Thanks for Choosing Comcast. An Additional $4.95 Will Be Automatically Charged to Your Account for Speaking to a Live Customer Service Representative

Comcast customer service is an oxymoron. The monopolistic cable giant is one of, if not, the worst examples of poor customer service. In fact, I'd put Comcast right at the top of my all-time "rude, indifferent and boorish behavior" rankings alongside TSA agents, NJ Transit conductors and my St. Francis Grammar School nuns.

Every few months or so, Comcast arbitrarily yanks my basic and pay-per-view service. And every time it happens, we call to complain. And, every time it Comcast
happens, we're greeted by a voice mail explaining that our payment is "overdue." We then punch another button, enter our check number and are told checks typically take 72 hours to clear. Growing increasingly frustrated by the automated ineptness and our knowledge that the payment was mailed weeks earlier, we keep punching various options.

Finally, after being told we should punch "2" for Spanish and "8" for "Urdu," we're told we can speak to a "live customer service representative," but an additional $4.95 will be automatically billed to our account. Say what! You've screwed up for the umpteenth time and you have the unmitigated gall to bill me to speak to a live person to fix it? What's wrong with this equation? That would be like an innkeeper charging extra to rid my sleeping quarters of bed bugs.

But, since Comcast (like a certain law firm that shall remain nameless) is a total monopoly, what's a poor cable viewer to do? So, we punched the live person button, spoke to a nice, but ineffectual, CSR who first told us our account was overdue, then verified they'd received our check and finally confirmed that, sadly, checks took 72 hours to clear. We told this live, if somewhat dim, person that the check had been sent weeks ago. The light bulb finally went on and he promised he'd "re-boot" our system ASAP and service would be returned right away.

That was Thursday night. By Monday morning, there was still no Comcast service.

Comcast's horrific business practices are just one of one zillion reasons why America finds itself in the fix it's in. We vent and we blog, but in the end, we keep paying for what amounts to criminal performance.

12 thoughts on “Thanks for Choosing Comcast. An Additional $4.95 Will Be Automatically Charged to Your Account for Speaking to a Live Customer Service Representative

  1. After you wrote that blog about your experience with Comcast, I shared my frustrations with them about not being billed on time.
    Well, I haven’t heard from anyone in more than a week and I never received the invoice in the mail (which I was told would be here in two days).
    So, Iwenrt back to The RepMan’s blog, took down the guy Frank’s information and reached out to him saying that I read about him in your blog, etc.
    Well, I got two e-mails back Wednesday — one to alert me that Frank was out that someone wrote in his place and then one later in the day to say that service repair would be out the following to replace the cover.
    Sure enough, the repairman came the next morning (with his supervisor, no less) and took care of it. It seemed like a menial task that I just greeted the guy, pointed out the location of the box, said hello to his supervisor and went back in the house.
    Later that afternoon, Karen from corporate called to make sure that everything was done right and to my satisfaction. She even asked if I had been out to take a look at it. I told her no and said I trusted that they could do the job. Says she will call me again today to make sure it’s to my satisfaction.
    In the meantime I told her that I still haven’t received my bill for March. So, she is sending me a screen shot by e-mail of the invoice (which will be March and April combined) and that they will credit me for March “since it’s their mistake and I’m such a great customer.”
    Yes, I have checked the cover and it is in place.
    Some companies don’t realize the importance of customer service. You work so hard to bring them in and once they are gone, it’s highly unlikely they will return. It’s a competitive marketplace, as you well know, and you hate to lose the customer that you worked so hard in the first place to get.

  2. Thanks so much for your kind words and prompt response, Frank. Your actions have more than made up for the poor experience I had with the local Comcast CSR. In fact, your post is a textbook example of how to engage in a two-way conversation with a customer. My hat’s off to you and my account remains with Comcast (but, I do hope your local CSR wises up soon).

  3. I want to apologize for the trouble we created. Without viewing the account it looks like the payment was not applied and I would be happy to look into that for you. The representative should have also lived up to the promise to turn the services back on. I also want to apologize if the phone system was not clear. Most likely you were in the bill payment part of the system when you zeroed out to speak to an operator. There is no fee for speaking to a representative, but the fee is for making a payment over the phone. I will have that reviewed because it is important to be clear for our Customers. If you are still having issues, or would like to share feedback please feel free to email me.
    Thank you!
    Frank Eliason

  4. Well, that’s good, Lars. Obviously, Symantec has changed its policies. My experience is more than a year old. At that time, I found numerous complaints about this practice. Perhaps Symantec is a flexible company that learns from its customers after all.

  5. That’s interesting, Agent 613. I’ve had my share of run-ins with the Symantec folks. But last month I got an email “pre-notification” of my impending automatic renewal with instructions on how to opt out using my online account. Incidentally I needed to edit the payment information, so the advance notice was quite helpful.

  6. Believe or not, some companies practice an even more insidious way of sucking money from their customers. Symantec is one. Subscriptions to its online services can be downloaded and charged to a credit card, but the opt-out option for automatic renewal is deliberately obscured. Once a customer discovers that he has been renewed for another year, he can speak to a customer service rep for $9.95. (Expected wait times may vary). The alternative is to send email to customer service and receive multiple responses from “Rajiv” that tell you how important it is that your situation gets resolved.
    Companies that do this may really believe that this is a smart way to maximize revenues. As you demonstrate here, they hurt themselves in the long run as their customers defect to competitors.

  7. Thanks April. Maybe the Comcast customer service representatives need to multitask and begin engaging in the online conversation while they’re simultaneously alienating customers over the phone.

  8. Prior to Sunday, I would have agreed with you about Comcast’s horrible customer service. On Sunday, I went on Comcast’s chat and was surprised by the service. I wanted to lower my bill and was offered a reduced price for service for six months. I did already get this as a new customer and was happy to get it again even though I’ve had service for awhile. A credit was reflected on my bill in a matter of 15 minutes. I highly recommend using the chat option on their website.

  9. I’d have to agree with Gaetano’s comment, Steve. If there’s a choice amongst providers of a service, then vote with your feet and run to the alternative. I’ve had DirecTV for half a decade and can’t think of a single instance of bad customer service. In fact, as soon as the CSR pulls up my file, I get the yes sir/no sir treatment for my long-term good-standing.