Comcast Apologizes for Overzealous Rep Who Made Cancelling Service a Nightmare

39

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

ApathyCurve

Any time you call a company for service, as soon as the CSR picks up and asks "How may I help you?", the first thing out of your mouth should be this:

"Before we proceed, please be aware that I am recording this conversation. Do you understand?"

You'll be surprised how nice and helpful they become.

avatar

Eoraptor

actually you'd be surprised how many of them will hang up because it's against policy for them to be recorded by third parties.

avatar

Carlidan

I really hope Time Warner doesn't merge with them. I'm so happy with my service. I just got a free speed upgrade. 15/1 to 50/5 and no data caps! What's not to love.

avatar

CantankerousDave

A buddy of mine used to work internet tech support for Comcast. This was ten years ago, maybe? Anyway, management instituted a new policy whereby the INTERNET SUPPORT PEOPLE had to upsell the callers. "High speed internet not zippy enough? We can move you up a tier for the low, low price of your firstborn." They had QUOTAS. They had PENALTIES for not meeting said quotas, the last one being termination. He - and just about everyone else - got fed up and quit pretty quickly.

So yeah, I totally buy that this is company policy and the rep feared for his job, and the only thing they're sorry about is getting caught on tape. If I could jump ship, I would, but our lovely legalized bribery system has ensured that Comcast is the only game in town for cable broadband.

avatar

Xenite

Comcast phone reps were apparently trained by time share sellers.

avatar

John Pombrio

The biggest hassle I ever had was in the office of a dating service. That was rough until I realized that the door was unlocked, heh.

avatar

John Pombrio

Cox used to have "THE BACK ROOM". God help you if you were called into the BACK ROOM as they would have a high pressure salesman there to steal your wallet, let him sleep with your wife, and sign over the house. Then they moved their center to a smaller strip mall site. No more back room! I handed over the cable box and told them to cancel my TV service. Three minutes later, I am out of there. Whew! Radical shift in company policy.

avatar

Dorito Bandit

This is so ridiculous, I kept waiting on Ashton Kutcher to start laughing and tell us that we have all just been Punked, again!

GOOD GRIEF!!!

avatar

yammerpickle2

With the cable companies buying our government we can expect this and worse in the future.

avatar

mls067

reminds me of this in 2006

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/13447232/ns/business-cnbc_tv/t/how-hard-can-it-be-cancel-aol-account/#.U8W9lvldXNk

avatar

SmokingJs

I know I will catch a lot of hell but here goes. I work for the Tom Karinshak who is the VP of customer service. I handle about 20 e-mails a day and talk to many of the customers. What happened to this customer should of never happened and will be dealt with by the proper people.

I always look for a resolution that the customer is happy with. If he isn't happy I haven't done my job well enough. I do my best to give the customer what is fair to both parties. Siding with the customer more times then not. As good will goes a long way in keeping a customer happy and that they are important part of Comcast.

The rest of the people I work with feel the same way. We do our best to make sure everything is resolved to the highest level.

I know that we can't please everyone but we sure do try and there are improvements on the way to our customer service. I know there are a lot of people who hate dealing with Comcast and I do understand but not all of the agents are like him. A lot of us do care and do give everything we can to resolve a customer's issue(s).

avatar

NavarWynn

This 'happiness' is code for 'talk over the customers objections until they submit'. Surely you understand this. Simply do as the customer asks. They are (every single one) adults, and while some adults you can talk into submission (and they'll even be happy!), it's no way to do business - trying to assure 'happiness' is not your business, it is merely to provide an adequate service at a competitive rate.

So then I guess you can and are confirming that Comcast actively tries to prevent it's customers from cancelling by engaging in 'ensuring happiness (despite the customer's objections)'. I appreciate that. I was wondering how widespread this was, but now know it goes all the way to the top (not a surprise). I am still curious about the financial and promotional benefits the CSR receives for hard work like this.

To me, the most interesting thing was the blatant lies the CSR told on the phone, things like 'fastest internet service' (obviously falsehoods, but only to tech savvy people - implying he doesn't know a rainbow from a fart -- or, he's repeating what he's been fed for the Comcast recorders that were obviously running). The bullying and refusal to actually do what the customer requested (because it didn't involve 'upgrading') are par for the course.

