There’s nothing quite like realizing you have to pick up the phone and ask for Comcast sales or service because the phone calls never go smoothly. There’s always some outrageous bump in the road they’ve set just for you. Today was not unique. I called Comcast six times. I still don’t have a resolution.
The problem has been growing worse and worse each week. Our three remote controls are dying. Over the nine years we’ve been with Comcast, we’ve had our digital boxes updated and removed many times. Our three remotes have never been replaced. Comcast won’t replace your remotes when they change out your boxes unless you are keen enough to know at the time you place your new decoder box order to request new remotes, too. If the remotes aren’t on the work order, the tech Will Not Replace.
Our cable boxes are fine, but our remotes have worn out. The “2″ button is dead — as are the “Info” and “Exit” buttons. I innocently called Comcast today to request new remotes and I was given a six-hour runaround over this ridiculous and silly matter — except for the dire notion that without your remotes, you can’t easily enjoy watching Comcast television. Your pleasure is only quantified by the qualitative ability of your remote control to quickly and serviceably broadcast your needs and want to your cable box.
Here’s the condensed version of my afternoon. For the sake of storytelling, some experiences have been redacted and compressed for my sanity and your contextual clarity. I won’t get into the argument I had with a Comcast representative who said there’s a “Deaf and Dumb” number for my wife to use to call Comcast to add me to the account as an “authorized user.” I did, however, make the point with that Comcast representative that “Deaf and Dumb” was as insulting today to Deaf people as the “N-Word” is to Blacks and African-Americans.
I also won’t dwell much on another Comcast Customer service rep who said today she couldn’t help me because I lived in New Jersey. When I called the New Jersey number she provided, I was connected to a generic 800 number for ordering cable service for the first time. “Incompetence, thy name is ‘Comcast!’”
My first call to Comcast sales was shut down because I was not the account holder of record. Over nine years of dealing with them, this was the first time they refused to help me. They had to hear from my wife instead.
My wife got on the live chat on Comcast.com and told them to add me as an “authorized user.” Then she said she wanted three new remotes brought to the house by Comcast. We’d pay the $30 service call. Comcast said they would only send the remotes for delivery by UPS. My wife told them that was not acceptable because we are never home during the day. She told Comcast not to send the replacement remotes.
I called Comcast. The first thing I did was to check to make sure I was now an authorized user on the account. I was. My wife’s Comcast chat with “Ulyses” [sic] was a success. I then told the rep that we wanted three new remotes. She told us we could not have the new remotes delivered to us by a Comcast tech because, “If we did that, we’d be delivering remotes all day long.”
“But,” I said, “We’re willing to pay the $30 service fee. You could reap millions of dollars with a door-to-door remote delivery service if you’re really that swamped with replacing bad remotes.”
“You can go to a Comcast service center and swap them,” she said.
I told her we didn’t have car — you really don’t need one or want one in the East Coast urban core — and that the closest center was not easy to get to via public transportation and, I added, Google Maps tells me it’s a 57 minute walk from our house to the closest center.
“Our Customer Service training teaches us on the very first day there’s nothing we can do to help you on this because we don’t hand deliver remotes. You pick it up from us or we will ship it to your home. You’ll have them in a week if you ship. We charge your account for the replacement remotes until we get back the broken ones.”
“We both work. We’re not home. We don’t want the remotes shipped to our address for random arrival. Why can’t we get the remotes brought to our home at a specific time if we’re willing to pay? We already pay $300.00USD a month for Comcast service and we’d like some proper customer care with that purchase.”
As I was waiting for her response, my Inbox pinged with this email from Comcast:
I was heartsunk. That “Ulyses” [sic] guy my wife was chatting with disobeyed her direct order and he ordered the three remotes anyway without our permission! Now my temper was rising. Now this was all put back wet, messy, and sticky into my lap.
“Hey! Look at my account! It looks like three remotes were just shipped? Can you cancel it?”
“Let me refresh my screen,” she said. “Yes! The remotes were shipped!”
“Waitaminute! We don’t want them shipped. We want them delivered by a tech.”
“Once they’re in the system, there’s nothing we can do.”
“I don’t believe that.” I asked to speak to a Supervisor — not to get angry with anyone in particular, but to rail against a ridiculous “remote replacement policy” that made no sense — and to at least go on the record with the ridiculous roundabout I’d been on all day with Comcast.
She told me there was a queue waiting for the Supervisor. I asked her to give my information to her Supervisor and I told her I’d call Preet in the president’s office while I waited. Preet was a Comcast Muscle who had previously helped me with a wonky HD-DVR and he told me way back then if I ever needed his help again, to just call. I left a message for Preet.
I called Comcast again and I was able to speak to a nice woman named Ivy who was able to set up a service call for us tomorrow between 3-5pm to give us three new remote controls because, she said, she saw two of our digital HD cable boxes were “old” and needed “updating” and she’d set up the service call to replace the two boxes AND provide us with three new remote controls in the swap. We still had to pay the $30 service call fee, though. We were saved! Ivy did her job with kindness and aplomb and thoughtfulness.
Five minutes later — Blake The Supervisor From Delaware — called. He too, said there was nothing that could be done to cancel the three remotes that were shipped today, but that he’d try to speak to the shipping manager anyway to see if the box could be pulled from the truck.
Blake has yet to call back.
Preet has yet to return my phone call.
So now I sit and wait for a Comcast tech to arrive tomorrow — and then I have to figure out if I have to deal with a separate remotes delivery we do not want and never asked for and will likely miss delivery of… but that doesn’t mean they won’t be “delivered” — because, in this area, “delivery” depends on the people around you and not all hearts are glistening with salvation and honor. Sometimes people in your neighborhood say one thing and do another — and that’s why getting a random remotes delivery “in a week or so” is a time-consuming hassle that no ordinary man would wish upon or want.
I will update this article with more information in the comments stream as warranted! Just because Customer Service tells the field tech to replace the digital boxes doesn’t mean they’ll actually be replaced! Everyone’s a King at Comcast and nobody listens to anyone else — or else!