Comcast Cares? I beg to differ!

My name is Brian Herman, and I hate Comcast

Here’s my Comcast customer (dis)service experience for the week.   I’m new to Comcast, I’ve only had my account about 7 weeks.


I arrive home late and find my internet is down, I turn on the TV and it’s dead too.  I call Comcast support and fairly quickly end up connected with a nice guy who tries to help fix my problem remotely.  He’s VERY friendly and chatty.  He recognizes that my cell phone area code is Colorado and talks to me about his friends in Denver, he sees my street address in Seattle and tells me how much he loves the Queen Anne area.   When he can’t fix my problem remotely he sets me up a service appointment for 10-2 the next day.  Sadly he can’t move it further forward and that means my wife is going to lose her morning waiting for service, but I understand.  Then, without prompting he offers to comp me for 3 days of “down service”.  Overall this is an awesome experience, I’m pretty impressed with them (admittedly my expectations were low based on what I’d heard from other Comcast customers)

But here’s where it all goes south.  I explain to him that I have to be in meetings at work all day on Thursday and that my wife is in town for the week.  I ask that they have the technician call her number in the morning to get access to the apartment.

Looking back at it I now realize that the “3 free days of service” should have been setting my expectations for how long it would take to come fix my problem!


I’m in the middle of a meeting with my VP when my phone rings.   I ignore it.

15 minutes later it rings again.  I ignore it again.

90 minutes later I am between meetings and check my messages… I have 2 calls from Comcast, the first saying they are at my apartment and the 2nd saying they are giving up and moving on to their next customer. !$%@#$!

I text my wife, who proceeds to spend the bulk of her afternoon on the phone trying to get these bastards back to the apartment, they will not help her.  The best they can do is noon-4p on Friday.

At 4:30 I’m between meetings again and I call Comcast and lay into them.  This was their mistake, in fact the agent admits that the correct number to call (Sandy’s) is right there in the work order).  I tell them I want a supervisor to call my wife’s phone and make this right.  This process took 15 minutes and made me late to an interview with a potential new-hire, NOT a cool experience.

A supervisor does call Sandy, she offers to get her into the morning slot (8a-noon) but will NOT assure her that we are a priority and will get the first slot of the day, promptly at 8a.  Sandy really pushes but they will not commit.

The agent says to Sandy “I’ve already comp’ed you a week of free service, what else do you want from me?”   I’ll tell you what want you twit,  I’m paying for a service, it’s the service I want, not the money.   I don’t need a service discounted, if I didn’t want to spend money on cable and Internet then I would not have signed up. After Sandy spent her entire day sitting in my apartment with no internet, no tv, and unable to go enjoy her day and take care of the errands she’s in town today, a few $$ off the bill isn’t going to make things right.  What I want at this point is I wan’t my !$%@^ time back!

That night I needed to check-in for our flight back to Colorado.  Without internet access I went and sat on the dirty stairs in a parking lot a few blocks away where I could pick up a free wi-fi signal and get checked in.


Today is our last day in Seattle.  We are planning to do some shopping and go hang out at the beach before leaving for the airport at 2:30.   I’ll be in Colorado all next week and when I return I want my internet and cable working.  I particularly

At 8:05 my phone isn’t ringing, my doorbell isn’t ringing and I call Comcast.  The automated system tells me that I am scheduled for service between Noon and 4, not 8 and noon as promised by the supervisor last night!  !@#%!$#^!

After a long hold time I speak to an agent (Gwen) who says she can not help me but will put me through to a supervisor.  After 18 minutes on hold the call gets dropped.

I call back in and after 8 minutes on hold the next agent (Allison) says the supervisor lines are all very busy (gee can’t f*ing imagine why) and she will put me in the call back queue.

15 min later…

30 min later…

45 min later, I call back.  Another 15 minutes on hold and I’m talking to the supervisor (Marlana) finally.  I tell her my story including the now-60 minutes waiting for a call-back and she says (I wouldn’t make this up) “Wow, I’m surprised by that because I’ve not been all that busy this morning.”   Which tells me that freaking Allison didn’t put me on any damn call-back list at all.

