Editor's Blog: Susie's "Comcast Is the Devil" Rant

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Editor's Blog: Susie's "Comcast Is the Devil" Rant

 

Comcast, you're killing me.

 

Let me set the scene. My Internet isn't working, and at first I'm not sure why. Already ranting in my own brain, I turn to my Belkin N1 router. But after checking the connections, fiddling with the setup options, and of course rebooting, that wasn't it. The router wasn't getting a signal from the cable modem, a Motorola model I bought for about $80 when I subscribed to Comcast High-Speed Internet three years ago.

 

So I check the connections to that, reboot, and give it a little pep talk. Nothing. The lights come on briefly as the modem powers up, but then all go out but the standby light. Yep, this modem's toast. Which sets of internal rant #2. How come things don't last anymore? Like Roman's cell phone, or the VCR my parents have had for the last 20 years? By this time I'd been without Internet at home (except for my neighbor's unsecured Wi-Fi) for about three days, so I was as cranky as a toddler who'd missed her nap as I went to Best Buy for a new cable modem. Virtually every trip I made to Best Buy results in about six internal rants, but this was mercifully uneventful. Sure, they only had ONE model of cable modem, but luckily it was on Comcast's list of approved devices. Oh, joy. I drop another 80 bucks and shuffle out, muttering darkly. Oh, and the 24-inch iMacs on display looked gorgeous. But that's neither here nor there.

 

OK, so back at home, I set up the cable modem, connect to my iMac via Ethernet, and call Comcast to inform them of the new MAC address. Which I only knew to do because Roman told me I had to...the "Welcome to Comcast High-Speed Internet" page that my browsers would display no matter what URL I typed in were no help at all, nor were the Comcast support pages. After being on hold for 30 minutes, I was hung up on. WTF?!?! So I hop on my neighbor's Wi-Fi network (good thing I had brought an extra computer home from the office that I could use to look things up while I was troubleshooting the iMac's connection...although I wonder what I'd done if I didn't work for the awesomest Mac magazine around) and start a chat session with a Comcast support tech named Jimi. I explained the problem, gave him the MAC address, and 10 minutes later, my Internet just started to work. This actually seemed to surprise the heck out of Jimi, which should have been a red flag, but he said I was all set. I put on Band of Gypsies to celebrate his competence.

 

'Cept the next day...it's not working again. Same Welcome Page of Complete Crap, same problem reaching a human on the phone. So I fire up the borrowed MacBook Pro and start another chat. This time I get Mark. Told him, yeah, do you need my MAC address again? He says that the server had picked up the MAC address, so "something else is going on here." We start to perform an elaborate ballet of IP checking, restarting, and downloading some installation software -- which, of course, was an HQX file, not a SIT... Mark: "You're using a Mac?" Yeah, dude, I told you that three times by now. Anyway, so this software installs INTERNET EXPLORER 5 on my beautiful iMac, but the registration page he's trying to get me to? Still won't load. IE5. I swear. (Literally.)

 

Then Mark The Comcast Tech asks, "For your security, what is the exact amount of your last payment?" Interesting development. Too bad I can't tell you that immediately since I pay my bills on the Internet. I lamely offer "133...something?" and open a new Firefox window to look up the cents part on my bank's website. Big mistake, because when I come back, my chat window with Mark has closed abruptly. Time elapsed during this first chat: 45 minutes. Progress: None.

 

I immediately start a new chat, hoping for Mark again. Nope, this time I get John. John is, I must say, a jerk. He starts by totally contradicting everything Mark has said. The server doesn't have my MAC address, it never did, the installation software is worthless (finally, we agree), and he can't/won't do anything about it. He tells me to call. I explain that I already have 45 minutes invested in this chat, and I've been disconnected from TWO phone calls in TWO days. John doesn't care. Now I know by this time I was frustrated, but he was a jerk! I'm asking about the MAC address some more, since both Jimi and Mark said that the server was getting it, but he's already ditched me with an infuriating "Thanks for contacting Comcast, goodbye." Time elapsed (nay, wasted) on both useless chat sessions: 1 hour.

 

Back to the phone. I get someone at a call center (never caught his name) after being on hold 20 minutes. Start over with the explanations. Back on hold. I wish I had a satisfying answer for what the big to-do was, but the phone tech spared me the gory details. Actually, he spared me EVERY detail, choosing instead to take me on and off of hold for another 85 MINUTES, broken up by some feeble "Ma'am? Sorry it's taking so long. Please hold," every once in a while. Finally, he tells me to restart the modem and the computer. Since one of Comcast's support pages I'd looked at gave very detailed instructions for the order in which everything must be restarted (i.e., shut down the Mac, unplug the modem, wait 1 minute, plug in the modem, turn on the Mac, turn yourself about, and so on), I ask him politely "Do I have to restart the modem before restarting the Mac?" and he totally snaps at me, "I SAID TO RESTART THEM BOTH, DIDN'T I?" Sheesh. (His snippiness wasn't in my head, either. I had the dude on speakerphone the whole time, my finace heard everything, and I think I saw smoke coming out of his ears by this point.) After a couple rounds of The Restart Dance, it was fixed.

