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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Comcast Xfinity Mega-FAIL

So there I was late on Sunday afternoon, in front of my computer, which is in my basement. I think I've mentioned that before, but in case you weren't aware, keep this in mind as you continue to read. I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I noticed that none of the pictures people were posting, via Twitpic, Instagram, etc., were opening when I clicked on them. I looked at the cable modem and the little light on the side that indicates a signal is available, was out. I had no Internet service.

I tried cutting the power to my modem and rebooting, but it didn't help. I figured Comcast, or Xfinity, or whatever they're calling themselves this week, was having a temporary glitch. (I'll just use Comcast the rest of the way, because Xfinity is a monumentally stupid name.) So I went up to my living room to watch the rest of the NFC playoff game (by the way, as well as the New York Giants played, the Green Bay Packers really, really gave the game away with flat-out awful play). When it ended I watched "The Simpsons," and then went back downstairs to try the computer again.

No luck. No Internet connection. Which means, because my phone service is VoIP, I had to rely on my cell phone as I called Comcast. I was on the phone for an hour as their representative tried various things or had me try various things. Because my cell phone gets no signal in the basement, I kept having to run up and down the stairs each time the guy did something. First he sent a signal to refresh my cable modem, then tried something else, then asked me to push the reset button, then asked if I had a wireless connection of some kind. Then he asked if my modem was connected to a splitter or if it was connected directly to the main wire. Since I have an extra TV outlet in the basement, there is a splitter. One line then goes to the TV, the other to the modem. So I suggested I try switching out the cable going from the splitter to the modem, because my TV service was fine; I thought that stretch of wire might be causing the problem. I took off the old cable, put on the new cable, and...still no luck.

The rep finally said he'd have to send a technician out, but because of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday the earliest someone could come out was Tuesday. I told him I didn't want to go two days without service. He said that they have some people to work emergencies, but that in my area of the city they didn't have anyone to cover it (really!). He said he could set up a service appointment for 5 pm-7 pm Tuesday. I explained that I could not miss work and, because of my lengthy commute, wouldn't get home until 6 pm at the earliest. He said that the best he could do was put a note on the schedule to make my stop the very last stop of the day. So I told him to do that, but if everything didn't go perfectly that I'd cancel my entire Comcast service, noting that I've been a customer for over 20 years.

On Monday I went about my business, with no Internet or phone service except for my cell phone. Monday night, after having run an errand in Center City, I returned to my block not long after dark. Eight doors up the street from my house, I saw a white van with the Comcast logo plastered over it parked in the driveway. So clearly someone was able to get service on the holiday. It just wasn't me. I was tempted to knock on the door and complain to the technician, but I decided against it. I went home and stewed, and watched some TV -- one good thing that came from this is I was able to make a major dent in my DVR backlog -- and then decided to do something I've been thinking about for a while: move my computer from the desk in the basement to my dining room table.

It was shortly after midnight when I finally got everything moved up, hooked up and plugged in. I pushed the switch on the surge suppressor to turn on the power. That's when I noticed that all the lights on the modem were lit. I had a signal again, somehow! I opened my browser and instead of it bringing up my home page (Yahoo.com), it opened a Comcast.com page to activate my service. (I seem to recall this happened before when I had some issue.) Anyway, I went through the whole process and thought it was completed. In fact, I even installed some Comcast program that was supposed to make it easier to access my email and things like that, but then I still couldn't get my home page. Even after I reset it to Yahoo, the browser kept opening up on the Comcast "activate service" page.

So I decided to call Comcast again. (At least this time I didn't have to run up and down stairs.) This time I had a man who had a foreign accent (I'm guessing Jamaican or something like that) so he was a little difficult to understand. He had me rebooting, he tried sending the refresh signal, etc. but my browser still kept opening on the Comcast page. Finally, after over a half-hour on the phone and with the time nearing 1 a.m., he asked me to stay on hold while he got someone "with more expertise." I told him I had to go to bed because I had to get up for work. I said that someone was scheduled to come out to the house Tuesday and I'd let him take care of it. After I hung up, before I shut down the computer I uninstalled that Comcast program.

I got home from work tonight (Tuesday -- after all, it's past midnight now as I write this) and logged on, and the browser finally went right to Yahoo. However, I couldn't access my email. I had to change my password in order to get it. Once I did that, I decided to call Comcast and cancel my service appointment, hoping to do so before the technician showed up at my house.

Going through the menu prompts, the only option I could find was "confirm your appointment." I pressed the key for that option, figuring that once I confirmed it, I'd then be given the option to change or cancel it.

That's when the computer voice said: "You do not have any scheduled appointments. To schedule an appointment, press '1.'" Either the first guy on Sunday never made the appointment, or the second guy on Monday canceled it!

Wow. If I had still had an outage, I'd have waited in vain for someone to show up, then become infuriated and called Comcast, undoubtedly screaming into the phone.

I've said in the past that, while many people have complained about Comcast's customer service, after a rocky start when I first signed up for cable, I've gotten good service from Comcast over the years. Now I see what everyone else was talking about. In the next couple of days I think I'm going to have to contact them to let them know what steps they need to take to keep me as a customer...

1 comment:

ComcastCares1 said...

I apologize for the unacceptable experience.

I work for Comcast and I'd like to look into this so that we can address the issues you mentioned. If you don't mind, will you please contact me, provide your info, including your best contact number and a link to this page?

Thanks for providing the opportunity to improve our service.

Mark Casem
Comcast Corp.
National Customer Operations