Wednesday, December 3, 2014

treat me right

In the middle of last week, the signal from my wireless home network kept dropping out. Everyday, I would restart the modem and then restart the router and service would be restored. After several consecutive days of this procedure, I rendered my own diagnosis and exchanged the modem at my local Comcast office. I, like most Comcast customers, would try anything rather than calling their notoriously inept tech support. 

When I received my new modem, I was given the instruction to connect it in the same manner as the  previous one and then — dum dum DUM! — call a Comcast toll-free number for activation. Shit! I couldn't get around a phone call to Comcast! I arrived home, connected the new modem in a matter of seconds and then, filled with dread, I punched Comcast's number into my phone. A friendly, automated female voice answered. She identified the number from which I was calling and asked me to select my reason for calling. I pressed "2," indicating I needed activation for a new modem. The robotic voice assured me this could be handled quickly, but suddenly, I was told to hold while my call was transferred to a live technician. Immediately, a stream of bland "hold" music began to play. After a few minutes, the violins and bass were interrupted by a  disinterested monotone voice who rattled of a series of sentences, none of which I understood. 

"I'd like my new modem activated, please.," I said, hoping that the question of 'How can I help you' was buried somewhere in the technician's opening monologue.

"I can help you with that, but first, I  will need some information. May I have your address, please?," the tech asked.

I recited my address, my name and the last four digits of my Social Security number as requested. After a lengthy series of apologies and assuring me that service and satisfaction was her highest priority, the tech told me that my modem was now activated.

And so it was... for approximately two hours. The signal dropped out again. So, reluctantly, I called Comcast back.

The automated voice asked for my phone number and then directed me to tech support. Technician Number 2 also asked for my phone number, as well as the nature of my call. I explained that I exchanged an old modem for a new modem, called for activation and, although I was told it was activated, I was still experiencing a loss of signal. Technician Number 2 asked if I got a new modem and if I called to activate it. I pulled the phone away from my ear and looked at it. I had just finished explaining the issue. I repeated the situation, again in detail. Technician Number 2 asked if I was trying to connect wirelessly. Again, I stared at the phone. After more frustration and a little voice-raising on my part, I was elevated to the next tier of support. The next, higher-level tech (Technician Number 3) had me up-and-running in a matter of minutes, He offered a "ticket number," in case the problem persists and I need to call back. This way, everything will be documented and I won't need to explain it to a new technician unfamiliar with the problem.

I lost my internet signal the next morning.

With my patience waning, I called Comcast back. I offered up my ticket number and Technician Number 4 asked me to explain the entire scenario again. Technician Number 4 told me that I should restart the modem and router if I would like internet service. I told Technician Number 4 how I have restarted my modem and router every day for the past three days. Technician Number 4, phrasing her scripted response differently, told me if I want to receive internet service, I would have to restart the router and modem every day.

I pulled the phone away from my ear and stared at it.

"Are you telling me that I have to restart the router and modem every day if I want to get online?," I questioned.

"Yes, if you want to receive internet service." repeated Technician Number 4

"Are you telling me that I pay Comcast $200 per month and, after being a customer for twenty-five years and never restarting my modem that I now would need to restart the modem and router every day if I want internet service?," I repeated, increasing the volume of my voice as I finished my question.

"Yes, if you want to receive internet service." repeated Technician Number 4.

I was livid. I demanded to speak to a supervisor. I was put on hold for twenty minutes. Technician Number 4 returned four times during my "hold" time to assure me that satisfaction was her top priority and that her supervisor would be with me in a moment. One more time, she announced that the supervisor would be the next voice I hear.

And then my call was disconnected.

I called back immediately, angrier than I was on the first call. I rehashed the situation to Technician Number 5, who, first, needed some more information. I ran down the usual info, only this time, I was told the at the last four digits of my Social Security number didn't match the account... even though they matched on the four previous calls, I was grilled for my actual account number, which I recited once I located my current cable bill. When Technician Number 5 was satisfied that I was who I said I was, I asked to speak to a supervisor. It took some additional convincing and some additional "hold" time, but I was ultimately connected to a supervisor. 

The supervisor (now the sixth tech person I have spoken with) was receptive to my complaint, assuring me that it is not the policy of Comcast to have customers restart their modems on a daily basis. He apologized repeatedly and referred to me as "Mr. Josh," as though I was a Southern plantation owner and he was the downstairs butler. He explained that he would retrain the technician who gave me the incorrect information, and when he asked for her name, I asked, "Isn't her name on my account information log?" He replied, "Yes. Yes it is." and he apologized again.

My service was restored and, two days later, it seems to be working fine. Comcast's customer service still sucks, but it could be worse. I could be a Verizon customer.

* * * UPDATE * * *

click to enlarge
This is a screenshot from Comcast's website. It shows instructions for programming a Comcast Universal remote control without any assistance from Comcast technical support. Everything is okay until you get to Step 4, where it tells you to "type in the 5-digit code" and just below, they have selected the most likely code for your model of television. All four digits of it. The last step says "if the code doesn't work, look for another," but offers no additional source for that code. At the bottom of the screen, there is a button that reads "I'm done." 

Oh, I'm done alright.


  1. Hi there, I'm terribly sorry for the trouble. I work for Comcast's corporate customer service team and noticed your post. Feel free to email me at if you have any current concerns that you would like me to address.

    Once again, I apologize for the trouble and look forward to your message.

    Kind Regards,
    Comcast Cassie

  2. Kind Cassie will undoubtedly solve your every problem now. I wonder if it's her job to check the internet for pissed off posts about the company? You'll have to give an update after speaking with her.