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The following is a placeholder article, an essay from Forbes about the subject. Fair use is claimed, as an illustration of the subject matter of the article, that cannot be conveyed otherwise.

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from by Laurence Kotlikoff, Forbes Contributor: fiscal policy, macro, banking, healthcare, etc.

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<< Beginning Forbes online magazine section Retirement 11/10/2013 @ 1:57PM >>

Comcast: Customer Service Or Consumer Fraud?Edit

I hesitate to write about my own personal experiences with companies that I believe they are engaging in consumer fraud because I may be overreacting out of frustration.

But I also realize that most consumers aren’t in my position of publicly voicing their outrage and, thus, we, customers, as a group, have no voice unless those of us with a platform speak out.

So let me vent!

This morning I woke up to my Comcast CMCSA +1.25% network not working. I called customer support. Tracy was excellent and in 20 minutes had the system up and running again.

But there was a problem. She had restored the original network name with its 16-digit password.

Me: “Please help me reset my network name and password, Tracy.”

Tracy: “I can’t do that. It’s a different department. I’m not allowed to help you do this.” I’ll transfer you over.

Tracy transferred me and I was back to the same automatic dialing options as when I first called. So now I’m speaking to Ellen. Same story.

Ellen: “I’ll transfer you over to the right number.”

Me: “Ellen, please stay on the line.”

Ellen: “I will.”

I get transferred back to the same options. Ellen’s not on the line.

On my fifth iteration of this, 45 minutes later, Cynthia emails me instructions for resetting the name and password via a Wizard.

The Wizard turns out to let you reset the name and password for my connection to the Wizard.

Another 30 minutes later, my blood pressure rising to 160/130, I get Frank on the line. He says I can pay $6 per month with Signature Support to get fixed that which Comcast broke.

I agree.

After another 15 minutes, with Frank staying on the line and commenting that he was being driven insane by the background music, Silvia comes on the line.

Silvia tells us that it’s not $6 per month, which I can cancel after one month (as Frank said), but $79 as a one-time fee.

Frank, says it’s supposed to be $6 per month. Silvia says Frank’s got it wrong. It’s $79.

I ask to speak to a supervisor.

Another 20 minutes of awful background music. Silvia comes back on the line to say it’s $6 per month. She gives me a ticket number, connects me with Ben, and Frank signs off.

Ben is very cheery. I’m not into cheery. I’m into outrage. It’s been over 2 hours to fix something that should take 2 minutes.

Ben then proceeds to tell me to hardwire my Air laptop with an Ethernet cable to the Comcast combined modem/router. But I have no cable and my laptop has no Ethernet port

I explain this isn’t possible. Ben says he can’t help me. They can only do this via a hard wire connection. “Could I please go to the Apple AAPL -0.06% store and buy a wire and a special adaptor and call back.”

“No Ben,” I said, “What I can do and am about to do is write a column about Comcast’s attempt to sell me a $79 fix, which actually sells for $6, to fix something that Comcast broke and can’t promise will stay fixed, and that I was promised you could fix only to find out you can’t do it remotely.

My column will be read by, I hope, thousands of people. I pray it will go viral. Do you think your supervisor would like to talk to me? And, by the way, please Google GOOG +0.77% my name and you’ll see I’m not kidding. I do write these columns.“

Ben: “Let me have my supervisor call you back.”

Twenty minutes later, after spending time trying to chat online with Comcast’s online support and getting even more frustrated, a supervisor from Signature Service, Matt, calls me and says to stay on the line, he’s going to connect me with Andrew who will fix this remotely.”

Me: “Matt, I was told I need to be hardwired?”

Matt: “You don’t. We can do this remotely. Hold on. I’ll get Andrew on the line.”

Matt then disconnects me.

My blood pressure is up at 170/138.

Ten minutes later, Andrew calls, who logs into my system, and restores the old name and password in 2 minutes.

It’s too early to drink, which I don’t do anyway. But it’s not too early to post this column.

This must be happening everyone minute of the day to one of Comcast’s customers.

My girlfriend told me it happened to her – same thing – several months ago. After hours on the phone, she agreed to have a service tech come to the house. She took a half-day off from work and he never showed up.

She then was forced to pay the $79 fee to fix something that could go down again at any moment and that Comcast had broken.

The only reason I got this resolved, after three hours (four hours counting the time to write), was by threatening to write this column.

I recommend that the CEO of Comcast and all its board members as well as the head of customer support pop some blood pressure pills and call in anonymously with exactly my problem and see the kind of incompetence with which their company is operating and the kind of fraud their company is perpetuating.

Frankly, as an economist, I can tell you this wouldn’t be happening were Comcast not a monopolist with respect to the delivery of its services in my part of Boston. They are the only service provider and they are acting just like it.

But Comcast customer support could be split off from the entity that actually provides TV, internet, and phone service and turned into a competitive industry. I recommend that the FCC and Anti-Trust Division of the Justice Department look into this.

Our government didn’t break up AT&T T +0.41% decades ago, freeing the American public from a terrible national telecommunications monopolist, only to deliver us into the hands of local telecom monopolists, who, in many ways, are far worse.

