Monday, May 16, 2005

My Letter to Comcast

My letter to Comcast, detailing the fun experiences I’ve had. Brackets [ ] are mine… why I’m protecting anyone, beats me! Italicized comments are just for fun. (Ellipses… added where there is additional, [more?] uninteresting drivel.)

Dear [Customer Liaison Advocate] -

I spoke to you a while ago after filing a complaint with the County Cable Commission. I described the problems we had, and you asked me to send you an email with the sequence of events and people we talked to throughout the problems…

This is in regards to the account listed under phone number [blah blah blah], which is my cell phone. At the time we signed up with Comcast, we did not have a home phone. The home phone number is now [bleh bleh bleh], and it is a broadband phone line, hooked up through our cable modem.

We signed up for Cable service on Thursday, Feb. 17. I spoke with [Representative 1]… She told us we could get a special deal of digital cable on 2 televisions, with HBO & Showtime on both, as well as cable internet, for [great price] per month. She scheduled the technician to come on Monday, Feb. 21 between 8am-11am for installation and told us to pay [great price] at the time of install.

A contractor cable intaller arrived at 10:30am Feb. 21. He said we were his first call of the day. He hooked up 1 TV and the internet modem. We did not want cable wires going around the house to the 2nd TV and asked if we could have it go through the wall. He said that would be a "custom install" for about $50 and to call Comcast to arrange it. Throughout his installation, he kept using our California cell phone because he did not have either a cell phone or a radio to call his dispatcher. He racked up over 30 minutes of usage in the 2+ hours he was at our home. The picture on the 1st TV he installed was fuzzy, and he said that we would also require a "booster" from the telephone line to fix the problem. It took him a long time to complete the install, and he was running late. (Gee, I wonder if anyone else can guess how a technician could be running late when he shows up at 10:30am for his first call of the day, even though the window for his arrival begins at 8am). He left the house with a cable wire going through the hallways from our basement to the next floor, a faceplate in the wall removed, and the fuzzy cable picture, as well as leaving some of his equipment, including the cable spool, in the house. We stopped him at his truck, he came back up to clean up the spool and replace the faceplate, and said he was running late, so he would try to come back after 5pm that night to see what he could do to try and make the picture clearer. He took the work order (which confirmed we owed [great price] for 2 TV's and 1 cable internet modem) with him because he said he would bring it back. After he left, I called Comcast to schedule the "custom install" for the 2nd TV, and Comcast informed me that there was no such thing, they didn't do custom installs. Comcast also informed me that there is no reason we would need a booster and that we should have a clear picture. The first installer never returned that night and we called Comcast to have someone finish the installation and fix the picture. We spoke to customer service rep. [Rep. 2], who should be praised as one of the nicest and most helpful employees we dealt with during this entire ordeal... She arranged for a new appointment the following day, Tues. Feb. 22, for another person to come between 2-5pm. She also told us we shouldn't let the next person leave until we were completely satisfied with the installation.

On Feb. 22, the next contractor (again, not a Comcast employee) arrived at 5:30pm. We informed him he was late. He was already upset because they added our call to his roster and he was not originally supposed to come to our house, he said. He also mentioned that he didn’t like to have to come and clean up somebody else’s mess. He DID have a radio, and was constantly on the radio yelling at his dispatcher for sending him to our house. He fixed the fuzzy TV problem, by saying that the first person had switched the In and Out cables. He also hooked up the 2nd TV without the custom install, by stringing the cable wires over doors. He had several problems with this and also didn't get the TV's working well at first, so he continued to yell at the dispatcher, and began to yell at us, too, because the install was taking a long time and he was now going to be late for subsequent jobs. He started to drag his wooden spool (with the metal nut on top) across our hardwood floors in anger, and got in my roommate's face and yelled at her. This was not only unprofessional, but dangerous, and he continued even after recognizing that she was a police officer. In addition, he did a sloppy job on the installation and we asked him to fix it. He refused and yelled at his dispatcher some more and said he was going to leave. We told him that we were told not to let him leave until we were satisfied. He said he was going to call Comcast. We said fine, we would call Comcast as well, and proceeded to call [Rep. 2 again] at Customer Service. While on hold, he went out to his truck and drove off. Again, he took the work order with him.

