Comcast Internet and Non-Existent Customer Service

5 months now.

5 months without a reliable internet connection. The amazing thing is that I’m paying almost $300 a month for Internet access, TV, and a home phone we don’t even use any more. I keep thinking I should hook a phone back up but I just never get around to it.

5 months since my Comcast connection was something I could count on. And now, in the last month it’s become even less reliable. It’s worse than it was even a month ago, with more frequent outages and longer periods before it becomes stable again. 5 months of phone calls, lost wages whenever I have to be home to meet a technician, hours on the phone with “customer service” which is a term I use very lightly since they have helped with exactly nothing so far. And that’s not counting the nearly three weeks worth of actual outage time if you rolled it all together.

There are nights like tonight when it’s down for several hours, but thankfully it’s when I should be asleep. Of course I’m not asleep because – since I am an IT Professional and about half of what I do is from my home office. I remote in to other people’s computers and other businesses and perform repairs and upgrades, many of which can only be done after hours. My answer to constant outages when I need the computer? Install a wireless card so at least I can tether to my cell phone and have SOME connectivity.

There are other times when the connection can be down, or up and down for two and three days straight. That’s especially fun since my wife’s business is the dog kennel which is attached to our house. She provides boarding and daycare for up to 35 dogs at a time, but of course with no reliable connectivity she is having trouble running credit cards to get paid, getting her voice mail which is through an online service, and reading her emails which is how all of her reservations are made. She’s already lost one client due to a lack of communication, but I don’t suppose Comcast customer support will reimburse her for that lost income.

So far Comcast customer service has been able to do nothing. Phone calls have yielded nothing but visits from techs who have now changed out modems three times, splitters six times, several small lengths of cable, and have all made it clear that they see nothing wrong with my signal inside my house. Which is what I’ve been saying all along. The best interactions yet include two hours on the phone which ended at 1:30am when the “second level” support guru informed me that he was able to upgrade my ticket status so that it would receive special attention and the next response would be to look at the equipment outside of my home. I assume that means whatever sends the signal to my home since he said “it was week”, but I’m not really sure. The next day, today – Saturday the 25th, another 1st tier tech showed up with a splitter and new modem. Of course the connection had stabilized again by then and worked fine while he was here. I had him change the modem again anyway.

While he was doing that I called to find out why no one is paying attention to me, or even reading the account history, or doing any research on what’s been done already, and to try to get the problem upgraded to a higher status. At that point I was told by the “customer service” representative that it was impossible for anyone to upgrade the status of a problem except the tech, and he could only do that if he saw the issue happening first hand. So, one of the two people I had spoken with in the last 48 hours were lying to me. I asked how I could possibly get a tech to be present when an intermittent problem was happening, since it takes at least two days to get one onsite. Since the likelihood of the problem still happening when he arrived is almost non-existent that means my problem can never be upgraded and never fixed.

I asked the rep to agree with me but she refused. I said – “aren’t you basically telling me it’s impossible to get my problem fixed?” and she said in a huff that she would not ” agree with me just for the sake of agreeing with me. That’s when it really got surreal.

I decided I might be better off going higher up the food chain I asked to be transferred to a supervisor. The woman I spoke was less helpful than any other human I had spoken with to date. But the all time best statement, the very best comment to come from a Comcast “customer service” representative was this – When I asked how I was supposed to live with such horribly unreliable service and explained (for the 47th time) about all of the lost time, wages, income, clients, abilities, etc. etc. etc. and asked, again, how I was supposed to get this problem resolved, and that my connection was horrible, I was told – by a supposed supervisor –

“That’s just the way it is”

That’s just the way it is. I’m sorry you’re having so much trouble with your $300 internet and TV package Mr Warren, but that’s just the way it is. So I suppose that’s how we live now, that’s life in the new Millennium. Comcast connection doesn’t work? Why, no… we can’t be bothered to fix it. That’s just the way it is. Air travel strands you in a foreign country with no luggage? That’s just the way it is. Brand new car doesn’t have a working heater? That’s just the way it is. Sitting here watching my modem cycle up and down for 3 and a half hours straight? That’s just the way it is. Funny thing is – I bet if that supervisor bought a blender from Target and one of the buttons didn’t work or it only ran at half speed she’d have it right back in there for an exchange or refund. I guarantee she wouldn’t settle for “That’s just the way it is”.

More on this tomorrow including my quest for a new Internet provider. I’d rather have a 12Mb connection that works than a 75Mb connection that doesn’t. Actually, more on this every single time it goes down from now until it’s fixed or replaced with another provider’s product. Frontier is starting to look pretty attractive at the moment. And by the way Comcast, the Metro Ethernet connection I am directly responsible at my biggest client? The one that US Signal is dying to replace for less money? I sure am looking long and hard at the contract they are bringing me next week.

That’s just the way it is.