Sunday, September 20, 2009

customer "service"

It is really unbelievable to me how bad some companies' customer "service" is. Well, let me rephrase that. Really, the service itself isn't so bad-- the people are polite and do their best to help. It's just that the company sucks so doesn't give the poor customer service representatives much to work with. Current case in point: Comcast.

I've only been a Comcast customer for about 2 months now. In that 2 months, their technicians have had to make four trips to our house to help with digital cable box issues. Despite their lack of convenient timeframes to come out ("oh, we can come out between 8 and 2 any weekday..."..great...since all I do is sit at home and watch my non-existent cable all day?...NOT) they're polite and helpful and eventually get to the root of whatever the current problem is. Personally, I feel that Comcast could save themselves some money by just not giving us crappy cable boxes that break all the time, but if you want to just pay people to drive out to the middle of nowhere twice a month, go right on ahead. [oh wait, I'm the one paying for that, now aren't I...]

Anyway, after our cable box got replaced on Thursday, we have TV again...yay! However, several of our favorite channels (read: Discovery Health, my reason for living) were no longer "available." This is not okay with me. I MUST watch I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant every time it comes on, and it is imperative I know about every single rare and freaky disease that exists. So tonight I log on to the oh-so-helpful "Live Chat with a Comcast Representative" to inquire as to why none of our low-100s channels were coming in. After a long and excruciating diagnosis that involved Matt and I checking EVERY SINGLE ONE of our 200+ channels against their master list to compare what we should be getting against what were WERE getting...and half their list didn't match up with what our TV showed... ol' "Lester" informs me that the problem is, they changed our channel line-up and so we were no longer getting those channels anymore. Huh? Let's take a look-see here:

Lester I have checked on these channels
Lester 113 Planet Green,121 DIY,103 Discovery Health
Lester And I found out that these channels are now part of a different package.
Erika oh, well isn't that interesting.
Lester Your current cable service is Digital Starter and I found the channels to be part of the Digital Prferred Package.
Erika so i continue paying the same amount, but don't receive the channels that were offered when i signed up for the package?
Lester I believe that's the case right now. I hope you were informed before the channels were actually transferred to a different package. I apologize for this confusion Ericka.
Erika no, i was not informed of that, otherwise I would not be sitting here in this chat room going through my channels with you!

Number two...WTF??? Sorry, Lester, and I know you probably hate your job and I hate it for you, but this is ridiculous. Sorry to be "that girl," but...

Lester I understand your concern, Ericka. I truly apologize for this. I will make a memo of this concern to have this communicated.
Erika thank you, i'm sure that will be very effective.
Lester I apologize Ericka. I know this is really bad for you to know about this just now. What I can do now is to make a memo of this issue and do all the possible steps for this not happen anymore. You always have the option to change your current package for you to have the channels that you want.
Erika well i'm sure that the package that has "all the channels that I want" would be more expensive than the current package I have.
Lester I understand and I truly apologize for this, Ericka. The system is the one who is actually responsible for transferring channels to a different package. If only I have control with this matter, I would really change your channel line up for you. I am really sorry.
Erika I appreciate that. Is there any way I can speak with "the system" about this matter? I just find it to be in poor taste for a company to behave in a manner like this without having an actual person that accepts responsibility for the situation.

I mean...I apologize, Lester, for the excessive sarcasm here, but really. "The system"?? Is that supposed to satisfy me?? Oh, well if the SYSTEM did it, that's fine. And really, people, it's just the principle. We're not big TV watchers. We've only had cable for 2's not like it's the end of the world when a few channels fall off. But it's the dang PRINCIPLE of it!! You just can't run a business like this...although I'm aware that pretty much every cable provider does and seem to get away with it just fine. But I'm not letting them off without a fight!!

Lester I truly apologize Ericka. May I please if you have been receiving that channel ever since you started your cable service?
Erika yes, I have been.
Lester I see. Ericka, I apologize for this sudden changes in your current line up. The confusion was because you were not informed about this change that's why you thought you are missing these channels. It is with regret that I say that the only way we can have the channels back to you is for you to change your package. I am sorry.
Erika Well, I certainly do not plan on changing to another package with Comcast. I will find another provider who can meet my needs. Thank you very much.
Lester Erika, we do not want to lose you as one of our valued customers. I really wanted to help you have the channels what you wanted with out changing your rate. Will it be okay if I ask you to make a call to this number to make some arrangements about your current plan to have your channels back <1-866-xxx-xxxx>?

VICTORY!! Let us note a few other things, shall we? He spelled my name right after I suggested I could find another provider. As Matt pointed out, at this point I was not speaking to Lester, I was speaking with Lester's supervisor. :) Lesson learned: always threaten to leave. Other lesson learned? Stay polite, but keep bitchin'. It gets you what you need: the phone number of someone who can do something about your problem.

In the end, I called the number and spoke with yet another gratuitously polite gentleman. He told me an altogether different story than what Lester had...he seemed utterly shocked that we would not be receiving Discovery Health et al. since we clearly were supposed to be getting them and they most certainly had not changed our channel lineup. After trying a few magic tricks with our box, he determined it must be an outside line problem that [wait for it] a technician would need to come over to look at. Another technician? Shocking. And let me guess, they can come over between 8 and 2. Perfect.

Moral(s) of this story: Be polite, but don't be a doormat. Sometimes sarcasm and (mild)bitchiness can pay off. Remember that your conversation/chat room interactions can and are being recorded, so be sure you don't say anything you can't defend later. And always, always be willing to leave. There are fifty other crappy cable companies (with their respective thousands of semi-competent customer service representatives) just dying for your business.


  1. Erika,

    I apologize for the experience. Is everything okay now? I work for Comcast. Feel free to reach out to me it you need further assistance.


    Mark Casem
    Comcast Corp.
    National Customer Operations

  2. Is it ok that I liked this post a lot, because all I feel like doing right now is whining and complaining and somehow this made me feel like I'm not alone and that might be ok?

    Well, that's what happened. I am still thinking I shouldn't write my own tirade via blog. I think this rain needs to end so we can all be in better moods. Yeah, let's blame the weather.

    WV: paessod. Kinda like pissed off. Or maybe this is what you yelled at the annoying customer service people.

  3. Awesome story. That is total BS on Comcast's part. Why bother even having a customer service department if they aren't empowered to do anything but apologize? I hope your buddy Mark Casem actually read your story and isn't just trying to save face for his company. At least he spelled your name right on the first try.

  4. I definitely thought that was someone you know making a joke when I first saw it.

    WV: theoc. Maybe you can get reruns of The OC on one of the channels you actually do get?

  5. Hilarious. I've had multiple terrible interactions with Comcast and unfortunately that is the only provider we can have at our current address. we find out that some one else is available we will be changing.

  6. Great story......Just blog hopping and enjoyed yours.....Hope you will stop by my new Christmas blog...There is a GREAT GIVEAWAY drawing on OCT 1st

  7. I probably fall under the blog stalker category...found your blog through Kelly's Korner. Anyway, sorry about the crappy customer service, but my real questions are about your wedding. While I was reading through previous posts I notice that you had a morning wedding (love your dress) and we're currently working on the same. Can you give me some ideas and what all did? What was on your menu, how did everyone "deal" with a morning wedding, etc? I would love to hear from you! You can email me at

    Thanks so much!


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