After trying to get the situation resolved (my notes weren't as good back then), we finally spoke to [Big Wig] at Comcast on Friday, Feb. 25. He promised he would fix the situation by having someone clean up the mess left behind, and he would send a Comcast employee to our house on Monday, Feb. 28 at 4pm. On Monday, they called and said they weren't going to make it on time, and could we reschedule for Tuesday at 4:30pm. The Comcast technician came on Tues. March 1 and corrected the problems, we believed.

On Tues., March 8, we then started to get an error [Misc. Error Message] when using our On Demand feature on one of the televisions. Comcast [The ever-helpful Rep. 2 again] scheduled a technician to come on Wed. March 9 between 12pm and 4pm. [Tech. 4] came. When he arrived, the modem was working and I had a picture on both television sets. Only On Demand wasn't working. Within a half hour, my modem and both television sets all stopped working. He said it was a weak signal from the pole and a coincidence it happened while he was there, and that we would need a line technician and he was going to leave it that way. Because of this, we also lost access to our phone and I missed a telephone job interview. I told him he couldn't leave until the phone and internet were working because if it was a choice between the internet and TV, I needed the internet. The only reason we went with Comcast was because they have a monopoly on internet service in our area. "Magically", after a while at our house, the TV and internet all started working, but he warned us he didn't do anything to fix it and it was coincidence it went out and would probably go out again.

At some point in the beginning of April, we received our first bill which, despite having the credit for the Ontime Guarantee and a credit for the 1st month (because of the poor service, as promised by [Big Wig]), showed a monthly rate of [NOT great rate], rather than [great rate]. I spoke to [Rep. 3] regarding the bill and explained the rate we got from [Rep.1] on Feb. 22. She said we could ignore this bill and the next bill would show the proper credits for this bill. She said she adjusted it in the computer to show our proper monthly rate. Later in April, we received a new bill, showing our credit, but by this point I had already spoken to you [Customer Liaison Advocate] about our subsequent problems, and you told me that we would be discussing subsequent credits and to talk to you to figure out the bill and how much would be owed. So, I did not pay since at the time I received it since the situation had still not been resolved. I now received a PAST DUE bill on Friday, May 13 reflecting only 1 ON TIME GUARANTEE credit, but not credit for all of our lost operation time, which I will detail below…

MORE PROBLEMS: On Sunday, April 10, we noticed our phone wasn't working because the modem was not working. I called Comcast from my cell phone and spoke to a male representative [Rep. 5 or so]. He tried to have me unplug the modem and reset it and nothing worked, so he set up an appointment for Monday, April 11 1pm-5pm for someone to come look at it. I asked for the representative's name, and suddenly we were disconnected. The next day, my roommate took off work to be home and available. No one ever showed up. On Monday evening, I spoke to [Rep.6], a supervisor [Supervisor 1], and eventually [Supervisor 2]. They told me I did not have an appointment scheduled for Monday, that there was no record of me calling on Sunday to schedule it, and that it would take a couple of days to get another appointment. At this point my internet had been down over 2 days. They eventually figured out that when I called to adjust my first bill, Comcast re-set my modem settings and this is what caused the problem. They re-set my settings again and the modem worked fine again for 1 night. The next day, Tues., April 12, I noticed I lost premium channels on 1 of the 2 TV sets. I was told at first by [I.T. guy] in I.T. that it was down in the area, and later by [Rep. 7] that she couldn't help me. Eventually I was told that my package only included premium channels on 1 TV and that when they re-set the modem, they re-programmed my service so that only 1 TV would get premium channels. I was told that I was lucky I ever got premium channels on 2 television sets and I never should have been receiving it for the rate I was quoted. The next day, Wed. April 13, my modem was out again. On this day, I spoke to [Poor Guy who Deals with Comcast Complaints] at the cable commission since Comcast had not been able to resolve my problems and I had been without complete service for over 4 days.