       This sounds like every interaction I have ever had with Comcast. Rarely do I have the first customer service rep successfully handle my concern &/or fix the issue. It always takes 4-5 reps, over several calls, sometimes over several days. When they schedule a visit to the home, they rarely show up on time, if at all. In the Philadelphia area, they are also the only game in town. Where’s a trust buster when you need one?
       Michel Falcon Michel Falcon 8 months ago
       Hi Laurence-
       I also am reluctant to write posts like this but sometimes it needs to be done. I would lean toward thinking that this is definitely a strategic move by Comcast to increase revenue. In any other industry, they wouldn’t be able to get away with this but the telecomm industry are only run by a few. As for the employees, they are only doing what they are instructed to do by management. I have a saying, “People don’t fail, systems do” which fits nicely with your post.
       Robert Paulson Robert Paulson 8 months ago
       Sounds like a few experiences I’ve had with them.
       Elijah Bailey Elijah Bailey 8 months ago
       I just switched from Verison Fios to Comcast xfinity. After a number of years with both I feel I am an expert as much as the next guy. They both provide basically the same service which has a 99.9% up time. Whether it’s fiber to the home or coax, as long as my throughput matches what I am billed for, I don’t care how they deliver it. It’s all marketing hype to me. One thing is constant, no matter which service you use, consumer needs to be able to handle most “internal” problems themselves. Today we need to know a little bit about home networking, routers, access points (AP), wi-fi security. We need to be able to administer it without relying on our ISP. Comcast will install the most basic router in your home on a crowded 2.4ghz frequency and call it “gateway” to sound fancy. If your house is large you have a range problem. If you live in urban area or condo, you have an interference problem. In many case you need to have your own equipment beyond the boiler plate router an ISP gives you. Recently I added an AirPort Extreme (product placement) to my 2 AP home setup and have disabled Comcast’s router completely.
       3rd tier support we get is not going to solve every little thing via the phone. Today we all need the ability to troubleshoot a network in our own homes.
       Kate Coe Kate Coe 4 months ago
       While your technical info is useful, you’re missing the point on the vast amount of disception this company engages in. I think this may have occured as the word ‘service’ is being used to mean two different things: customer service v. cable/internet service, and you seemed to have mistaken complaints about customer service to mean the utilities themselves (?)
       And, I do agree that Comcast’s router is junk. And their subcontracted wireless router, worse than junk :)
       Given your attempt to attempt to shift the blame to the consumer, I am hoping that your misunderstanding is due to the dual meaning of ‘service’, rather than that you, conceivably, work for Comcast.
       While the columnist may have had a simple issue on the tech side, and you may feel that we all need to be ‘self-sufficient’, despite lacking your self-described expertise, it appeared to me that his venting was not about the technical issue, but the atrocious customer service he encountered.
       I don’t think anyone here has unrealistic expectations re the glitches which occur due to functional issues. It’s the constant deceit that is driving people over the edge. My current absolute dump of a home is completely wired for home networking. . Much of my own family worked in the industry before the net, my father designed large-scale circuitry for Western Electric, my uncle was a Bell plant mgr, etc., and as the industry evolved (or devolved re AT&T to Lucent and in regards to the current level of cust. svc.) I was reminded to stay on top of the new developments, from the embryonic development of fiberoptics to our current BNW.
       And, I had always stayed as much on the cutting edge of techie stuff as I could afford, although am quite sick of it all right now. I’m sick enough of CC to even give up television–despite the excellent shows available on cable, and Charlie and Fareed on networks.
       We–meaning customers–pay for the ISP and are entitled to what we pay for, without being lied to, constantly deceived, rerouted with no record of the hours of previous address of the issue left untranscribed, and without being grossly overbilled every time we blink. This has zip to do with our own personal accountability.
       While some problems may seem simple to resolve to you and within the scope of the consumer, if they’re that simple, a rep should be able to explain this to the customer within a few minutes, rather tormenting them with than hours of frustrating and unfruitful bs. Or, a simple manual for self-service could have been provided by Comcast, perhaps the ones they didn’t provide to their own support reps….
       And, perhaps you can refer the rest of us to some manual for becoming self-sufficient while some of us explore more customer-friendly options (?), and I mean this as a genuine request :)
   Joshua Steimle Joshua Steimle, Contributor 8 months ago
   I had a fairly epic experience with Comcast support myself. I suspect it’s not just us.
   Why Not to Use Comcast Internet
       Called-out comment
       Jacob Mccoy Jacob Mccoy 7 months ago
       Okay so i am pointing this out on my own behalf……The saying not all snow flakes are the same….Same goes for people. I do believe that customer service is a much needed resource so much that at times there is an issue that arises where some areas are overlooked. Comcast is not the only ISP that has the same issue in Customer service. There are plenty of good techs that do a fantastic job for any ISP just not all across the board. To generalize a whole company on a few overlooks seems a bit out there. Call any customer service and you will run into it. This is my own personal opinion which i am entitled to as you are but please dont judge a whole company by a few people that made a bad experience. Thanks
       Kate Coe Kate Coe 4 months ago
       I’m about to post my own experience with Comcast, immensely condensed. While customer service may be atrocious there, with the few actually helpful personnel shining the more brightly by comparison, Comcast’s issues go far beyond simply poor customer service and definitely pass the border into actual fraud, as far as the legal definition I’m familiar with.
       Edwin Kaplan Edwin Kaplan 8 months ago
       My experiences with Comcast were and still continue to be WORSE!
       I have been scammed, lied to, cheated, overcharged and spent many hours with horrible results!
       This is a company that is not inept, but is evil and deceptive beyond tolerance.
       And there is no way to retaliate .
       We are not protected by any government at any level.
       Bob Smith Bob Smith 8 months ago
       Well the only way to retaliate is to find another company and signal our distaste for Comcast business practices by canceling our service and going with another provider. It would be nice to break the hold of the monopoly however but I don’t see that happening any time soon.
       Edwin Kaplan Edwin Kaplan 8 months ago
       I’m stuck with a “bulk rate” contract about $50 per month made by a condo board president for 6 yrs. plus yearly increase for basic cable.(inept or something).
       Alternative is AT&T, reputed to be as bad.
       They don’t compete to keep prices high.
       Biker Rey Biker Rey 6 months ago
       I also have been lied scammed and service is HORRIBLE.. Cant wait to switch Never again!
       Bob Smith Bob Smith 8 months ago
       Well the reason for Comcast Internet for me is it is fast and reliable but if it is down the support makes you want to run your own line with tin cans and wax string. I too have had the Comcast “customer service” nightmare. They indiscriminately provide said “service” to all their customers. I essentially had to threaten to disconnect my service to speed resolution. I keep on telling myself the millisecond any company had a service that matches Comcast’s speed I will switch. After calling around I have discovered their monopoly is sadly still intact here in North Georgia.
       Roger Williams Roger Williams 8 months ago
       Pretty typical of US ISPs. They have all out sourced large chunks of their support and it is very easy to get caught in transfer hell amongst their various groups, though Comcast does seem to excel in this area, they are often listed as amongst the worst when it comes to customer support.
       In Comcast’s defense, the big issue these days is wireless. There are thousands of wireless devices out there and many do not fully conform to wireless standards (including Apple). People expect their ISP to support (for free) these devices even though the issue is with their device and not their internet service. Users need to learn enough to get their devices to work or they should not be surprised they have to pay for support. As soon as you realize that YOU are responsible for the wireless devices that you CHOOSE to buy, your blood pressure should go down.
       You never stated what happened to cause your issue, so it is hard to have an opinion of whether Comcast caused it or not. It is pretty rare that people just wake up and their wireless doesn’t work anymore. Usually something happened. Your power could have gone briefly overnight which is not a Comcast issue.
       You also didn’t explain why you couldn’t live with your “original network name with its 16-digit password”, you should have been able to connect using that name and password by yourself. My ISP is the same, the router they provided has a long cryptic password which is inconvenient. My understanding is they all do that for security, you can change it for convenience, but it is your decision if you want to change your password to something less secure. My router works the same, if I change the password and later reset the router it will go back to that original cryptic password.
       Shame on Comcast for their terrible customer support, bouncing you around, and inconsistent pricing information. Shame on you (possibly – since you didn’t give enough details) for expecting them to support your wireless for free.
