I hate Comcast … (Jennifer Rice)

    February 18, 2005

I normally don’t rant about negative experiences on my blog, but I’m hoping that my little post about how much I hate Comcast will bubble up high in Google rankings and that SOMEBODY at that company might think about improving their customer experience.

It’s all about the power of the customer, baby. Might as well stop spending millions on smiley-face advertising to get new customers, because the viral nature of the blogosphere is guaranteed to counteract it. So you really don’t need to keep reading unless you’re interested in a case study on terrible customer experience.

This is how bad it is: it’s taken me 3 weeks to disconnect my service. When I cancelled, the gal in the billing department kindly informed me that I’d have to call customer service repeatedly to disconnect my service or else I’d keep getting bills (yes, that happened. Thanks for the heads-up.) I then received collections calls almost every day for several weeks. And every time, I’d repeat my story about why I didn’t owe anything and requested that they stop calling me. And then the phone would ring the next day: “Hi, this is Comcast. I’m calling to see if you can make a payment today.” Someone finally figured out that no one ever officially submitted a disconnect order. The funny thing is, I thought they’d disconnected my service because my service wasn’t working. Just a bunch of static. (I’d always had problems with the digital music channels.)

3 weeks after my initial call, the contractor showed up at my door to collect my cable box… and whadayaknow, another contractor showed up (from a different contractor company) to do the same thing. Both of them nodded knowingly when I remarked on Comcast incompetence… they both said they’d heard the same thing from other cancelling customers.

Last straw: I just got off the phone with — guess who — Comcast. I’d given back my box and final payment a week ago. Apparently my number got back in the collections cue because they keep billing customers after the cancellation date. Why? Because the actual line outside isn’t disconnected. They have to send someone out to disconnect the line (which happens 4 weeks after cancellation) and then the customer is credited back the amount they paid. So the obvious question is, why didn’t the contractor who picked up my box disconnect the line while he was here? This has got to be costing Comcast a fortune in repeat visits, billing, customer service, collections, and any residual customer goodwill… all because their cancellation process is broken.

There’s more, but I won’t bother going into the details. It just feels so good knowing that with a single diatribe, I can inform potentially thousands of potential Comcast customers that they’d be better off finding an alternative for their cable TV service.

Jennifer Rice is the founder of Mantra Brand Communication. She has extensive experience in brand/marketing strategy, market/customer research, integrated marketing communications and channel support.

Jennifer also writes theWhat’s Your Brand Mantra? blog which offers musings on branding, marketing and the ecology of business.