Comcast Rant

Apparently our little problems with Comcast are solved now but we sure wasted a lot of time down there in the snake pit yesterday. I am still convinced that the problem was related to an upgrade gone haywire. I’m a little bugged that it seemed like the upgrade involved inserting scripts to hijack accounts but I’m just gonna go on for now, as if there was another choice. But I still want to know why a large company like Comcast can’t at least put a notice on their website home page indicating that they’re having a problem. Or send an email to notify their customers that they’re going to implement a major upgrade.

A lot of people have been known to complain about Comcast but overall, our experience with them as an ISP hasn’t been all that bad. The first couple of months were absolutely abysmal. We still had a dial-up line at that time and I just plugged it in for the duration. I’m tough. But after a while, things settled a bit and down time hasn’t been a regular problem (knock on wood). And actually we have had some pretty good experiences with phone tech support. That said, there are a few things…

Like when they sent out the creepy subcontractor. Our connection seemed to be deteriorating and Comcast said they’d send somebody out. And “somebody” came out… There wasn’t anything overtly strange about his appearance. It was his total lack of social skills and his aura I didn’t like. (Yes, I wrote aura. No, I can’t see what color yours is.) I don’t expect a service person to be a social butterfly. I am not a social butterfly. But this creep was almost totally silent. He didn’t answer questions and he didn’t seem to have the faintest idea about what he was doing. I found myself looking around outside to see if Luke or Hans were hanging around their yards.

I called the GG under the guise of needing his help to detect the problem and kept him on the phone for a while, i.e., if I scream or disappear from the line or something, call 911, willya. At one point, Creepboy went down in the basement to check the cables there. The GG said, “I’d feel much more comfortable if you went in the basement with him.” I replied, in a rather vehement stage whisper, “I am NOT going in the basement with him.” In the end, it took Creepboy 2-1/2 hours to diagnose that our *ancient* (1999, maybe?) cable modem was dying. That had been *our* theory from the beginning. He played around with the GG’s computer and left the cable box in a mess. All told, he was in our house until seven in the evening! By that time, the GG had come home and I was such a nervous wreck, I retreated to my room until Creepboy was gone.

Later that night, I went out to the Comcast website to try to find a way to send them a complaint. I could not find a simple contact form to save my life! I tried to log in to my “account” thinking maybe that would lead to a method of contact. Years ago when Comcast took over our cable modem, I was assigned a Comcast-generated user ID. It was associated with an email ID I didn’t need and consisted of a cryptic collection of characters. There’s no way I could remember it! I also couldn’t find a “forgot user ID” link anywhere. I’ve done just enough server side programming to know about the security issues surrounding on-line verification of a legitimate account owner but I still say, “If National City can do it, so can Comcast.”

In desperation and with some trepidation, I clicked into online chat. Still hoping that there was a contact form buried in there somewhere, I started out by asking for my ID. The rep asked me a couple of questions and then reported that she couldn’t tell me my ID. Oh, fer Kee-reist sake! Exasperated, I finally said, “I don’t really care whether or not I can log on to my account, but I can’t find a contact form anywhere and I want to complain about the creepy subcontractor you guys sent out to my house today.” *Immediate* reply with addresses and phone numbers. I never did find a contact form. If there had been one, I’d have sent a complaint in that night. As it stands, I never got around to it. I wonder if Creepboy is still working for them. Or if he’s in jail.

So, here’s a note to Comcast and all other Internet providers. If you are having “issues” — I don’t care if it’s hackers or a derailed system upgrade or squirrels gnawing up your cables — LET YOUR CUSTOMERS KNOW! Put a note on your web page. Email us. “We are having such and such a problem. We estimate that it will be fixed by the year 2010, blah blah blah.” Or tell us (email?) in advance *when* you are going to make a big upgrade. I like to know what’s going on when I encounter some weird error page. It’ll also reduce the calls to tech support. Maybe you could save a few bucks there.

And one last thing: if you are hiring people who will be going inside other people’s homes, maybe it would be a good idea to do a little basic screening for creepiness. Not to mention competence.

P. S. In all fairness, Comcast has updated its website since I last tried to find a contact form (fall 2006) and there is now a link to one in the bottom nav. What happens to the form after you submit it is anybody’s guess. But it’s there.

One Response to “Comcast Rant”

  1. Webmomster Says:

    …hence the reason I dubbed the company “Com-Rip-Off” a lo-o-o-o-o-o-ong time ago. Back in the dark ages even before broadband internet, when Com-Rip-Off’s primary entertainment was the Periodic Cable Rate Increase for No Obvious Benefit…