 

Now I'm afraid to hook the router back up, but I do have the Internet again. Thanks, Comcast. San Francisco cannot get its citywide Wi-Fi network up and running fast enough. Then I'll ditch the cable, rely on a dish or just downloads for my TV content, and never pay Comcast another penny. Actually, on further examination, I may be able to take part in Meraki Networks' free wireless service, as I live right in the middle of their target area. Watch this space for updates on whether I can get it to work and finally kick Comcast to the curb.

 

Wow, I feel so much better now.

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Louis Raritan

As a field technician I can tell you how difficult it can be to find and fix your cable problem. Ive been doing this awhile and have seen my fair share of crawl spaces, attics, dog poop infested backyards, wasp infested pedestals, angry dogs, ignorant customers etc. Ive come to this conclusion.....Your all a bunch of bratz. I make a meager pay, work on weekends and get it from both sides....customers and comcast. Ive had customers lie for free service, computers, tv's and vcr's. My advice is that you don't make appointments on weekends or after 5pm because we too have homes and families. Oh yeah, what will you do when we all quit because comcast and you both suck. Pay me appropriately, don't ask me to work on weekends, demand a safer work environment for comcast employees and for god sakes, clean your house...take out the trash and pick up your dog poop.

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BigMal27

Long story short, I HATE Comcast, and no, I don't want what I paid for (I have something way better now!) but if I could sue for my money back...

Some details: aside from the horrible price (after introductory rates expire), I tried adding the Digital Voice / "Home Phone" onto my existing account. It never worked, not even when the tech said it was "ready". The said it would fix itself overnight. They couldn't find the problem over the phone. They missed service appointments. I cancelled the Voice. Then my Internet started going in and out. They re-wired by nice coax lines. And charged me $20 jsut because their crappy modem couldn't find the signal (or their head-end couldn't drive it). Oh, yeah, I only got partial credit for the Digital Voice That Didn't Work.

So now I have AT&T U-verse and loving it. I've never been on hold more than 5 seconds when calling tech support, that actually shows up, AND fixes the problem in a single visit! And credits my account! And has better video quality! And a free DVR! I've only had it 9 days (yes, I had to call tech support in the 9 days but it's not common, unlike You-Know-Who) but I think Hell froze over and Jesus is coming.

But the kicker: the same day I give Comcast its boxes back my AT&T has an outage (hence the tech call). No, it wasn't sabotage (but that's what you just thought, like me!), just a lazy AT&T tech who thought his long-time customer needed that port more than me.

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Anonymous

terrible, terrible, terrible. how do these guys stay in business and actually make money? where is the balance that should prevail around consumers' rights and corproate incompetence and greed?
Who do we sue to get what we paid for?

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Anonymous

If you want better Comcast customer service call the Canadian line at 1-877-220-3549. They are lot friendlier and they know what there doing.

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Anonymous

I would like to reply to the first comment. Thank you for notifying Comcast that you are pirating Comcast Cable TV. Surely you will be notified soon. Thank you for choosing Comcast, and have yourself a Comcastic Day!

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Anonymous

With all the Comcast ranting and raving, I understand the fustrations. But where do you get flawless service? There is someone bitter and unhappy to be at work every where I go - restaurants, retail stores, calling my credit card company, or calling my cable company. I always seem to find the girl in the middle of a bad break up or the guy that would rather be surfing. It's everywhere! I am in management with Comcast, and I hate to hear these stories, and I very much apologize for the hassle you've all been through. No one wants to be hassled with an internet interruption or cable interruption. Comcast is trying to get better with their service, expecting more from their call center service reps, but it's always a long process. Try your local service lobby if you have problems. Face-to-face, you are more likely to get your problem fixed right the first time.

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Anonymous

You want better response from service - don't start there! Call the 800 number to cancel your service and tell them why. They extended my discounted pricing and hooked me up with a very helpful service guy pronto. They know it costs more to obtain a new customer than to keep an existing one.

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Flanders McJ

About two years ago I was subscribing to ComCast Basic cable. I received an offer over the phone (they called me) to upgrade to ComCast Digital Cable for an introductory price of $10/month. As I had received this very same deal several years earlier while in college, I did not think it odd and accepted the offer.
/
However, two days after installation (2 days!) I received a bill for $65. I called, expecting to be told that there was a computer glitch or instance of human error. Instead, after explaining the situation to the service rep I received the following snooty response: "So, you really thought that you were going to get Digital Cable for $10 per month?"
/
Well. Needless to say I canceled immediately and that was my last dealing with ComCast.

