The other day, Comcast called me. The woman on the other side of the call had a question that seemed strange to me. She asked, “What do you like about your service?”. I didn't know how to answer. After a while I told her I need internet access for work, that I spend my free time browsing the web and watching Netflix, and I have a few shows I'm addicted to and need to watch every week. To put it basically, I definitely need internet access as I work from home, and really like being able to watch TV.
That internet part is what we should focus on. I'm a work at home software developer and occasional writer. Internet access is vital for people like me. I haven't had any serious issues with Comcast beyond lousy customer service and pricing. One software developer wasn't so lucky. He needed internet access for work, so he contacted Comcast before moving. They assured him he could get service at his new house, that it was already set up and ready to be activated. They lied, putting his job in jeopardy and forcing him to move.
Seth Morabito did everything correctly. Before moving he called both Comcast and Comcast Business to ensure he could get service at the house he was planning on moving into. Comcast ensured him that he could not only get service there, but the previous resident also had service there, so it would only require activation. Unfortunately, Comcast lied to him solely to try to get a new customer. They couldn't live up their promises, and bounced him around for two months in the process. Mr. Morabito had to then sell his house and move, at great personal (and financial) loss.
When Seth got to his new house, he found it wasn't wired up for cable. Not only that, but the closest conneciton box was over 2,500 feet away from his house. That's almost half of a mile. Comcast visited half a dozen times, both scheduled and unscheduled, to look at the situation. Comcast opened and closed his support requests, and once even marked the service as complete, even though nothing was installed. This made it much harder for him to try to ask for more service. Comcast told him it would cost up to $60,000, which shockingly, Mr. Moabito was willing to pay. He even looked into independent contractors, who said they could do the job for less than Comcast would charge him. But Comcast never allowed him to do that, after promising him access before he moved, they now told him they wouldn't do that for him. They decided it was too much effort.
If Comcast didn't have a monopoly, they wouldn't be able to treat anyone like this. Unfortunately, cable companies have regional monopolies, with little or more likely, no competition in the region they service. As such, customer complaints can go in the trash. As for my Comcast call? She was offering me their new cable box, and to “upgrade” me to their “triple play” package, which would add a very much unwanted landline to my service. It would save me $20 per month… for a year or two. Then I'd be paying more. When I pointed this out to her, she said they'd offer me more in a year or two. Again, I asked if that would cost me more too, and pointed out that my service cost almost half of what it does now when I first signed up, and she was quiet. I then said I never want a landline, and she said something along the lines of “Well that's all I'm offering, goodbye”. Lousy customer service, sure, but for Comcast, that's pretty normal.
If you'd like the full store, you can get it from Seth's blog post here. It's quite a tale, and I can't help but feel bad for the guy. In the same situation, I would have had to move as well, and may have lost my job.