Adventures in Comcastic customer service

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Ah, Comcast. Your service amuses me to no end. Here’s a recent tale involving me, a Comcast live chat operator, and 40 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back.

I needed to finesse a few items on the cable television side of my account. Most importantly, I have a technician coming out next Tuesday with one of the new Comcast TiVo boxes to replace the Motorola HD DVR that’s hooked up to my main TV.

My TV in the bedroom has a Series 2 Tivo hooked up to an IR blaster hooked up to Comcast’s dinky digital box so I figured I’d have the tech bring a second TiVo box out to replace the mess of cables on and under my dresser. I’d get dual tuners and HD support as well — all for about $15/month, which is what I pay for the Series 2 service alone. I’d basically be able to get rid of a $7.95/month box and $15/month TiVo fee.

There were a couple of other things, too. To summarize, here’s what I wanted.

1. Have the technician that’s coming out on Tuesday bring a second TiVo box.

2. Add news/documentary channels like the Military Channel, Biography, etc.

3. Remove the NFL Network from my package now that the regular season is over.

The second TiVo box is where I hit my first snag. Karen, as we’ll call her, informed me that the guy couldn’t bring a second box out without entirely rescheduling the whole thing. I can sort of understand that, since it would take him more time to install a second box. I asked her if he could just bring the second box and I’d hook it up myself.

Nope. No can do. She told me they can, however, send out a second technician on a second appointment some other day. Whatever. I’ll pick the second box up at my local store. I called the store while online with Karen. They don’t have the TiVo boxes yet. No problem, I’ll ask Karen to add the second appointment in a minute here.

I wanted to know how much it would be to add the Military Channel and the Biography Channel and a bunch of the second-tier kind of news/documentary channels to my lineup. It took Karen, I kid you not, from 2:44 to 2:58 to find this information for me, at which point she told me that it would be part of the digital starter package (which I already have) and that it would be best to add it at my local retail location.

Okay, this is not going well so far. If she couldn’t add the channels I wanted, I definitely expected that she’d be able to simply remove the NFL Network from my package until next season and schedule that second TiVo appointment.

Karen.25723 > Is there anything else I could assist you with today?

Doug_ > I’d also like to remove NFL Network from my package

Doug_ > and I just spoke with my local store and they don’t have any TiVo boxes so I’ll need to add a second appointment for the second box

Karen.25723 > One moment please.

Karen.25723 > Thank you for waiting.

Karen.25723 > To get the NFl service removed and to schedule an additional appointment, the 01/22/2008 appointment must be completed first.

Karen.25723 > The system wont allow us to make changes if there is an appointment scheduled.

Karen.25723 > Did you receive my last message?

Doug_ > yes

Karen.25723 > Okay.

Doug_ > um, okay — thank you

Karen.25723 > I can give you the number of one of our retail locations near you. You can check they have it available.

Karen.25723 > Did you receive my last message?

Doug_ > yes, I already called them

Doug_ > thanks for your time

Karen.25723 > We actually have few retail locations.

Doug_ > I’m sure you do. Good bye.

So it basically took 40 minutes for her to tell me that she couldn’t do a single thing. I hope this can be attributed to inexperience because most of the operators I’ve live-chatted with have been pretty on-the-ball. I’d also highly doubt that the system doesn’t allow them to make changes if there’s an appointment scheduled. That’s silly.

I’m not trying to piss and moan, either. I just thought you might find this exchange a bit amusing. That’s sad, too, because it means I’ve come to expect bad service.

Here’s the complete transcript of our little chat.

[START TIME: 2:27 PM]

Doug > I’d like to make some changes to my cable package.

Karen.25723 > Hello Doug_, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Karen.25723. Please give me one moment to review your information.

Karen.25723 > Hi Doug.

Karen.25723 > I’ll be happy to check on your concern for you.

Doug_ > Hi

Karen.25723 > For account identification can you please provide your account number?

Doug_ > [REDACTED]

Karen.25723 > Thank you for that information.

Karen.25723 > Let me just pull up your acocunt. Please give me one moment.

Karen.25723 > Thank you for waiting.

Karen.25723 > For verification, could you please verify the last 4 digits of the social security number listed on the account?

Doug_ > no problem

Doug_ > [REDACTED]

Karen.25723 > Thank you!

Karen.25723 > What changes you would want to make on your cable package?

Doug_ > okay, couple of things

Doug_ > first

Doug_ > someone is coming out on Tuesday to install a new Comcast TiVo box

Doug_ > can I add a second Comcast TiVo box onto that?

Doug_ > I’ll just replace both of my boxes I have now with TiVo boxes

Karen.25723 > If we will be adding up the new TiVo box, your schedule date will be changed.

Karen.25723 > If it is okay with you, we will be able to do that.

Doug_ > can the technician just bring another box and I can hook it up myself without changing the date?

Doug_ > or can I pick up a TiVo box at one of your retail locations?

Karen.25723 > No, Doug. I do apologize about that.

Karen.25723 > You also have the option to finish the schedule on 01/22/2008, then we will make another schedule for the secong TiVo box.

Karen.25723 > I meant second. Doug_ > Okay, let’s keep the appointment on 01/22/08

Karen.25723 > Yes, Doug. You can pick up a Tivo box on our retail locations.

Doug_ > okay

Karen.25723 > Is there anything else I could assist you with today?

Doug_ > so let’s keep the appointment on 01/22/08 and then I’ll pick up the second box myself later

Doug_ > yes, one more thing

Karen.25723 > Okay.

Doug_ > how much would it cost to add The Military Channel and those types of channels in the 200′s?

Doug_ > The Biography Channel, etc.

Karen.25723 > Let me check on that information for you.

Karen.25723 > Please give me one moment.

Karen.25723 > Thank you for waiting.

Doug_ > no problem

Karen.25723 > To get the military channel, you can upgrade your service to Digital Starter – Web Only Offer.

Karen.25723 > You can check on this link http://www.comcast.com/Shop/Buyflow/Default.ashx

Doug_ > Okay, so would I be able to switch to that package and then keep the DVR and HD stuff that I have now?

Doug_ > I think my cable and internet package right now, without all the extras, is around $80 if I’m not mistaken

Karen.25723 > Yes. However, it would be better to contact the local office. They will be able to advice if those channels that you would want can be added up to your current services for an extra cost.

Doug_ > oh, okay

Karen.25723 > Is there anything else I could assist you with today?

Doug_ > I’d also like to remove NFL Network from my package

Doug_ > and I just spoke with my local store and they don’t have any TiVo boxes so I’ll need to add a second appointment for the second box

Karen.25723 > One moment please.

Karen.25723 > Thank you for waiting.

Karen.25723 > To get the NFl service removed and to schedule an additional appointment, the 01/22/2008 appointment must be completed first.

Karen.25723 > The system wont allow us to make changes if there is an appointment scheduled.

Karen.25723 > Did you receive my last message?

Doug_ > yes

Karen.25723 > Okay.

Doug_ > um, okay — thank you

Karen.25723 > I can give you the number of one of our retail locations near you. You can check they have it available.

Karen.25723 > Did you receive my last message?

Doug_ > yes, I already called them

Doug_ > thanks for your time

Karen.25723 > We actually have few retail locations.

Doug_ > I’m sure you do. Good bye. 

[END TIME: 3:09 PM]

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