Senior Citizen Gets Comcasticed! i.e. Ripped Off

What would you call getting a bill for services you never received? How about fraud? That’s what Comcast is doing to one blogger’s mother.

A sales rep came to Mrs. Dalka’s door and sold her her Comcast cable and internet service. Appointments were made but Comcast never installed anything. That didn’t stop Comcast from billing Mrs. Dalka.

When she called to cancel service, Comcast agreed to issue a refund, but didn’t cancel service. Comcast doesn’t cancel service until they receive the modem back. Yes, that would be the modem that Mrs. Dalka never received.

Her son has put her complaint history up on his blog. It’s a very nice complaint history. Lots of who what when where why hows. Short on emotional appeals. Good stuff.

Comcast, why you so crazy?

Jennifer in Comcast PR, we lost your email so if you’re reading this, please email us. — BEN POPKEN

As David’s server is a little buggy, we’re going to repost his post:

The following is a first ever guest post by mother, Gloria Dalka, who recently had Comcast waste her time, miss numerous appointments and experienced other inconveniences. The largest of these involved a contract tech that visited the house to install a cable modem, said “he’d return later” (yet never did), then reported the job and cable modem installed (apparently to get paid). Comcast stated via phone that they wanted cable modem back (which she does not have due to the apparent fraudulent work order the tech input) and after numerous calls there is considerable concern the refund will not be properly processed and that the US Mail was used to send unauthorized bills which constitutes mail fraud.

Start guest blog post
At this time, we had Comcast for cable TV, 2 lines of phone service and we had a 56K Internet service provider (much to our son’s dismay when he visited).

An uninvited Comcast sales rep, Mike, personally visits us late in the day, telling us that Comcast will not be able to support the technology that we are using for telephone services for much longer. He offers us unlimited phone @ $30 per month, high speed broadband internet @ $20 per month and leaving the existing Cable TV package unchanged. We signed a conditional contract accepting those services pending completed installation. Mike calls his office and sets up an installation for Dec 20th between noon and 4pm.

Service tech arrives in an unmarked vehicle at 3:15pm. He comes into our home with his clipboard and walks through the house looking at what we have both upstairs in the room where we keep the computer and in our basement to see what kind of box we have there. He checks our backyard and comes in saying that we have all old technology and that he doesn’t have what he needs to do the installation with him. He states that he will return first thing the following morning. My husband asked what time he’d arrive. Tech states that he leaves Palatine @ 7:00; my husband says we’ll expect you 7:30 to 7:40; the tech nods affirmatively and leaves. No equipment was brought into or installed in our home. No document was signed accepting any services or equipment.

No tech arrives. We are nervous and start calling Comcast.
8:45AM – Call 866-594-1234 to find out what’s going on since no tech has arrived and was told that we’re on the schedule for 8am to noon.
12:15PM – Call the above # again and Scott told us that someone will check and get back to us within 2 hours. Given reference # 899206. And no one calls back.
2:35PM – Spoke to Christine at X6321 at the Schaumburg center who said that someone would check and get back to us within an hour. Given reference # 427066. And no one calls back.
3:40PM – Called again, spoke to someone named OJ who said that he’d write it up and have someone get back to us. No ticket # given. OJ was anxious to leave since his shift ended @ 4:00. And no one calls back.
3:50PM – Called Mike, the sales rep from 12/13/06, who was at home with his kids. He said he’d check and get back to us.
3:55PM – Mike calls back and says he has seen how many times we called and that he couldn’t do anything, but that he’d have his supervisor call us. We did not get a call back from Mike’s supervisor or anyone else at Comcast.

We took the innocent viewpoint that everyone had the holidays on their minds and decided to wait until after the holidays to pursue the issue again.

Called Mike, our sales rep and told him how things had gone and that we were extremely unhappy with the way we had been treated. He again deferred to his supervisor asking what day would be all right for installation. I suggested Jan 5th or Jan 9th as the install date and told him that I would not allow a third party installer into my home. He said we would get a call back and, again, no one calls back.

10:00AM – Decided that Comcast didn’t care about retaining a customer that they had for many years and called AT & T to set up installation of services for phone, internet and DISH network satellite television. Installation date was to be Jan 17th.
10:45AM – Patrick Ellisworth, Mike’s supervisor, called to say that installation would be on the next day. I told him that it would not, that his failure to call in a timelier manner resulted in my choosing a different provider.

I received a call from AT& T saying that they had contacted Comcast and that Comcast said that they couldn’t make the change until after the 23rd. It did not seem strange at the time, I now wonder if they did this to attempt to fraudulently get past the 30 day satisfaction refund warranty.

