Comcast: Journey Through a Beautifully Broken Business Model

I am sitting here, having a cup of coffee and gearing up to 1) exercise (bleh) and 2) finish this project I have been working on for about a week. So how many people have Comcast? This is my first time doing business with them and it has truly been a trying experience.

A strange blue cyber background with black lines going vertical and horizontal. The image of a woman takes up a third of the frame and she is starting at a the small image of a meme where someone is wearing a rainbow afro. "Support MindFuel Blog on Patreon" is meticulously crafted into a graphical overlay which obfuscates part of the underlying artistry. So sad.

How was it “trying”? So glad you asked! Well it is a beautifully broken business model, because everyone I spoke to was so respectful and nice, but the two things I couldn’t do effectively were: establish service and have them bill me accurately.  That sounds like a major glitch in a business system.

Establishing service was a nightmare because of a couple factors.  First, they try to route your call based on your phone number.  I have a Colorado phone number, but I live in Virginia. Yeah, you can imagine how well that went.  I got transferred to Colorado, and their interview process assumes you are there until about 5min in, and then they say, “Oh, you are not in Colorado?”  Magically, I was then transferred to Massachusetts? Yeah, then a couple minutes later, I was transferred to Virginia.  Then after completing the whole process I was told there was someone with service already and I would have to take a copy of my lease to a customer service location and get them to set up the account.  That was a fine use of 45 minutes.

You think this is over? No that was the first of several calls – getting transferred, getting put on hold 3-4 times for over 5min each time, getting different answers from different people.  Finally after a grand total of about 2-3 hours on the phone and some people saying they could fix the problem, ultimately they could not.  The coolest part was when I tried to circumvent the Colorado routing – I put in 703-555-1212.  Guess what? I was directed to the billing information for that phone number.

So the light-bulb went on: I could call FiOS. They won’t care if some already has service and didn’t put in a disconnect notice.  So I went to shop for FiOS and laughed when I realized it would be significantly more money for the same speed.  I just didn’t have the budget for that.

The day I moved into the new place, I figured, surely I can get service now.  It took about 45 minutes on the phone, I was told I needed to pay $50 up front, I was told I could have a technician come out at no charge to hook up the cable since I was willing to pick up the modem myself and complete a self installation. The technician never showed up for the appointment, Comcast had no record of the appointment, but they later billed me for the appointment. And that $50 they forced me to pay? Yeah, they charged $5.99 for the opportunity to force me to pay.

Not only did I pick up my own modem, I had to go buy my own coax cable since their tech never showed up and that was the last piece of the puzzle I needed. Ridiculous. And when I called, they agreed to refund the fee for the installation, but the refused to give me back my $5.99.  When I asked for an escalation path, the CSR said his supervisor already told him no so I couldn’t ask him again.  I was then told there was no other escalation path.

Sure there is! I call it a blog with a “publish” button, and then I call it a URL that gets sent to Comcast’s corporate headquarters.  Maybe then I will get my $5.99 back.

Again, what makes it beautiful was the respect with which I was treated.  I’ll never forget the CSR that told me there was no service call scheduled – she said “sorry, I can’t send anyone out unless you want to schedule another appointment” and then, after not being able to help me at all, she closed with “Thank you for calling Comcast, home of the 100% customer satisfaction guarantee!”  Really? #$%^& REALLY?

Epic Fail, Comcast.

1 thought on “Comcast: Journey Through a Beautifully Broken Business Model”

  1. Argh. Cox (local version of Comcast, I think) tech support is trained to FIRST upsell VOIP phone service to you and a new modem before they address your problem…

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