Ironically, my opinion is that you guys should promote this CSR. He's clearly got the intestinal fortitude to go the distance, and I believe he's drunk the cool aid. He fits perfectly into the mold you are trying to create. He'd make an excellent VP of customer service (for... COMCAST).

Also, I want to hear the whole thing. Comcast records every customer call in, so you guys can obviously pull up the entire discussion. Can you guys post it online for the public to listen?

avatar

John Pombrio

There is no "issue" involved here. The customer clearly states what they want and it is certainly within the capabilities of the Comcast representative to comply with the request. The only possible issue is that Comcast must have some sort of incentive program for customer reps to retain the service that this customer wants to cancel. This business policy may be good for the company but bad for its reputation. Just read the comments here if you need a reminder.

Want to know how to fix this "issue"? Allow people to cancel their service by clicking on a box online. No calls, no reps, no hassle. It's cheaper too. Give the customer a receipt that can be handed in with the return of the card so that they can just hand it to someone and leave. I told a rep at their store that I wanted to cancel my TV service with Cox, handed them my box, and was out the door in less than 3 minutes.

avatar

Spiral01

Netflix has that button you speak of. That is why i cancel for the summer and come back in the winter, easy to deal with and zero hassle. If i had to deal with this every other season, well I'd just buy the seasons of the shows i like to watch and call it a day!

avatar

Eoraptor

I used to work for A major satellite provider in their "retentions" department. this as about 12 years ago. At that time, we were required to make two attempts to save a customer who said the magic "D" word. I don't think that in itself is unreasonable. A lot of time a customer is just temporarily ticked off and will cool down, or has an issue that someone in the field does not have the capability or the authority to fix but someone in retentions does.

this? this is abusive, dismissive, disgusting, and almost certainly illegal in 39 states. And comcast and companies like it certainly encourage this very sort of behavior even if it's not in the training manual. (I can tell you the telecom industry really HAS changed dramatically in just the 12 years since I worked in Littleton, back then, the sort of pricewars and channel removal brinksmanship over carraige agreements that happens every six months now was utterly unthinkable and I remember one instance when my company bent over backwards with showtime to get an agreement in place before the channels were turned off, now it's all about badmouthing the other party to the public first.)

avatar

John Pombrio

Agreed up to a point. When is the "two attempts" over with? Who monitors these two attempts? Is there any incentive in the retentions department by retaining more customers than the guy next to you? It's a slippery slope that can slide down to the pits where this fellow landed himself. Me? get rid of the "retentions" department and put it into customer support. Clear up the problems before the customer decides to cancel service.

avatar

Eoraptor

Because of the wide lattitude given to the retentions department, we were heavily QA monitored, something like one in twelve calls got recorded, and two a week were listened two by a flesh and blood person. They were in charge of determining what qualified as two attempts, but for the most part, at least when I was on staff (again 12 years ago) it was pretty lenient. There weren't incentives for making additional retentions, but they did want you to at least ~try~ to retain customers on 30% of the calls you took. IE keep 3 in ten people who said the D word and ended up in the retention call cue.

if you've worked with regular customer service reps, frankly, you wouldn't want them to have the kind of lattitude I had. the company would have gone under in six months if they gave away programming credits, refunds, or equipment exchanges the way the disconnect department did. the problem with giving front line reps authority to do something, is they'll tend to use it, and often overuse it or abuse it. I certainly think many customer reps need more ability than they have but many don't actually even work for the company you're supposedly calling. DirecTV and Quest were already offshoring and third party'ing a lot of their front line call centers even back then. those guys and gals didn't wok for those companies, and didn't know an 18" dish from a pizza dish for the most part.

sadly it's long been a function of any market to cut the customer service section of their business or to merge it agressively with sales; first, often, and deeply, because it's the most cost heavy investment they have. Most companies immediately forget that happy customers complain less, because all they see is the bottom line of how many operators and trucks they're paying for. (This is also a huge reason than so much customer sevice work is now outsourced to some poor schmuck reading from a script on a screen at a third party company rather than someone who actually works for a dish, a comcast, a cabelas, etc. ad since they are not personally familiar with the product, it just makes things ten times worse)

avatar

jgrimoldy

John, sometimes though, customers don't want to cancel, they just want their rate lowered.

