Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Comcast Customer Disservice

Listen closely, friends, for I have a beautiful story of love, logic, empathy, connection and kindness that will warm your hearts and tickle your souls.

No, I'm just kidding, this is a story about Comcast so there will be none of those things.

Comcast refuses to provide service to the new house I bought because the old tenants of the last owner have an overdue bill.

This was irritating but amusing in a "but that makes no sense!" kind of way; I thought it would be cleared up quickly. My new Comcast friend Russell, sweet southern boy full of charm, promised me earnestly that this was one of those glitchy things that some paperwork would clear right up.

He was really nice.

We went over what documents I had available just days after closing and he told me where to fax them. We had a laugh that I would have to fax them like it was 1992 or something, but that should clear it right up, he said.

"And Mrs. McCann? I hope this isn't too forward to say, but I wanted to give you a head's up that you might want to follow up in 48 business hours. We want your business and we're good at what we do, but sometimes things slip through the cracks."

I found his honesty refreshing and told him so. "I've been a customer for years and I know you guys are famous for being evil but I've never had a problem. I'm cool with following up, I know how it is with big companies."

It felt good, guys. My moment with Russell.

Let's all take a minute and say a prayer/burn some sage/send good vibes and healing energy/splash some essential oils in the direction of our boy Russell because I don't think this is the right career path for him and his human heart.

I go to Office Depot, wait in line, pay to fax the documents, wait 48 hours.

I call some guy, who we'll call not-Russell because he was a jerk and he says there's no news and I have to wait.

"But did they get the documents?" I asked. "This should be an easy fix, someone just needs to look."

Not-Russel didn't know. He didn't know when or how or if we would know. I should wait for a call.

"Oh. Well, when should I be concerned?"

"When did the original agent say they would call?"

"Within 48 hours, but he said they might forget."

He said oh. And that I'd have to wait for them to call.

I waited for a call and then sent a firm but polite email to the corporate office, explaining the situation and that I sent the docs. Someone called back right away and I was so impressed.

"We're waiting on the docs," she said. I told her I sent them. She put me on hold. She came back and said those docs wouldn't work, I needed to fax new ones. I explained that this was frustrating because the first guy said they would work and that I didn't want to pay and wait around to fax things, that I would send them by email. She said I couldn't, they had to be faxed.

I again tried to convince her that the current docs were fine.

She said I could have forged the HUD statement. I pointed out that they would accept a lease and I could print one of those off of the internet right now and that as a prior customer in good standing, they had no reason to think I was forging anything -- that I ended service at one place and am trying to transfer it to another because I'm moving. I reminded her that it's not my fault the last people didn't pay and that she has my old account as proof of my credit-worthiness.

She said I'd have to fax all new documents.

I made a complaint to the FCC and the state utility commissioner and my state representative and cc'd Comcast. I used big words about how they use a public right of way and a public franchise agreement to act as a monopoly and how it feels as if they have an illegal lien on my house by denying service due to the prior owner.

My state rep emailed me back and said she has a contact with their government relations team and would reach out.

The FCC emailed me for more information and urged me to follow up with the complaint.

Comcast called me back.

"We need you to send some documents," another agent started.

"I sent what you requested the first time. I don't want to fax--"

"You don't have to fax anything. Take a picture. I'll accept the HUD but need a copy."

I took pictures or found pdfs of everything they have ever asked for, including the recorded deed, and sent it again.

The agent called back the next day. "I'm filling out the form and need the property address."

I confirmed that she got the documents and the emails, since all had the property address. She did, she couldn't find the address though. I gave her the address.

She called back two hours later. "I just need one more piece of information."

"Oh good, so then we'll be done. I want the same package as last time."

"No, it has to be sent for review."

"What has to be sent for review? You have the stuff, it has my proof of ownership."

"They have to review the form."

"The form? I thought you could fix this. Okay. What info do you need now?"

"I need your phone number."

"My phone number?"


" called me for my phone number?" I let that hang for a moment before giving her the number she called.

She called back at 7:07pm on a Saturday night without leaving a message. I called back seven minutes later and she was out of the office until Tuesday.

I called the urgent open ticket line she had listed on her voicemail on Monday morning and left a message.

That agent sent me an email saying that she'd like to resolve my issue but couldn't reach me. She hadn't called though.

I called her and she told me I'd have to wait until the other agent's return on Tuesday. I said that I needed an update and she reluctantly said the block was lifted. I said that was great and we made an appointment. She said I had to pay an installation fee even though I'm transferring and have my old equipment but whatever. Cue tremendous relief and the potential to resume work and school and life as usual.

Another agent called the next day to follow up on the FCC complaint.

"I believe it's resolved, I have an appointment tomorrow, I'm so relieved."

Her records showed that appointment had been canceled. She said I needed to submit documents but she didn't know which ones. I began to hyperventilate and froth at the mouth.


I have submitted a recorded deed, a HUD statement, my ID, a utility bill, a bill from them to me at my new address, and my official USPS change of address confirmation. I have no idea what else I can provide, short of kidnapping my closing agent and dropping her off at their offices.

The new agent couldn't help. I could only speak to my original agent. I asked how she was going to respond to the FCC complaint now and she said she wasn't going to update it since it isn't resolved. I asked her to please help me, as one human being to another, to please be of assistance here. She couldn't, she would tell my agent to call me.

