Three More Reasons I Hate Comcast

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!

Stay Tuned!

16 comments

  • Go get ‘em, David! I think I’ve actually read all your Comcast terror tales. What a company. Keep us updated tomorrow on what happens next, okay?

  • What a horrible experience, David. I hope they come through with the remotes.

    • Thanks, Gordon! I’m fully prepared for some sort of “remotes test” to see if they actually need replacing or not. The in-person techs always hassle you. They won’t do anything that isn’t on their work order, but if something is on their work order — like replacing boxes and remotes — that doesn’t really mean they’ll actually replace anything. It’s all up to their discretion even though you’re paying the $30 service fee.

  • David,

    I apologize for the troubles you’ve been having getting replacement remotes. We want to make this right for you. Send us an email and include the link to this page. We will be sure somebody reaches out to you to resolve this. Have a good day.

    Mike Padgeon
    Comcast Corp.
    National Customer Operations
    We_can_help@cable.comcast.com

    • Hi Mike –

      Thanks for the reply. I am disappointed Blake and Preet never called back. I guess Preet’s promise to “always take care of me” is proven fallow.

      As requested, here is the text of the email I just sent you:

      Mike Padgeon –

      Thank you for commenting on my article about Comcast:

      http://urbansemiotic.com/2010/11/02/three-more-reasons-i-hate-comcast/

      Here’s how you can help me today:

      1. Make sure the 3 additional replacement remotes we did not order ARE NOT being sent to my home via UPS or FedEx.

      2. Please confirm that the replacement HD boxes arriving today between 3-5pm have HDMI inputs and proper cabling.

      3. Please confirm I WILL NOT BE HASSLED by your Tech. I want him in and out fast. I don’t want him to “test” the remotes or the old boxes to decide “if they need replacing or not.” I want the two boxes and the three new remotes replaced. Period. I don’t want to be harassed during a $30 service call I have to pay for.

      Thank you.

      db

      • Four hours and no reply from Mike or Mark! So what’s the point of coming on this blog to offer help and offer nothing?

        Here’s another reply I just sent to Mike:

        Mark –

        I am waiting for your reply.

        The service tech arrived. I will update my article in the comments.

        I just received a tracking number for the remotes. I guess you were not able to stop the delivery. I want the fees to send those remotes via UPS reversed. I do not want my account charged for the remotes, either, even temporarily.

        I paid for the service call today to get the remotes, I don’t want to be charged twice for the same service.

        db

  • UPDATE:

    The Comcast Tech called at 2:15pm to confirm the 3pm appointment. He arrived on site at 2:35pm. He was kind and friendly.

    He replaced our two old HD boxes with new HDMI HD boxes. They are tiny. They have no channel display or time display. No HDMI cables are included with the boxes. You have to buy your own. A good HDMI cable can cost you $30.

    2 of the 3 replacement remotes did not work. Our tech was frustrated. He “found some old ones” on the truck that worked better than the new remotes wrapped in plastic that he opened in front of me. I gave him the three, broken, remotes, and he told me to “throw them away.” Now we know the real value of a Comcast remote!

    • I gave up on Preet calling back — and on Mike and Mark replying — so I called the Comcast President’s line. I spoke to a kind woman name Suzette.

      She confirmed Comcast policy is “not to roll a truck” to replace a remote. I told her I didn’t think that was a kind policy — and that’s why I wrote this article. She understood and said she didn’t make the policy, but she has to follow the policy. I told her I understood.

      Suzette also understood why I didn’t want to pay for a service call AND for the $9.60 delivery of remotes I did not want shipped to me. She reversed the delivery charge for the replacement remotes and she told me I could keep the additional three remotes when they arrived via UPS as a “gift from Comcast” for my trouble and, she said, the extra remotes would be good to have in case our current remotes stop working again.

      We know the value of a Comcast remote — nil, really — based on our previous experience detailed upstream here in the comments, but Suzette’s position in our favor worked wonders for the healing. She also said if we’re ever charged for the replacement-replacement remotes — to call her — and she’ll remove the charges.

      Suzette did the right thing. She had the power to rectify the situation and she did. She was patient. She listened. She understood. She solved. Righteous!

      Suzette also gave me her direct dial phone number and she, like Preet before her, told me to “call her any time” if I needed extra help now — or in the future — from Comcast in making a bad situation right.

      • UPDATE:

        Mark replied. He said he reached out to get local help for me.

        Here’s my reply to him:

        Thanks for the reply, Mark!

        I updated my article to reflect the conclusion for the day.

        I just got off the phone with regular Comcast support to get the work order closed and to get On Demand provisioned for both new boxes. What a day!

        I think everything is done and over now.

        Best Wishes,

        db

  • COMCAST is HORRIBLE. I have been begging them to fix my internet connection problem(constantly disconnecting at least 20 times per day). Now, today, it is dropping and is connecting SLOWLY. Why is it so hard for Comcast to do what they are suppose to do. Is it rocket science? Or are they just incompetent? I vote for the latter!

  • I’m sorry to hear about all this. I have DISH now and I will never go back! I work at DISH
    and can tell you that if you need you remote replaced, it is so easy. All you need is the
    service plan and replacements are free! I am never going back to Comcast.

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