Topic Spill

Where my ideas meet reality.

Comcast, The Cult That Never Lets Go

I’ve given Comcast a fair opportunity to correct their error before blasting them on my blog. Really, I’ve been more than fair and patient. At this point they have stalked me well beyond my comfort zone and I’ve run out of ideas on how to stop them. I’m pleading to anyone out there who has found a way to truly breakup with Comcast; please tell me how you did it! Here’s my story.

I’ve had a love hate relationship with Comcast for a long time; I had exclusively retained their services for about 9 years. I had a handful of billing related fraud disputes that my bank sorted out for me, spotty service issues, and the same poor customer service experience everyone else has had, nothing truly special or unique, your atypical Comcast experience.

January 2014 an AT&T sales team knocked on my door. We were politely waiting to casually disregard their sales pitch but today we listened longer than usual. Maybe it was her sales skills or maybe we were just ready for a change. I’d been researching U-Verse for a few years and had previously weighed the pros and cons and at the time Comcast was the superior service. Money really was the deciding factor, for less money than I was paying Comcast I could upgrade to DVR services. Along with the other promotions being offered it was a no brainer. U-Verse was offering me superior service at a cheaper rate than Comcast. (Except the internet speed but that has proven null as AT&T works as well but more consistent with less outages than Comcast)

We officially disconnected our Comcast services on 1/28/2014. I had previously heard war stories about Comcast claiming people failed to return their equipment so I videotaped us boxing up all of our equipment and sealing it with their tamper proof labels to verify we didn’t reopen the box after filming the video. We dropped the box off to be returned to the UPS store and crossed our fingers that we would not fall victim to an unreturned equipment scam.

Unfortunately that was not the case and on 2/13/14 we received our final bill with an unreturned equipment fee. I immediately contacted the general customer service phone number and was assured it would be investigated and resolved. I called them on 2/11/14 and 3/5/14 with little to no success. I was finally assured that the warehouse had been reached and that they confirmed this was an error, my equipment had been returned. They were going to cease billing me this unreturned equipment fee. A brief moment of relief blindsided me for what would prove to be an ongoing battle.

On 3/7/14 I received my first collection notice. I immediately contacted both Comcast and the collection agency to dispute this action. With still little to no help from either Comcast or their collection agency I contacted the Better Business Bureau on 3/17/14. This time someone from Comcast Corporate office contacted me to assure me that this matter had been resolved. I explained that after previous reassurances and hassle to reach a corporate office representative that I needed her name and phone number so that I could call her back in 30 days when I received another collection notice. She of course kindly refused my request and left me with nothing but her assurances this had been resolved. The BBB sent me a closure letter stating Comcast had fulfilled their obligation to close my dispute.

To my surprise on 4/4/14 I received a $34.01 check in the mail for overpayment on my final bill. I thought this was a promising sign and rejoiced in my accomplishment.

It didn’t take long to realize I celebrated prematurely, on 4/11/14 I was hit with another collection notice. At this point I tirelessly and apathetically initiated the rigorous exercise of contacting first the collection company, the main Comcast customer service, and then the BBB.  I really started to get creative this time. I started using social media to voice my complaints. Surprisingly Comcast saw my tweet and offered their assistance. Their Twitter team is very kind but they seem to lack the power to actually do anything. It’s always “let me have someone else contact you” or “you need to contact various email addresses.” They really are just middlemen for their corporation with no power to execute resolution. This proved to be disappointing and never garnished any results other than more assurances that this had been resolved.

5/16/14 yet another collection notice.

Around this time one of my Twitter followers suggested that I contact my state’s regulatory authority. My state’s regulatory authority really seemed promising, this time an Executive representative contacted me directly. He even was kind enough to give me his name and number! I thought to myself, “Surely this is it! This is my way out of this rat race!” This representative didn’t take long to offer me reassurances but he also sent a formal document to the regulatory authority stating this was absolutely not my error and that I should not have been sent to collection; with yet again, the same reassurances that it had been resolved. The regulatory authority was kind enough to send me a copy of this official document. Finally, a real paper trail that stated I was not at fault and owed Comcast nothing.

On 6/11/14 I cried, yet another collection notice. I was defeated but I made the calls to the Comcast main office, to the Executive representative that had helped me, to the regulatory authority, to the collection agency, BBB, and anyone else who would listen. This time I got no response and have not made contact with anyone. I missed one phone call from Comcast and they left no name or number to call back. I missed yet another call (I have a day job) and this time a name a number was left but they never returned my call. I received an email from the same person but they don’t reply to my emails. No one at Comcast wants to help me.

Not a single person has taken the initiative to say “Man, we screwed up. I’m so sorry for what we have put you through. I will follow up with this through to completion, total resolution, and satisfaction.”

My day job is an executive level customer service representative for a major corporation in the US. When something like this crosses my desk I shudder in bafflement. This is not the reputation our company neither wants nor is this the image that we want put out on the internet. We really fight to do the right thing and stand behind our customers. I personally strive to follow up and close loop all escalations to completion. I would be mortified if my boss looked a file like this and saw my name on it, this is not tolerated in our company. Why does a company as large as Comcast allow this to happen?

If you’re reading this and know someone who can help me please let me know I’ve exhausted all of my resources and have nowhere else to turn to.

Updates:

7/16/14 A gentlemen from Comcast Corporate contacted me today and stated that his records indicate this madness should have ended in March when they determined that I didn’t owe them an unreturned equipment fee. He did have a copy of the most recent collection notice dated after March but was puzzled how it could have occurred. His tone was almost one of disbelief even though the proof was in his hands. So he’s going to research it more and call me back. According to this new fella Comcast is not in the business of selling off collections once they verify no debt is owed. I explained to him how after the March determination Comcast did cease collections through the initial agency but then resold my debt to a new agency. Which was verified by state collection review board as fraudulent collection practices.

7/18/14 I received an unprecedented call from Comcast. They called to let me know that they had not forgotten me and that they were still looking in to this for me. It was a pleasant surprise as this is the first time I’ve received this courtesy.

7/21/14 Comcast called back to say they have mailed a letter to myself and the collections agency that this item was not my fault and should not harm my credit. They denied my request to be compensated for this massive inconvenience, they said if I was still a Comcast customer they could and would compensate me but because I had left the company they could not. This was rather insulting as this issue only started because I chose to leave them in the first place. I requested that my request be re-reviewed but I don’t anticipate ever hearing from them again. To date, I’ve not received the letter from them exonerating me.

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