May 08, 2007

I Think Comcast is Trying to Suck

Posted at May 8, 2007 11:38 PM in Comcast , Personal .

Since I recently purchased a television, I have had the misfortune of dealing with Comcast again.

Let me chronicle my story.

Last Tuesday, my television arrives and I bring it home. Not needing cable service for a few days (I needed to break in the tv for a few days first), I help off calling Comcast. I called Wednesday and scheduled an appointment for a technician to hook up my cable and give me a CableCard.

The appointment was scheduled for yesterday (Monday) with a window between 8-12. On Sunday, I received an automated call confirming my appointment. Cool. I'm glad they did that. So, Monday, I woke up a little early and waited for the technician. Shortly after 11, I received a call saying the tech was about 30 minutes out. At 12:15 (15 minutes after the later end of the window), I called up Comcast. They said the tech was about 15 minutes out and would credit my accout $20 because they missed the window. Fair enough. They had only caused me to miss a little under half a day at work (in the spririt of full disclosure, I was working from home, so it wasn't terribly important).

True to their word, the tech arrives about 15 minutes later. He shows up and hooks up the cable feed at wherever in the complex he needed to do that. I started receiving basic cable. However, I still couldn't receive any of the HD cable channels like ESPN, TNT, Discovery, etc (basically the ones I really care about). For those, I needed a CableCard, which he had. He places the first card into the TV and my TV immediately pops up with some error message stating the CableCard was bad. Of course, the error code was just a generic tv-specific message, which neither the tech nor myself understood at that time. So, the tech tries another CableCard. This one displays the same thing. Weird. After a few phone calls to his supervisor and reading off the serial numbers on the cards, the tech realizes that the cards are both bad. The icing on the cake is that words denoting this were written in black pen on each card. Whoops!

Before he leaves, the technician tells me that I can go to a Comcast store to pick up a CableCard. If I don't go before the next morning (my visit would be reflected in his system), he would swing by and drop off a CableCard. No big deal, I thought. I can live with one extra day.

So, I call up Comcast to ask where the closest store is (I had to call because their website was experiencing technical problems at the time). I say something along the lines of "One of your techs just said I can pick up a CableCard at a Comcast office. Where is the closest one?" To that, the reply, "That tech was misinformed. We do not give out CableCards at our offices, only cable boxes. We require a technician to install the CableCard to verify everything is working properly. You will have to schedule another appointment. The soonest we have available is next Monday." I say stunned for a moment before replying, "You don't have anything earlier? So you are telling me I have to wait another week because of a mistake you made?" Long story short, they couldn't accomodate me. I finally got into work around 2:30.

Today, after deciding that paying for service for a week without full benefits was unsatisfactory, I decided to pay a local Comcast store a visit. Even though the lady on the phone told me they don't do CableCards from stores, the first thing I tried was to get a CableCard. Not surprisingly, the lady on the phone was right. They can only give out cable boxes. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Since I am not receiving the full service I'm paying for, can I have a temporary cable box?"
Comcast: "I'm sorry, sir, we cannot do that."
Me: "Why not?"
Comcast: "You are currently scheduled to have a tech come by your residence on Monday."
Me: "So you are telling me that I cannot get a temporary cable box because I have a scheduled appointment?"
Comcast: "Yes."
Me: "That sounds weird."
Comcast: "The technician has already been instructed that you are to receive a CableCard. We can't communicate a change of plans."
Me: "You can't just write a note on the appointment stating for the technician to exchange the cable box for the CableCard?"
Comcast: "No, sir. Our system does not allow for technicians to pick up cable boxes. We sometimes have difficulties getting all the units back and it is easier for us to just have them not worry about it."
Me: (Wow, this guy straight up told me Comcast has no faith in their technicians. Sounds like a great company. I pause for a few seconds more, thinking about my next words). "Random question, you can get cable on demand via the CableCard, correct?"
Comcast: "No, sir. You can only get that with a box."
Me: "Well, I changed my mind. I'd rather have a cable box than a cable card. Can you please cancel the appointment and let me have one?"
Comcast: "I'm sorry, sir, but you have an appointment for a technician to come by. I can't give you a cable box until he does this."
Me: "But I don't want a CableCard any more. There is no need for the technician to come by my place."
Comcast: "Our records show that the technician needs to hook up service."
Me: "The technician already did that. I can get basic cable just fine. I just need a cable box or CableCard to get the scrambled HD channels."
Comcast: "Our records show that the technician did not complete the installation. Company policy is that we may not give you a cable box until the records show service as connected."
Me: "I have service. Can't you mark it as such?"
Comcast: "I'm afraid not, sir."
Me: "Well, it sounds like there is nothing I can do but wait. (pause) This system is really messed up and I would appreciate if you report my feelings to others."
Comcast: "Yes sir. I'm sorry sir. I understand and completely agree with you. Unfortunately, company policy is company policy. If I go bending the rules for you, I risk my job. I can credit your account $20 because of the hassle."
Me: "Go right ahead."

And I leave the store. In summary, I have to wait another week at the expense of Comcast's mistake. Not only that, but I have to wait for a technician to show to officially complete the service hook-up (which was already done) and give me a piece of equipment that I will take into the store and get exchanged for a cable box at my earliest conveience. Somewhere along the lines of trying to comprehend the logic in this situation, I think part of my brain exploded.

The first opportunity I have, I am ditching Comcast. They care too little about customers to earn my money.


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Posted by Jimi at May 9, 2007 10:19 AM

I can't get satellite in my complex and Comcast is the only cable provider.

Posted by Gregory Szorc at May 10, 2007 04:01 AM

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