There Is No Point Asking Comcast Where You Can Buy A Cable Box

Consumerist reader Travis is interested in Comcast, but isn’t thrilled about the idea of having to lease a cable box for $9.99/month. So he thought he would ask a Comcast online chat rep about this. That was his first mistake.

Below is the transcript of Travis’ attempt to get a simple answer from the Comcast chat rep regarding this question.

If you don’t want to read through it — though you should, if only because the rep’s generous use of exclamation points might brighten your day — here’s a brief summary.

Travis asks a very direct question right from the get-go. Rather than answer that question, the Comcast rep… 1. Goes through the standard, long-winded request to move the chat into a new window; 2. Asks him if he’s a new or current customer; 3. Says he needs the customer’s full address to answer the question; 4. Tries to upsell Travis on the Triple Play bundle; 5. Lets Travis know he can lease a cable box for $9.99. 6; Finally lets Travis know he can’t answer his question and that he’ll have to call customer service, presumably to get the same runaround.

Again, just like the story from last week about the woman who tried to simply alert Comcast to a bird’s nest in an outdoor cable box — only to end up spending days responding to e-mails from people who obviously didn’t read her original message — Travis’ question could have been answered with a very quick, “I’m sorry. We don’t have that information, but if you call customer service they will be able to help you.”

Instead, he gets several minutes of scripted nonsense and gratuitous exclamation points. In the end, he just comes out hating Comcast even more than before.

Customer service, whether online or on the phone should be about HELPING the customer… not about making them jump through hoops. Online chat reps were supposed to be a way for customers to avoid the hell that is the automated phone tree, but that has just been replaced by endless scripts for upselling products and services customers don’t necessarily want.

Anyway… herewith the transcript:

Comcast: Hi, I’m a live Comcast product specialist. Would you like my help checking out?

Comcast: Just type your question below.

You: Hi, Where can I buy a cable box instead of renting one from comcast?

Comcast: I’d be happy to answer any question that you have regarding our service.

Comcast: So that we don’t lose connection, can you please click on the orange ‘Move chat window’ button to make it a window of its own. That way, you’ll still see this web page while we chat.

Comcast: Thank you for moving the chat.

Comcast: Do you mind if I ask a few questions to make sure we get the right information?

Comcast: How are things coming along?

You: You can ask me anything as long as it pertains to my original question.

Comcast: Thank you!

Comcast: For the boxes you can also have the option to lease them so you can watch our on demand channels.

Comcast: Just to check before we move on, are you a current Comcast customer or have you had Comcast service within the last 120 days?

You: No.

You: And I’m not looking to lease a box, I want to buy one so I don’t have to lease it.

Comcast: Thank you for considering Comcast!

You: My question is how or where I do that.

Comcast: That would be in step 2 of the order process.

Comcast: Prices and plans vary by location, however we can definitely take a look at the available offers in your area. May I have your address with zip code?

You: The price to purchase a box varies by location?

Comcast: That would be correct! May I have your address with zip code?

You: XXXXXXXXX

Comcast: Thank you for providing me your address with zip code.

Comcast: I know you are considering specific services; however, right now we have Triple Play Bundles for as little as $99/month that may save you even more money! I’d be happy to give you more information on those as well.

You: The only information I want is how much it costs to PURCHASE an HD tuner box. I do not want to lease one.

You: Since you have indicated that it is possible to purchase a box, but the price varies by location, I would like to know how much it costs to purchase a box in my location.

Comcast: I understand.

Comcast: For the HD receiver that would be at $9.95 per month.

You: How can I make this more clear? I want to PURCHASE a box. I do not want to LEASE a box.

Comcast: Please call our Customer Services team at these numbers, 1-800-COMCAST (1-800-266-2278). They will be able to give you options and answer your questions that you may have.

Comcast: Is there anything else I can help you with today?

You: Why can’t you just answer my question?

Comcast: I understand. We do not have information regarding the price for purchasing the boxes.

[Travis then pastes in previous text where the rep's answers imply that they do sell the boxes, but which are really just evidence that the rep never paid attention to his initial question.]

Comcast: I understand. We only lease our boxes. That is at $9.95 per month.

You: Ah, so you lied.

You: Interesting.

Comcast: I am sorry for the confusion. I am referring to the boxes lease.

Comcast: Please continue calling our customer service team they will provide you the information.

