Comcast: Bilking A Loyal Customer, Again


Just as I was about to press "send" on a lengthy blog post praising Comcast after they talked me into ordering triple play, they blow it…again.

Two weeks ago we added VoIP.  Our Comcast bill now runs a whopping $185/month, even with the triple-play discounts.

Then, a mysterious charge of $40 for a modem appeared on our recent bill.

The first phone call:

on hold for ten minutes.  then disconnected. 

second phone call:

on hold ten minutes.  Customer service rep in billing claims that Internet modem was disconnected when new dual modem that handles both voice and internet was installed.  Rep says we are responsible for resturning old modem. 

I tell the rep it’s not true, that the old modem is still sitting on my desk, blinking away.

Customer service rep transfer me to Comcast tech department.

Third phone call:

Lovely phone tech rep. tries to held.  I tell her that the Comcast installer did something in her garage when he installed the phone connections.  I walk into the garage…and find a tangle of wires.  I finally locate another modem installed just inches above my washer.  The Comcast phone tech determines that the installer decided to use two modems - one for Internet and one for phone.

Phone tech rep tells me to describe the situation to billing and to talk to a supervisor, and transfer me to billing.

The billing person resists allowing me to talk to a supervisor and demands our full account number.  (In the five years I’ve dealt with Comcast this is the first time I’ve been asked to provide the full account number).  At some point during this conversation, we start to get to the bottom of the charge.

Six months ago, Comcast replaced an ancient modem.   This modem was installed by ATTBI.  Yeah, it was that oldm but Comcast continued to charge us a monthly rental fee.  For close to a year, our Internet access was erratic.  Comcast insisted the problem was unrelated to this ancient modem.  Nevertheless, the problem disappeared after Comcast finally replaced it (but only after the third visit to our house).

This ancient modem was ready for the recycling bin.  Now Comcast says they want this piece of trash returned to one of their business offices, even though we have no recollection of what happened to it and we were never told to return it.

Finally, I get to a supervisor name Paul, or Raul.  And this is when the fireworks started.  This guy INSISTS that we must return this worthless, ancient, dead modem or be charged $40.  I’ve been on the phone for an hour.  Comcast is clearly just trying to nickel and dime us out of $40. I go ballistic. 

I demand to speak to HIS supervisor.  He claims there ARE no other supervisors in the call center.  I start demanding his name and the location of his call center.  I say I’m going to put the entirety of our bill in dispute at American Express and Comcast can deal with Amex.  I demand to know why Comcast tries to bilk their most loyal and best paying customers.

Finally, after my tirade - and I fully confess to having had a trantrum - but you might too after FIVE years (on and off) of Comcast crap - he asks for my phone number.  Then he puts me on hold for a minute.

When he returns, his attitude is a little different. Suddenly, he offers to submit a request to have the charge rescinded and tells me to call on Friday to see if the the request is approved. 

It make me even angrier, wondering why the hell he didn’t offer to do this in the first but I just say okay.  (I suddenly suspect that Comcast has matched my number up with my name, something that’s happened before.)

I head immediately to Twitter where I post my frustrations to my group.

My tweets here and here and here and here and here.

Four phone calls, and much craziness and confusion and a solid hour later on the phone with Comcast, it finally becomes clear that Comcast was completely clueless about the work that had been done during the VoIP installation.

For a full year, our Internet access was erratic. Comcast stubbornly insisted the problem was unrelated to this ancient modem installed by ATTBI.  Finally, after the third tech call to our house, the modem was replaced and the problems vanished.

That was at least six months ago.  Now, Comcast had decided they want this dead, ancient and now recycled piece of junk back. And they’re charging our account $40 for it.  Well, let’s be honest.  They don’t want this junk back.  They just want to bilk us out of $40.

A customer service agent told us we had to return this junk to the nearest Comcast office. 

When I asked why the technician didn’t tell us six months ago that t had to be returned she said it wasn’t the technician’s responsibility.

God forbid you should have a billing problem with Comcast.  They do EVERYTHING possible to make it impossible to resolve billing issues.  Keep you on hold. Disconnect you.  Jump you over to the tech deparment. Refuse to let you talk to supervisors.  Claim they have no authority to remove charges.  It’s endless.

When I first called, afte a ten minute wait, I was put on hold by the customer service agent - and disconnected.

I called back.  Another ten minute wait.  The customer service agent says the $40 charge will remain until we return an old modem.  She says a new modem installed when we ordered VoIP handles both voice and internet.

When I ask why the installer didn’t remove the old modem she says it’s not a Comcast responsibility.

I tell her I have no idea what she’s talking about because I’m looking at the old Internet modem and it’s blinking away happily on my desk.  She’s transfers me to the tech department.

Now, I’ve been on the phone for 30 minutes.  A wonderful women in the tech department struggles to understand by phone what the Comcast installers did when they installed the VoIP.

I tell her that the installer was crawling around in our garage for a long time.  Carting the phone with me, I go out in the garage.  OMG!  I’ve just returned home after being away and  hadn’t seen the install.  A mess of wires are sticking out of telephone boxes. A big modem has been installed just a few inches above my washer.

Apparently, the Comcast installer decided to use TWO modems at our house.  The phone tech tells me to ask for a Supervisor in billing and explain the situation and she transfers me back.

Comcast refused to remove the charge. 

For a year, our Internet access was erratic.  Numerous times I pointed out an ancient modem to Comcast technicians and   At the moment,  Comcast is trying to charge us $40 for the return of an archiac modem, one that they replaced months ago - an ancient Motorola.  

Comcast just wasted the better part of my morning on a problem that ought to have taken two minutes to resolve.  Apparently, this is how Comcast rewards their most loyal, highest paying customers.