My cable installation nightmare
Over the past few years it has become fashionable to complain about the customer service at Comcast. Considering some of the experiences I’ve had myself, I can confirm that some of this criticism is justifiable. However, much like a lot of stories on the internet, some of the Comcast stories I’ve read have seemed a bit over the top. A lot of times, things aren’t quite as bad as they are expressed. However, if you ever believe a really, really, really bad cable installation story, believe mine. After two months of horrific customer service, my wife and I still can’t find the word(s) to describe the experience. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
Completely disrespected by customer service
It all started innocently enough in November with a courtesy call from their customer service in Pennsylvania. Normally, I don’t answer my phone unless the number seems familiar or I happen to be in one of my curious moods. On this particular day, for some odd reason, I was curious to see who was on the other end. The call started out pleasantly as their customer service representative explained a very nice package I could upgrade to. Their timing was very good since my wife and I were a month away from closing on a house we had been building during the second half a 2017. Setting up services before our move was actually something I overlooked with everything else going on in our lives. Unfortunately, the fact that I looked to make life a lot easier for myself actually turned out to be quite the opposite.
After the representative went over the great package they were offering, I went through a link that they sent me with more detail about it and an approval. This is where it starts to get bad. My understanding of their direction was to click on the link if I was ok with the package, not an actual agreement to officially sign up for it. Especially since I told them that I needed to talk it over with my wife (something I told them a few times). When I accidentally clicked on the link, and this is a true story, the representative started laughing at me. Almost diabolically. I couldn’t believe what I was experiencing. Normally, bad customer service is tied to being incompetent or maybe a little condescending, not downright insulting. I tried to call back, but couldn’t get on the phone with a manager who could resolve the issue. I started to feel like the situation was a little hopeless. Especially considering how insanely difficult it is to get good service from this company let alone somebody in a managerial position who could help.
Does anybody know how to help us?
After spending a few hours mulling over the situation, I decided to give social media a try. I sent a note to Comcast’s Facebook messenger account in hopes of being able to reach somebody who could make the situation right and apologize for the rather insulting behavior of the representative I talked to. Although the person I talked to through messenger did everything they could to help, it turned into a conversation that took several hours to complete. While the means we were using to communicate was convenient, I didn’t really want to spend so much of my time focused on the conversation. At this point, after talking it over, my wife and I decided that we needed an overlap between my account and a new one since we were going to be spending time at our old apartment and new home for a while. After seeing how much of a process the Facebook messenger conversation was, my wife decided to go into our local Comcast office and get this set up for us. By this point, we thought we were successful in getting everything set up. However, the problem ensued. Later that night, around midnight, we noticed that our internet stopped working. As it turns out, the representative my wife spoke to at the Comcast office decided to cancel my account and activate hers. We were on the phone until 1am trying to get it all sorted out. Yet another headache in the process.
For the next few weeks, we were under the impression that we had finally gotten our situation with Comcast sorted out. However, of all the things my wife and I had to deal with during the home building process, our issues with Comcast were clearly the biggest obstacle. It actually made the initial move in a little less enjoyable. When the technician came out to our house, they worked for about 5-10 minutes, came back inside and told me that we didn’t have a line run to our house for the services. With this being a new build, nobody told us we needed to do this. Needless to say, I was pretty furious by this point. I even called back, stayed on hold for almost an hour only to hear that I would need to wait seven days to get my services activated. At this point, after everything my wife and I had put up with, I insisted that they come back today. They agreed to come out between 4pm-7pm so I patiently hung out in my new home while I waited. However, by 7-8 o’clock it became pretty obvious to me that they weren’t going to come out. My wife, who was equally as frustrated by this point, once again called their customer service number in order to find out what was going on. As it turned out, the same technician who came out earlier in the day cancelled our service request and nobody told us. What we started to learn from this experience, especially through this phone call, is that the utility company would need to come out and run the line. As people who have lived in apartments and other living arrangements, there was no way for us to know this. Especially since Comcast didn’t tell us. With the weather hovering around 0 degrees at this point in the season, we had to wait quite a while to pick up on this as the ground would need to warm up before they could do any work.