Comcast: Are there any other questions that I can answer for you?

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. StatusfriedCrustomer says:

    I would end by telling her that she’s ruining my dreams and I just want to be Tinker Bell.

  2. Eremis77 says:

    “Hello, I would like to buy a sandwich. How much are they?”
    “Please give me your address and I’ll be happy to tell you.”
    “Okay, here it is.”
    “Sorry, we only lease sandwiches. Enjoy your future spam mail sent by us!”

    • Robert Nagel says:

      Actually, sandwiches are like beer. You can only lease them, you can’t buy them.

  3. Sarek says:

    I know there’s a contest (Turing Test) to see if a robot can fool a user into thinking it’s a live human. But why do all these “customer service” chats try to see if a human can fool the user into thinking he’s a robot, and a bad robot at that?

    Most of my chats make me ask the question multiple times before the alleged human at the other end gets it. Their responses are always in the same officially designated syntax. “Hello, how are you today. My name is x.” Then they echo the question back to you. Then they answer a question they just made up, not the one you asked.

    • DrLumen says:

      I was wondering something kinda similar but more along the lines that it may actually be a ‘bot that is picking up the occasional word and spewing the most likely response.

      If memory serves, an interpretation of the Turing test was passed some years ago by a chat ‘bot. Passed in the sense that the majority of people couldn’t tell if they were chatting with a ‘bot or a real person.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        musing – if you first expose a group of subjects to customer service chats with cable company representatives, then expose them to turing test chat bots, will the turing test chat bots pass due to being less inhuman than cable company reps?

    • Not Given says:

      Are you saying that it isn’t a bot?

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Vanessa was a Fembot!!!

    • Plasmafox says:

      Lots of them are forced to work from an exact script in lieu of proper training. If they deviate too much from the script too often they’re at risk of termination.

      • Galium says:

        Most of their script is like a Chinese menu; pick one from column A and two from column B. They not only work from a script but you also can not hear their accent. If you ever watched Gandhi then you can imagine the accent when corresponding with them.

    • alana0j says:

      Hmmm I’ve had the opposite happen with my recent chats with AT&T. Both times the rep was a male and both times they overused smiley face emoticons. I mean to the point that some of their statements almost seemed flirty. Oh I wish I had saved them and could give a specific example, but it was incredibly humorous!

  4. fieldy920 says:

    Maybe just start up a conversation between the online chat rep and Cleverbot?

  5. who? says:

    You can always buy a Tivo and use cable cards. Comcast will never, ever advertise this, and if you tell them you want to use cable cards, they will try to talk you out of it, because they don’t make as much money. But I had a Tivo with cable cards for years, and it worked far better than the horrible DVR they tried to make me rent.

    It won’t save you any money, because then you have to subscribe to the Tivo service, but since you asked…

    • cowboyesfan says:

      I think pay-per-view doesn’t work with cable cards.

    • Kodai says:

      Getting TIVO isn’t the same as getting a cable box. You would still need a box and Comcast only rents them. Cable cards are used in place of a box and are also rented from Comcast.

      for cowboyesfan:
      Pay Per View DOES work with cable cards. It’s Video On Demand that doesn’t work with them.

      • Coyoty says:

        This is incorrect. You do not need a cable box with TiVo. That’s what the cable cards are for. I have a TiVo and don’t need a cable box for it. The only thing I would need a cable box for is On Demand.

      • scoobydoo says:

        Amazing how you managed to type that much without a single correct fact.

        You do not need a cable box with CableCard – that is the whole purpose of CableCard. You can NOT watch pay-per-view with CableCard, and with the exception of Boston, you can’t do Comcast OnDemand either. You lease the cable cards from Comcast, but the first one is free and in most cases that first one will cover all the tuners you need. Mine supports four tuners in my TiVo. Comcast doesn’t get a penny from me for equipment.

        OnDemand will roll out to most TiVo Premiere boxes this year.

    • Moniker Preferred says:

      Cable cards are not well supported by many cable providers. It’s a failed technology and it is dying.

      • Moniker Preferred says:

        I was wrong. I decided to go take a look at the current status of cable cards. Apparently, the FCC ruled in 2005 (delayed to 2007) that decoding could not be “integrated” and that cable cards had to be used in set-top boxes. Consequently, cable cards are now installed in all new set top boxes.

