Dear Comcast: get your act together

Comcast owes me an hour. As in, 60 or so minutes of my life that I’ll never get back because of their phalanx of … poorly trained customer service people.

When I moved to Seattle I did all I could to take advantage of their “easy transfer of service” promise. Things started going wrong when I called them a week before I was set to leave Denver to order a cut-off/change of service. I gave them the date I was leaving and told them to unhook me then. They said they would, and then turned me off the next day.

Not off to a good start.

Things got better when I arrived – the guy they sent out to connect my service was fantastic.

But then. Yesterday, on my “lunch hour,” I tried to set up my online account so I could pay my bill. Comcast’s online account management is great and I’ve been using it with no trouble for awhile now. But when I tried to register, I kept getting messages that told me there was a problem, contact a service rep for help, etc. The first guy I talked to I thought had the problem solved, but I was wrong. So I tried the online chat route and quickly made a new friend, Sanjay.

Let me fast forward. Sanjay couldn’t help me. His friend Vishal was equally useless. I then called for a live human being and got an American who was as clueless as the Bangalore Brothers combined. And then got transferred to another person who, guess what? Doofus.

All I needed was for them to reset my password. They unanimously agreed that in order to do so they had to verify my identity. The fact that I knew all about me, including what my number was, what my address was, what the last four digits of my social security number were, none of that proved anything. No, at this point only two things would suffice. Either:

a) they had to call me at the Comcast voice number I had been assigned, or
b) I had to give them the four-digit security code I had been mailed.

[sigh] On the first option, you have to understand that I don’t have a landline. They gave me a number, but I don’t use it. Don’t need it. But I have it because, curiously, it costs more to get Comcast cable and Comcast Internet than it does those two services and the landline. I’m sure that policy makes sense for some reason I haven’t figured out, but for my purposes, there is not a phone connected to that line, nor will there ever be, because its only purpose would be to ring when telemarketers decide to bother me around dinner time.

As for b), I was at work and didn’t have the code.

Now, at this point, we’re mainly just talking about an annoying inconvenience. When I get home I can call back with the four-digit code and everybody’s happy. The problem was the thing they kept using as an excuse not to help me. According to multiple Comcast barely trained chimps customer service professionals, they couldn’t do the reset without either a or b because it was a violation of federal law. Seriously – I was told this repeatedly.

Sure, federal law requires that you have positive identification processes to insure customer security. Of that I have no doubt. But those laws, I am certain, do not specify that you either have to answer the Comcast voice number or give them a randomly generated four-digit code. Congress doesn’t write their laws around your particular security policy.

In other words, all of these folks had been instructed to feed increasingly frustrated customers a load of bullshit. This particular customer has been dealing with various telem companies on and off since the Clinton administration, and I especially hate it when I know I’m being lied to.

[breathe deeply] Okay, fine. The idiots have me outnumbered and I should probably get back to work.

When I get home I dig up my four-digit code and call Comcast back, loaded for bear. The rep listens as I explain what I need, confirms my address and phone number and SS#, says hold on a second, then – hold your breath – gives me my new password. She doesn’t ask if she can call my landline. Doesn’t ask for my four-digit code. Nothing. Just. Solves. The. Problem.

When I related to her my adventures with her colleagues, she’s polite and hears me out and offers no insight into what the whole federal law thing was about.

I thank her profusely for being so helpful – in line with what I have come to expect of Comcast folks prior to yesterday – and sign off.

So here’s the money shot. Dear Comcast: one of the following is unavoidably true. Either:

a) many of your customer service reps are poorly trained,
b) many of them are involved in a far reaching and wholly improbable conspiracy aimed at confusing the public about federal law, or
c) some of them, including the nice young woman who finally got things straightened out, are felons.

If I had gotten the stupid from one of your people, fine, I get it. Customer service can be tough, you don’t always have a pool of rocket surgeons to choose from, and mistakes happen. Seriously, I get it.

When three or four people in a row, on at least two continents, feed me the same line of horseshit, it’s systemic. It’s not on Sanjay or Vishal or any of the people I spoke with closer to home. It’s up the ladder in the training organization or in service leadership, and it may be innocent or it may be reflective of intent.

In any case, it is not excusable. I don’t use this forum to bitch about my unsatisfactory service experiences as a rule, but when I get jacked around over what looks like policy, well, that maybe changes things.

You came damned close yesterday to creating a new Dish Network customer, and if you don’t get your shit together I can’t help thinking it will happen again. So please – look into it?

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4 responses to “Dear Comcast: get your act together

  1. Hey, look on the bright side. At least you didn’t get someone trying to tell you their name was Bobby Smith from Bangalore. 🙂

  2. Samuel – my sincere apologies for the frustrating experience. I work for Comcast and I’d like to make sure that the concerns mentioned herein are addressed.

    I know you’ve provided your information numerous times, but I’ll need your information so that we can look into this incident. If it is not so much of a trouble, will you please send me your account info and best contact number? Also, including a link to this page is a helpful point of reference.

    Thanks in advance. I appreciate you providing the opportunity to improve our service.

    ComcastMark
    Comcast Corp.
    National Customer Operations
    We_can_help@cable.comcast.com

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