I'm in no way a fan of Comcast, but they are my ISP (nothing more) and they're substantially faster than my other options. 'Problem is they're pricey.

Every6 months, I talk to the customer retention department to get my rate lowered back down after it's risen.

To that end, they can be useful.

avatar

noobstix

I saw this on another website and now I lost the last bit of respect I had for Comcast. From kissing MAFIAA ass, horrendous customer service, and even more dreadful connection "grid", I hope Google's service expands out to the rest of Cali soon.

avatar

firefox91

This guy is so hell bent on not cancelling the guy's service that I really believe he is punished for accepting a cancellation. That is likely Comcast's means for retaining their customers.

This is exactly the opposite of what happened to me several years ago when I cancelled Bright House Networks. I even gave them a chance to keep me by not increasing my bill. The guy said the price was the price so I called back a week later after I already had new service up and running. That is when the other person said I should have been sent to a retention department and they would have worked for me. Nice girl, but I told her that offer was a week too late.

avatar

John Pombrio

More likely, the rep is getting a bonus for account retention. You don't this fanatical unless there is money involved.

avatar

Granite

So...the recording started 10 minutes into the conversation and the recording is just over 8 minutes. Almost 20 minutes of this horseshit.

I would have lasted about 5 minutes and I would have demanded to speak to that guy's supervisor.

avatar

limitbreaker

It sounds like it's a replay of a bad immature breakup between two lovers.

avatar

radarblips

funny thing is from a sales point of view this guy has probably been trained this way.could possibly get a promotion for being this persistent. i know in car sales, the salesmen pride themselves on this type of behavior. still from a consumer standpoint its ridiculous.

avatar

glpeter90

I once had a software sales man like that call me. He was gonna sell me something. I said 'I sold my computer'. He was speechless. :)

avatar

BlazePC

This Comcast CSR represents EVERYTHING that is wrong with the world today. And Comcast is way too big for it's own good now and trying to become bigger.

avatar

vrmlbasic

More egregious is that it is ensuring that it will never get smaller. :(

avatar

LatiosXT

I found it funny the representative kept insisting that Comcast is peerless and tried to get Block to agree that it was.

avatar

Random

Wow... This makes me want to cancel our Comcast account now!

avatar

farrow099

They are full of it! Here is a transcript of my attempt to get Comcast through their website, which directs you to live chat after checkout! Their reps know nothing and will just lie to you. This was a two hour long "chat"! The only changes I've made were removal of our personal info.