        I took a look at the Motorola DCX 3400 I got from Comcast a few months back, and sure enough, there’s an M-card (cable card) in the backside covered by a sticker. So cable cards now apparently abound.

        However, cable companies have not been happy about this approach (no surprise there), and one might expect that if have any compatibility or functionality problems with your third party box/ cable card and the provider’s network, they aren’t going to be particularly willing to help you.

      • wkm001 says:

        They are required to support them by the FCC. They do a piss poor job of supporting them because they don’t like them. Comcast, Cox, Time Warner, and FIOS supports CableCard. U-Verse, DirecTv, and Dish Network do not support them.

    • McDoctor says:

      Nope, Comcast, in its infinite crappiness, has this one covered too. With COMCAST (though not necessarily with other cable companies,) renting cablecards costs EXACTLY the same as renting cable boxes. There is an elusive “Customer owned equipment credit,) that some (but not all) Comcast customers with cablecards are able to get.

      • Chmeeee says:

        I have NO charge on my bill for my M-card in my TiVoHD, and this is entirely consistent with what I read in forums prior to buying the TiVo.

      • elephant says:

        It’s hidden deep in comcast.net but each cable outlet gets one FREE cable card – Comcast will try to give you two single stream cable cards per tivo, but ask for one M-card and it’ll be free. I have 4 tivos and I don’t pay for any cable cards – I just pay for an extra outlet (the 4th) and I get a customer owned equipment credit on every bill. I don’t get on-demand or ppv, but whatever – I tried the comcast DVR and it was awful. Tivo is way better.

    • majortom1981 says:

      Keep in mind tivo also costs a certain amount per month. Its cheaper to just go with comcasts box.

  6. XTREME TOW says:

    At least he got to communicate with someone. I gave up on ‘online chat support’. Being on hold on the phone for a half hour before being disconnected is bad enough, getting the same thing online is just a waste of my time.
    Travis: try “Google” or “Bing”!

  7. eatyourchildren says:

    They don’t sell cable boxes, they only rent them. They should have said that upfront. On the other hand, why would one think they would sell you a cable box without any services? They are a cable provider not a cable equipment seller. For better or worse the equipment lease is built into their business plan.

    • who? says:

      I dunno, I asked my cable provider, who does lease modems for $9.99/month, where to buy a cable modem, and they gave me a list of model numbers and sent me to Best Buy. Why shouldn’t it be the same with DVR’s?

      • The Cupcake Nazi says:

        DVR != Cable Box. They may come integrated in the same package in some cases, but they are not the same thing.

        • Doncosmic says:

          A cable box is in most cases just a DVR with the proper cable card to decode the signal.

    • barty says:

      His point was to purchase a cable box to use with his existing service instead of paying them $120 a year to lease a box from them that likely only costs Comcast $100-150 to begin with.

      This is precisely why I don’t subscribe to Comcast’s HD service. I absolutely loathe to pay them an additional monthly fee for something my TV is already capable of receiving ON ITS OWN, and the signal is on the wire anyway.

      • Mark702 says:

        Ya, after 5 years, it’d be $600 for a rented box, where you should instead be able to buy one for $150 or $200. Especially when you read stories about peoples houses burning down and the cable company charges them $200 or 300 for the destroyed box.

  8. PunditGuy says:

    HDHomeRun Prime might be an option, if you have a computer that isn’t a Mac and you know a thing or two about networking.

  9. The Brad says:

    Your best bet is to get a Tivo or a Cable Card tuner and put it in a cheap home theater PC. Then you can get a cable card from the cable company for less thant he average rental fee of a cable box.

  10. az123 says:

    Just wait till he finds out how much the boxes would cost if you can buy them. Based on what people report for them being lost and not returned (also do work in the industry to know the cost) the retail cost of one of those boxes range from $300-500+ depending on the model and functionality (and that is retail not what the cable company pays).

    I think you are always better off leasing these because if they change their system you get a new one free of cost if your old one will not work anymore. Also if the thing fails you get a new one with no hassle. If you spend all that money and buy one, there is a limited warranty and well if they change the system you have to go buy a new one

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      Also if the thing fails you get a new one with no hassle.

      Not with no hassle. You get to spend 2 hours on the phone with them while they tell you to unplug, replug, reboot, unplug, try again, etc. etc. etc., all while giving you the same patronizing lines – “ok, thank you for unplugging the cable box, now please wait 10 seconds”, “ok, thank you for waiting 10 seconds, now please plug the cable box back in.”

