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The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Adventures with Comcast

Last week, Thursday I believe, I noticed something as I went out to get the mail. I realized the cable strung between the utility pole on the south corner of my lot and the utility pole at the north end of the empty lot next to my house was rather low. Not the power line or the phone line, just the bottom cable. That cable belongs to Comcast. The story behind that cable is a long one but can be summed up in a few lines:

Me: Can I get service at [my address]?
Comcast: We have no service in that area.
Me: Will you be adding it soon?
Comcast: By the end of the first quarter of 2007 is the schedule.
Me: Thank you (and then signing up for Dish Network through the local phone company)

The cable to feed my block was run in 2 years later while I was being told by the local Comcast office that they had no idea when or if it would ever happen.

In any event, I went to Comcast Cable in May of this year after getting fed up with Direct TV (having switched to them after my Dish contract ran out) losing the signal whenever it rained (Dish would lose the signal if it was merely cloudy). The Comcast service is more reliable... though it has its moments. So I wanted to avoid an interruption of service if the cable was damaged.

I called the Comcast number. Which, of course, sends me to an out of state (maybe out of country) call center and explained the problem. The rep assured me they were concerned about providing great service and would send someone out the next morning to look into it. It being windy, I hoped it would not get damaged in the meantime.

No one showed up.

On Saturday, I sent a complaint to Comcast through their website, knowing I would not get a reply until Monday.

On Monday afternoon, I went up to the local Comcast office to pick up an HD DVR for the TV in our master bedroom. We had been using just the non-HD little digital box for that TV for some time and it was time. Meaning Faye wanted it.

While I was there, I mentioned no one had come out to look at the problem. I was immediately told that they "don't do that. The County takes care of that. You have to call the county." Holding my temper (but not very well), I explained that no one informed me of that when I called it in and that no tech had shown up to tell me that either. We bandied a few words back and forth and I left in my usual huff.

I called the county's main switchboard because I had no idea what department might handle the problem and Comcast hadn't offered me any names, numbers, or departments. The operator was very helpful and eventually found "Kristen" who told me she didn't think it was their job but that she would send someone out to take a look at it. Within an hour, I heard the sound of a power saw and went out to find that the county workers had just finished clearing the tree from the cable. I chatted with the county guy who said he didn't think it was the county's job because if it was an electrical cable, the power company took care of it and if it was the phone cable, the phone company would take care of it. Ergo, the cable company should have been responsible. But he had a crew working in the area and they weren't loaded down so they took care of it. I thanked him profusely while agreeing with him.

Later that evening, about 5, a Comcast tech pulled up in my driveway to look into that tree problem. I pointed out that the county took care of it and related my exchange with the local Comcast office and the county worker. Having been unable to successfully get that HD DVR to work, I asked him if he had a spare in his truck (he did) and if he would confirm the unit I was given was bad and replace it.

He said he could but that he would have to code it as a "trouble call" and I would be charged $40. I told him that was alright because I wouldn't pay it anyway since the unit in question had been given to me that day.

The unit, of course, was bad though he spent an hour trying to make it work anyway before he gave up and put the unit from his truck in service. That took another half hour to set up because the office hadn't done their job (which they couldn't until I called in even though I was not told I had to).

Everything is now in and working.

You might wish to skip the following (it's a bit long) which shows the email exchange between myself and the complaint/service center in Augusta and jump to the end of the post.

We have received your e mail and thank you for using Comcast's online email support. One of our Comcast customer support representatives will get back to you. In the meantime, you may find our FAQ's helpful to resolve your inquiry so we invite you to visit Comcast Customer Central - FAQ. Or, for more immediate attention to your situation, try "Ask Comcast", a real time chat service, available by visiting Comcast Customer Central and clicking on the AskComcast link at the top of the page. We look forward to working with you.
Your Comcast Support Team
[rec'd 12/10 3:37]

Thank you for contacting Comcast Cable Email Support. My name is Celemar
and I am glad to receive your email today.

I understand that a technician was supposed to be at your home on
Thursday however no one showed up. I know this is important to you to
ensure your cable service will not be interrupted. I sincerely apologize
for the inconvenience this has caused you. I would feel the same way if
I am in your place. Rest assured that your concern will be given

the rest deleted because it was merely "boilerplate" assuring me of their commitment and other superfluous chatter

I replied as follows:

If I may follow up? When I went to the local Comcast office to pick up a new
HD DVR to add to my bedroom TV, I mentioned the problem and asked why no one
had shown up. I was told that they "do not clear cables" that, if there is a
problem, I was supposed to have called the county (Highlands County here in
Florida) to deal with it. Had a tech come out on Friday and told me or my
wife that, I would have done so. However, after contacting the county
offices, I learned that they do NOT think that it is their job. However,
they did send someone out to take a look and they did clear the tree from
the line. The county worker told me at that time, he also was puzzled
because the local phone company clears theirs and the local power company
clears theirs.

At about 5 PM, a Comcast tech did show up about the tree and cable issue. I
told him it had been cleared by the county and then asked him if he could
confirm the HD DVR was not working. He told me they would have to charge me
for a trouble call (a $40 charge) to change the callout purpose. I will
contest that charge because the box that turned out to be bad was the one
the office had given me. Not only was the box bad but no one had authorized
it for use on my account and no one at the office told me I would need to
call in to do that. Had I called in (and I tried but the phone system at the
call center was impossible to speak through), it still would not have
resolved the problem because, as I said, the box was broken.

I am not pleased with Comcast service in this area.

I received the following response:
Thank you for contacting Comcast Cable. My name is Jacklyn. I will do my
best to provide you world class customer service by assisting you
regarding your cable and customer support concerns. I hope you are doing
great today.

I understand that you have issues with the reception of your cable box
and you have issues with the customer support. I know the importance of
ensuring that all services are coming through to enjoy the full features
of your service and experience excellent customer support to address
your concerns. It will be my pleasure to provide you with instructions
on how we may correct your cable box reception and how you may forward
us your feedback regarding the customer support. Rest assured that all
the necessary information you need will be provided, Douglas.

I sincerely apologize for any unpleasant experience you had recently
with your cable service and customer support. Thank you for bringing
this matter to our attention.

We need to hear about any unsatisfactory situations in order to correct
them and to enhance our level of customer service. We appreciate that
you took the time to help us keep our commitment to quality customer
care. Listed below are a few things to verify when you are unable to use
all the functions of your Comcast cable service.

[more superfluous chatter deleted]

If you are as sharp as I believe my readers are, you know that "Jacklyn" had no idea what she was talking about. So I replied thus:

I see the same level of competence abounds at Comcast everywhere. The box
now installed works fine. As I stated. This was a spare the tech had in his
truck. He replaced the bad unit I got from the local Comcast office.

No other problems exist now.

They actually replied to this, thanking me for choosing Comcast, yadda, yadda, yadda...

And we wonder why this country is on the ropes...

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