Comcast cared today..

There is a documentary coming up on HBO called The Nine Lives of Marion Barry*  and last night I wanted to make sure it is correctly programmed into my TiVo.  (Recently I recorded an HBO series on Alzheimer's in Spanish!!).   But ….  I found HBO had gone!   (HBO is the only "fancy" cable channel we subscribe to). 

What I saw on my screen was a long message, which I did not understand, about the cable card.  What I did understand – it wasn't working.  (nor was the Spanish version). 

I checked my TiVo and found that Sunday night's True Blood was patiently waiting for me so HBO had  disappeared between late Sunday and Wednesday. 

I've posted negative experiences with Comcast a few times before and each time got a comment from someone apologizing on their behalf and offering to help.  The first time I thought I was being scammed and sent a pm to them asking how I would verify they worked for Comcast.  He provided a number and sure enough it was a Comcast office.  Then the manservant found an article in the New York Times about corporations trolling the internet for blogs complaining about their services.   The last time I whinged the guy left a nice comment about my tomato!   

So  back to last night  – what to do.  I decided to contact the commenter this afternoon and see if there was action behind his words  -  I was still skeptical.   I sent an email with the exact error message.  I was surprised to get a response really quickly saying that he would look into it.

I was even more surprised to get home and find a message from the local DC office with someone's direct phone number. Her message said that my communication error should be repaired and to check and let her know. 

Oooh Yes!  HBO is back!   I called her and got her voice mail -  one part of her greeting says if it is an "emergency to call (customer service #)" – I had a giggle as I imagined what constituted an emergency.   I left a message saying all was repaired and thanked her. She rang back to ask if there was anything else they could do (I guess I missed this opportunity to ask for some free Showtime!).    I did ask her how many people considered an emergency to be missing their favourite show.    "An awful lot"  she responded.

So  – there you go, today I had a very positive and totally painless experience with Comcast!

Marion Barry – former Mayor of DC and now Councilman – a colourful character caught up in more than a few legal wrangles; a little embarrassing for DC but always entertaining!

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Email or Phone? What if you have neither?

There was a question of the day this week:  If you had to give up either email or the telephone for the rest of your life, which one would you forgo?

Well, this morning we woke to find that we had neither!   And I only had $3.15 credit on my cell phone which is not nearly enough for a call to Comcast customer service hold line.  (the manservant does not have a cell phone).

Mmmmm – what to do with no way to report the outage?   We grabbed a laptop and headed to a fairly new coffee shop in our neighbourhood which has free wi-fi.  Actually, the manservant was the very first customer on the day they opened a couple of months ago but I had yet to visit.   So there we were enjoying a lovely cappuccino (me); an espresso (manservant); sharing a chocolate orange muffin and using the free wi-fi to contact Comcast.  

We pulled up the "chat to a live agent" (much better than a dead one!).. and got the slowest typing agent ever.  The little "agent is typing" message would appear near the dialogue box and we'd have time to write emails before her sentence would appear.   She suggested that we reset the modem and see if that works.  Ummm….  did you not read the bit about us not having phone or internet?  We are in a coffee shop 5 blocks from home.  Do we suspend the chat while we run home to push the reset button and then run back to Qualia to report the result?

Oh – well, she can set up a service call out on Tuesday and in the meantime will organise a reboot from their end.  If service is restored when we get home we can contact them and cancel the service call. 

We went home via our crappy supermarket and were pleased to find that the systems were working.   This is our local Safeway which I have referred to in previous posts as both the Soviet Safeway and the Ghetto Safeway – based on its selection of items for sale.   I love its funky shape:


 Remember my weenie little tomato plant?   (May 4th)

Well -  we are going to harvest the first tomato from it today!  It's huge! 

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Comcast ….

I used to complain about RCN Starpower but now that we have Comcast I see that RCN actually had exemplary customer service by comparison and far fewer glitches in their service.   I yearn for those just plain annoying days.  What we have with Comcast is something above & beyond frustrating.

On Sunday our television, internet and phone started "misbehaving" - cutting in and out and then the internet ceased totally.

The astro-dweeb called customer service on Sunday night - he was watching the NBA basketball so he did have time to spare.  Each time the television lost cable signal it would only be nano-seconds before the phone flickered out and then a few seconds later service would be resumed.  The  astro-dweeb persevered on hold, listening to how important his call was – for just over TWO hours!!!   Just as a real live person finally answered there was the tell tale flicker on the telly and the phone reception started sputtering -  "don't hang up, don't hang up" he shouts into the phone.  She hangs up!!