       Wireless ignorance is not an excuse to receive free support, it is a reason you should expect to pay to get help.
       Bob Smith Bob Smith 8 months ago
       My spiffy new Comcast router has WiFi built-in. Should I ask Comcast to help me for free or should that be part of the service?
       Roger Williams Roger Williams 8 months ago
       Read the directions of the device that you choose to purchase and are trying to connect to the Comcast router. Follow them.
       That spiffy router has a sticker that has the name and password on it. If needed obtain a magnifying glass.
       Still a no-go? Google is your friend. I would call the OEM of the device before I called Comcast assuming other devices you have work.
       If you are looking for training on how to change your router to support new devices I am not sure you should expect Comcast to do that for free.
       shareek buckwheat shareek buckwheat 8 months ago
       Using your position as a Forbes contributor to diss a company for a personal issue on a subject matter that is not in your field of expertise make you the Fraud.
       Mike Gilleran Mike Gilleran 8 months ago
       Thank you Thank you Thank you! Comcast’s Customer service is HORRIBLE! I have never come across such bad customer service in my life. I too have been passed from department to department for about an hour before giving up and managing to fix my issue myself. We have no choice in our area but Comcast if I want high speed internet, if there was I would cancel my subscription as fast as a rocket.
       Dave Hoffman Dave Hoffman 8 months ago
       I hardly ever post comments to articles/blogs/etc but I had to chime in here. I will post disclaimer first that my line of work is in IT. So, yes I run my own home network with plenty of devices, 4 PC, 2 laptops, 3 tablets, and 2 cell phones. 3 BluRay players, 2 Xbox 360s, 2 network storage devices, a Windows Server with virtual machines (Testing environment). I agree with a comment before mine that you didn’t really state what was the issue. But reading into it I’ll take a guess that for some reason your home Gateway (modem/router/wifi all-in-one) box locked up. Did you power cycle it first to see if that fixed it? I’ll guess no. Rule one. Restart the device before you call support. So you had Comcast support reset the box. In doing so it reverted back to the default SSID wifi network name and 16 digit pass code to access the wifi. This was the issue, you didn’t want to change your Apple Air’s wifi settings to match the default, which would have had you back online in seconds. (another story would be how did it get setup the first time? Original install had his own laptop I guess? And asked you want you wanted it changed to?) And as you don’t have a PC/laptop with an Ethernet connection to access the gateway, you’re ok with a Comcast tech knowing what your personal passphrase is to your gateway. Not 100% secure but odds are that tech wont look your address up in billing and go hang out in front of your place and gain access to your home network, but I digress.
       It really sounds like you had issues after you lost the first tech in describing what you wanted fixed. And I can see why they don’t want just any tech accessing the gateway internally from their side to make changes to the SSID and passphrase. It’s a security issue. What you should have done was told a tech to put the unit in “full bridge mode” and then it becomes a dumb modem. Put your own router/wifi devices behind it and then it is for sure on you to support your own equipment. And if you don’t know how to, then Google it, you’ll figure it out.
       The only point I’ll give you on the Comcast support is that yes, the first level support you get will be just that. They will be basic script reading folks trying to get you sorted out as quick as possible. Knowing the script and doing those small steps first can help the call go quicker.
       You do the general public a dis-service in not going into more detail in your article. Why did you not fully detail what Comcast was offering with the $6.00 a month charge? What was the $79.00 charge for? Was the 6.00 per month a fee they offer to support your internal network? Was the $79 a one time charge to setup your own home network? Is this a fee that would be charged to someone who said, please help me setup my new D-link home wifi router that I just bought at the local electronics store? This info would have been more helpful.
       Edwin Kaplan Edwin Kaplan 8 months ago
       respond to “Buckwheat”.
       Being a customer and a retired CEO of a wonderful public company makes me pretty qualified.
       How about you?
       Edwin Kaplan Edwin Kaplan 6 months ago
       AND, COMCAST is the worst Corp. I have ever HAD to deal with.
       Never give promised credits, do not keep negative anything in your records, scam, lie, etc.
       They own NBC & Universal Films – This explains how horrendous they are!
       Jan Cunnings Jan Cunnings 6 months ago
       Edwin K, Thanks for posting this. Every word of run-around, every minute of frustrating hold time, every false assurance from Comcast has been experienced as a duplicate script by how many??? Count the comments, overwhelmingly bad reports from Comcast customers. The few comments in support of Comcast may be the only ones in the entire country that feel this way!! :)
       Dimitrios Stathopoulos Dimitrios Stathopoulos 8 months ago
       I had a similar experience with Comcast Tech Support. They transferred me to signature support and they assured me that I would only be charged if the problem was on my end. Knowing that the problem was a hardware failure with the cable modem I agreed. Long story short I had to have a tech come and replace my modem and thought that was the end of it. When I got my bill a couple of weeks later I was not happy with them signing me up for a 15 dollar a month signature support service and then charging me 12 bucks for the phone call.
       Quite the racket, mess up your modem, you call tech support, the folks say they can’t help you, and then you are transferred to signature support that signs you up for a 15 dollar a month support contract.
       Marilynn Schroeder Marilynn Schroeder 8 months ago
       I completely agree with your article. I have been trapped in the Comcast monopoly for more than 15 years.
       It has been frustrating to say the least. I’ve gone through 15 DVR boxes (they keep breaking down), multiple support calls for easy setup issues with incoming and outgoing email that should be on their support website.
       Most recently the outgoing email on my laptop suddenly decided not to send outgoing mail. After hours of research I decided to call Comcast. I thought it strange that there was no longer a “Trouble with your service” selection which included a “technical support” support selection.
       After waiting on hold because as usual there was “Longer than normal” call volume I was connected to someone to whom I explained my issue. They immediately connected me to someone else.
       That someone else was Comcast’s Signature Support Service. After explaining my issue they told me that for $49.95 I could get the issue resolved.
       OMG! I pay $183.50 per month to Comcast and I have to pay more to get support? Seriously?
       I’ll be writing to the Board of Public Utilities here in New Jersey to report them again.
       Ad Infusion Ad Infusion 8 months ago
       UGH. Screw Comcast. I’m stuck with them for business internet, because there’s no other choice for commercial broadband here in the section of Sacramento that my office is located… and they literally treat their customers like shit because they know we have no place else to go.
       Kyle Riddle Kyle Riddle 8 months ago
       I’m still having an epic battle with Comcast. After I closed my account they charged me for another month (directly debiting my checking account). I immediately called to get it corrected and to get a refund. That was in August. I was told I’d get it in 4-6 weeks. So I waited patiently until October, when I called again. After another hour with an agent, she explained that something wasn’t completed the last time, but she would complete it. I’ll get my refund in 4-6 weeks. Now it’s late November, and no refund, so I call again. After 53 minutes working with an agent, I got disconnected. So today, I get on a 74 minute chat session. I’m told both by my chat agent and my last phone agent that they are outsourcers. I think they’re actually either proud to be outsourcers, or smart enough to know they don’t want to be Comcast employees. So today, all is resolved, my refund has been resubmitted and magically, I will get my refund in 4-6 weeks. I believe it was Einstein who said it best : Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I guess Comcast has officially made me insane. Hopefully I’ll gain sanity in 4-6 weeks with a refund check. If not, I think this time I’ll see if Comcast would like to talk with me in small claims court instead.
       Romero Cavalcanti Romero Cavalcanti 8 months ago
       Thank you Professor Laurence Kotlikoff for sharing. Very interesting. There is a high price to pay for poor customer service, while conversely, there is money to be made from consistently delivering an exceptional customer experience. The challenge on both sides is that customer expectations have never been higher for service and support.
       According to Accenture’s 2012 Global Consumer Pulse Research:
       63% of consumers point to service as the most important factor in their choice of a brand.
       44% have higher customer service expectations than they had a year ago.
       70% say they are likely to switch brands if they deal with agents who are unable to answer their questions.
       62% have actually switched brands in the past year due to poor customer service.
       Mr. Brian Roberts Chief Executive Officer, Comcast Corporation, but before giving up on the idea of increased investments, consider the financial impact of both poor and exceptional customer service.
       Greetings from Brazil.
       Don Husi Don Husi 8 months ago
       Thank you, thank you thank you. Comcast service is completely that, a fraud. Like you, due to their monopoly I have no other options. This is my latest story.