      But, your point is taken that it doesn’t cost any cash money.

      • coldfire409 says:

        Or you could just take it up to the office without calling them. That’s what I do when my Bright House boxes fail.

    • carlogesualdo says:

      Remember renting phones from the phone company? How much does a telephone cost if you just purchase one?

    • who? says:

      A Tivo Premiere is $149. I can’t imagine that the crap boxes the cable company use would be any more expensive, if it were sold in a free and open market.

      • barbcole says:

        No. TiVo is $149 on sale from $199 — with a two year contract at $19.99 a month.

        • slightlyjaded says:

          Exactly. Tivo is under $200 because they’re selling you a subsidized piece of hardware in exchange for a contract with a monthly fee. It’s the same as your mobile carrier offering you a smartphone for $100, when it costs $600 if you try to buy it without a contract.

          If you want to buy a multi-tuner DVR box, you are effectively buying a dedicated media PC to put next to your TV, and you should expect to spend several hundred dollars.

  11. Bort says:

    When reviewed by their supervisor, this is likely to be rated an A+ for fulfilling comcast requirements in every chat, including the upsell which could get the employee fired if they didn’t include it, because according to their internal statistics, 90% of customers take any offered upsell…

    Then it will be rated a fail for customer friendliness by the same supervisor, then the employee may be put on notice that if they repeat this performance, they may be terminated. The employee knows from experience and common sense that the fail was caused by following procedures. But they are trapped in that if they follow the procedures and the customer doesn’t play along (which they often won’t) they get a failing grade, but if they don’t they fail for not following procedures, and in both cases the result may be termination.

    Basically the employee usually hopes that the random monitoring happens to be of a chat or call that went picture perfect, so their job is always on the line and often down to luck. There is little they can do to keep their job since the policies are written in stone with liquid gold (until next month when it may be switched to the opposite). The employee may also have not been given the answer to this question in his training, because due to high turnover they only train employees with information that answers 90% of customer questions, and the other 10% is only known by a supervisor who you avoid at all costs, because admitting you don’t know the answer can bring disciplinary action.

  12. Cosmo_Kramer says:

    Quit being a douche, Travis. If you were talking to that person face to face, would you talk to them the same way?

    • who? says:

      Why should Travis not be a douche to an automated chatbot? If there was an actual person on the other end of this chat, then I’d say Travis is perfectly well excused for his responses. The answers were nonsensical and didn’t even attempt to answer his perfectly simple question.

    • nugatory says:

      Yes, yes I would. They lied. He called them on it.

  13. iesika says:

    I don’t think this “live product specialist” passes the Turing test.

  14. ECA says:

    http://cetoncorp.com/products/infinitv-4-pcie/#tab2

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LP-uhPpyO4

    yes,
    YOU HAVE A right TO BUY A BOX. but they are expensive.
    AND cable/sat LOVES to change things so you would Probably need to buy a new box every few years.

    • wkm001 says:

      I have been using the PCI Express card from Ceton since it came out. I could not be happier with my HTPC. Records 4 HD shows at one time, you can also watch a 5th already recorded show if you want. No need to wait for someone else to integrate some service into your set top box. Just open the browser of your choice or install the software yourself, it is a computer.

      HDMI has made hooking a computer to your TV very easy.

  15. enneract says:

    I used to do this guy’s job.

    Honestly, all the hate in this thread for the individual rep is really… disconcerting. I don’t know if any of you have ever worked in a call center, especially a ‘tech support’ call center, but there are certain talking points, even entire paragraphs, that we MUST say at certain points in the callchat session. Generally, these scripts are not designed by people with any technical knowledge whatsoever.

    • j2.718ff says:

      The problem is the scripts and requirements. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the rep is the face of customer support. They are the people customers get mad at, and yet customers would likely be satisfied if the reps weren’t required to repeat the horrible scripts.

      The higher-ups who decide what the reps must say, and evaluate reps’ performance based on that are the the reason customer support sucks so horribly.

    • highfructosepornsyrup says:

      That the talking points is scripted isn’t really relevant. As the rep for the company, you get flak for the crap they make you say. This is the nature of representing the company…

    • who? says:

      I’m having a hard time believing that the “rep” is an actual person. I understand about the rep having to read a script, but the answers the “rep” gives are nonsensical and unrelated to the question. I’ll go with the more charitable explanation that the “rep” isn’t actually human.

