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Comcast Rocks Is Doing Better

| October 23, 2009, 01:57 PM | 0 Comments

A Comcast UpdateComcast Sucks Sort Of

As many readers know, Comcast has not been a favorite company of this site.  Between the service interruptions, the service outages, the lack of any real customer service; we were determined to make the move to Verizon and their FIOS product. Today, we give them a pat on the back for doing the right thing!

BUT, despite what Verizon claims in the mail they send nearly daily, FIOS is not available. Their alternative is to slap a dish on your roof and downgrade your internet speed to DSL. As we explained to the Verizon representative, having Comcast be reliable 25 days a month at full speed is more valuable than having Verizon reliable 30 days at half speed.

But back to Comcast. After the last outage and learning that Verizon was not an option, a decidedly snarky letter (full letter after the jump) was submitted via their web portal to a “Rick Germano” who is apparently in charge of customer service. We pulled no punches and outlined the issues. We asked for a response from “Rick” and received a standard autoresponse. More likely than not, there is no “Rick Germano” at Comcast-but hey, it sounds like a good South Philly name.

However, the message did get out. The message to “Rick” was sent on October 12, 2009 and on October 14th, we were contacted by James Lewis with “Bay Shore ESL Support”. We explained the situation again.

On October 15th, upon return from a meeting, there were three Comcast vehicles in the parking lot. We asked if there was another outage. They said no, but were told by the office in Philadelphia to come out and resolve the problem. WOW!  A senior technician and the Technical Operations Supervisor scoured the cabling and determined that it was not routed correctly in the first place, and that older non-compliant cable was installed in the second place.

The following morning, they returned with three people and replaced all the cabling and made sure that the phones, internet, and televisions were all working. While they were resolving my individual issues, I also learned that being near a marina and a large senior citizen complex is likely the cause of the area wide outages.

We were told that for some reason, the technology is not there to provide the digital signal to marinas and to large residential complexes such as senior communities, hotels, etc. Who would have known?  As a result, we have an analog signal without a redundant back up. In the event of a failure, digital outages can be switched automatically to a working line. Analog outages require considerably more work.  It seems like Comcast may have missed a memo at some point.

Despite the corporate missteps, we have nothing but the highest praise for the field technicians. The Technical Operations Supervisor, Christopher Suda, was very competent. But more refreshing, he was honest about the problem and the capabilities of the network. When he left, he left behind a business card and suggested for future problems to avoid the call centers and just call him directly.  Note to “Rick Germano”–you can learn a lot from this guy–give him ( and the two others who were with him) a raise. Collectively they probably save you more money than you realize.

No doubt, Comcast still has a long way to go.  Just yesterday we received a comment regarding “Rick Germano” and his department–it was harsh to say the least; but maybe it also needed to be said. Over the past week, we have not suffered any additional outages and are holding our breath. So far so good.

Comcast, you ultimately did good and did the right thing; but the process of getting there was still a disappointment. We received our monthly bill a few days ago, and  no credit for the down time. Personally, it might be a nice gesture!

And Comcast is not the only one that made good. Stay tuned for a response from Wawa!

The full complaint letter sent to “Rick Germano” is after the jump.

Dear Rick–

Good luck trying to respond via e-mail or telephone–I have Comcast and it doesn’t work. There seems to be a very persistent problem in that you cannot maintain the three services to which I subscribe.

I am really disgusted and trapped. Right now, FIOS is not in the neighborhood, but as soon as they are, you can probably count on me as another defector.  My most recent issue (today) was that the high speed internet was no-speed for most of the day.  And sporadically, my telephone was down. It still is down right now as I understand  your men are at the “head node”.

I am not sure what a “head node” is, but I suspect it is some sort of Comcast code used by your call center people  to get pissed off customers off the phone so they can spend more time signing people up.

A few weeks ago, there was a complete loss of all three services. It was for 14 hours. At hour 6 into the interruption, I was told that it did not affect anyone other than me and would be up in the hour. At hour 7 I was told it would be up in two hours and it was a larger problem. When I went to the local office here in Annapolis to see if they knew anything during hour 11, they were useless (and I might add very cranky because the big television they watch all day was not working).  I asked if there was any credit for the  disruption and was told “I don’t know nothing about that”.

Other times I have had issues, I have been told that it is in my house and you dispatched a technician, only to be told that there was a wide outage. The tech told me that the call centers do not have access to any outage issues locally. Maybe you ought to address that, or at least have Ben and Shaq tell me upfront that if I am calling for a service problem, your call center will not be able to help me.

My television pixelates a lot. I have had technicians out here twice and the only answer they can come up with is, “there is too much wire”. I suppose they want me to move the 46″ rear projection screen up to my son’s closet where your cable installer inexplicably brought the line into the house.

Even when I had a business operating in a commercial building I tried to give Comcast a shot. I was looking for a large data line and was told (sight unseen) by a sales rep in your Hunt Valley office that it would be too expensive. He had no clue how much money I had or my needs. Guess what, Verizon was able to extend the service I needed and it cost me and the other people in the building $20,000. Well, it is his loss in commission.

Are you seeing a trend here Rick?  I am not sure if it trickles down from your big tower in Philly or it is something more local, but; quite frankly, the service you provide here in Annapolis really sucks.

Do you maintain an “up log” that might be available for inspection? I am curious to know how prevalent these outages really are. If you have one, I hope it is not maintained by customer call-ins. I don’t call that often. For the most part, I am a patient guy and understand that “shit happens” and can deal with it. But when it happens weekly, it becomes an issue.

Yes, this letter is full of sarcasm, but please don’t think I am not serious. Your customers pay good money for a service and you are letting them down–consistently.  Your technicians are pretty good, but your call center people and the local office people need a lot of work Rick. A lot!

What is it going to take to get an honest answer from Comcast when things go wrong? Will you respond to this or will I receive some form letter and a coupon for the next Ben Stein lecture at Penn?

I am truly interested in what you have to say on behalf of Comcast and to know your thoughts on the issues raised.

As I said, your guys are at the “head node” so please don’t try calling till at least tomorrow! Till then, I will just keep the pressure on Verizon to bring FIOS to the house.


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