There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Comcast Epic Fail

A day-by-day account of my recent harrowing ordeal with Comcast.

Wednesday March 4

I return home from work and I have no Internet, and most of my cable TV channels aren’t working, including most of my HD channels and some of my standard channels. For some reason, ESPN HD works and at least I can watch NBA. I give Comcast a call and the earliest they can schedule a service visit is on Friday, but I opt for the Saturday afternoon slot from 12-4 pm so I don’t have to miss any time from work.

Thursday March 5 – Friday March 6

No Internet, and now ESPN is out. WTF. It doesn’t help that I need Internet access to get some work done from home. Having no Internet even for a day sucks I can’t wait to get it fixed. I twitter my frustration with Comcast in the meantime.

Saturday March 7

After a long and brutal winter, the temperature reaches 70 degrees in the Boston area – it’s a beautiful day! But I’m inside waiting for the Comcast technician to come between 12-4 pm. He’s a no-show! I call at 3:55 to complain that I’ve been stuck inside my apartment on the nicest day in three months waiting for the tech. They promise to send someone by 7 to fix the problem.

At 6:30 the technician finally arrives. He runs a few checks, and says that my signal level is way low, so he needs to run a dedicated line from the box outside. He needs a ladder to get on the roof but it’s almost dark outside so that’s dangerous. He tells me he’ll escalate the situation to his supervisor. After a little complaining, he says he can probably come out tomorrow with a ladder and another guy to help, but that he’ll give me a call. My expectations are low. He’s gone within 10 minutes.

Sunday March 8

Another 70 degree day – no Internet, about three channels I would pay extra to not have, and no call from Comcast or any technician. $130/month for this treatment?

Monday March 9

I call Comcast around 9 pm to give someone an earful. I talk to the first person, who can do nothing but offer banal apologies every 15 seconds, which is like pouring gasoline on the fiery explosion that is my head. I then ask to talk to a “supervisor”, and tell him the whole story. He seems genuinely concerned, and offers to personally look into the matter. He says he’ll call the local supervisors to make sure they know the situation, and send someone between 4-7 pm the next day, which is the latest appointment available and the most accommodating he can be to my 8-5 pm work schedule. I tell him that my empIoyer is currently laying off people left and right, but what the heck I can duck out of work around 3:30 to get home by 4 – why not live dangerously? I tell him the tech better get to my place on the early side if the guy needs to get on the roof. He also promises to personally call me at 6 pm to make sure that the technician arrived and fixed the problem, or to assure me that the tech is on his way.

Tuesday March 10

Duped again. I reluctantly tell my boss and slip out of work uncomfortably to make it home by 4. I wait patiently, until the clock strikes 6 and there’s no call from the supervisor I spoke to the previous night. At 6:35, my patience is wearing really thin when my door bell rings. A technician I haven’t seen before arrives. He runs a few checks, and says that my signal level is way low, so he needs to run a dedicated line from the box outside. He needs a ladder to get on the roof but it’s almost dark outside so that’s dangerous. He tells me he’ll escalate the situation to his supervisor. At this point it takes every fiber of my being to restrain myself from throwing the cable box through the closed window. I didn’t want to take it out on the tech, because I think that those guys actually do a fine job, but it’s the bureaucracy of Comcast that hurts the technicians, and sends them into situations woefully unprepared. I ask him what he knows and he says he had no previous knowledge of my issue, and that he only got a work order that same afternoon to come out and take a look. Take a look? His supervisor should have had him ready to scale the motherf***ing Lohtse Face by candlelight. But again, I don’t blame the uninformed tech for not wanting to get up there in the dark and potentially break his neck so I can check my email among other things. Again, he’s out the door in less than 10.

I call ASAP to give another supervisor an earful. Instead of trite apologies, this time it’s trite recognition that apologies won’t suffice. I end up with the direct phone number of the supervisor to whom I’m talking, and of the local supervisor. I debate whether to call the local supervisor and whether it’s a good idea to go ballistic on somebody who likely lives nearby, has my address and whose nerves are probably even more frazzled than mine at this point.


How does this story end? I don’t know yet. My service probably gets fixed – eventually. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is the complete incompetence of Comcast and their customer (lack of) service department. They don’t care if you leave to go to a competitor – there’s little competition in this market anyway. But more importantly, there is no sense of urgency and no one actually capable of taking any responsibility for fixing a problem. I spent a total of 10+ hours either waiting for a technician or on the phone, and Comcast had about 6 people spend an average of 10 minutes working on the issue. Do you see a problem here? Comcast is a massively inefficient bureaucracy, and until it faces a legitimate competitive threat or two, it will continue to produce epic failures when it comes to customer service issues.


1 Comcastcares1 { 03.12.09 at 12:56 am }

I apologize for the frustrating situation we have created. The problem should have been fixed in the beginning to avoid multiple service calls.

Obviously, there are many tings that we need to address based on your post. Most importantly, we need to get the problem fixed. Please allow me to assist in making sure that this is escalated for you.

You can send us the phone number on the account if you are interested in my assistance.

Mark Casem
Comcast Corp.
National Customer Operations

2 msg { 03.12.09 at 6:33 pm }

Yesterday, the service technician was able to replace part of the cabling in my apartment building which restored my service. So I appreciate the concern but it is too little too late. This blog post was not meant to spur yet another subdivision of Comcast from “escalating” the issue, but to provide an accurate account of my frustrating ordeal. If enough people read this post, perhaps Comcast will be motivated to treat their customers better, or else lose out to the competition.

3 name { 03.13.09 at 5:01 pm }

15% of employees assisting in call centers
75% of employees shushing complaints on the internet

4 name { 03.13.09 at 5:02 pm }

and for those that dont get it (15+75=90) the other ten have already been fired

5 Yes { 03.13.09 at 5:24 pm }

I was a victim of both Comcast and Charter and decided to pull the lug all around. I now use a Netfilx account, DIY antenna for local HD channels and a DSL (It turns out that ATT DSL is faster than what I was getting with Charter) connection via a DIY PVR hooked to the TV. Now I get more content and can control what, when and how I watch it for less than half of what I was paying for abysmal service.

6 msg { 03.14.09 at 9:20 am }

I’ve been thinking of doing almost the same thing. I bought an Apple TV about a month ago, and use Boxee to watch streaming content from the Internet. If I could only get the Celtics and Red Sox in HD over the air, I would definitely cancel my cable and drop that ridiculous $90 bill. And then I could switch my Internet to DSL. Cable TV is definitely a dying service.

7 Jim { 11.18.09 at 1:08 am }

I just got called by comcast telling me my internet bill has been too low because I've been getting the rate used for bundles. According to them, it's been going on for 5 years, ever since at&t and comcast split.

They tried to tell me it's not a price increase, that it was never a price increase, that I was only a customer of comcast for 5 years and was with at&t before that. But it's BS because they were combined at the time.

No, couldn't just tell me they had to raise my rates. They had to couch it in marketing bullshit and pretend it's not an increase. This is why I'm switching to a different provider…ANY provider. What's really going on is that some manager is going down the list of people who are paying the least, or only buying a single service, and decided to try to force them to buy more services.

Well, losing customers is a great revenue increase, isn't it. I'm going to be using a competitor and paying another $40 per month and getting 2 services, but it *won't* be with Comcast.

8 { 08.19.15 at 7:16 pm }

joss thanks

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