Marlana explains to me that Comcast’s priority is always “no-dial-tone” problems and that the ENTIRE tech crew has been working the ENTIRE morning on nothing but that.  Seriously.

Now I’m a reasonable person and I get that Aunt Mabel having no phone is a bigger deal (health and safety) than me having TV.  On the other hand, broadband *IS* my dialtone, it’s how the world reaches me and vice versa.  And I’ve been down for 2 days and getting hosed by Comcast, so you’d think that would move me up the priority list a bit.  You’d be wrong.

Marlana can not possibly help me this morning, 12-2 is the best she can do.  Now I explain how I’m leaving the state for a week promptly at 2p and they must get there around 12 and get this sorted.  She assures me that she’ll keep an eye on dispatch and make sure that I’m taken care of.

She gives me her extension so I can work with her directly (a nice touch) but when I ask what number to call so I can dial the extension (cuz that’s not an option on 1-800-comcast) she says “oh, you have to call the usual number and wait for a customer service agent, then tell that person to IM me and to put you through to my extension. (that’s not so helpful).   I wonder if this is the process her husband has to use when he calls to see what time she’ll be home for dinner?  I’m thinking no.


12:30 – guess who hasn’t shown up or called?   I call the number, I ask for Marlana’s extension, I am hold for 17 total minutes before I am connected.  She talks to dispatch and tells me “everyone is still busy, but you’re next up for whomever comes free first”.

1:50 – I call again… I speak to a support agent and ask her to IM Marlana and put me through to her extension.

1:52 – while I’m on hold the tech calls me and says he’s just finished his job and can be to my house in 15 minutes.  I tell him I need to leave at 2:20 PROMPTLY or I miss my plane.  He starts driving and asks me to describe the problem.  I tell him what’s happened and the troubleshooting I’ve done he says “well the problem clearly isn’t in your house, something’s wrong at the connection box”.  Well DUH, that’s what I’ve been saying for 2 days…

While I was on the line with him the operator on the other line disconnects with me.  I do not get a call back from her nor from Marlana despite the fact that I’ve been told twice in the last 2 days that “any time we lose contact with a customer on hold we call them back”.  Nice.

2:10 – the technician shows up. He asks how my day is.  I tell him “It sucks, but that’s not your fault.”  He replies “I appreciate you saying so, you’d be surprised how many people yell at me!”  I’m thinking to myself “no, I’m really not surprised at all”.  Poor guy, it’s not his fault, he’s just a hard working tech, he’s not manning the phones.

2:12 – He heads to the junction box in our building, it’s in an unsecured room and it isn’t locked shut, nor is there a “trap on it to keep people from messing with it”.   My cable is dangling from the wall; someone disconnected it.  He screws it on and my cable is working in less than 2 minutes.

2:20 – I leave for my bus.

At this point my wife has been in waiting in and around my apartment for 14 hours and I have been there for 6 waiting for Comcast – that’s 20 person hours.  Between us we spent over 300 minutes of cell phone time calling and waiting on hold.  All so that a guy could walk into an unlocked room, open an unlocked box and screw a cable onto a connector.  If *ANY-FREAKING-ONE* at Comcast had done their job right, had taken just 10 seconds to do things properly, none of this would have happened.  Let me recap.

  • 7 weeks ago, random tech doesn’t install a trap on my line when he hooks it up
  • unknown date: Random cable tech doesn’t lock the cable box when done working on it
  • unknown date: Random cable tech doesn’t lock the room when leaving
  • 2 days ago someone goes into room and unhooks my cable either maliciously or mistakenly
  • Tech arrives at my house but calls wrong number, twice, despite the fact that the number was listed in the work order (I made the customer service agent read it back to me)
  • Supervisor promises morning service Friday morning but doesn’t update our appointment in the system
  • Twice I was disconnected while on hold with support, I did not get called back.
  • Customer Service agent won’t wait on hold with me for a supervisor, offers to put me in the “supervisor call-back” queue and promises I won’t lose my place in line, yet an hour later the haven’t called me back and the supervisor I speak with tells me she hasn’t been that busy.