I left my agent four messages. I made the corporate team email person tell her to call me. I made the Twitter team people tell her to call me. I asked for another agent or someone else who could explain. I offered to send anything they wanted, to start all over again if someone could please just look and help and allow me to keep my appointment for tomorrow.

I could only speak to my original agent.

She finally called me back. She is not a fan; I don't think we'll invite her on the Ashley Quite Frankly cruise.

She told me the block was lifted but is back pending documentation. She told me she does not know why and is waiting to hear from collections. She said my file may have been messed up by my FCC complaint or by contacting the other agent (really?). She said there is no one else to ask, nothing else to do, no one else to escalate to, no one she can call. She said in a snide tone that she was the corporate office and that their job was to reach out to the other offices.

"Look. I am asking you from one human being to another, like you as an actual person and not Comcast, I need you to help me. I need you to fix this. I have to work, my kid has to do school here and you are my only option. At the very least, I need you to tell me when it is time to just give up. When do I just need to accept that Comcast doesn't want me as a customer anymore, and find an alternate way to work and homeschool? Let's just set a deadline -- like, if this isn't cleared up in 48 hours, it probably isn't happening because you don't want my business, okay? What kind of timeline do you think is reasonable for me to accept defeat and move on?"

"Ma'am," she said, exasperated, "it's not that we don't want your business."

And I laughed like a crazy person. It's not that they don't want my business; they just refuse to do business with me.

"Is there anything else you want me to ask collections when I do reach them, ma'am?"

"Yes! WHAT DO THEY WANT? What? I said I wouldn't send anything else but I'll send whatever they want. Tell them, honest to God, tell them that they can randomly stop by for dinner any night to prove that I live here -- any kind of surprise visit. I will do that. I just want to give you money and have internet and I'm so tired of fighting about it."

This has been going on for two weeks. I've sent in more than what they originally requested. I have spoken to 7 customer service agents on the phone, 3 by email, and direct messaged the @comcastcares team on Twitter so much that they're ready to block me. I've complained to the FCC, the public utility commission, my local and state government and every email address for anything Comcast-related on the internet.

And now here we are. A formerly loyal customer who had no "Comcast is evil" story to contribute to the global conversation now has a good story, and each and every experience I have with them is more absurd, frustrating and seemingly spiteful than the last-- I mean, at a point, it's hard to credit it as incompetence because there is really nothing at all complicated about my situation.

Comcast has decided to punish the piece of land my house is on because one time some people I don't know didn't pay their bill. Comcast is so mad about not getting money from my address that they would prefer to never get a dollar from this address again. They are so mad at the people they don't want to do business with ever again that they have chosen to alienate and enrage formerly happy customers in an effort not to recoup their losses. Bizarre.

If you have a Comcast issue, or ever have a Comcast issue, please file an FCC complaint ASAP. Do something, anything to make your voice heard even if it feels like it doesn't help. Many drops of water make a flood, and maybe one day they'll drown. Or we'll all get google Fiber and they'll be forced to compete...and then drown.

Thank you for listening to my internet tale of woe. Comcast doesn't care, but what I lack in internet connection I have gained in connecting with the hordes of those who have been similarly mistreated.

But, seriously, I need a decent internet connection. Call me before I lose my shit for real, Comcast.

And we won't make grown-ups cry for wanting to be our customer.


Nova said...

Wow. I am furious on your behalf. Just... HOW is this ok?

Megan said...

This is absurd. I read hurriedly, expecting some sort of happy ending, but now I'm enraged on your behalf.

Serious suggestion--take it to the news. Contact your local stations with this exact post. Most stations have a "working for you" segment where they blast situations like this and usually get them resolved. It's worth a shot!

Emmy said...

Comcast is the worst company in existence in my opinion. I long for the day that there is a service in my area that I can leave them for!

Unknown said...

We just recently signed up with them and after our first bill - that was $30 more a month than we were quoted - the hubs is PISSED. The good thing is that where we live we have other option so I'm pretty sure that's what we'll be doing.

TH said...

My husband worked for Comcast for 8 years. During that time, we received most of our services for free. We still got a bill every month, because of government regulatory fees, a couple upgrades, etc that were not covered by his employment benefits. 8 years of NEVER having an issue with a bill. 8 years of ordering OnDemand movies/shows, adding upgrades, changing upgrades, etc...never a problem. Our bill was always perfect and exact to the penny. Husband gets a new job 2 years ago. Haven't had a normal bill since. And all we have is basic cable and the highest tier of internet. We have been charged for equipment we have never had. We've been charged for movie channel packages that aren't even available to us, based on our cable package. We've been charged for appointments we never had. All of this shows that Comcast IS in fact capable of doing things the right way....they clearly CHOOSE not to. I have never felt so homicidal, as when I am speaking to a Comcast rep.

erob1320 said...

OMG, this is a nightmare. I am so sorry. We've been having some service issues with Comcast lately that I was just letting go, but after your horror story I might just cancel them altogether. So ridiculous. You deserve a medal for your patience in the face of such utter and total bullsh*t.

Sheryl said...

OMG, I am sending you all the booze.

We live in an area with a couple of options and while our service with Comcast had been generally okay, it was kind of spendy and we could get way faster internet for lots less money. First, the husband contacted Comcast to see if they did any sort of price matching to keep us as customers. He reported they laughed at him and said there was no such thing. So we canceled our service and got set up with the Other ISP.

About 4 seconds after the OISP service guy left, Comcast called and called several times in the week that followed, "concerned" that we left and want to know how they can get us back.

I have since blocked their number. Buh bye.