I also spoke to [Rep. 8] at 7:15pm to try and fix the internet connection. He was trying to talk me through, said we would have to reset and hang up the phone, and then he would call me back. He called me back once, then we had to do it again, and the second time he never called back. At that point, I called back and spoke to [Rep. 9] at Comcast, who tried to get my modem working by talking me through things, and eventually I spoke to [Rep. 8] again. [Rep. 8] got it working temporarily, then told me he arranged a [ticket] for a 4-day service credit... He said we would receive a credit of the monthly bill divided by 30 days, times the number of days of interrupted service. Actually, your Comcast Service agreement states "If the Service is not repaired at the time of the scheduled appointment, the Subscriber will receive a credit of 10% of the Subscriber's normal bill for each 24-hour period, or segment thereof, that the Service Interruption continues beyond the scheduled repair call." At 12:18 am (that night), we lost internet service again. I spoke to [Rep. 10] and after 30 minutes of talking with him, we were disconnected. I called back and waited on hold for 40 minutes. I finally spoke to [Rep. 11] at 1:16am. She gave me [another service ticket].

I spoke to you [Customer Liaison Advocate] for the first time on Friday, April 15. At this time, the modem was working, but it had been going on and off, and I mentioned that there was obviously a bigger problem, that the modem kept re-setting itself. In addition, you had called me to address the complaint I had filed with [Poor Guy who Deals with Comcast complaints] at the Cable commission. You asked me to write you an email with the specifics. I told you I couldn't write an email until the modem was fixed…

On Sunday, April 16, our internet (cable modem) went out AGAIN. My roommate called and left both you, and [Poor Guy who Deals with Comcast Complaints], messages. Obviously the problem wasn't resolved. I called the main Comcast number again. I spoke with [Rep. 12]. At this point, he tried to offer me an appointment the following Wed. We had now been over a week with inconsistent service, many days without service at all. We had already had one no-show 1 week previously and had been waiting long enough. Last time, my roommate took off work, and we were able to be home next business day only, not on Wed. I told him they were in violation of the Comcast Service agreement, which states "Excluding conditions beyond our control, we will respond to a service interruption no later than twenty-four hours after receipt of notification. We respond to other service problems no later than the next business day after notification." This had now been over a week without a service call and I explained this. [Rep. 12] responded by saying "In an ideal world, we try to make appointments next day... Would you be more angry if we say we don't have an appointment, or if we say we do and no one shows up?" I told him first of all that that had already happened, no one showing up. Second of all, this isn't about an ideal world, this is what you have written in your service agreement, and you are under breach of contract. I asked to speak to a supervisor. He said no one was available. I insisted and argued for over 30 minutes. I finally got supervisor [Supervisor 3]. I told her what [Rep. 12] had said, and she agreed with [Rep. 12], saying she could make an appointment for the next day, but probably no one would show up because there were no actually available appointments. She said "I just want to let you know what to expect." I told her my expectations were based on their contract. My roommate also spoke with her about a service credit, for which she said she would credit us for the entire month (30 days) because of no service. I went back on the phone and, after 50 total minutes on the phone, she set up a next-day appointment, telling me that technicians "should probably" show up between 5 and 8pm the next day, she thought they may have cleared a space. When I asked her about the service credit she promised, we were again conveniently disconnected.

