Thursday, November 19, 2009

Comcast is stupid, Part II

Ok, so I just tried again with the LiveChat, and again, they asked for my SSN and said it was to comply with some FTC rule. But when I said, "I've been assured by a Comcast rep that an SSN is not necessary", they said, "oh, well ok then, how about a driver's license number?" So I said, ok, let's do that. Great to know that if I hadn't objected or known, I'd still be made to feel that it was necessary to give it.

So then, we're setting up the appointment, and I distinctly remember a screen telling me there would be a $23 installation fee as I clicked through the order.

She then tells me that installation will be $123 dollars! Turns out it is only $23 for the television, and, get this....$99 for the internet. $99!!! That is anal rape.
  1. I do not need ANYTHING special for this. I've got a freakin PhD in Computer Science, I can handle my networking stuff. So I did not ask for any sort of professional installation in terms of setting up a router, installing software on my computer, or anything like that.
  2. I don't need anythign wired at the place, the place is fully wired.
  3. I LITERALLY need them to remove a trap and configure me. I can't believe people pay $99 for that. That is just the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!
She also tells me that because I have been so nice (I have, I am generally always nice to service people because they are people too), she can get me to just under $50 for the install. This STILL seems crazy to me. People will come install satellite dishes for $0. SATELLITE DISHES. It is much more complicated than removing a trap from a house that is already totally wired.

So, I think...well, there's a coffee shop nearby, work is not far...Maybe I won't get internet...maybe it's not REALLY necessary. That's how against paying this fee I am, because it just completely offends my sense of what things should cost. So I ask the person, "What if I just got TV, then?"

You know what happens?

She ignores me. I sit at my computer for minutes, thinking maybe she is checking with a supervisor or something...but no, I am literally hanging for minutes. I am much more patient than your average person here, so finally, I just typed, "hello?" and waited a minute or two more. Finally, I realized that somehow, asking a legitimate question had pushed the wrong buttons, and I was being frozen out.

So, I wrote, "Ok then. Thank you for your time," waited about 30 more seconds, and logged out. I wish in hindsight that I had timed the difference in time between my messages, but then, I didn't think that I was going to get ignored. But I think I probably waited a total of 7-8 minutes or a LIVE CHAT.

Goodness gracious. I would have been willing to pay around $25 or so, but instead I didn't sign up. Again. Sigh. It shouldn't be this hard.


DrDudeChick said...

Why don't you try to phone? It is more difficult for them to be obnoxious and ignore you in this way... And did you get a name of the person you were talking to? I would be writing a complaint about them, but I spend some time in UK, the country of complaints ;-)

I had to fight a battle with Dell after they send me a laptop that was not to my specifications (integrated graphics card instead the one I have chosen). When I phoned them to sort this out they always redirected me to the my contact "manager", who was the sales agent who sold me the laptop (call centre based in India and a very arrogant guy - he though he is speaking to stupid woman)...

I wrote a lengthy complaint about the situation and my dealings with him and submitted it both in writing and through their website.

Couple of hour later they were phoning me, apologising for the agent, organizing the pick-up of the laptop, and a refund.

They phoned me again to confirm if the pick-up worked, and again if I have received a refund and later they send me an email with questionnaire if I was happy with the way my complaint was handled.

I was. The power of the customer is in the complaint. If the company ignores the complaints I would seriously look for some other options...

There are some immature people who work in those customer centres... they think that if you do not see them that it gives them a passport to misbehave... It doesn't. And if their supervisors knew about the situation they may as well get fired.

Good luck!

Candid Engineer said...

FYI, direct TV and their "free installation" is no better. They sub-contract their work out to local companies who don't give a shit about customer service, timeliness, or professionalism. They also like to sign you up for contracts without telling you. I would never in a million years do business with DirectTV again, so don't think that the grass is greener on the other side. They all suck.

chall said...

well, sounds to me like the normal "we are doing you a sevice which we need you to pay for and if you think that has anything to do with what we will give you, well duuuhhhh, not so much".

I have given up on comcast - after being forced (they were the ONLY possible company in my former apartment complex - don't ask) and they needed me to be home so they could plug in the box in my house although they didn't need to do anything else (hello 99) and then after I returned the box still charged me for another month (what? reciets, well you have to COME IN and show us those. We don't keep it on file on the computer. Oh, you left the box in a comcast store and got a reciept then but we can't see that here. Oh, I know, you say you haven¨'t used the internet since we disconnected you.... etc.... in eternal time....) I ended up paying since it would have been bad for my credit score to argue the correct thing....

good luck.
/bitter person ;)

Nicky said...

I had to deal with Comcast recently, too, to change my cable subscription. I found the "live chat" to be totally fascinating! Based on dialect, the person on the other end was clearly in India, and was clearly using macros to handle some of the interaction. It was like talking to Eliza about cable installation. I spent much of the chat running experiments with what I was typing, to see if I could learn enough about the macros to predict what would be typed. It was fun!

Oh, and I also talked to someone on the phone, who promised me that if you stay on the chat long enough, they *always* cancel install fees, but they're not allowed to do it over the phone. Annoying and stupid, but I hung in there and didn't pay anything.

JLK said...

Really, PD, you don't need TV.

We pay for the internet, which, there is a "self-install" option usually for much less money - you just have to either pay shipping for the modem and all that to come to you or go pick it up at a Comcast location.

But all of our shows and stuff are online, for free, at or or on the tv network's website. Fewer commercials, on-demand viewing, and did I mention it's FREE?

Unless you watch every single show on HBO and Showtime, it's always cheaper to download the new episodes from ITunes for $1.99 each than it is to pay a monthly cable bill. Even if you watch 4 shows a week, that's $32 a month - not the $100+ you'd pay to get basic cable plus those premium channels.

Anyway, my point is that if you have a landline phone in your place - get DSL and don't even pay for cable. Instead, buy the video cable to hook your laptop up to your tv and watch the shit for free.