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Anonymous

I hear ya--I dumped them as well. Comcast can take their snootiness and stick it where the sun doesn't shine ;)

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Anonymous

Totally relate to Suzie's rant. Just switched from Direct TV and dial-up internet to the local cable monster - "Metrocast" - Comcast's evil little brother - in order to get broadband. Unfortunately, we can't get DSL where we live, and the satellite internet is still very expensive.
So, off to the MetroCast folks. Too bad.

The people I have dealt with have been generally nice, but the company is TOTALLY brain-dead. You might as well go in the garage and talk to your car as far as anything you ever said to anyone in the company being retained longer than the echo ringing in your ears. I've only had them for about a month, but am already considering going back to Direct TV and just paying the freight for satellite internet. At least the satellite TV folks remember who is and who isn't a customer.

They can't remember who owns what gear. Despite telling vertually every Metrocast employee with whom I spoke that the modem was MINE and NOT rented, I got charged for modem mainteanance, along with many other erronious charges.

Sigh.
Good luck Suzie!

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MAFMusic

You got that right!! Comcast sucks bigtime.

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Anonymous

I am one of those loathing and lov, scratch that liking Comcast.

Great local corporate citizen, super nice local folks, but in the end I had to bail.

Yeah they had faster downloads than SBC er ATT but not so fast to be worth an extra $15 a month nor worth the weekly outages of 30 minutes to 4 hours I was experiencing.

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Antonio

I could have told you you'd have issues with Comcast. I have issues with their equipment at least twice a year, sometimes three, and the issues last a week each.
the customer service is usually lethargic at best.

Currently, my modem resets itself every two minutes. This sort of thing tends to happen when they add or remove features and reset/reconfigure the modem remotely.
Right now, they swear, after checking remotely, that my modem is working properly... all the while, I'm watching it reset itself over and over again.

BTW, my profession is in IT and web development, which makes it real fun to argue with them.

They really should already know the MAC address. If they can check the modem remotely, and have you as an account with a record of any form, that record should list a MAC addy for the modem you purchased, (well, there are actually two: client side and ISP side, but that's neither here nor there), which would be the smart thing to do.
And, the server will have your MAC address if the modem's been online at all, as it's one of the ways an ISP records if and when you've been online, for just such an issue as the one you've mentioned.

I'm also waiting for the Google/Feeva city-wide wifi.

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Anonymous

Wow I have my cable internet with Suddenlink which was cebridge. I started having the same problems on Tuesday. My network name would just keep disappearing and I would unplug modem. Unplug the puter. I am off Thursday and hope that I can get them to give me a new modem. I can not miss work for them to come. But it's been a real pain with doing the rebooting.

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MacAddict4Life

They are awesome and they suck at the same time. Their support is horrible, period.

However one mistake was yours; Comcast will provide your cable modem for you. Free. They DID go through a period when they didn't unless you paid extra monthly, about three years ago in fact. But now they do.

Finally, the way they are awesome, despite support sucking: The other day I pulled a total (between 4 downloads) of 1015-1020 KB/s bandwidth. That's kiloBYTES. I was within 10K of 1 MB/s. Noone else can touch that at a reasonable price. For me, that is worth lousy support.

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thejordan.net

After many years with Comcast, and fortunately, nothing but good customer service, I've ditched them for Verizon, both internet and TV service.


The few times I had to contact Comcast (all at 1-800-COMCAST), they quickly and easily solved my problems. I was one of the first people to get cable internet in my area (about 8 years ago) and had some initial hiccups with the service. It would go out intermittantly, usually returning in a few hours by itself. If it took longer than an hour or two to come back on after a modem restart, I'd call and usually they'd have it working within minutes.


It seems that my experience was atypical though. I work at Circuit City part time and hear horror stories similar to this constantly. Good thing FiOS is rolling out in Pennsylvania and a few other markets.

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Anonymous

Don't feel alone. Comcast has a nice record of being jerks. That's exactly the reason i have Verizon DSL and not Comcast Cable Internet. I do have Comcast's Cable service though (TV). One day, the picture on my TV shuts off and then back on and then off and stays off. I call Comcast. The story was very similar to your's, except it was all phone calls. A day of calls back and forth and eventually I got a semi-competent tech support guy. He said he'd take down some details and send out a guy to fix it the next day. Nobody comes. I call them again. "We're sorry all of our service representatives are busy now, please call back later". 5th or 6th attempt: someone picks up. The service request isn't even in their records. She takes down the details, and says that the guy will come within a week. 2 weeks pass, nothing. They actually didn't even bill me for that month. Then, as I walk out one day, I notice that the electrical closet on my floor was left open. I think "Hmm, a chance to screw Comcast over?" So I go in there and see the cable for my apartment (they are all labeled) hanging out. I plug it back into the box and my tv works. They haven't billed me since, and I've had [free] cable service.

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Anonymous

Thank you for notifying Comcast that you are pirating Comcast Cable TV. Surely you will be notified soon. Thank you for choosing Comcast, and have yourself a Comcastic Day!
I would just like to add that Comcast Reps, and Managers do read these blogs.

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