       For two weeks, we have not had dial tone. Interesting, but who uses their home phone these days. After several calls to technical service, at which time we are told your problem is fixed, yet we still don’t have a dial tone, they have finally agreed to send a technician to see if it is our problem or theirs. Oh and like you, every call we were dropped or had to start over (I’m convinced they train their staff to do that just to get rid of people looking for help…really, can everyone at comcast technical support be so inept as to not be able to put someone on hold and/or transfer to a different number without dropping them?)
       Tonight I go to try and buy a movie and it says I need to call comcast. I call comcast and happen to check my account online. The website says, my bill is past due. it also says I have autopay and my credit card will be drafted not he fifth of the month. The nice folks at technical support tell me I can’t buy a movie because my account is past due (with all the emails they send, you think they could send you one if your bill didn’t get paid, but apparently that is not possible). So talking to the several nice folks at comcast (how many times do you think their associates use the words “I apologize” in every call), and I say several because of course I was dropped and transferred no less than five times tonight (not an exaggeration) they say there is simply nothing they can do until I pay my bill. I explain that I even tried to change my credit card to pay the bill because, clearly that is easier than trying to convince them that it is not my card but their system that is the problem and it still won’t work.
       How can companies as large as comcast get away with this kind of service. thank you for your voice and allowing me to share my story.
       John Greene John Greene 7 months ago
       Comcast customer service sucks. My wife has been on the phone with them for three months in a row over the same issue in billing it’s only over them charging for a late fee when she wasn’t late. They said the problem was fixed after only a total of two hours on the phone. Month four is coming we’ll see.
       zelda durham zelda durham 7 months ago
       On December 6,2013 after being fed up with the poor service that I was receiving from AT&T, I decided to give Comcast another try.
       I called Comcast and spoke to Allen who gave me his ID # to ensure me that he was giving me the best deal. I informed him that I was unemployed and I needed the lowest cost he could offer me. He went o n to tell me that they had a promotion for the Digital Triple Play for $99.98 for the first 12 months and after that it would go up to $167.93, I agreed. I ordered 3 boxes with DVR because it was also free for 12 months. I would receive 25 mb for internet speed and home phone service with unlimited local and long distance service. The installation would be waived, no contract to sign and no deposit fee. I had to wait for a week to have my current phone number to be transferred from AT&T to Comcast.
       On December 13, 2013 a technician came out to installed equipment, the very next day my phone and internet was working. I called customer service to fix the problem however they could only fix the internet issue not the phone. After two weeks and several phone calls to customer service, to avail was my phone working. December 27, 20132 I was fed up and called to have my phone service removed since it wasn’t working anyway. That would bring my bill down to $89.99 a month with change fee waived in amount of $2.99. Since then I have spoken with another customer representative whom gave me an order authorization number to correct my bill which would be sent to me. I never received that information and again after trying to reach someone on the phone is like pulling wisdom teeth. I never got the new bill information, so I decided to go ahead on January 7, 2013 sent in a payment of $123.93 which I had deducted the installation fee from my bill. I then tried calling customer service again to speak to a supervisor, I asked to go back and read my many complaints to see if he would have the charges removed from my bill. He apologized to me and told that there was nothing he could do to correct my bill and would have to pay the installation fees.
       Who’s in the wrong here, me or the representative who quoted me the fees???
       Comcast allows there employees to lie to get customers to sign up.
       Disgusted consumer
       Phil Hemenway Phil Hemenway 6 months ago
       Comcast is terriable, they operate as a monopoly and consequntly screw us with incompetent service and unreliable connections. Unlike the electric company, when the service goes down we still get charged…there is no meter.
       I’m in the process now of looking for alternative services and will cancel my Comcast account as soon as possible.
       Rodney Haszard Rodney Haszard 6 months ago
       I just read your article, and I have to say you are spot on. I have never in my lifetime experienced such incompetency. EVERYTHING about their costumer service and their billing department are horrendous! (One out of MANY examples) I recently received notice that the home owners association where I live have foot the bill for one cable box per town home. Instead, my bill came in with a $17 dollar increase! The first person I began speaking to on the phone left me on hold with the crappy music blaring through my speakerphone forever and never returned. I hung up and tried again. At first the second person seamed stumped before finally realizing they made an error. I am confident that my personal health has decrease a bit.
       Rodney Haszard Rodney Haszard 6 months ago
       To follow up on my last post, I recieved another HD DVR box that works better than the last, except the DVR reads 75% full after only four 1 hr programs have been recorded on it. Here we go again! It’s like a never ending migraine.
       Ann McBride Ann McBride 6 months ago
       I have been on my cell phone 4 days for 30-45 minutes each time trying to get my house phone to work. I can make a call out but it doesn’t ring. I make an appointment for them to come out. Wait 3 hours. They don’t show up because they called and no one answered the phone THAT IS NOT WORKING. They have my cell phone. I told the woman on the phone to tell them to call my cell or knock on the door. Nope. They are totally incompetent and we should not have to pay these high fees for incompetent service. I am sending them a bill for my time each and every time I have to spend wasting my time with idiots.
       Yashmyn Jackson Yashmyn Jackson 6 months ago
       I’m in Detroit, MI. I’d like to send you a hard copy of a transcript of a chat session I had with a Xfinity/Comcast rep, that shows that their practices border on – if not actually qualify as – fraudulent. Please comment here in the next 7 days if you’re interested.
       Jan Cunnings Jan Cunnings 6 months ago
       Wow, thanks for letting me know I’m not alone in this! I’ve been through the same routine as you 4 times in the past 5 months! I call monthly attempting to cancel a service I DON’T HAVE and continue to endure. On the last call I talked w a young man who laughed at me and invited office mates to listen in. They laughed too.
       Sean Patrick Sean Patrick 6 months ago
       Totally agree. These folks are completely out of control. Their product is inferior and their customer service is abysmal. Fortunately, I was able to switch to another provider (centurylink) whose product has been very good. So funny reading this article because every single part of it was the same as what I experienced, including the horrendous hold music, the “technician” who doesn’t show up after you take a half day off of work (ala a bad Seinfeld episode) and “cheery” customer service telephone person who has absolutely no grasp of or ability to address the big picture. DO NOT buy this company’s stock because they have got to be headed for the tank with the way that they are operating. One of the happier days of my life in the past 60 days was the day that I was able to get rid of them as my internet provider.
       P.S. Must share that when I was finally able to get a technician to come out to the house he told me that my internet speed was “excellent” but that perhaps the reason I was having trouble with my internet service was because my microwave located in another part of the house on a different floor (and which has been in the house for 10 years) may be causing my recent internet problems…….. wow. Yes, I was able to finally get a technician to come to the house after spending an entire saturday calling comcast every hour to remind them that they were supposed to be sending a technician out that day. Each customer service person that I spoke too seem “cheerfully” surprised that I had an appointment. So at least comcast customer service is teaching its telephone people to be cheerful, but the company pretty much sucks at providing internet, which is what I was paying them for.
       Rodney Haszard Rodney Haszard 6 months ago
       Hmm. Your microwave you say? My technician told me to stop flushing my toilets.
       Anil Pathiary Anil Pathiary 6 months ago
       I thought I am the only having issue with the comcast. They are terrible is keeping promises. They offer me at one side and at the other side they deny it.
       I had their internet service and recently moved to new address. The agent i talked offered me a new plan of 20mbps for 29.99/mo for 12 months and when I got the bill I saw some upgrades and downgrades. Upgrade was 29.99/mo to 49.99/mo for 6months and the downgrade was 20mbps to 7mbps. When I called the customer service manager and he offered me the same plan that I was using at my old address and transfered to another dept. to reinstate it. On that side they refused to do that because of the reason unknown to them.
       It sounds funny and frustrating at the same time. They are horrible in keeping promises. I could select some other plans which cheaper and comes in bundle. But I think comcast is not aware of some thing each customer has – that is PRIDE.
       Derrick S Derrick S 6 months ago
       I had some of the same issues with comcast. the customer service is the worst I ever tried to contact. I believe everyone is reading from a script. My service been dropping at night for months and all I get is we have maintance going on. I work from and and pay for internet service which should be available.
       Sure wish there was another service in my area where I could keep my email address and drop these clowns….
       Jan Cunnings Jan Cunnings 6 months ago
