Not So Comcastic

Recently, our 15 year old TV died, so we bought a new Samsung LCD. Shortly after we got it, our neighbor was visiting and asked if we had HD, which we didn’t. We’ve always had the cheapest TV service we could get. He told us about the deal he got on a Comcast Triple Play package, and it was about $50 less than we were spending each month on separate services. So, we decided to check it out.

We now have a Comcast Triple Play package, but only after a lot of frustration and wasted time. Comcast has let us down at nearly every step in the process of selling, installing, and configuring just about everything.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we have dealt with some wonderful, pleasant, and helpful individuals at Comcast, but only after we’ve called to report each of the many problems. So, I’m really talking about Comcast The Company.

  1. Comcast’s website is pretty, but is all marketing speak, and light on really useful information. For example, it is impossible to find out what channels are a part of any Triple Play bundle. If you click that “View Channel Lineup” link it’ll take you to a listing of every channel Comcast offers, including all the ones you won’t actually get in your package.
  2. The final “live chat” step is a disaster. We had to call and start our order from scratch after the chat applet failed several times.
  3. They misconfigured our internet package as “Economy”, which is 768 Kbps, rather than the 15 Mbps that is clearly stated in the HD Starter Triple Play bundle we purchased. It took many hours on the phone, twittering with reps, and then finally speaking with several manager-level folks to get this resolved.
  4. Caller ID did not display on our TV as it is supposed to. Again, this took several hours on the phone, and several tries by reps to “fix” the problem. Apparently, our cable box had been misconfigured.
  5. The cable box Comcast installed was an older (2005), fairly beat up (many scratches and a couple dents) box. About a month after installation, it began crashing (no video output, non-responsive to remote control and buttons on front panel). They did replace it with a newer box (which has HDMI out) for free, but I still had to go through the hassle of calling and working my schedule around the house call.
  6. When we placed the order, we specifically asked several times what setup fees we would be charged. The rep assured as that we would only pay a setup fee for Digital Voice, since we already had Comcast TV and internet service. When we got our first bill, we were charged a $99 “Installation Fee” in addition to the $30 Digital Voice setup fee. We had to call once again and escalate it to a manager-level person to get the charge removed.
  7. It’s 2009, why does the onscreen user interface of my cable box (the new HDMI cable box) look like Donkey Kong?  Why doesn’t it look like this?

All in all, it has been a very bad customer experience. I hope that Verizon’s move into Pittsburgh will encourage Comcast to stop resting on their monopoly and do better.