The Disconnect At Comcast

The premise of this blog is that taxes are too burdensome and the government too overbearing. But last week, I found myself turning to the government as a last resort to complain about the incompetence at Comcast, our communications provider.

The atrocious customer service at Comcast is well-documented and has even spawned anti-Comcast blogs like ComcastMustDie. The company’s track record is so abysmal that it drove a 75-year-old woman in our region to take a hammer to the computer and telephone of one Comcast official. I just read a new gripe about the company in The American Spectator this morning.

But I’ve been a Comcast customer for years and hadn’t been of victim of its incompetence — until last week when the company cut off our service.

I discovered the error on Sunday, March 2. When we left for worship service that morning, everything was working fine. When we returned after lunch, Comcast’s much-ballyhooed “Triple Play” — cable, telephone and high-speed Internet service for one discounted price — was a strikeout. All three services were dead.

That posed a problem. I couldn’t call Comcast because I had no phone service, and I couldn’t e-mail because the Internet was down, too. Fortunately, my new employer had just provided me with a cell phone days earlier or I would have had to register my complaint in person (without a hammer in my hand!).

Over the next three days, I was put on hold for a total of three hours; subjected to a condescending lecture about Federal Communications Commissions rules by one Comcast representative; and lied to by another who said she had scheduled an appointment for Monday evening but entered it as Wednesday morning in the system.

On Sunday, I scheduled a repair visit for noon-3 p.m. by Comcast on Monday. When my wife called the company from the hospital that morning after my car accident, she was told that the company had canceled the appointment, without contacting us, because they had concluded that the disconnection was the result of a neighborhood problem. We were assured it would be fixed by 5 p.m.; it wasn’t.

The next day when I asked to speak to a supervisor, she refused to get on the phone or return a call, and Comcast refused to schedule an appointment for earlier than Wednesday. I reminded the representative of the lecture about FCC rules one of her colleagues had given me — that phone companies had to restore 911 emergency service within 24 hours. Comcast ignored that obligation.

The repairman finally came at about 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday. He quickly diagnosed the problem: A Comcast field technician had disconnected all of our services while halting service to the house next door that recently went into foreclosure. He acknowledged that the error was Comcast’s and that there had never been a bigger problem in the neighborhood — which we knew because all of our neighbors had service.

That brings me back to the main point of this blog entry: As much as I hate the government, I was glad the FCC existed. I have filed two complaints against Comcast.

I’ve also asked Comcast to give us one month of free service as compensation for the lost service and for my time and hassles in correcting the company’s inexcusable error and inattention to our repeated complaints.

I doubt I’ll ever get a response from either the bureaucrats in the FCC or the incompetents at Comcast. But I feel better now because I blogged about it!

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