       Wanted to share recent contact w Comcast w others who are having similar, “scripted” experiences. After 4 months of trying to get Comcast to stop billing me for their service WHICH I’VE NEVER HAD, finally a 1/2 sized resolution. Sunday a Comcast repo-agent arrived to reclaim the modem as my (phantom) account balance is overdue. I explained that I’ve had another provider the entire time, I’d only inquired about Comcast service, never accepted a modem from them so there was none to give him. He seemed sincere, ashamed, and frank about our discussion. He explained that Comcast has the ability to see that no signal is going to a modem at my home. OK, no signal to MY home…now I get it…in one of the earlier failed phone calls the service person asked if I’d passed the modem on to someone else…I see where she was going w the question…no wonder they are billing me for an account…they sent a modem out to me even tho I told them I wasn’t interested. Hmmm, wondering where that modem is? Do they have a record of someone signing/accepting it? During our discussion the repo-agent assured me he’d remove my account from the system. This would take 11-18 days depending on the speed of paperwork. I thanked him for his efforts to get me out of the system but he stated Comcast will still expect payments for the four previous months they had me enrolled as a customer!!
       Waiting to see what happens next, not too optimistic about resolving the second 1/2 of this problem. Considering a complaint to my state’s attorney generals office…
       My sincere wishes for luck, and patience to others out there stuck w Comcast issues.
       Linda Vogt Linda Vogt 6 months ago
       Oh my God, is TV really important enough to endure this abuse from Comcast? I thought AT&T was terrible, but Comcast is even worse. Is there any way to get cable TV without going through this ? Is there ant hope of getting Comcast to pay for the hours of cell phone minutes I’ve been on hold with them? Or should I just cut my losses and cancel the account?
       Jan Cunnings Jan Cunnings 6 months ago
       They hope you will be so disgusted that you pay them to cancel your account!!
       Jan Cunnings Jan Cunnings 6 months ago
       …received bill for 5th month of non-existant service today! Will it ever end?!
       Jan Cunnings Jan Cunnings 6 months ago
       Received bill today for 5th month of non-existant service today! Will it ever end?!
       Drtsc Drtsc 5 months ago
       Our story: Two days ago a tech came to install a new DVR. While he was working he dislodged a radio antenna that fell onto the Comcast box and caused a big spark. Our 46″ flat screen was fried. He called his boss, then left. No one is calling us back.
       Drtsc Drtsc 5 months ago
       Just read that there is a $500 cap on damage liability in our Comcast contract. Does anyone know if that is true? Our television was destroyed!!
       Mayflowers Mayflowers 5 months ago
       Comcast’s record of consumer fraud is still alive and well. Customer service representatives are not held accountable to the customer for anything they say over the phone. They are allowed to misrepresent, mislead, and lie so long as Comcast has a written contract on file. It doesn’t matter how many promises are given over the phone, they are not held accountable for anything. Good luck to any Comcast customer who has problems with them–not only will the representatives refuse to give you their full names, they refuse to provide anything in writing because they know that they will be held responsible for what is said if they do. Convenient, no?
       nichtmehr nichtmehr 4 months ago
       I signed up for Comcast last year and noticed that I can’t do much on their site with my profile. It does show my account number and shows correct service.
       I decided to call them and they told me that their system wiped LOST my account info and I need sign up for the services again!!!
       The above means, that I need to signup with the current offer which is worse then the one I subscribed. I have original email with account number and order confirmation and they say the don’t know me and I need to sign up again. I had Comcast about 5 years ago and it was a nightmare. Then I had Verizon and their price skyrocketed, so Comcast started offering cheap packages, but… are you ready to deal with them?!
       Jon Jon 4 months ago
       From my personal experience, yours is rather positive.
       Steven Holmes Steven Holmes 4 months ago
       In December of 2013 my family and I relocated to Adairsville, Georgia. In preparation for our move, I contacted Comcast to start services at our new address. The representative that I spoke to was extremely helpful and had us set up for installation on December 23, 2013.
       I explained to the sales representative that I wanted to have whole home DVR service and she advised me of the service that offered that option. The service that I signed up for was a “Triple Play” that included whole home DVR service, 50 Mbps internet, and home telephone for an introductory price of $199.00 per month. The package was to include one whole home DVR and four additional receivers.
       When installation day arrived, the tech stated that a ground rod needed to be placed near where the cable service came into the house and that he could not complete the installation until then. I advised the technician that I could have a ground rod installed within minutes if he would wait. Although he was unable to wait, the technician stated that he would return later that day to install the service, he never returned.
       On December 24, 2013, I called Comcast customer service and explained the situation to the representative who answered. A new installation date was set for January 11, 2014; almost three weeks past our original install date.
       On January 11, 2014 the installation technician arrived and began installing services. Prior to completing the install, the gentleman stated that his girlfriend was “freaking out” and he needed to leave but that the receivers were booting up and should be working within approximately one hour. After four hours, the only receiver working was the DVR; the other four never came online.
       On January 12, 2014 I called customer service again to advise them that our service was not working properly. The representative I spoke with scheduled another technician to visit our residence and complete the install on January 17, 2014.
       On January 17, 2014 my wife waited at the residence for the technician who never arrived. That evening I called customer service and was told that I cancelled the install and that I would not receive credit for the technician not arriving because I did not call during the time that the technician was supposed to be at the residence.
       At this point, I was fed up with the whole situation and just wanted to cancel service and go to another provider. I contacted the customer service number and followed the automated prompts to cancel service. As soon as I would navigate through the menu to speak to a representative, the system would hang up on me. I ended up having to call back several times before I could speak to a representative.
       When I finally reached a live person I explained my situation and told him that I would like to either be credited for the first month’s bill and installation fees or cancel my service. He stated that I was under contract and could not cancel without incurring a fee. At that point I asked to speak to a supervisor and was hung up on. I immediately called back and had to go through getting transferred to a dead line that would hang up on me several times before I was actually connected to a live person. I asked this representative to transfer me to a supervisor and was connected to a woman who identified herself as a supervisor.
       I explained my frustration to the supervisor who assured me that she could rectify the situation and have someone come out and get our services up and running. She was also willing to give us a partial credit on our first bill (which had already arrived even though our service was still not completely installed.) I agreed to her terms and felt confident that on the fourth appointment, our cable would finally be fully installed.
       When the fourth technician arrived at our house, he tinkered around for a bit. I say tinkered around because when he left, nothing had changed. When my wife asked him why he was leaving, he stated that he had to go to court. Upon hearing this, she asked him if he was going to return or if someone else would finish the job. The technician told her that he would come back if he could but that no one else was going to finish the job that day. This sparked yet another frustrating call to Comcast customer service.
       Several days passed and another technician was dispatched to our house. This technician was an actual Comcast employee and I wish I could remember his name because he was excellent. This fine gentleman got our services up and running completely and even wore shoe protectors when he came into the house! I thought that things were finally starting to turn around.
       The weekend after our service was completely installed, I sat on the couch to watch TV and saw a message on the screen stating that the channel would be up shortly. I tried changing the channel and found that the message did not go away. I left the house for several hours to run some errands and left the television on to see if the channel would eventually come up. When I returned, the message was still on the screen. This message was only appearing on our DVR and the other devices in the house were unaffected. I called customer service once again.
       The tech support engineer attempted to send a refresh signal to the DVR and was unable to connect to it so he asked me to unplug the power from the unit. When I plugged the unit back in it rebooted and after several minutes finally came up and began working. Yet another problem solved.
       The next day I went to watch TV on the DVR again and received the same message. I did as before and rebooted the device, waited several minutes and it began working.
       Several days passed and I attempted to turn on the DVR again. Surprise, surprise, the same message appears. I called customer service again and explained the problem. This time, when I told the tech the model of my device he remarked “man, that thing’s archaic” and explained that there is much newer equipment that works better. I was furious; I was a new customer and was given “archaic” equipment. I asked what the new equipment was and he stated that the X1 system was the new equipment being installed at the time. I asked how to get this new equipment and was told to contact customer service.