Sometime in the middle of the night we get excruciatingly slow internet back and he composes & sends an angry email to Comcast.  Monday morning we have passable internet and get this response:

We apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry. We have received your e-mail regarding your cable service. This is a follow up message to ensure that your service is working to your satisfaction. Again, we apologize for the delay in responding to your

If you are still experiencing service disruption at this time, please chat with us directly by using the following link: /chat for assistance.

We are not sure if they are apologising for keeping him on hold for 2 hours or the turnaround time of the email (which actually was not that bad!).  Internet worked all day Monday but once evening came and we turned on the telly, things ground to a halt. Not a flicker of service on televsion, phone or internet this time!

Oh,  hold on – they sent us this handy "chat" link …..  Um, note to Comcast - that's not helpful without internet!!

Yesterday, Tuesday, astro-dweeb called again & this time they have done the RCN thing and put a message on telling callers that they are having issues with their service (& basically saying "don't bother holding on").  He calls back 3 or 4 times during the morning just checking up and finally the message has gone & he gets a real person.  Real person tells him all our problems are solved  …   and they are – until last night when the television & phone went back to flickering and the internet disappeared.

This morning all is fine again….  So we are in some kind of conundrum hell as it works in the mornings when we can contact Comcast – just to have them tell us it is "working fine".  But, when we need to tell them it is not working fine we can't "chat" or call them! !

It is no surprise that some little old lady took her hammer into a Comcast office last year to complain in person!Washington Post story 


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Corporation mean-ness

We have a dual tuner TiVo  (a fabulous gadget) which requires 2 cable cards if you are going to have Comcast cable service.   By law Comcast has to provide these to make the TiVo work with their cable service but they don’t really want you to do this as they have their own recorders to rent you. 


We have had TiVo since their inception and have a lifelong subscription so we have no desire to get a monthly rental of a machine that doesn’t do as much.  So … Comcast deploy this method where they send a technician out with 2 cable cards and either one or none actually works.  After doing this a few times I bet a lot of customers just give up and go with the Comcast option. 


We are not one of those customers…….


Over 6 days we had 6 different technicians bring out a total of 12 cable cards before we got 2 which fully worked!!!!!  What amazes me is that they only allow the technicians to bring 2 cards at a time!   Can’t they be trusted not to sell them out of the back of their vans??   Or is it all a conspiracy to make you so frustrated you rent their system?


Then the blinds ……   ok, I am going to sound like a conspiracy theorist.

The blinds that the salesman said “any idiot” can install – even without a drill!    well, they were beyond the PhD of the astro-dweeb and his trusty screwdriver.  (the astro-dweeb may not be terribly "handy" but I am a farmgirl and farmgirls know how to do things!!).


The hardware they sent with them is pathetic and if you installed them their way they would splinter the wood and fall down!   Outside help was required ….   and a flexible drill.


I think Next Day Blinds make it so you get them to measure & install, and pay more, if you ever need more blinds.


Why do these places make it so hard?? 




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Thursday, November 15, 2007 3:27:23 PM

It is so nice to be in a place with more than 3 rooms!   Small things like having control over a furnace are exciting!   Finding the cut-off valves for the outside pipes was challenging and figuring out what was wrong with the sensor lights resulted in a “help” call to the previous owner! 


Comcast!  Comcast!  What can I say?  We have been in the house for 8 days and for 7 of those we have had a technician from Comcast there trying to install cable cards so our TiVo’s would work and cable for television – this involved a visit from a Comcast Surveyor one day to determine how to get the cable to the lounge-room (ultimately across the roof).    Now we know why the seller had her impressive flat screen tv in the back room – that’s where the cable access point is.


We also discovered that the street light shines in the bedroom window and then bounces off the opposing mirrored wardrobes giving the room a bright ethereal glow all night!!   I think she must have slept with a mask on!!  


A trip to “Next Day”  Blinds  ….   proved that it is not really next day  – they ship next day.   The salesperson said “any idiot can install”  them ………   the astro-dweeb is going to test his physics PhD tonight!    They come with the hardware but no instructions – not even a little diagram thing – the only paper is something telling you not to let children either strangle or suffocate themselves with the blinds or plastic!


People keep asking me when the housewarming party is.   There is new, light coloured, carpet throughout so  the prerequisite for attending would be a bottle of grog and a can of Spot Shot!!  

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