Comcast: Customer Service Failure Before I’m Even a Customer

Here’s the email I sent to this morning:

Two days ago I was looking for Internet and a phone line – and ONLY that – for my move to a new apartment next week. Your current special offer was acceptable, though I was not happy that it required a 2-year contract; it took some time with one of your online “analysts” to determine the cancellation fee in case I happen not to be in a Comcast service area after one year.I needed some other information, got that, and came back to the Comcast site yesterday knowing exactly what I wanted. I was forced to supply sensitive personal info (SSN) early in the process – why?I could not tell from the pages I saw whether professional installation would be needed. When the form directed me to an online analyst again, I assumed it would be to make an appointment for that. I had to wait ~5 mins to reach an analyst. I had started this process at the end of a long workweek, and it was taking much longer than I had anticipated.

The chat window closed my order page, so I could no longer see the shopping cart with charge details.

The analyst asked me for my SSN again – why?

I had selected the internet+phone only option. She tried to upsell me TV – twice. No doubt her script required it and I don’t blame her, but it was intensely annoying. If I had wanted TV, I’d have checked that box in the first place.

I don’t see why I needed to deal with a person at all, and I was left with the strong feeling that the only reason to force me to chat with a “live” person was this upsell opportunity.

She ran a credit check, which I found intrusive and unnecessary (aren’t I paying with a credit card anyway?), but I had no choice, apparently.

She informed me that there would be a $25 activation fee for the phone. I could no longer prove this, but I was fairly certain I had not seen that in the cost summary page I had been given before. When I got angr(ier), she offered to knock that down to $5.

She also insisted that I needed the $35 professional installation – which costs me not only $35, but time away from the office to wait for your technician.

I only need the phone line for the intercom/gate opening system on the new apt building. I know that such a system in my current complex works with an ADSL line, but she said this was not DSL (I didn’t think to ask if it was ADSL), and she could not find out (though she tried) whether your line will open the gate.

By this point I was feeling so manipulated and bullied by your process that I gave up. I told her I might come back to the process so to please leave it open so I would not have to go through 20 Questions with the next analyst.

Please delete all information you have about me now
– I have decided to use Their site and fees are straightforward, and much cheaper after year 1 than yours. They let me do everything online, I can use my own modem, and they encourage me to try the installation myself as “most of the time it works.” No credit check, no SSN required – they just took my credit card number.

In other words, they treat me like a competent adult and equal. Comcast’s process made me feel bullied, manipulated, and insulted.

Please confirm that you have deleted all my personal information from Comcast’s system. I do not wish to do business with you, and do not wish you to retain any information about me. Thank you.

Deirdré Straughan

Update June 12, 2013: Fifteen months later, I’m happy with Had to call for support on installation and activation, and once after that. It was quickly, cheerfully, and competently supplied, without trying to sell me anything. Furthermore, as the EFF tells me, “has my back”. With all that’s been going on in government snooping on citizens, that’s worth something.

Meanwhile, Comcast (and ATT) clog my mailbox every week with offers for services that I told them both last year I would never want. Anyone know of a way to make this stop?

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