user Mike has entered room (ME)
analyst ITI has entered room (COMCAST REP)
ITI: Hello Mike_, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is ITI. Please give me one moment to review your information.
ITI: I see you are interested in adding Comcast services. It's my pleasure to process your order and answer any questions you may have.
ITI: How are you doing today?
Mike_: I'm well. Our FIOS service agreement ends on the 29th and given that Comcast offers twice the tuners and twice the download speed at the same price; We've decided to switch.
ITI: Mike, I see that you are interested in our HD Premier with 2-year agreement at , is this correct?
Mike_: I assume you can use the same coax runs for the x1 cable boxes? Also, what is the official upload speed on the blast 105 package?
ITI: Let me check that out for you. Would you mind waiting for a couple of minutes while I do the research?
Mike_: Sure
ITI: Thank you.
Mike_: No problem, though I must say it honestly seems quite suspicious to not have upload speeds listed ANYWHERE on the site!
ITI: Do not worry, I will provide you the 105 mbps speed if the speed is available in to your market.
ITI: Let me start by verifying the serviceability of your address; then I'll be asking you a few questions to make sure we get you the best deal.
ITI: After I complete your order, we will go over all of the charges and the installation process to make sure you don't have any questions.
ITI: Will this be ok?
Mike_: As long as my questions are answered prior to completing the order ;-)
ITI: Sure, I will provide you each and every information.
Mike_: I appreciate it!
ITI: Thank you.
ITI: I have confirmed you will receive 105 mbps internet speed.
ITI: For coax cables I would like to inform you that you please do not worry, techinician will take care of it.
Mike_: Thank you for verifying the download speed, but what is the upload speed?
ITI: Upload speed would be 5 mbps
Mike_: Wow, that is alot lower than I was expecting
Mike_: Please cancel my request; I work from home a lot and I was expecting closer to 20mbps (i currently get 35mbps up).
ITI: Let me check the best I can do for you.
ITI: Okay If you wish to add 20 mbps up loading speed internet then I may add that for you How ever there would be one time installation charges for $249.
ITI: So may I go ahead and add this package for you?
Mike_: Is this to install an OMT box? Any change to the monthly rate?
ITI: $249 is one time charge so there would be no changes in monthly recurring charges.
Mike_: Hmm, I'm assuming this includes a cable modem with integrated route? If so, what wireless standard does the modem support?
Mike_: *oops, typo, meant router
ITI: Let me check that out for you. Would you mind waiting for a couple of minutes while I do the research?
Mike_: sure
ITI: Thank you.
Mike_: np
ITI: Thank you.
ITI: Thank you for your waiting, I would inform you that the charges would be $8/mo for wireless gateway.
Mike_: So the standard package includes the cable modem but no router?
ITI: Yes, you are correct.
Mike_: Hmm, well I can pickup a wireless ac router for a reasonable separately. Is the wireless gateway wireless g, n, or ac?
ITI: So may I go ahead and add this package for you?
ITI: You may go to the link to get the information:
ITI: http://mydeviceinfo.comcast.net/
ITI: So may I go ahead and add this package for you?
Mike_: There are a number of devices on that page, I'm not sure to which you are referring me. Please do not include the wireless gateway; I will buy one separately.
ITI: Sure, I would not add the wireless gateway.
ITI: YOu will receive X1 DVR with the package for you.
ITI: I would be adding two HD boxes for you for $9.95.
ITI: So may I go ahead and add this package for you?
Mike_: That is correct, there is already coax run to those locations for the current Verizon FIOS boxes.
Mike_: Yes
ITI: That is good , Still I would say that tech visit be be make every thing alright for you.
Mike_: Yes
ITI: Please be online I am adding the package for you.
ITI: The Federal Trade Commission requires Comcast to run credit checks to preserve customer security and limit access to billing and account information to only the account holder. In order for me to create your Comcast account, I am required to do a Credit Check.
ITI: Do I have your permission to run a credit check?
Mike_: Sure, though on the website I opted to provide a valid form of ID upon installation rather than provide my social security number.
ITI: I will be sending you a secure one-time-use link to enter the last 4 digits of the Social Security Number on the account.
Mike_: ok
ITI: Not four digits, you would have to enter the complete SSN?
ITI: We have generated a secure one-time use web page for you to submit your Social Security Number.Please click the following link or copy and paste it in your browser to submit your Social Security Number. Please remember that once the link is clicked, it cannot be reused.
Mike_: --Customer has submitted SSN info--
ITI: Thank you for providing that information.
ITI: Could you please confirm the name registered with your SSN?
Mike_: full name is
ITI: Thank you for providing that information.
ITI: I am pleased to inform you that as per results of the credit check, we will not require any deposit for your order today.
ITI: I will be setting up your services on your account now.
Mike_: ok, thank you
ITI: You are most welcome.
ITI: I am almost done with your package, please stay online.
Mike_: no problem
ITI: Thank you.
ITI: Thank you for your patience
ITI: I have added the package for you.
Mike_: Thank you, what is the next step?
ITI: I am finalizing your order and will set up the professional installation for you.
ITI: The date would be 5/30/2014 between 11 am to 1 pm, Is this fine with you?
Mike_: Yes, thank you
ITI: You are most welcome.
ITI: Please stay online, I am finalizing the order.
ITI: Please confirm me the nearest cross street.
Mike_: North Main Street
ITI: Thank you.
ITI: Thank you for your patience.
ITI: Here are the details of your order:
ITI: Order confirmation number: <####>
Mike_: Ok, thank you.
ITI: Account number: <####>
ITI: Service/s Ordered: HD Premier with 2-year agreement
ITI: Promotional Rate: <<$149.99/mo>> for the first <<12>> months
ITI: -Rolls Off to: <<$169.99>>/mo for months <<13-24>>
ITI: After <<24>> months, regular charges apply. Comcast's current monthly service charge for the package is at around $189.99/mo
ITI: Equipment Charges:
ITI: Modem Rental: $8.00/mo
ITI: Additional HD box: $9.95/mo
ITI: Additional HD box: $9.95/mo
ITI: One-time Charges:
ITI: One-time installation fee: $61.69
ITI: Total bill for the first month: <<$239.58>> excluding taxes
ITI: Monthly Recurring Charges: <<$177.89>> excluding taxes
