  11. balderdashed says:

    So customer M.K. had “past bad experiences with Comcast, but after his Internet service provider was purchased by another company, resulting in an unreliable connection, he thought, what the heck‚Ķ” Any chance the previous ISP was Qwest, which became consistently unreliable as soon as it was purchased by CenturyLink? That was my experience exactly — my theoretical 20 mb/sec Qwest service used to deliver 14-16 mb/sec consistently, but now the service is so spotty that the streaming features on my Samsung Smart TV are nearly useless. I didn’t think it was possible for a company to be even worse than Comcast, but I I may have to reconsider. If I didn’t know better, I’d guess that CenturyLink was really a Comcast subsidiary that existed mainly to make the parent company look good (or at least, not as bad).

  12. 4Real says:

    I was tricked by them too. A few months ago I called to get an upgrade they told me my new bill would be around $60 a month. I was fine with that after 2 months my new bill came in and it was for $250 for 2 months. I called Comcast they told me me it was $90 a month and didnt know who told me it was $60. I told them to F Off and canceled.

    • balderdashed says:

      You’re lucky. Comcast had the audacity to call me up and tell me that through a clerical error, they’d been undercharging me for more than a year and wanted significant back payments. In fact, I had paid exactly the rate the utility had quoted. When I informed the Comcast rep of that fact, and that I was taping her comments, she claimed I was breaking the law by recording her without permission, and that she would “report” my illegal activity to the state Public Utilities Commission. She was, of course, lying. It’s perfectly legal to record a phone conversation in Minnesota with the consent of only one party (which can be yourself), and no complaint was ever filed with the PUC — except by me, over Comcast’s quoting of one price while attempting to collect a higher price retroactively. While the PUC investigated, Comcast continued to violate Minnesota law, sending me a letter that said my back payment “must be received immediately or your account will be turned over to a third-party collection agency.‚Äù By law, Comcast is prohibited from collecting a disputed amount while a complaint is pending before the PUC. Suffice it to say that Comcast never saw another dime of my money and eventually gave up — though I wonder how many others were strong-armed into agreeing to back payments due to Comcast’s “clerical error” chicanery.

  13. Traveller says:

    I think I am going to record all future Customer Service/Phone ordering with my Google Voice account.

    • scoosdad says:

      We need to make it legal in all 50 states for consumers to be able to record both sides a phone conversation with a business that involves setting up services or when money is involved without making a prior announcement or getting permission to do so. You’d see this kind of crap go away very quickly.

      In the same vein, let’s also make it a felony (if it isn’t already), for a business to falsify or omit caller ID information for any reason. The punishment could be a huge fine and a prohibition from using a telephone or the internet in the conduct of business for five years.

      • Robert Nagel says:

        Every customer service call I have made in the past many years has had an announcement that “this call may be recorded for training purposes”. If that isn’t permission to record the call to aid the company in training its employees I don’t know what is. If they don’t want you to record they need to word their announcement differently.

  14. mingtae says:

    I work for Comcast and I will tell you that it does depend on what web site you saw the offer. Also, Comcast has web only promotions that no one, not even managers, have access too. So it makes it harder to help people when their order gets cancelled or they just call in to order the promotion. Only thing you can do it sign up online again and then try calling to see if you can get a sooner appointment.

    • dicobalt says:

      Comtrac / ACSR / Cable Data, they are all big steaming piles that don’t let the reps do their job. Not to mention the provisioning back end is also a complete disaster requiring constant escalation. I’m so relieved I don’t have to work there anymore.

  15. gman863 says:

    The only thing I have left with Comcast is my Internet. They suck, but not nearly as much as the alternatives of Windstream DSL or Clear Wireless.

    Comcast is getting on my nerves by calling me at least once a week trying to sell me an upgraded DOCSIS 3.0 modem in anticipation of the new “faster, all digital service” coming soon to my neighborhood.