Getting creative with Gaming consoles and apps
One of the silver linings in this story is that this rather large inconvenience gave my wife and I an opportunity to see what cable cutting life would be like. Thankfully, we were able to do this since there is an internet hotspot here for all of the worker to access since houses are still being built. We tried Sling, PSVue, and YouTube TV during this waiting game. Although we got by ok on these services, the hotspot was pretty unreliable. It also didn’t help that we needed to re-activate my old internet account with Comcast just to gain access to the hotspot and have some form of connection with the outside world. This caused even more frustration as we had to wait for the weather to warm up before we could finally, possibly, get this whole story wrapped up.
Once the weather warmed up, we were able to jump right on it and get the utility company and Comcast to finally come out and get everything activated. Overall, it took two months to get everything sorted out from the time I received that terrible first phone call. We lived in our house for exactly one month before we had proper cable and internet services in our home. Between this timeline and everything else that occurred, Comcast should be ashamed of themselves. This was a rather big inconvenience. Especially when comparing how easy many phases of our home build to simply trying to get cable, it is mind-boggling how difficult all of this was.
A Happy Ending??
Although our services had been installed, there was still one more phase left to deal with. We had some unfinished business to attend to with our billing and the return of old equipment. We weren’t about to return anything until we could officially close out my account, which was still being used for a very spotty hotspot wi-fi service we were still using. We also wanted to find out how to recover the money we spent on data as well. As we went into the Xfinity store in our area, I wasn’t feeling too optimistic about how much we were going to be able to recover. Although Comcast seems to document all phone calls and account activity, getting the information straight with any given representative has proven to be a very difficult task. However, much to our surprise, we couldn’t have asked for a better experience on this day. We were helped by two people, Xavier and Jill, who turned out to be two of the few people I’ve ever corresponded with at Comcast who has ever helped me with anything. We sat down with them and explained the entire story from start to finish. Xavier pulled up our account and actually showed us that the financing department had actually refunded a significant amount of money due to all of the inconveniences we had endured over the past few months. As a result, we are sitting in a position where we don’t have to pay our bill again until next month. This was a huge victory after everything we had to deal with. Although I am not very quick to believe this, both Jill and Xavier assured us that the communication issues we endured is something the company is working on fixing. That is good news, but something tells me this will happen later rather than sooner. I’ve seen far too much bad service in recent years to take their word for it, but I do appreciate their explanation and desire to make sure we walked out of there happy. We wound up being so happy that we even decided to use the opportunity to switch up our cell phone plan to Xfinity since our current plan with Sprint, another service we’ve been unhappy with for a long time, is up at the end of the month.
As we went through most of this process, I didn’t think there was any way in the world I would see the situation resolve itself the way it did. To go from some of the most incompetent, offensive service you can imagine to getting all of our billing issues and frustration resolved in one afternoon is a credit to the Xfinity store staff in Frederick, MD. They made a believer out of a person who had become quite skeptical over the past few months. They pretty much made us forget about all of the hassles we had with them. It doesn’t necessarily make it ok, but their service at the end made up for a lot of it. Although I still feel like Comcast has a long way to go, the Xfinity store experience gives me hope that at least some people within the company are committed to doing right by their customers. I firmly believe that their service could be improved by removing the monopolistic stranglehold this company has on the industry. I’ve lived in several towns over the past twelve years, but unfortunately Comcast has more or less been the only real option in just about every one of those places. If more good services like Cox or Verizon were able to be provided in many of these towns where they are absent, I believe this would force Comcast to find more Jills and Xaviers who will take the time to care about your issues and do right by the customer instead settling for taunting and mass confusion. The current reality doesn’t allow anybody to win unless you did what we did at the Xfinity store.