Wednesday, November 19, 2008
From the Archives
I have a friend who just moved into a condo and is having trouble getting Comcast to install his cable. It reminded me of all the Comcast problems I had about a year ago. Below is what I wrote concerning Comcast last December.
I suppose I expect too much out of companies, and that’s why I get upset when my heightened expectations aren’t realized. Maybe my dealings with Comcast aren’t their fault, like I think they are. It’s my fault, for expecting them to provide unreal services that are too difficult to meet, such as:
• providing the service that I requested and am willing to pay for,
• having common sense trump bureaucratic policies,
• putting the customer first, or at the very least,
• making sure that they retain the customer so that they can make money.
Let me tell you about my dealings with Comcast over the past few weeks.
I’m in the process of moving, and was aware that it usually took about a week or two between when you ordered cable service and when it could be installed. Being a devout TV user, I called Comcast roughly two weeks ago and order both their cable TV service and high-speed Internet so that it could be installed as close to my move in date of December 15. While on the phone with the Comcast rep, who we’ll call “Clueless,” I told them I would need one High Definition Digital Video Recorder (HD-DVR) for the house. “Clueless” quotes me the prices, I write them down, we scheduled a time for the installation, and everything seemed to be on the up and up. With Comcast, things are obviously not what they seem.
Comcast appeared to want my business, and wanted me to be at home waiting on them, as they called me Saturday night to confirm that someone would be home for the installation on Monday. They also called twice on Monday, double and triple checking to make sure someone would be at home. I told them that someone would be there.
The Comcast installation guy, who I’ll call “No Help,” arrived at my house and my girlfriend answered the door. I was in the midst of washing wood finishing off my hands thanks to my girlfriend making me move a table that was still drying. Thanks! While washing my hands, I hear my girlfriend call me and say, “Chris, you deal with this. I can’t handle Comcast!” (She already had a previous bad experience with Comcast. By bad experience, I mean making 50+ phone calls over a 3 month span trying to get $150 back that was owed to her.)
I go and meet with “No Help” and ask what the dilemma is. He tells me that there were no more HD-DVRs in the warehouse. I ask him what he brought, and he tells me that he brought neither an HD-DVR nor a DVR, but merely a regular cable box. This simply would not do! TV without DVR isn’t TV, it’s the stone age as far as I’m concerned. He might as well have brought a stone tablet with some hieroglyphics (yes, I had to spell check that) for all I cared.
Me being the quick thinker, I told “No Help” not to worry, I had a solution. My brother recently moved and wanted me to turn in his HD-DVR for him when the Comcast rep (“No Help”) came to my house. I told “No Help” that, although inept, not all was lost. I told him to simply hook my brother’s HD-DVR to my TV and all would be forgiven. Problem solved, crisis averted, sweet precious cable would soon be flowing through my new house and all the starving kids in India would be fed. Did I mention that I was dealing with Comcast?
“No Help” informs me that he can’t hook up my brother’s HD-DVR to my TV because my brother’s account is still active. I quickly dial up my kin and tell him to cancel his Comcast account. He informs me that he tried to cancel in the a.m., and they told him that he had to turn in his HD-DVR in order to cancel the account. Not wanting to bother the good man at work, I asked for my brother’s social security number and decided to call Comcast on his behalf. I called Comcast, explained that I wanted to cancel the account and turn the HD-DVR into “No Help”, and then “No Help” would hook the HD-DVR up to the TV. The lady on the phone, who we’ll call “Stupid Face,” told me that the only way to cancel the account would be to turn the box into a Comcast store. I said to “Stupid Face,” “So I have to go and turn this HD-DVR into Comcast, and then they’ll simply hand it right back to me and I can then have it hooked up to my TV.” “Stupid Face” replied, “well, they won’t give you the same HD-DVR.” I asked her how they would be able to give me another HD-DVR when “No Help” said they were all out. “Stupid Face” informed me that she was unaware that they were out of HD-DVRs, that they must not have been told yet. Shocking!
So I put “Stupid Face” and all of Comcast to the test. The goal of any company is to make money. Sure, everyone likes to think that the customer is king and all that BS, but the goal is, and will always be, to make money. Since I, the customer, am the one giving Comcast, the devil, money, then they should accommodate me. I tell “Stupid Face” that she can either figure out a way to have the box that is SITTING IN MY LIVING ROOM attached to my TV for HD-DVR goodness, or she can cancel all of the services I’ve ordered and lose me as a customer forever. She said there was nothing she could do. I don’t know why I thought “Stupid Face” could accommodate and I hung up the phone.
I told “No Help” to cancel everything. He looked a bit scared after witnessing all of the drama, and of hearing of my girlfriend’s desire to blow up every Comcast location. I promptly drove to the Comcast location in Germantown, since I knew the one in East Memphis would be overflowing with customers and short on workers, and turned in my brother’s HD-DVR.
I’ve since ordered high-speed Internet through Bell South and have Direct TV coming on Saturday. Everyone I’ve talked to has had problems with Comcast and yet they continue to thrive in this market. Ultimately, the consumer has to decide to make the extra effort to get what is fair. Most people “settle” for Comcast and their sub par service because they assume that it’s easy to get everything in one package and because it’s the standard, or they had service with Time Warner and have continued to use Comcast because it’s already installed. While my revolution might not be on the same level as George Washington, I’ve taken my stand against Comcast and urge the dissatisfied Comcast customers out there to do the same.