    • Nyxalinth says:

      I know what you mean. I was stuck in customer service hell for years. Probably still will be if I can’t find anything else. it does suck. It sucks worse that the people who come up with this crap knows it irritates the customers, but insist we do it anyway.

  16. Speedstr says:

    I’m not sure why cable companies are allowed to fleece the customer with leasing cable boxes instead of giving them the option to buy. If the same cable company allows one to buy their own modems, why not cable boxes? Especially over a technology that has been around for decades.

    On a side note, I wonder if European and Asian countries are able to have their citizens buy their own cable boxes from their perspective cable companies?

    • who? says:

      Actually, according to the Telecommunications act of 1996, you’re allowed to buy your own equipment (usually a Tivo or HTPC), and use cable cards. When I did this, there was a $4/month charge on my bill for renting two cable cards, and a $3.99 credit for “customer owned equipment”.

      The cable companies, of course, don’t advertise this, and try to talk you out of it if you ask them about it.

  17. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    TIL chatbox works at comcast.

  18. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Article tagline could have just read “There is no point in asking Comcast”. There, I fixed it.

  19. Martha Gail says:

    Wow, it’s almost like talking with Cleverbot.

  20. Blueskylaw says:

    This particular Comcast rep is looking to run for President sometime during the next 8 years and thought working here would be good practice for the hard questions to come.

  21. kimmie says:

    Interestingly, I worked on cable boxes for multiple providers while at a certain DVR company. I can tell you SA and Cisco don’t generally sell these direct to customers, I think each box we used was something like $800. But more importantly, MSOs absolutely have the right to not turn up any equipment they don’t want on their headend, even if it’s on their approved hardware list. This includes the DOCSIS 3.0 mini-PIM for Juniper SRXs I have that keeps making the reps hate me. I’d recommend a TiVo and a cable card over the MSOs proprietary boxes.

  22. Robert Nagel says:

    Buy a TIVO box and you get the best of both worlds. You can buy a lifetime (of the box, not you) subscription to the service and the box and never pay Comcast for any lease. Be prepared to buy a decoder card, but they are required to make one available. It is what I do and it works real well. the TIVO box if far and away the better box as opposed to their proprietary box.

    • Wawa says:

      Being a comcast HD subscriber, I looked at the TiVO option 3-4 years ago. At least back then, you had to pay a monthly subscription fee (or lifetime option) to enable TIVO’s on screen program guide. It’s more than a luxury; without it, a DVR is kinda useless.

      Anyway, TiVO’s monthly service fee was significantly more than comcast’s equipment rental fee. So, I stuck with the comcast HD DVR which is where I remain today.

  23. J. Cohen says:

    You mean you can buy your own cable box instead of leasing one? WOW

    Next thing you’ll tell me is that I don’t have to lease my rotary phone!

  24. mingtae says:

    The chat rep most likely was someone working in a call center over in India or the Philippians. Those call centers have a high turn over and so all they do is copy/paste the script.

    As far as buying a cable box goes, Comcast does not sell them. This comes up every now and then and the list of companies that actually sell boxes is down to 1. Motorola, Panasonic, Sony, Tivo and Moxi all used to make boxes for retail but stopped, except for tivo, because they do not want to have the personal on the phones to support it. Same goes for TVs with cable card readers. Only Panasonic still makes cable card ready TV sets. This has nothing to do with the cable companies. Walk into Best Buy and ask a rep there if they sell cable boxes aside from Tivo. I’m sure the expression on their face with be that of confusion.

  25. ap0 says:

    You can’t buy their shitty boxes, but you can recreate their setup. I have an HDHomeRun Prime with a CableCard connected to a HTPC with WMC and use the Xbox for the On Demand stuff. Both are far superior than the boxes Comcast provides, and have no monthly charge associated. So you CAN get what they offer without leasing their equipment (you can get one CableCard free on your account).

    Yes, there’s some up front cost, but I do enjoy owning my own equipment and the experience I get is much better.

  26. ecvogel says:

    YOu would have to get a cablecard tv or box. I know you can get a $400 tv tuner for a PC and rent a cable card or cable card M (multi stream) still gonna cost you but less than $10. The cablecard is a digital key to decrypt the stations. The only ClearQAM stations they have (unencrypted) is your local channels.