       I placed yet another call to customer service and asked to be given the X1 system. I explained all the problems that I was having with my equipment and was told that I would be charged for a service call to install the equipment. I told the person I was speaking to that I did not feel that I should be charged for a service call because that is the equipment I should have received in the first place and the equipment I had was defective. The representative explained that she could not send anyone out for free but that I could call after the install and have the charges reversed. I agreed and yet another appointment was scheduled.
       When the technician arrived to install the X1 system, I was happy to see that it was the same Comcast employee who got our services running the last time. He installed the new receivers and we have been happy with them since.
       After the X1 system was installed, we received our latest bill which is over $400. Not only are we being charged for the install, we are also being charged a $10 per outlet charge for 3 “additional outlets.” This was not part of the original agreement and did not appear on the bill until the X1 system was installed. We still have the same number of receivers and outlets that we did when I originally signed up for service. The install tech did place an additional outlet in the wall to replace a wire that was running down from a hole in the ceiling, but that was not an additional outlet. I do not mind paying for him to run the wire, but I am not going to pay $10 every month for it.
       My wife attempted to contact customer service to have the charges for the install reversed. She was told that there were no notes in the file stating that we were having trouble with our old equipment and that the charges could not be reversed. Frustrated, she asked to speak to a supervisor and was promptly hung up on. When she called back, she was hung up on again and just gave up trying. I tried to call again tonight to resolve the issue and speak to someone about our bill and was also unsuccessful. I called ten times and was hung up on by the automated system every time.
       In conclusion, while I enjoy surfing the internet at 50 Mbps and watching the TV shows that I recorded with my DVR, I do not appreciate the service that I have received since becoming a Comcast customer. If someone told me this story, there is no way that I would believe them. I lived this customer service nightmare and I can barely believe it. I have been in my home 3 months now and have had more Comcast employees visit than friends and family members. This is not how it should have been and I can’t seem to get any satisfaction from the customer service line. I don’t know where to go from here but I am not happy and do not feel that my family has been treated fairly by Comcast.
       Mike Curran Mike Curran 4 months ago
       Anyone who has Comcast as a Service Provder for any length of time has probably wasted HOURS on the phone with incompetent people like he has described. I don’t know if these people haven’t been trained properly or what but I have been passed around from “tech” to “tech” who have given me different prices for the same service. There really is no excuse for them not to be all on the same page. I’ve been hung up on,had “techs” refuse to let me talk to a supervisor etc. etc. The CEO has no doubt been bombarded with similar complaints but the “attitude” of his emplyees remains the same. They just don’t care. Pathetic.
       Kate Coe Kate Coe 4 months ago
       I haven’t yet read through all the comments here but would like to make some re my own experience with this company, which I’m pretty sure meets the legal definition of fraud, since they refuse to put anything–literally anything–in writing, other than the bills they send each month which are totally at variance with the agreed upon telephone discussion amounts.
       I’m getting this in now–ill-thoughtout as it is, as I hope to get out of their service shortly, and don’t even care if I have something in place in the interim. My apologies for the length of this–it may be a medication side effect, as my brain is not consolidating info well at present. Or, I may simply be really, really angry with this outfit…
       I was with Roadrunner in PA and CA for over 20 years without a single real problem. Every month in OR, I usually have at least one service issue, sometimes three or four. Getting credit for lost service due to their incompetence is a hopeless venture, but that becomes quite minor once you’re on month-to-month.
       Every single month without a break, they have jacked up my billing by 50% from the agreed upon amount. I have told them I’m on SS, am disabled, and need my access–even typing right now is very painful–and find the constant overbilling very stressful, like everyone else I know here who has had Comcast.
       I explain every month that I have an absolute limit to what I can pay–absolute max of $135+tax, then spend hours working through the current promotions–one month six hours in a single day–and then am promptly billed around $200. The next month, after considerable threats to d/c with them, I get a bill crediting the overages, but with a new jacked up total. They refuse to send a print copy of our agreements to me, or of any promotions. I’ll ask three times, to the same rep, when the promotion ends, will write it down with their confirming the date, and then be billed for the nonpromotional price months before it was to end. When I complained, I was told 1.) it’s my responsibility to check the bill each month, 2.) we don’t do retroactive crediting.
       But, the fraud part comes in with their absolute refusal to put contracts in writing, including amounts which accrue to over $500 :) I didn’t double-check this, but if the Contract Law course I took many years ago, is still applicable, I’m pretty sure federal contract law reguires that amt to be covered by a written contract to be enforceable.
       Comcast tries to hold its members to provisions favoring Comcast without indicating what they will provide for those amounts to the members, at least in OR–making this a unilateral agreement, again, I believe this would not hold up under contract law. During our last negotiation fest, I told them I would only agree to a 24-month contract with a cancellation clause if I had it provided in writing, which they assured me would be availble on the site–not.
       After multiple calls back, during which the reere was totally unable to locate this, they said I would get it after a telephone completion of commitment. That call did not provide a single statement re what Comcast would provide. It simply asked if I was commiting to a 24-month commitment with them, yes or no, and whether I was aware of the cancellation fee, yes or no. Somehow, I don’t think this meets the test of a valid contract. (The month before they put me through hours of bs on a 12-month contract with a fixed amt, and then promptly billed me at $200, when they said it would never go over the $143 agreed upon, so I was extremely clear that the terms of both sides must be indicated in writing.)
       Everyone I’ve spoken to here describes Comcast as ‘evil’. When I called the state atty general’s ofc’s dept of consumer fraud, the person I spoke to said he himself would be out of their svc in one more week, and that they were clearly going under, so not to bother entering a c/o, just find another provider*. It was bizarre, everyone I queried on this said they were either long gone from CC, or would be in a week more, from CC.
       A little later tonight, I hope to read through the comments to see if there is some info on alternative sources of the same type of services. I have had VW for years without any problems, so I’m starting from there.
       *A particularly gratuitous statement: I really miss NY, which does address consumer fraud, and medical fraud, as I’d likely have been safely treated and back to work if I still lived there, or PA, or CA, or MA, or NJ, or…. Oregon is so enmeshed in fraud, it wouldn’t know where to start, if it actually wanted to confront it. The one person I knew before moving here told me two things to avoid: one was a local medical clinic that has now permanently destroyed my shoulder joints via incompetence/their endemic fraud, and the other was Comcast. My work was Healthcare QA, so I thought I could protect myself, rather than drive 50 miles to Portland–so much for hubris, and the utility help I had when I moved here told me CC was ORs version of RR. Now I’m peramanently disabled, in intense pain, and constantly aggravated, grrrr.)
       I haven’t paid my last bill, am not ready to even look at one more ridiculous amount, and they’ve backed off from their usual several calls a day when I’d been ‘late’ for advance pmt, so I suspect they want to reduce attrition while their merger deal is in progress (?)
       I would be very appreciative of any suggestions on how to replace these services :)
       Kate Coe Kate Coe 4 months ago
       Sorry, again. Upon rereading, my comment should have read:
       “I was with Roadrunner in PA and CA for over 20 years without a single real problem. Every month in OR, since stupidly transitioning to Comcast… ”
       I’d like to thank everyone who’s added their experience here, as well as Mr. Kotlikoff, as the similarity of experiences from across the US demonstrates the deliberate corporate choice to deceive and defraud its customers. No record maintenance, billing for nonexistent service, billing for correction of its own failure to provide equipment that was contracted at a specific price, no provision of the support that is promised as part of the service, no credit for lack of service, no written confirmation of agreed terms which are inducements to purchase, contracts which exceed $500 in obligation for the customer in which CC fails to meet their agreed upon terms, destruction of customer property by techs sine reimbursement, etc., ad nauseum…