Now, I would drop Comcast immediately but there’s just one little flaw in my desire… THEY ARE A MONOPOLY.  I could drop them for cable and go with one of the dish providers but what would I do for broadband?  I could go with Qwest DSL I suppose… choosing between Qwest and Comcast is like choosing between Malaria and Cholera… gee which one should I pick?

Comcast, if you ever wondered why people hate you, it’s because every single person I’ve told this story to has told me “yup, that’s happened to me before too”.  This isn’t an isolated experience, it’s a common one.

I recommend you take some of your massive advertising budget and spend it on hiring and training good customer service people.   Having @ComcastCares on Twitter is not gonna get it done.  You need to take a lesson from a company that doesn’t suck at Customer Service and make some real changes over there.


– Brian Herman

Unhappy Comcast Customer of just 7 weeks  (I wonder how the next 7 weeks will go)

PS:  this entire blog post was written while on hold with Comcast on Friday morning – except for the final bits which of course happened after the problem was resolved.  The upside is that I didn’t waste any additional time preparing my rant, they gave me plenty of free time to do it.  Further note, all images used were found on line, I had no trouble finding unhappy customers to link up with, no photoshop work required!

~ by brianherman on July 3, 2009.

8 Responses to “Comcast Cares? I beg to differ!”

  1. Brian,

    I apologize for your experience. I know the Seattle team well and it’s not the norm. I’d be happy to engage to make it right. Shoot me a number where I can contact you and we’ll get on the case.

    Scott Westerman
    Vice President
    @comcastscott on Twitter

  2. hello friends, nice blog!!! 🙂

  3. […] published HERE at Brian Herman’s […]

  4. I feel your pain! I’ve had similar Comcast nightmares in the past. I must say it’s been over a year since I’ve had major issues tho. *knocking on wood like crazy, ’cause I don’t ever want to go through that again!!!!*

  5. What a great idea: spend advertising dollars to train customer service (and apparently techs too). Good for you Brian…glad you posted of your experience although it makes me cringe to think of what will happen when I have to call Comcast next….

  6. 7/6 Update: I was contacted on Monday night by a tech who was standing outside my apartment. When I explained that I was in Colorado he said “ahh, so this appointment was made by someone internal to Comcast.”

    That was cool, someone decide to dispatch a helper to me, though I wish they’d told me about it first.

    As we talked he said that while my TV may be working, he couldn’t see my cable modem from his side, so something was still wrong with my Internet.

    I explained how I wouldn’t be back in Seattle until 7/13. On top of that I have to be at work all day and can’t hang around my house without Internet access because then I can’t work. He said he could come by Monday night after work, on his way home to help me.

    [Now we’re getting somewhere – this is the kind of “can do” customer service attitude I was looking for when this problem started!]

    He gave me his name and cell number and agreed to meet me at 6:00p on Monday. I’m very pleased with that and my fingers are crossed that I’ve now gotten past the people who are stuck to the script and on to some people who want to solve my problem.

    I still need to follow-up with Scott Westerman (above) and @ComcastCares as well and see what they can do for me.

    Fingers crossed.

  7. 7/13 update: I got a call at 3:30 today from the tech, confirming he’d be at my house at 6p. He showed up promptly at 6 ready to go. Shortly before he arrived I power-cycled my cable modem and was able to connect to the Internet after that. When the tech got here he came in and ran some diagnostics and checked signal levels on everything until he was satisfied.

    I asked him if he was part of any kind of “executive escalation team” or anything like that. He told me that the area GM booked him to come to my place and that he was one of the more senior techs on the team but that he wasn’t on a special team or anything.

    He was a nice guy (as were the other techs I’d worked with) and spent the time to make sure everything was ok before he headed out. I can’t complain about any of the techs, except of course for the one who showed up and used the wrong phone number back when this problem began.

    So ComCast, good follow-up, I appreciate that. I’ll be moving out of my apartment and into a house in August so I’m expecting things will go smoothly with that transition and I won’t run into any more support issues. Fingers firmly crossed.

  8. […] another Comcast horror story which I found […]

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