  27. soj4life says:

    Short answer, you can not buy the same cable boxes that they lease.

    Long answer, you have other alternatives to watch cable without a leased box but you will get a different experience. Any alternatives will not have video on demand, though it is becoming available in some areas with the newest tivo model available. Any guide information will not come from comcast; part of tivo’s monthly cost is having guide info, with other options you will need to find a source for the guide info. You will need a cablecard, do not buy any device that does not have a cablecard slot in it because it may work today but stop working when the network in your area is upgraded to all digital. As for cablecards, you need a m-card and make sure that the device supports.

  28. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Why would you want to buy a cable box? Leasing is less expensive and you can upgrade and/or return defective boxes with no hassle. If there is problem with cable then you know 100% that it is Comcast’s fault. If you own your box there is a ~50% chance it’s not Comcast’s fault. If they make a house call and find it’s a problem with your owned box they can charge you for that visit – and leave without fixing your problem. If you lease then the guy will just swap out the box. You’ll get even less help on the phone if they suspect it’s problem with your box.

  29. kranky says:

    I know the CSRs have to follow a script but from the customer point of view it is maddening. I called Verizon to ask what package options might be available to lower my FIOS bill, and I was offered:
    - a new triple play bundle with faster internet at the same price
    - HBO/Cinemax, 3 months at half-price

    When I pointed out neither option will LOWER my bill which is why I called in the first place, I just got more canned commentary. At no time was there any discussion of what options I had that would lower my bill.

    If we could have face-to-face interaction with CSRs, I really think the experience would improve. Trying to have a substantive discussion with someone who may only speak in canned phrases or is juggling 6 online chats at the same time is just fruitless.

  30. Difdi says:

    Are you sure that’s a real person on Comcast’s end? That chat transcript reads like the OP consulted Eliza…

  31. vyper says:

    Does anyone else think it is moronic that they repeatedly tell him to call? He’s already contacting them through the chat. Why should the method of communication he uses to matter?

    We’re already at a point where many people don’t have landlines and use more data than voice on their cell phones. At what point will the call centers of the world make the same switch?

    • jeffbone says:

      The advice to call the CS phone number is obviously the chatbot’s exception handler.

      Honestly, I don’t know why anyone trying to accomplish anything useful with Comcast even bothers with their normal CS procedures. Over the past four years, they’ve trained me to go directly to the Comcast Direct support forum on dslreports.com; inquiries there are handled by a real human being who knows how to get stuff done.

  32. dolemite says:

    I talked to a Comcast chat bot months ago. They are very good. It actually took me a little bit to figure out it wasn’t a person. I needed to get 2 digital cable converters, and I was notified they would be free. The transaction seemed to go smoothly, with me giving the bot my info, and it responding I would receive the items in 7-10 days.

    A few weeks later, I had no received anything. I called up Comcast, and the service rep said there was no evidence of me requesting anything or having any contact with Comcast. Damn bot!

  33. bellabell says:

    same thing calling most places. they have a script they have to follow no matter what you business is that day. these scripts have been proven to ……..

    my subscription was coming due on xm radio so I called 4 times and never did complete my business…. after several minutes of useless questions I was transferred each time to the “right” department only for the call to be dropped. funny thing is I was trying to update my credit info since my card had been changed…. well guess what I am receiving now – emails that tells me my card is not active…. really? I will call when I have time to play their games….

  34. FreshPorcupineSalad says:

    If they didn’t answer like this, there would be 2 articles a week on how inconsistent Comcast’s customer service is.

  35. consumed says:

    Time Warner Cable uses the exact same chat bots. I’m pretty sure they are outsourced to the same people that Comcast uses.

  36. Nyxalinth says:

    Can’t tell if Comcast has very strict Chat wording guidlines

    (skeptical Fry)

    Or if the Rep just failed the Turing Test

    I don’t think human beings do their chat. It feels too cold and scripted, and even Comcast has a rep or two who might actually listen to what is being said. I think it’s automated, looking for keywords, (is probably also set up to look for words like lie lied or lying) and responds appropriately.

  37. stlbud says:

    Reminds me of the computer program Eliza http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELIZA I guess there really is no intelligent life at Comcast. :-)