Letter to Comcast

Brian L. Roberts, CEO
Comcast Corporation
Comcast Center
1701 JFK Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19103

To Whom It May Concern:

This summer I ordered a Performance High Speed Internet & Digital Voice Unlimited bundle from Comcast, for $39.99 per month for the first year (or first two years, depending on who I talked to). This seemed like a good deal — I would have paid $40 — and the installer was very helpful. For the first three months, I was charged the promised $39.99. On 11/05/2012, however, I was charged $94.90 for the bundle. The local Comcast rep couldn’t figure out how this happened, but assured me that I would be credited the difference and that this wouldn’t keep happening.

On the 12/05/2012 bill, I was charged $59.99. This was a welcome move in the right direction, though still $20 too high, with no credit for the previous month. At least I could tell they were trying, because an “Hsi / digital voice bundle” service was added (+$88.56) and removed (-$88.56).

This was the latest in a series of Comcast issues that have required over 10 hours on the phone (I’ve deliberately understated this by a factor of three to make it believable) and multiple trips to their office.

  • I was promised various rates, only to have other employees tell me those rates weren’t available.

  • I was told I would be able to keep my existing phone number, but after I signed up I learned that was not possible.

  • I was told I could — or could not — buy my own modem and avoid the monthly modem charge; month after month I would call and be assured that the modem charge would be removed, but it kept reappearing.

  • I was repeatedly charged for a non-published listing I never asked for, despite numerous requests to remove it.

  • I encountered various technical issues far too boring to recount.

  • When I pressed the appropriate number to talk to the billing department, I was consistently told this was not a working extension. Eventually I figured out that I could call the support line and ask to be transferred. (To disable this workaround, the billing department might want to get a private, unlisted number like the local Comcast offices have — just a thought.)

  • Frequently I was assured that “Someone will call in three to five days.” This appears to be a polite way of saying, “No one will ever call.” I appreciate this effort at courtesy. Actually, once we did get a call; the caller left a voicemail assuring us that someone would call back in three to five days.

These are just a few of the issues I remember; I wish I had kept detailed notes. Fortunately I was recently laid off, which will allow me to spend more time with Comcast. I'm thinking this could be the basis of an novel (perhaps a trilogy), sitcom, documentary film, or maybe one of those manga comics I keep hearing about. Frankly, I have never encountered such an amusing series of technical and customer support mishaps from a single company.

While I would miss the human interaction, not to mention the telephone hold music — where can I get a copy of that recording? — my preference would be for Comcast to resolve this one remaining issue and (more importantly) stop adding new ones. I’ve tried very hard to demonstrate my loyalty to Comcast, despite their history of having the worst customer satisfaction rating of any company or agency, including the IRS. But as much as I appreciate Comcast’s need to make a profit by applying random changes to my bill, I must say I’m starting to reconsider AT&T, whom I never properly appreciated, and whose occasional little quirks now seem charming by comparison.

Comcast, of course, promises to charge an early cancellation fee. This final insult seems somewhat superfluous, given the existing and altogether adequate pile of insults and injuries. If I am indeed obliged to continue dealing with Comcast as a full-time job, I would very much like to receive a salary, and benefits.

 

cc: Comcast management team
cc: Comcast Board of Directors
cc: Franchise Authority, Santa Clara County
cc: FCC Consumer Complaint Division
cc: Better Business Bureau
cc: California Attorney General
cc: Chair, Senate Subcommittee on Communications
cc: Facebook
cc: Internet


Update: Comcast was recently in the news for changing a customer's name to "Asshole Brown" on his bill. In response, I've taken the liberty of changing Comcast's name to "Assholecast".

I made the check for my last cable bill payable to their new name, and they cashed it, no questions asked. This is either fraud or a de facto acceptance that they are now doing business as Assholecast.

Cashed Assholecast check

 

 

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