       This company has to have violated some regulations in the consumer fraud area on a grand scale, as opposed to ‘occasional’ individual claims. Even though multimillion dollar fines (ala Dell) don’t seem to faze these giants, in Comcast’s case, the media attention might accelerate their customer loss, and spare others this stress. (I think NY’ers have the best chance of AG response :)
       What I, personally, don’t understand, is how someone trained at the Wharton School–albeit only as an undergrad–like Brian Roberts, could engage in such corrupt business practices and develop what is ultimately a nonproductive business model. It’s premised on a ‘grab what you can before the stuff hits the fan’, so the upcoming merger is likely a concealed, but desperate move on his part, allowing him to distance himself personally from what starts falling out. (I was accepted for Wharton’s MBA program, and my experience in researching the school and during the interview visit engendered considerable respect, and I always regretted choosing to go elsewhere–meaning no disrepect to my alma mater.)
       Comcast’s practices are so shameful, I can’t imagine how the extra money the company scams can compensate for the potential loss of prestige a serious investigation for fraud might involve. Roberts has insinuated himself into politics in a low-key way–I haven’t read the current info in the March Forbes issue on him–but he has provided a glossy cover for a business that would embarrass the mafia. They, at least, are considered ‘organized’….
       Kate Coe Kate Coe 4 months ago
       Sorry, I didn’t see an option to edit, and one sentence had an incomprehensible typo ‘After multiple calls, the ‘reps were’ not, ‘reere’, duh. I wasn’t clear about what the telephone call was to do, either. It was to spell out the terms clearly, per the rep, so that I would know absolutely what I was commiting to and that both sides would be recorded. Again, not. I thought I was so clear about quitting they might actually come through.
       I hope Time Warner is reading the customer side of Comcast before getting sucked into partnering with an outfit that’s begging to fail…
       Jodi Jodi 4 months ago
       Neither my internet or cable has worked except sporadically for months. I called, they were “unable” to schedule someone except for the middle of a work day on Thursday. She said call tomorrow “they” (not the person on the phone with me) would be able to schedule a Saturday appt. I called the next day and scheduled a Sat appt. On Thursday I received reminder calls for my Friday appt. I called (2 different numbers) to remind them that they evidently mis-scheduled and I have a Sat. appt. She asked if I’d now like to change my Friday appt to Saturday. What?? No, I just want the one I scheduled. Saturday. On Saturday I receive no calls. I call them. They shame me for missing my “Friday appt” calls (some of which were coming in while I was on hold with them trying to remind them I have a Sat appt, and a Friday one is a figment of their imagination) and, after 20 minutes, that’s 20 minutes, inform me there are no technicians available. I am paying for this. This is insanity. Comcast is a joke.
       Deborah Royce Deborah Royce 4 months ago
       Not isolated to Comcast. Appears to be isolated to phone, text, and non-face to face interactions with a customer service department. It seems it gives license to representatives to be less human to I have had very similar experiences with cable companies in rural CNY area. Choice of providers is limited through dish companies and then links to internet are a virtual Verizon monopoly. When broadband issues are involved one company blames the other and nothing is accomplished. We have never resolved services that we were to have received for two years now. Could I borrow your name? I spent hours a day on the phone on different occasions until I got too stressed and gave up both times.
       Barbara Siegreen Barbara Siegreen 4 months ago
       I am in a nightmare with Comcast of metro Detroit trying to have them return my high speed internet account back too bthe way I’ve had it for years after I was deceived when I called to report an outage. The customer service representative at that time said I needed a new modem. I asked if it would cost any more per month three times during the call and he assured me it wouldn’t Next thing I know, two boxes of equipment arrive at my house. he had signed me up for TV and phone and my bill amount was doubled. I called to get it straightened out and, long story short, the cut. rep sent me another box of equipment. My bill is the same (double). I sent an email to Comcast (a link I found that gets you through to someone who can help). A woman named Judy Porter told me she would help. She sent an email with her phone number. I would always get voicemail. i explained the problem via voice mail. She called back. It turns out if you don’t receive her call there’s no way to get in touch because her phone always goes to voicemail. I wrote her and asked if we could schedule a time. No response. Now I have to cancel and go to WOW (Wide Open West). I never wanted to do this. If they bill me I will never pay now. They are free to come and pick up the equipment but they’ll never get another cent from me. Her phone number is: 734-254-1696
       ChristopherS ChristopherS 3 months ago
       Here’s another story for you:
       My business has received its ISP service from Comcast for 10 years. Finally, with the advent of better technology, I decided to cancel this service. I was politely but firmly informed that I needed to give Comcast 60 days notice to do so. For me, this is essentially a $150 termination fee, and I’m WAY out of any sort of term contract.
       Turns out that the 60-day termination requirement was slipped into the ongoing contract in 2008. I signed my original contract in 2004, but I was told by a rep in 2009 that it would be more convenient for me to “go on auto renewal”. Sounded like it was better for everyone involved, so I did it. It seems I signed a paper document that didn’t actually contain this 60-day requirement, but did contain a LINK to an online Terms and Conditions document that did, deep down in Section 5.1. As if I’m going to tell the nice Comcast rep in front of me, “Excuse me, I have to go to the internet now, type in this 60-character URL, and read this 30-page document before I sign this paper that you’re patiently waiting for me sign.” I’m not making this up!
       Is this REALLY how Comcast wants to treat its long-time customers? Does it REALLY want to make its former customers vow NEVER to be customers again? (I honestly did consider that I would go back to it if the new tech didn’t work out. Not any more!) Does it REALLY want its former long-time customers to go to every press/online outlet and tell this story?
       deborah deborah deborah deborah 3 months ago
       I’am writing about a service call I had concerning those DVD boxes that I have 2 I was told today that 60.00 dollars was applied to my account no one told me had to pay for something that was wrong with your service not mind I have been a customer sent 1991 when cal for service for your washer machine dryer you are told up front it’ going to be a fee I was not told by your customer rep if some we would have to fix ourselves my husband was not told either I don’t think I should pay for something that I didn’t in the future I will know but I was not told your employee should make sure this is the first thing they are told thanks ms Deborah R Bell 1114 Cascade Cir SW Atlanta Ga 30311
       Carl Savard Carl Savard 2 months ago
       Its not only Comcast! Time Warner Cable here in NC is 100% the same. I have worked along side several small business across the state as an IT consultant and a network engineer. I have been fighting the residential side for 3 very long years. I have literally showed them where the issue is. I have had technicians LIE to me about accepted ping times and acceptable packet loss policies. I pray this goes viral, because the FCC and this NET Neutrality crap thats coming is going to make it even worse as a consumer. With the FCC already making terrible choices who do we have? Right…. So if I have a Degree in Networking, and work experience to back it up with and they are trying very hard to sypon money from me, imagine what they are doing all over to unsuspecting folks who dont realize that the content take FOREVER to load because your ping times are 500 plus!!! This is a pet peeve of mine, as i have gone and helped many elderly people in tier communities, where i would get caught in the emotion of how someone could lie and siphon money from these folks. Its bad, with a real investigation the facts will be numerous stacked against these companies. Wont be hard to prove fraud one bit.
       mscahn mscahn 2 months ago
       Whining clearly is not the message Comcast considers meaningful. Why not speak in terms Comcast clearly understands:
       Comcast Independence Day: July 4, 2014
       Goal: 1+ million dissatisfied customers – $1.0+ Billion Loss of Revenue
       I don’t tweet or understand what takes this important message viral. But, Comcast has to be taught a lesson. And, MONEY IS THE ONLY METRIC COMCAST CLEARLY UNDERSTANDS.
       I’ll drop Comcast on July 4th. Yes, it’s a nuisance. Swinging to the other guys may not be a significant improvement, but a migration of significant size will send a clear message of who really is the boss.
       Please pass this along. Thanks.
       Nachama Pechenik Nachama Pechenik 2 months ago
       I am so glad you were in a position to be heard. I had a situation in which the Comcast phone service was responsible for triggering a ringing noise from my disconnected alarm system. I had a high pitched ringing in my kitchen for way too long, causing me to cry from despair. I can’t tell you how overwhelming it was. Eventually, after hours of phone transfers, etc. they arranged for someone to come out the next morning. I can’t say enough how incompetent they are. Absolute fraud!!!
       Steve Weathersby Steve Weathersby 2 months ago
       Your example is exactly like my experience with Comcast. I recently moved to the Savannah, GA area, and I am expected to be here less than a year or otherwise I would have continued with DirecTV or signed a new contract with them. My short stay here would have made that option too expensive with the disconnect fees, etc. I have heard how bad Comcast service was from friends in the Atlanta metro area all of the past few years.
