After reading the above headline, a less jaded person might think, “Surely there can’t have been ANOTHER example of a Comcast customer service call gone terribly, terribly wrong!” Snap out of it, kid. We’re living in Comcast’s world, and that means that upon the heels of one customer service call gone wrong, of course another has come rushing. And just like others before it, most of it was caught on tape.
A Consumerist reader we’ll call Gern, his chosen pseudonym, had a simple quest on Dec. 20, 2014. Little did he know that he’d soon be sucked into the Comcast Vortex Of Forgetting, making his journey far from easy that day.
“Basically, after years of horrible Comcast service, I was just fed up and decided to cancel and switch to ATT for a year,” Gern tells Consumerist in an email, adding that he lives in a potential expansion market for Google Fiber, and figured he could live with AT&T until that happens, if it does. “Anything seemed better than dealing with Comcast any longer.”
Customer Service Rep #1
When he called to cancel, he was transferred to a retention specialist, as is the usual process. That person did her job, he says, offering him a deal that sounded too good to be true: 50 mbps for the “Blast” Internet service, which he was already paying about $59.98 per month for, for a duration of 12 months at $39.99. The rep also said he could cancel his TV service that he wasn’t really using, and could drop off the box he had at home sometime in the next week.
During that call with CSR#1, which is included in the below recording from YouTube, he asks to confirm that he’ll be paying that $39.99 price for the next 12 months, and the CSR confirms it.
“I grudgingly accepted the offer, called AT&T to cancel their install, and waited for the Comcast confirmation e-mail I was told would arrive within the hour. It did not arrive,” he says.
Customer Service Rep #2
He calls back to speak to another representative to make sure that the price he was quoted will be applied to his account and is surprised to hear a new rate: Yes, it’s $39.99… for six months, she says.
Wait.. SIX MONTHS? Gern re-explains the deal he’d gotten from the first customer service rep, that he didn’t want to change his Internet at all, and just wanted to take TV off his account and pay $39.95 a month for 12 months.
CSR#2 explains that she is not seeing that price in her notes but she’d be happy to transfer him again Gern does not sound happy.
Customer Service Rep #3
By this point, Gern is beyond frustated. He explains everything over again to yet another CSR, and asks to get a list of services and what he’s paying for. CSR #3 eventually says that yes, he can give him back that $39.95 per month Blast Internet service for 12 months. Gern asks why the account wasn’t changed in the first place.
“Why was the account not changed in the way that was agreed upon?” Gern asks. “I didn’t like, call and make an offer –that’s an offer she made to me.”
CSR#3 isn’t sure what happened but says that it can take up to 24 hours for account changes to hit the online account record. Gern wants to make sure, once again, that he’ll be getting the 50mbps Blast Internet for $39.95. That amount is confirmed.
At some point, Gern notices that his Internet has gone down — CSR#3 says that might’ve happened because he’s been “upgraded” to 50mbps, so he might have to restart his modem. Gern sounds confused because he already had that 50mbps, but okay. He asks again for a confirmation number, but CSR#3 explains that he can’t give him one, that he will receive an email.
After running through everything one more time and hearing one more time that his monthly charge is $39.99 for the Internet Blast, 50mbps service good for one year from today, and that his account has been notated so that anyone else who pulls up the account can read what happened, he gets confirmation on that as well.
TIME FOR A SPEED TEST
At this point, Gern decides it might be a good idea to do a speed test and double check his Internet. He finds that it’s maxing out at 30 mbps. Not 50 mbps. But 30 mbps.
Customer Service Rep. #4
Gern explains everything that’s just happened, yet one more time. CSR#4 says she doesn’t see any notations on his account about any price of $39.99 for 12 months of 50mpbs Blast Internet.
“You’re telling me that the two calls that I made this morning, that I have recordings of, those don’t even show up on my account?” he asks.
“No sir, [bolding ours] I DO NOT SEE ANY NOTATIONS THAT NOTE THAT YOU WERE OFFERED THE BLAST SPEED INTERNET AT $39.99. That is what I’m confirming with you today.”
She goes on to say that she sees his current package is Performance Internet at $69.98 with Blast at a $10 boost.
That sound you hear is the you-know-what hitting the proverbial fan.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Gern moans — That $69.98 is MORE than he was paying before he called Comcast that morning to cancel.
He repeats everything again, until finally she offers him Internet Plus at “only” $39.99 with the Blast Internet for free, but the only thing is? It includes basic cable and HBO.
He’s frustrated. As one would be. He didn’t want Comcast, he didn’t want TV, and somehow he’s ending up with both. Finally, however, he agrees to the deal as long as she can promise him Blast Internet for $39.99 a month for the next 12 months. She promises, and we’ve got to hand it to her — hops onto a three-way call with the billing department to confirm that he will be charged that price for those services, though she still cannot offer him any digital verification that will confirm what was said on the call that day.
At the end of the call, she reads through all of her notations one more time, and tells him since he already has a cable box, Comcast won’t have to mail him any equipment. Finally, she goes through and sets everything up.
Gern goes on to verify the billing process with that department as well, and the recording ends, after 38 minutes total.
But the problem still hasn’t been resolved — after he stopped recording, he says his TV service wasn’t working. He had to call back and was told that his original cable box had been de-authorized when CSR#1 took TV off his account, and that now he’d have to get a new box. Gern writes that he was told they’d ship him one or send a technician to his house to install it, but he didn’t trust either of those offers wouldn’t result in a bill for him, so for now he’s hanging onto the box and says he’ll bring the old box in in person to exchange it.
We reached out to Comcast on Gern’s behalf, and someone from the corporate office got in touch with him. He writes that his problems seem to be resolved after some back and forth to make sure he would be getting the right deal and would be able to watch TV sooner rather than later.
“They assured me that my price was set in stone, all my services are confirmed, and that I’m not under any contract,” Gern tells Consumerist. “I still have to go and swap out my old cable box for a new one at the actual Comcast service center because they could not assure me that I would get a receipt proving I turned it in if I were to just have a tech swap it out during a service call.”
For that hassle of waiting in line, Gern says Comcast added a further $10/month discount off his services for 12 months, so he’s prepared to “suck it up.”