On Monday, April 18, no one showed up. At 7:55pm, I was called by the dispatcher, [Dispatcher 2, really, but I don’t remember when or why I talked to Dispatcher 1 in the past], and was told the technicians were running late and just to let me know, they would be about 45 more minutes. He also said the tech. was late because I had asked for them to get to my house after 6 instead of between 5 and 6 if possible because of my work schedule. Since they said they couldn't guarantee that, I had a friend waiting at the house until I got there. [Dispatcher 2] said the tech. tried to call me, but I wouldn't answer. I said my phone didn't work because I have broadband phone service and the modem was out, which I told the customer service rep. when scheduling the appointment, and that they would have to call my cell phone. [Dispatcher 2] said they couldn't call my cell phone, because the drivers aren't allowed to call long distance. On this day, I also called you [Customer Liaison Advocate] again, to let you know what was going on. [Dispatcher 2] said even though they were late, he couldn't arrange a service credit for the ON TIME GUARANTEE because I had to call Customer Service at Comcast, because the dispatchers couldn't do it. I spoke to [Rep. 13] at Comcast who said I would get yet another $20 service credit. At 9:30pm, after still no one had showed up, I called Comcast again. I spoke to [Rep. 14], who said at this late hour, probably no one would be showing up, and he could reschedule me on Thursday (3 days later) at either 11-2pm or 2-5pm. Again, I asked for a supervisor. Again, this was in violation of the contract. I spoke with [Supervisor 4], who confirmed those were the only times I could get. I didn't take one, assuming I would speak with you again on Tuesday until I could get this resolved more quickly. I was getting ready for bed when at 10:45pm, two technicians in 2 Comcast cable vans, showed up at my door… I would not have let anyone in that late at night, totally unprofessional, but at this point it was actually Comcast technicians with actual trucks and I wanted this solved. The employees [Techs. 5 & 6] (Is that all?) did many tests, checked every connection up on the pole, from the pole to the house, and in the house. They performed a few tests. They were wonderful! The only other praise I have throughout this process. They saw the modem recycle itself, and determined this was a line problem, between Comcast and the pole, not with our modem or at the house. They said they would put in a line call, that they could not resolve the problem directly. They also gave us their personal cell phone numbers so if it went out again we could tell them and they could possibly troubleshoot the problem again.

On Tuesday, April 19, the modem went out again, we called [Techs. 5 & 6], and they said they put in a line call for Thursday, April 21. On Wednesday, April 20, [Customer Liaison Advocate] called, listened to my complaint in more detail, and also put in a line call for Thurs. March 21. [Customer Liaison Advocate] stated that you would call me back when you reached a line crew and told me to email you with the names, dates and times of my contact with Comcast, and you would help me deal with the bill later after all was fixed. (He actually asked if I had spoken to anyone at Comcast about my problems before I reached him… Hmm, 6+ techs., 14+ Reps., 4+ Supervisors, 1+ I.T. guy and 2+ Dispatchers… Yeah, I think so.) …

When your phone survey people called and asked how I liked Comcast, I told them of the terrible service and how I would never sign up if I had a choice. The response was "OK, well have a great... err, I mean, have a good day…"

(Blah, blah, blah… Blah, blah, blah… my math shows that by this point, they should be paying me to have Cable service at my house from all of the so-called credit we’ve earned. What do you think???)




At 11:13 PM, Blogger ForestRane said...

OMG!! I think it's time to give it up. DISH TV anyone?

At 1:49 PM, Blogger Adam R. said...

What a nightmare! I've heard a lot of terrible things about Comcast, but I didn't realize that they were this bad.

Let me know how it turns out.

At 9:22 PM, Blogger travis said...

Monopoly, you say? That wouldn't have anything to do with it, now would it :P

My sister had a really bad experience with a hospital recently, and said if any other company had screwed up that bad, they would have offered her a credit and tried to make things better and in a bigger sense probvably have been out of business by now, but because they're a hospital, they can give horrible experiences and no one can do anything. Sounds like your situation a bit -- you're stuck, so they suck. But good for you for being so good at keeping track. 10:45 at night? That's abysmal.


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