       When I called them a month ago to initiate service, they were too incompetent (California center, supposedly) to even take my money or place the order. I’m not kidding here. I didn’t want to bundle, so I looked online and saw manually what I wanted from TV, which was their top package to get what few channels I wanted across the board, and I wanted 25mb internet, no phone. That’s all I wanted, and they were too incompetent to place the order. After calling over and over, I finally got a West VA center, and very helpful young guy placed my order, no problem. This was after two days and calling several times just to PLACE AN ORDER for NEW SERVICE.
       That was one month ago. Three weeks ago, an independent contractor, who seemed very clueless, finally showed up and he took four hours to install my service, and my house is prewired for Comcast Service. He installed a cable box that is scratched up and looks like it’s been through the grinder. The remote wouldn’t turn it on or off while he was here, but otherwise, it seemed to all work as well as the internet service, which I checked on my phone and laptop.
       The very next day, after I got home after work to watch it, I found that it was dead, and I called customer service several times, and finally, somebody said that they need to reflash my service, which fixed things. The problem was, that my TV service went dead every day, and it had to be reflashed EVERY DAY the first week, and I called and called and called, and every rep all across the country and GLOBE was more clueless than the next. I have never experienced more clueless customer no-service people or a company in my life.
       Well, after the first week of that, I thought they finally had fixed my week old service, then I had to go on a two week business trip. I returned Friday the 23rd, Labor Day weekend, expecting to relax, do some chores and just watch my recorded shows the last two weeks and watch some on demand programming and some sports on my 3 week old Comcast Service. Well, when I got home, I found the system was totally DEAD!!! I couldn’t even reflash it through the phone menu system. So, I had to place a service call, and the next time somebody will show is Tuesday night from 5 to 7PM. So, I spent all of the 3 day weekend with NO CABLE….I just got the first month’s bill that is MORE THAN WAS PROMISED WHEN I PLACED the bill.
       I just hope the same CLUELESS independent contractor doesn’t show up. Also, I have the local number to Comcast, but the call is ALWAYS diverted to their customer no-service line that could go to the Philippines or Columbia, etc. If I could dump this turkey right now I WOULD and go with DirecTV and take the huge fees when I have to cancel in 11 months when I leave this place where Comcast has the cable monopoly……….They are the WORST COMPANY I HAVE EVER DONE BUSINESS WITH PERIOD….BY A HUGE MARGIN!!!
       Pam Rech Pam Rech 1 month ago
       Bravo, I have a love hate relationship with comcast. I am surprised that their employment ads don’t read ” If you are a pleasant person of average intelligence we will train you to forget relying on your own good sense and the manners your folks instilled in you and turn you into a underpaid Comcast service rep! Thank you for this scathingly real assessment of Comcasts customer service policies-that are NUTS!
       Shannon Shannon 1 month ago
       Comcast is horrible. We have no other option in the Outer Banks, NC. There is no exaggeration in this article! Their customer service is obnoxious, untrained and constantly give conflicting information. To add insult, they keep raising the rates for their “service”.
       Mac Rao Mac Rao 1 month ago
       Could not agree with this article more. Comcast is fraud. After disconnecting my service on May 17th due to price increases and poor service, i still received a bill this month for an outstanding balance of $58.00. Spoke to 7 differect customer service reps and was able to sort it out. But the frustrating part of it was that not one Comcast employee ever said we are sorry this happened and failed to mention that we were supposed to return their equipment. Had to find out by actually going to the service center in person and demanding to speak to a Supervisor. After having returned the equipment still got a bill for service from June 14th through July 13th when in fact I had discontinued the service on May 17th. Wonder how they continue to stay in business even though all customer satisfaction surveys I have seen rates Comcast at the 4th worst in the COUNTRY??
       Emily Bilek Emily Bilek 1 month ago
       This continues to go on, probably thousands of times each day. Recently we called Comcast to find out why our HBO wasn’t working. They told us we had to pay for it and they would add to our bill. My husband pointed out that our receipt indicated that we had already paid for it. They said, ok then we can add it… when it still didn’t work we called again and, in the process of trying to fix it, they knocked out all (ALL) of our channels. Now we have no tv, and have to wait 5 days for a tech to come out. They are the only cable option in my area. This needs to be fixed.
       Ann James Ann James 1 month ago
       I have had an ongoing problem with Comcast, and everyone I know has had similar horror stories. See my latest facebook rant below. You are lucky you have a column to voice your opinion, I have to settle for facebook rants. The bottom line is yes, I agree, this company needs to be bulldozed and start over again.
       Major Comcast Fail. It’s been over two weeks and they can’t fix Mom’s phone line. On Monday I am switching her to Century link or Vonage, Comcast is a machine, and trying to get something fixed has been like Ground hog day over and over. I call each day, talk to someone new each day, have to explain the complex problem each and every time I call, Some have difficulty understanding the problem. I can tell because they are so vaque and slow talking. They try doing the same thing that each predecessor tried (reset) It doesnt work. Then they tell me they are escalating the problen to better techs, whom I never hear from and they apparently do nothing, because I always end up at back to square one. I wake up each day to Sonny and Cher “I got you babe” in my head again again. My ground hog day hell. I call and start all over again.. Customer service is based in Texas, so whenever I mildy complain, and calmly expain that they are on the verge of giving me a complete and total nervous breakdown from having to deal with them, they all tell me they bless my heart. So back atcha Comcast. Bless your effing miserable little machine heart. You are too big and broken. You cant be repaired.
       Tobey Thompson Tobey Thompson 1 month ago
       Comcast rip-off, basic internet was 70.00, got a call from a comcast salesperson saying for 6.00 more we will have basic cable included with no cancelation fees, now we get a bill for 107.64. They claim there was no such deal made with us and they won’t play the recorded conversation that proves us right. They claim they are #1 across the country, how by ripping people off!!!
       Reply 3 weeks ago
       I have had THREE recent encounters of the dreadful category such as you described here, the most recent being today. I got cut off, from Leora, after 8 or 9 times on hold, and 8 or 9 promises that I would not be cut off, and if so, she would call me back. She did not know what I was talking about, so there was no point in calling her back. Fortunately, it was an issue I could resolve myself. I definitely knew more that Leora about the whole issue, and that can be said, despite my status as an “older” poet. The other/earlier issues were things for which I was going to be charged $75 after being told there would be no charge, so I had to stay on. There was “no record” of my conversation w/”Jeff,” who had told me what “Stormy” later told me was completely incorrect, things they NEVER do at Comcast. I told Stormy I had called 1-800-COMCAST, it was not Rite Aid I was talking to. But I, too, live in Boston, and have little choice, and cannot get the lower rates of other cities w/competition. I told my son after the last encounter that I had to take an anxiety pill. My blood pressure was truly through the roof, I dared not take it. I hate it all, did better w/my old typewriter, and/or yellow legal pads, but had to do it to keep up w/the world, as you would know. Thanks for the chance to vent.
       Edwin Kaplan Edwin Kaplan 3 weeks ago
       Comcast intentionally commits fraud and will put you up for collection, disconnect all services , never get credits given(disappear from their records).
       hang up if they can’t talk truth.
       , never return a call promised, and for 14 yrs. never received a
       correct bill – always MORE, never a cent less. We have no choice to sue, etc.
       Marti Masters Marti Masters 3 weeks ago
       It’s 8 months later and has anything with your idea about splitting Comcast from its customer service had any results? It struck me as a good idea. Clearly, Comcast is not training its support staff properly. With Comcast recently in the news for poor customer service, have you thought about starting an online petition to the White House? If as many people are having trouble as the current news and video comments indicate, then not only would creating a petition probably garner a lot of signatures, more people might be interested in reading your blog.
       Since actions speak louder than words and you are a known internet commodity, I encourage you to take real action.
       Micheala Justus Micheala Justus 2 weeks ago
       Considering what I just went through, and reading this …. Sorry for the Fbombs, but this fits!
       Y-So Sirius Y-So Sirius 1 week ago
       Haha, just came across this. Bet you loved the recent viral Comcast customer service rep. This has been going on for years, why can’t anyone do anything about it?

<< End Forbes online magazine section Retirement 11/10/2013 @ 1:57PM >>

Laurence Kotlikoff Edit

I am a professor of economics at Boston University, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a contributor to Bloomberg, the FT, the Economist, Forbes, and other media and President of Economic Security Planning, Inc. -- a company that markets personal financial planning at,, and Recent books: The Economic Consequences of the Vickers Commission, The Clash of Generations (with Scott Burns), Jimmy Stewart Is Dead, and Spend 'Til the End. Circle me on Google+

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