    I pay for a6 MBs plan and have a DOCSIS 2.0 modem that’s good up to 18 MBs. As an IT person, I fail to see the logic on replacing it unless Comcast plans on giving me their new 105MBs plan at no extra cost. Remembering Wayne’s World: “That…and monkeys might fly out of my ass…”

  16. anchorworm is really sick of Minnesota weather says:

    I am stuck in a circle of hell where I actually miss Comcast. I got transferred from Northern Illinois to Northern Minnesota. With Comcast, my service was always reliable, equipment was up to date and we had a DVR and On Demand. My main problem with them was billing, which they always seemed to screw up every 6 months or so. Up here we have Mediacom, spotty service, my HD cable box is so old it doesn’t even have a HDMI jack, no DVR, and no On Demand. We get plenty of commercials touting On Demand service, they just don’t offer it up here. There is basically no competition for high speed internet, Qwest was bought out by CenturyLink and that service has gone downhill. OTA is not much of an option either, the hills (mountains, they call them) and iron deposits mess up all but 2 over the air channels. So Comcast, please come up here to Virginia, Minnesota and I will gladly fight you 2-3 time a year over billing as long as I have some decent service.

  17. chatterboxwriting says:

    Comcast is on Santa’s naughty list this year in my house. I had a package for about $91/month (cable TV with the digital preferred tier, plus high-speed Internet). The promo period was ending, so I called to either cancel or negotiate a similar deal. The customer service rep said they didn’t have the exact same price, but I could pay $4 more per month for the same package. I said fine. Fast-forward to my next bill, and the bill was for more than $150. I called in to see what happened, and I spoke to a rep who said she was the one who talked to me and she “forgot” to tell me the new package did NOT include the digital preferred tier. See, it was my bad because I thought “same package you have now” included everything I had at that time (/sarcasm). She adjusted my bill, but it seems awfully convenient that I would get the exact same rep at a national call center and that she would remember that she “forgot” to tell me.

  18. dookie says:

    so first, Comcast doesn’t have “dozens of sites” offering deals. There is the Comcast.com site and Authorized resellers of Comcast services (as does all the others ie att, dish, directv). The site you obviously went to was an authorized reseller since comcast doesnt offer free modems. so, you cant blame comcast for that. secondly, if you didnt call comcast to place said order through the phone number that you received from your email, not the standard 1-800 number, you would have received said promotion also. even though you are a network adminstrator and have a degree in networking still does not mean you have any common sense.

    Now the install issues, that is a comcast issue. that is all. nothing else is comcast’s fault.

    I am tired of Comcast being blamed for user errors. a lot of times the customer has no common sense or demands too much for some things or doesn’t follow directions.

    • dicobalt says:

      It doesn’t matter if the real comes from somewhere other than comcast. The rate codes still show up in their billing system and Comcast. Comcast often needs to remove and add rate codes in order to fix their jacked up databases that don’t work properly either through technical error or though design. Comcast should at least be able to take off a rate code and then put it right back on in order to correct these unavoidable errors. Basically Comcast is using this to trick people into signing up and then change their rates against the agreed deal. I do agree though, he should have simply cancelled the deal and told Comcast to cancel the service.

  19. EricS says:

    I had a much more successful experience with Comcast about a year ago: They screwed up every phase of the order, including installation of an “unauthorized” smartcard for Tivo and monthly extra outlet charges for each piece of equipment I received, but each time the problem was solved cheerfully by the next Comcast person I called. Still screwed up, but much better at recovery than the last time I dealt with them 10 years ago.

  20. vdragonmpc says:

    I agree with the post about the site being ‘too busy with people losing stuff on a plane’.

    I was lied to openly by comcast when DirectTV suddenly could not complete my upgrade and we ended services with them. Comcast LIED and told me that they had HD cable in my area. They only have local channels in HD! They wanted me to pay 15$ per month for 2 receivers. But wait it gets better: I was supposed to be able to program my DVR from anywhere ‘just like DirectTV’. Nope that was a lie.

    Then I was supposed to get ‘on demand’, it didnt work. That was actually a week of lies. I was told that it would take 24 hours to ‘update’. Then ‘its in the 500 range’. Then Oh we didnt turn it on for you. Turns out my ‘digital preferred’ package is analog. How do I know? My bedroom TV is plugged directly in and gets the channels just fine all except HBO.

    I would not be as angry if they would just STOP sending me the on demand flyers showing me services I cannot receive. It is funny though as the last one for December (they said they were yet again upgrading services) shows no HD channels in the lineups. I guess someone was able to take them to court and force the issue.

    I also agree on the DVR mine is haunted and records when it feels the show is worthy. It seems to simply not record scheduled shows. There have to be other companies besides the inept Scientific Atlanta units. Those things are hot as the sun and just dont seem to handle any kind of request.