The Stupidity that is Comcast
It is no news that Comcast is one of the great evil empires of our time. Fabled for poor customer service, poor communications, and excessive cost, it awaits the rise of a better, cheaper, and more customer-service directed competitor. Long overdue.
Why am I still a customer? Because I have not (yet) found a more compatible provider that can bring me both local channels and the smaller cable outlets that offer programming of sports car and motorcycle programs and racing.
Today Comcast have exceeded their own customer service ineptitude and launched into a state of sheer lunacy.
My mother in law is 88 years old. She has raised six children, five still alive, five sons and daughters in law, six grandchildren, and one great grandchild. I am the closest to her by distance, little more than a mile, and so it falls to me to come to her assistance when small problems arise. I do not mind at all, as I could do her a small favor every day of the year and not come close to repaying the many kindnesses she has shown me.
Recently she’s been receiving an onslaught of letters and robo-calls urging her to upgrade her equipment. She does not want or need to upgrade, and the calls make her nervous, abashed, and distressed.
Today I rode to her house to call Comcast and attempt to call off their marketing dogs. I was surprised that I was speaking to an actual human in only about three minutes. It was all downhill from there.
I wanted to get the letters and calls to stop, but first there was a much bigger problem. The account is still in the name of her husband, who passed away 5 years ago. Being a good customer, she called a year or two back to change the name on the account, and was told the only way to do that was to drive to her “local” Comcast office and make the change. That never happened. I was told today that no changes could be made, even as minor as stopping the dunning of her with these calls and letters, without changing the name on the account. Without that, they would continue to send communications to a man dead all these years.
To make the change, she would need to come to them with a copy of his death certificate. I replied that this was ridiculous, and the nice man offered to give me a FAX number she could use for that. I asked what were the odds that an 88 year old woman would have access to a FAX machine.
In looking at her bill, I see that she is paying for phone, cable TV, and Internet services. The Internet charge is $50 a month, for a computer that has not been touched in 5 years.
Why would she not just cancel all the accounts? Because she is 88, and change is daunting. She is not all that concerned about the money – she just wants to be able to watch her TV and have a phone.
In short, Comcast has had no problem with sending bills to a dead man for 5 years. As long as the checks come, there is no problem. They are not concerned with billing her for $3,000 of Internet access she has never used. But to offer her aid, or support, or anything at all – that is out of the question.
Next week we will drive to their office, with the death certificate, (assuming she can find it) and attempt to halt the letters and phone calls. I will also see if we can drop the Internet connection and retain the phone and TV. That may be impossible.
I hate Comcast.
Addendum – took my 88 year old mother in law in to Comcast today to change the name on her account, armed with the death certificate for her husband, as demanded my Comcast. That took about 45 minutes, as we were handed off to a trainee who was learning how to use the system. At the end, the experienced guy gave me a receipt and wrote a phone number on it. All we had to do, he said, was go home and call this “direct line” and we could activate her computer, phone, and both TVs again. Good news, her bill is going down by $25 a month, although the reason for this was not explained. Bad news – I believed him about the direct line part.
Back at her house I spend an hour trying the “direct line,” which actually sent you into one of their myriad phone menus, none of which sent you to “activate.” On two occasions I reached a real human who went to work on the problem. The first one was cut off and the phone went dead. The second was cut off by a 3rd real person, who went to work on the problem until the phone went dead. On four other occasions I worked through several menus until a computer voice told me I would be transferred, … and then I was cut off.
After an hour and a dozen calls, I gave up on the “direct” phone line and called 1-800-Comcast, and eventually found a guy who could fix the problem. Can you imagine how stressful this is for someone who is 88 years old?
Total time elapsed – almost 3 hours.
At some point poor customer service lapses into parody.
I still hate Comcast.
Copyright 2015 David Preston