A story about Comcast

Bloggers are generally advised to tell the truth, but the “happy truth”.

Today I am not going to do that. I’m just going to tell you some truth, because it’s weighing on me. Let me explain… no, there is too much. Let me sum up.

In May, Sparks I decided that in order to economize, and because there are so many other cheaper, more appetizing forms of entertainment available, we would cancel my cable television.

On May 10, I called Comcast. After sitting on hold for a while, and after arguing about how yes I really did want to cancel my cable service for even longer, I got the representative to agree to cancel service. I also give them my new name and phone number, to update their records.

On May 11, on a miserable wet rainy day, I sacrified my lunch hour to return the digital box to the local Comcast office.

On June 20, a Comcast representative knocked on my door and told me that Comcast would be happy to provide me with cable AND internet for six months, at the same price I was currently paying for just internet. In a moment of ill-judgment, I took them up on the offer.

A few days later, a new box was installed. Woo hoo. Cable. Just in time to watch the big Jon & Kate divorce episode, too.

A week later I receive a contract from Comcast for a completely different and much more expensive offer. I post an angry tweet about it. ComcastBonnie, who watches Twitter for complaints about Comcast, offered to help. She got a Comcast representative to call me and explain that the thing to do was to not sign or return the contract, which was intended to snooker me into more expensive service than I had intended. By not returning the contract, I would continue to get my cable and internet a the low low price of $59.99 per month. I also gave them my new name and phone number again, because they weren’t entered into the system last time.

Everything went swimmingly until this billing cycle, when my Comcast bill arrives and says that I owe $54.74 for the digital starter package AND $42.95 for CHSI performance internet AND $17.60 in “partial month charges & credits” AND a $75 Early Termination Fee. Plus, you know, some franchise fees and PEG assessment fees and… anyway. The bottom line is that they wanted to charge me $140 more than I was expecting.

I tweed about it, and grumpily ignore ComcastBonnie’s tweetback. Instead, I email customer service. Twenty-four hours later I receive a form reply informing me that this issue CANNOT be dealt with on the internet, I must call Comcast to talk about it.

I drag my feet for a week, knowing the ordeal that is in store.

On Wednesday evening, I finally make the call. I am on the phone for an hour and fifteen minutes. During this time, the representative spends a very very long time trying to figure out what package I am supposed to be getting, and eventually discovers that Comcast is charging me these penalties because I never returned the contract for the $59.99 cable and internet deal. The deal I never received a contract for. The contract that was for something completely different, and that a Comcast representative explicitly assured me I did not need to sign and return.

We agree that I will drop all cable TV, without arguments, return my box, and go back to being charged $59.99 a month for only internet service. The representative now needs to transfer me to the cable service department to discontinue the cable. Oh–and my name and phone number still haven’t been changed. I give the information for the third time.

At this point, 1:15 into the conversation, the representative cuts me off.

Today, I am going to return the cable box. I have a horrid premonition that the office will be unable to cancel my service, so I call Comcast again. I navigate the menus again. I am put on hold again. I give them my new name and phone number for the fourth time.

The representative tries to snooker me into more complicated cable packages. I say No!

The representative tells me there will be a penalty for cancelling the cable I say NO NO NO NO NO!!!

The representative calmly informs me that I’m all set.

I will return the cable box to my local Comcast office today. It is raining, just like the last time. I am doing it on my lunch hour, just like the last time.

What’s different this time is that I am never again, in my life, signing up for any service provided by Comcast. I have encountered companies that were incompetent before–both Verizon and AT&T have continued sending me bills for $0 up to two years after I cancelled accounts with them, for example–but no company has committed such an egregious waste of my time and money. I’m offended. It isn’t right. And I want all of you to know about it.

I am now prepared for a river of snarky comments and, in my dreams, reparation from Comcast. No I do not want another cable box.

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4 thoughts on “A story about Comcast

  1. I am going to be crass and brief to start: that sucks.

    The frustrations with dealing with any company over the phone is just too much most of the time.

    My husband and I are so brassed off at Macy’s at the moment that we’ve committed to not shopping there. In July, he decided that since Macy’s was our department store of choice, he would get the store credit card. We might as well get some coupons and such since we shopped there often.

    Unbeknownst to us, the employee entered his mailing address incorrectly. He never received a card or a bill. Six weeks later I received a collection call. I am ridiculously prompt with paying our bills, so I was surprised. I checked when we signed up for the card and realized that we had not noticed it never arrived. I told them we never received it. The address error was discovered. I was irritated and told them I would a) not pay the late fee, b) I would not pay the phone payment charge since I couldn’t even get a paper bill and c) I wanted the card ASAP since the error was on their end. The representative HUNG UP on me.

    I called back, and felt that I got everything taken care of after having to request a supervisor and go through all of this again. However, I could not talk to anyone that could give me any assurances that the “late” payment would not hit our credit. (“What is credit report? We waive your late fee.”) I was irritated, but it’s immaculate, so I figured we’d get over it.

    Two weeks later, no card. I call back. The address wasn’t fixed. I change it, and I am assured it’s on the way. I get pretty steamed.

    Two weeks later, no card. My husband calls them. He is even more steamed. The address STILL wasn’t fixed. He changes it AGAIN and is told it will be overnighted. We never receive any sort of apology.

    Two weeks later, it finally shows up. Of course, we don’t get any of the stuff that comes with your first card, because this is a “replacement.” No discount shopping spree for me, but now I am not interested.

    I can’t stand organizations that are sloppy handling credit. Of course, perhaps if I had spoken to phone representatives that were located, oh, I don’t know — on this hemisphere, maybe? they might have understood what was making us angry.

    Grr.

  2. I am angry for you. Fortunately, I don’t think my Comcast incident will touch my credit. I advise you to blog about it… even if you don’t get Dooce-vs-Whirlpool style retribution, it will relieve your feelings.

  3. Hi there,

    I’d like to personally extend my apologies for the discrepancies and wasted time here. We understand that if we are not enabling our customers to achieve their desired outcomes, then we’ve failed to add value in our products and services. I regret that we were not able to provide that desired outcome, but my team and I are more than happy to ensure that no further billing trouble ensues. Please contact us via email and provide a link to this blog and we WILL make this right.

    Best,

    Detreon Roberts
    National Customer Operations
    We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com

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