ITI: It was a pleasure chatting with you today! I'm confident you will enjoy your new services! In fact, you can start enjoying some of what Comcast has to offer right now...
ITI: You will receive an email inviting you to setup your Comcast User ID or you can go now to http://www.comcast.com/GetStarted and set it up using the order information I've just provided.
Mike_: I was expecting the charges you have mentioned, though I don't see the 20mbps upload equipment upgrade? Also, It was never mentioned the price is only valid for only half the contract term!
ITI: Once you've created your User ID, you can login to your MyAccount to view the status of your order, set-up paperless billing & automatic payments, and set up text alerts for appointment reminders, bill due dates, payment confirmations, and more.
ITI: tHANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE.
ITI: Sorry for the typo. Please disregard that last message.
ITI: Thank you for your patience
ITI: I have added the Extreme 105 package with your package.
ITI: For that now your first month bill would be $528.58
ITI: The Second month bill would be $217.89/mo
Mike_: Wait, why the jump in the regular monthly bill? It was my understanding (as stated by you above) that getting the the 20mbps upload speed was a one time $249 equipment upgrade charge?
ITI: No $249 is the charges for the tech visit, To install the Exteme 105 internet package you would be needing the special technician so that you would get the install the special speed.
Mike_: Right ok, whatever the reason for the one time charge, why is the second month $40 higher than the previous quote of 177?
ITI: As I told you that this is the package I have added already for you with the package but this package is not included in to your package so the monthly charges of this package is $40.
Mike_: "ITI: Okay If you wish to add 20 mbps up loading speed internet then I may add that for you How ever there would be one time installation charges for $249. ITI: So may I go ahead and add this package for you? Mike_: Is this to install an OMT box? Any change to the monthly rate? ITI: $249 is one time charge so there would be no changes in monthly recurring charges."
Mike_: As you can see, what you "already told me" was that there was not change to the monthly charges
ITI: I understand that , please stay online , let me check that once again for you.
ITI: Sorry for the misunderstanding .
ITI: The package charges would be $149+9.95+9.95+8+40
ITI: As I have waived of $29.95 for the cdv activation fee.
ITI: Which is Phone activation fee.
Mike_: That is a 25% (upward) difference in the monthly price; Over two years this misunderstanding is a $960.
Mike_: Please cancel this transaction, that is wayyy more than we discussed.
ITI: As I am from sales department, we have no authorization to cancel the package, there is another department to cancel the packages, you have to call at 1800 Xfinity.
Mike_: let me get this straight, you just ripped me off and can't help?
Mike_: you striaght up lied and i have this conversation saved
ITI: Sorry for the misunderstanding, the package was before without the monthly charges for $40, that is why I told you that there will no charges, but in your market area into account there was $40 charges was available.
ITI: I apologize for the misunderstanding.
Mike_: This is not a trivial mistake, you just signed me up for two years of something I certainly did not agree to!
Mike_: again, we are talking about nearly $1000 difference
ITI: As I see that this is two years contract with $528.58, which will be not change with two years.
ITI: This is only one time charge
Mike_: Umm, you added $40 a month for 24 months ($960) after clearly stating there was a one time $249 charge and no difference in the monthly rate. Clearly you cannot assist, i will call the number and provide the conversation as evidence that I did not agree to this and need to cancel installation.
ITI: Your second month onwards bill would be $217.89/mo
Mike_: again, that is up $40 from the original quote of $177
ITI: Mike, I apologize for your inconvenience. HD premier triple play package at $149.99./m for first 12 month included blast internet.
ITI: If we would add extreme internet then there would be an additional monthly cost of $40 as extreme internet is not part of this package and we would to add it as additional service to your account.
Mike_: As I understand it the blast service is 105mbps / 5mbps while the extreme is 105mbps / 20mbps? I can't do the 5mbps, it's ridiculously slow in this day and age; I do ALOT of video conferencing. I was willing to pay the one time $249 fee for the 105/20 but I'm not paying $249 + $40 a month!
Mike_: This would all be alot simpler if your company would just list it's upload speeds SOMEWHERE on their site. Verizon FIOS (our currently provider) CLEARLY lists both download and upload speeds. This is just ridiculous.
Mike_: Do you at least know if I can cancel without incurring charges?
ITI: You would not have to pay $249+$40
Mike_: ~you just said to get the 105/20 speed i need to pay 249 one time plus 40 a month
ITI: I said that to get the 105/20 speed you need to pay 249 one time plus 40 a month but from the next month onwards your monthly bill would be $40+$149+9.95+9.95+8
ITI: You would not have to pay $249 from the next onwards.
Mike_: yeah, an extra 40 a month adds up to 960 over the 48 month term
Mike_: opps 24 month term i mean
Mike_: i called that number and they aren't open, heh
ITI: Your monthly cost would as $149.99/m for package +$19.90 for 2 additional X1 HD boxes+$8 for phone modem +$40 for extreme internet speed tier.
Mike_: yes the added cost of extreme internet over blast is the unexpected cost
ITI: I apologize for your inconvenience. If you wish then I can remove xtreme cost and its from your account and can add blast with package.
ITI: There would no extra cost of blast which is included with package.
Mike_: ~But you can't cancel it?
ITI: If you wish then I can cancel the order. May I know is there anything else I can make change your mind?
Mike_: No
Mike_: The 5mbps upload speed with blast simply isn't enough and paying an extra $40 a month for extreme's 20mbps upload speed seems way overpriced compared to Verizon's plans. Please cancel the order.
ITI: I have cancelled this order.
Mike_: Thank you
ITI: You are most welcome.
ITI: Your satisfaction is my priority. Is there anything else I can assist you with? I am more than glad to help you out further.
Mike_: Can I have a confirmation number?
ITI: The confirmation number : 05182014
Mike_: Just the date?
ITI: Yes, this would be the confirmation number.
Mike_: Ok, thanks.
Waiting for response from ITI
user Mike has entered room
analyst ITI has entered room
ITI: You are most welcome.
ITI: Is there anything else I can help you with today?
Mike_: no, thanks

