Wrangling with Comcast


Every time I’m ready to press send on a post touting Comcast, they go and throw a wrench into my praise plans.

And just when I was about to publish this headline - “Comcast Customer Service Turns A Corner….”   Sigh.

My recent bill arrived with some overcharges.  I tweeted happily about the speedy resolution of the issue.  Feeling all warm and fuzzy about my experience, I just called Comcast to add a third phone line.   We still have an old land-line (yeah, I know, so dinosaur!) with AT&T.  I figured, well, things are going so smoothly with Comcast these days, it’s a good time to make the switch.

Instead I’ve found myself wrangling with Comcast for the better part of an afternoon.

For years, we’ve subscribed to nearly everything Comcast offers - DVR, HD, all premium cable channels (Starz, HBO, Showtime etc.), and two phone lines.  (I’m not sure where this puts us in the constellation of Comcast customers, but it must be up there.)

And we probably rank among their longest-running subscribers, too - since 1989, according to a Comcast rep.

But when I called to add the third phone line I was told, in the nicest possible way,  I’d have to pay a $25 installation fee.

It’s $11.95/month for the basic phone line (no additional features).  I said  ‘no can do’ on the install fee.  I asked to speak to a supervisor.  After some time on hold, the rep said I’d have to leave a message for the supervisor, since they’re not permitted to keep customers on hold for more than ten minutes.

I was assured the supervisor would call back within twenty minutes.   It’s been about an hour.  I’m still waiting.

It’s only $25, you say.  But these costs quickly add up.  I’ve been closely monitoring expenditures in my household.  Just for the month of February we’ve been dinged $126 in unfair overcharges of various types so far.  This doesn’t count JP Morgan Chase which started billing $20 per month for a checking account while simultaneously axing a key online feature.  Excess fees and overcharges are costing my family thousands of dollars every year.  Tracking and eliminating these charges is a part-time job.

$25?  Darn it, Comcast - it’s my little line in the sand.

UPDATE: the supervisor finally called and offered a $20 installation fee, instead of $25.  “It’s usually $40,” she said.  My answer was “no.”  She said she’d call back.  Stay tuned.

UPDATE2:  Comcast did reach out.  It appears that the problem is solved.  We’re playing phone tag, due to my unavailability yesterday.

In answer to one comment, see above - 22 years and thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) spent on services.  It’s the basic business principle of customer retention, knowing who your best customers are and rewarding that loyalty, especially when said customer is actually trying to pay you even more money.  American Express and Nordstrom have it down to a science.