June 11. 2014
Mr. Brian L. Roberts
Chairman and President
One Comcast Center
1701 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2838
Subject: Customer service at Comcast
Dear Mr. Roberts,
Over the years I have encountered a number of issues with Comcast’s service and with your customer service and now I am compelled to report the shoddy manner in which your customers are treated.
Sunday, June 8, 2014, I logged on to the Comcast website to research prices and to upgrade my television package. Twice, I connected with a representative and was several minutes into the chat session when, each time, I was disconnected. Immediately following the chat disconnections I called Comcast at 904-374-8000 and, again, I was disconnected. I tried yet once more and was on the phone for 40 minutes with a representative. During that call I was given the runaround about how I couldn’t upgrade my television package because they weren’t offering any discounts at the time. I countered that I simply wanted to know what the price would be to get the service I wanted. Eventually, I was offered a plan which upgraded my television package while maintaining my internet speed. The price offered was $85 per month, plus the cost for my existing equipment. I authorized the agent to upgrade my service at that time, approximately 1:20 pm EST. The representative told me that she would be mailing my “HD” box to me at which time I made it clear that I did not want HD service, nor had I requested it. I was assured that my existing equipment would work as well. At the end of the 40 minute call, I was told that the service would be connected within 24 hours.
Monday, June 9, I contacted Comcast once again as my upgraded service had not yet been connected. I spoke with a representative who told me that he was in the “repair” department. He informed me that there was no order in the system for an upgrade to my service. I was very irritated but allowed him to walk me through the series of “can’t do this, can’t do thats” that the prior representative had listed. Eventually, he offered me a package for $99 plus equipment cost for a total of $171 per month. I declined, firmly declined, the offer. He prodded me, trying to get me to take the service for a spin, telling me that I could always “call back later to disconnect”. I informed him, with perfect clarity, that I did not want the service and that I was absolutely not interested in wasting any more time trying to have it disconnected later.
Tuesday, Jun 10, I received a confirmation email stating that I had been upgraded to HD service at the $171 per month total which I had adamantly rejected during my conversation on Monday, June 9.
Wednesday, Jun 11, I called Comcast once more. I asked to speak with a manager but was told that I would need to provide some basic information in order to pull up my file. I provided my account information and then insisted upon speaking to a manager or supervisor. I was told that there wasn’t a supervisor available at the moment but that I was welcome to hold. Over the course of the next 1+ hour that I held, I spoke with Theresa. I asked Theresa whether the confirmation email I had received was a result of the order I placed on the 8th, for which I still had not received the actual upgrade in service, or from the 9th, when I had adamantly refused the higher-priced service. I was informed that the order was dated the 9th. She took the upgrade off my account and reverted my account back to the prior plan. She then attempted to upsell me and I refused the offerings. At 1 hour and 9 minutes into the call I was informed that a supervisor was available.
For the next several minutes I spoke with Okechukwu, a supervisor. I informed him that I would like to file a complaint and then recited the events as described in this letter. He informed me that the representative who had ordered the upgrade to my account had set it to take place later within the month.
I was stunned.
I clarified with him that, had the service would have been upgraded, I wouldn’t have known until I received a bill for service which I had neither ordered nor used. He stated that such was the reason for sending confirmation letters so that misunderstandings could be cleared up quickly. For all of his stated concern, the phone twice went quiet as I was placed on hold while speaking. The second time, I kept repeating, “Are you there? Did you hang up on me?!” and received no reply. After a few more seconds, he returned to the line and attempted to wrap up the call as if he had not heard anything I had said during the last couple of minutes of our conversation. I asked him, directly, “Did you place me on hold while I was speaking with you?” He claimed he had not. I challenged him, “How many times did I ask whether you were still on the line or if you had hung up on me?” He responded that he hadn’t heard any of that part of the conversation.
To summarize, I was disconnected a number of times whilst communicating with customer service. I have spent more than 150 minutes on the phone. I never received the upgrade I ordered, but was involuntary signed up for a higher-priced plan which I had declined. AND, I was placed on hold, mid-sentence, while speaking to a supervisor… in the midst of filing my complaint.
The fact that Comcast is permitted to operate as a monopoly seemingly allows you to treat your customers in such a careless and disrespectful manner. Were you offering a variety of candy, or toys, or other such consumer goods, one would have the option of shopping elsewhere. However, when the primary service provider of news, weather, and emergency alert information treats citizens so poorly, it bears an accounting for their actions.
I am far from the only customer to have been so frustrated and so inconvenienced by Comcast’s utter lack of regard and it is my hope that you will take these concerns seriously.
If you doubt this claim, I would encourage you to seek out customer feedback.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Congressman Ander Crenshaw
Robert D. Marcus, Time-Warner Cable
Federal Trade Commission