avatar

CantankerousDave

Geez, are you sure that wasn't a chatbot?

avatar

farrow099

Not sure, sometimes I thought the guy was translating from another language or something. Also, each time he said please wait or hold on, he was gone for AT LEAST 5 minutes!

We stuck with FIOS and were able to add their new "Quantum" dvr that came out at the perfect time!

avatar

VoodooChicken

Sounds like a tragic Jerky Boys routine

avatar

BlazePC

EMO

avatar

John Pombrio

Urban Dictionary says EMO is a type of punk rock music. Otherwise, haven't a clue.

avatar

The Mac

its short for emotional, the music as well

avatar

326

They might say they're sorry, I bet they promoted this guy and gave him a raise.

I applaud the guy for his reasoning for cancelling which isn't mentioned. He did it for Comcast's involvement with lobbying for new rules in net neutrality. Something I bet Comcast is also not sorry for.

avatar

Lilrockerdude

This guy is either a robot or has been brainwashed by Comcast, so repetitive in those questions. Good job on staying calm through this 8+ minutes of hell cause I don't think I could of lasted. I for one have jumped ship from as many big company providers as possible sticking with more local and small companies and I gotta tell ya they do a phenomenal job. Completely agree with the "And the worst customer service award goes to...".

avatar

Eoraptor

"trained to operate"? No, that would imply a formal policy committed to paper somewhere; this is more a case of how they are subtlety encouraged to operate. IE, achieve certain retention rate, by any means necessary, to keep your job and your pay.