Received a bill in the mail from Comcast showing that I had digital voice and high speed internet. Since no high speed Internet had been installed this now becomes mail fraud.

Called 866-594-1234 to contest that I had the services shown on the billing.
Initially I spoke to Neesha in billing who said that she needed to verify that I didn’t have the services; transferred Pan in technical services who transferred me to Brad in retention, who transferred me to Drake in retention who put me on hold while he conferred with someone and then came back to tell me I needed to speak to someone in a different department. I believe that he put me back in the queue and then the call was disconnected. So, after spending almost one hour telling the truth I was till being told that, no, I had the installation and had the services as well as their modem.

Called 866-594-1234 asking for a supervisor and got Sonia X6077 of the
Schaumburg, IL office. She stated that there was no problem since there is a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. She claims that a credit would be issued in the amount of $75.38, I told her that they needed to get after the tech that marked our install order as completed since he had probably entered a serial # to “verify” the completion. He either had it or sold it.

Called Comcast to cancel the second phone line; the primary line was handled by AT&T on the 24th. Internet is up and running so we are no longer using the second line which we had used exclusively as our internet line. They still think we have their service and modem. I’m tired of being called a liar by them

So, Comcast still asserts that we owe for services not received and Comcast believes that they completed the install and that I have a modem that they supplied.

My requests of Comcast:
– Refund of all high speed internet charges for services not received.
– A letter verifying voidance of the contract (requested on 1/12/2007) and refund for all services (phone & cable) provided past the date AT&T requested transfer.
– Compensation for the numerous missed visits and a formal apology.
– Issuance of the refund check that my son David is owed when he changed to RCN earlier after hearing about our recent Comcast experience and other service problems.

End Guest Blog post
For me this is a frustrating example of a poor customer experience that is driven by management desire to cut costs by using contractors. This often does not take into cost of lack of execution, lack of process accountability and customer dissatisfaction.

Selling via a house visit to upsell due to a technology change is an aggressive tactic, was the fact this occurred so close to year end meaningful and an attempt to “cook books”?

It’s my second run in with the modem issue. When Comcast bought AT&T’s cable system, I owned my own modem. After moving to a non-Comcast area, it took over a year and calls from a collection agency to fix the error.

Why does Comcast outsource things with a poorly defined process that leads to a bad customer experience?

Comcasted [David Dalka]


Edit Your Comment

  1. cgmaetc says:

    For shame. Comcast was billing my elderly mother for analog boxes and a modem she’d long turned in. After giving us the run-around for 6 months, they had to issue her a refund check for $1500.

    Wish I knew about Consumerist then, she might have gotten her check sooner.

  2. I think you mean “sold her” and not “solder”.

    But it’s comcast.

  3. RumorsDaily says:

    Maybe he meant soldier. Ben’s got soul, but he’s not a soldier.

    Comcast customer service is awful. It’s really the not returning phone calls that’s the worst part. Since you never deal with the same person twice, each individual has no problem simply forgetting about your problems and you have to start anew with each technician. It creates so much inertia that (a) the customer is driven to tears and (b) Comcast never has enough internal motivation to do anything.

    They also don’t really seem to care.

  4. Scazza says:

    So AT&T Service > Comcast Service.

    God, just file complaints and avoid the huge hassle of running around jumping through their hoops…

  5. FLConsumer says:

    Avoid the whole mess and just send a certified return-receipt letter to Comcast’s corporate offices with your request to cancel service. I doubt they’ll screw around with hard evidence such as that. If you do send them a letter, state that you expect a response MAILED back to you within xx days.

  6. RandomHookup says:

    I’m quite worried now about when I get old and Alzheimer-y. Some young man will come to the door and I’ll do whatever he wants if he’ll just talk to me. Guess I should sign up for some kids before it’s too late.

  7. brooklynbs says:

    The best way to handle these types of unresolved issues involving telecom and cable companies is to call your state’s public utilities or public service commission and file a complaint. This expedites the process because the commission typically contacts a special office at the company, which then has to handle your problem and report back to the commission with a resolution.

    I settled a problem with Verizon by calling the New York State Public Service Commission and refusing to close out my complaint until I was satisfied with the company’s response (three months of free phone & DSL service did the trick).

    Another idea I like these days is to play the cable companies off of the telecom companies. The person here chose AT&T over Comcast once it became clear that the latter company was a hassle. What I would have done is to email the PR folks at both AT&T and Comcast, CC’ing a local reporter that has covered the industry, and talk about how Comcast – which is a new entrant in terms of offering voice services – could not get the job done, and you instead went with old Ma Bell.

    P.S. – Jennifer Khoury’s email is