|TV and Internet provider Comcast has closed out 2014 with another customer service controversy, as a man using the name “Gern Branston” posted a 38-minute excerpt of a grueling four-hour attempt to modify his service on YouTube Dec. 30.
“Comcast has come up with an ingenious way to keep subscribers — namely, it makes unsubscribing to its services such a torturous and miserable process that you’ll eventually just cave in and decide to stick with them,” Brad Reed commented for tech site BGR on Jan. 1 in response to the video.
In what Tech Crunch dubbed a story of “patience, perseverance and poorly trained customer service providers,” the man told the representative that he wished to cancel his Internet service because he had been offered a better rate by a competitor. He was offered a deal by a “retention specialist” and agreed to keep his service at the lower rate he was offered. However, when no confirmation of the deal arrived, he called back to find that the company had no record whatsoever of his first call and the agreement that had been struck.
A second representative agreed to give the customer the same deal, but again, no confirmation arrived. When he called back again, the third representative found no record of either of the first two calls. The man was again offered a special rate, but told he would need to bundle it with TV services. He again agreed.
Tech Crunch quotes the first-person narrative the customer shared online: “I finally get off the phone after almost 4 hours, my speed tests are good, a confirmation email finally arrives, all seems well. I go to turn on my TV … no service.”
When the customer called back one final time, he was told that his original cable box had been de-authorized during the first call, and that he would need to have a new one installed.
Customer Service and Public Perception
Comcast was listed by The Wire as the company with the second-worst customer service in the entire country in 2014, coming in right behind another provider, Time Warner.
“It would be beneficial for Comcast, or any other major company for that matter, to ask the client to give them a day or two to investigate the problem on their end,” says Pat Scott, Owner of A Better Answer. “If it’s a matter of pricing only and if the service has been fine, then those companies should say that they aren’t in a position to just give services away at a reduced rate, because they will most likely not honor that promise.”
Some customers fed up with the entire cable industry might be interested to learn that Google has just filed a report with the Federal Communications Commission saying that a reclassification of broadband Internet providers — which large cable companies already fear would reduce profits with more regulations — would also give Google access to public infrastructure such as utility poles and speed the rollout of Google Fiber.