Dear Comcast: Please play nicely with others before the government makes you

By now you may have heard about the recording of Ryan Block, former Engadget editor and current executive at AOL, trying to cancel his Comcast service that has been making the rounds in the past few days. If not, please find 10 minutes to listen to this clip.

Sound cloud Comcast Recording.

Note: This recording picks up roughly 10 minutes into the call, whereby Block and his wife had already given reasons and explanations for canceling.

So! Last week my wife called to disconnect our service with Comcast after we switched to another provider (Astound). We were transferred to cancellations (aka "customer retention").

The representative (name redacted) continued aggressively repeating his questions, despite the answers given, to the point where my wife became so visibly upset she handed me the phone. Overhearing the conversation, I knew this would not be very fun.

What I did not know is how oppressive this conversation would be. Within just a few minutes the representative had gotten so condescending and unhelpful I felt compelled to record the speakerphone conversation on my other phone.

... it was clear the only sufficient answer was "Okay, please don't disconnect our service after all.").

If you've ever called customer service you probably went through something like this. In fact, this story resonant much with cable subscribers because we have all been through this experience at one point or another. Every cable customer has their horror story, it's almost a rite of passage like a bad trip to the DMV.

Our cable was acting up back in April. On certain stations, we could not get a clear signal when watching a desired program. The commercials came in fine however. We only have Comcast for Internet. But Comcast bundles their Internet with a basic cable plan and I had the rabbit ears on the other TV, so I checked the forums for the error message we were seeing on our screen (I'm a geek, I do things like that).

Essentially, we needed a new receiver. I went to the 10th Circle of Hell Local Comcast Center and swapped my old one for a new one. Unfortunately, this only temporarily solved the problem. Some days the receiver wouldn't even turn on! I called and after providing my address, phone number and my wife's social security number (blatant Identity Theft issue), the customer service rep told me that a service tech would have to come visit, but there would be no charge for this and she would document it in my account.

Guess what? I know you are surprised that we got charged for the visit. I called to complain and went through the same "security procedure" of providing my address, phone number and social security number (to be fair, only the last four digits). Now my wife is the one who opened the account so it is her social they want. Even though I've called dozens of times with her in the room and have provide it, I don't have my wife's SS# memorized. And I've asked and have been told by Comcast People that my SS# has been added to the account but it has not.

So the one time I call when my wife is not home, I had issues getting past the verification process. Let's think about this for a minute. I provided my address and my phone number, which is on the account. I'm calling to complain about a charge for a service call. Yet the customer service rep is not empowered (or smart enough) to resolve my issue because I cannot provide a third piece of identification: my wife's social security number.

I asked for a supervisor and the customer service representative refused to put me through to one because she could not verify my information. Let's think about that for a minute Comcast! If I am a bad guy trying to hack my way into someone's account, wouldn't I really want to speak to a supervisor? Wouldn't you want me to speak to a supervisor?

I finally looked up my account number and was able to bypass the social security issue -- although she told me that I would have to go to a local Comcast Center to get my social security number added to the account. Now suddenly she could talk about the charge that I was complaining about. She said that it was a valid charge. I told her there should be some note in my file that I wasn't to be charged and she said there wasn't any such thing.

I asked to speak to a supervisor. Apparently they were all busy and/or unavailable. Let's think about this Comcast: you have a Call Center with unavailable Supervisors. You need to fire some people and hire some more head count.

Once she realized that I wasn't going to go away without talking to a Supervisor -- and apparently they are not allowed to hang up on us -- she said she would credit me half the amount of the service call. So I said,

"can you please send me an email stating that so that I have some proof since obviously the last Customer Service Rep told me something and I have no way to prove it." She replied that she was unable to send me an email.

Seriously Comcast! I have to give this bitch my social security number but she cannot send me an email? Not even to the address you have for me on file with your fucking ISP!

So to get to the point of this post. Comcast, you suck. Big time. You deserve to have the government come in and audit your financial assets and over regulate what you can and cannot do.

Some more stories:

Please, Please, Please share your Comcast Horror Story in the comments below! The more people that complain the more likely Comcast will finally throw us a bone. If you had a good experience with Comcast, I'd like to hear that too, it would give us some sense of hope.

 

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