Is Comcast’s customer service located in Hell?

By Jessica Jenks

I like to think of myself as an understanding person.

I realize that everyone has bad days. When someone is unexpectedly short with me or cuts me off while driving, I assure myself something more important than me is going on in his or her life. Maybe the person who cut me off has a wife in the backseat giving birth. Probably not, but it could happen.

So after speaking to Comcast‘s customer service several times, I came to the conclusion that their office must be located in one of the nine circles of Hell.

My roommate, Giovanna, and I are both media studies majors. Naturally, we enjoy media. We had been using an unsecure wireless network to get online for about a week when it disappeared, and we decided to break down and get Comcast. I wish I could Hot Tub Time Machine myself back to a week ago and warn myself about what a hassle this would turn out to be.

The first interaction with Comcast took place when my roommate called. She spent a lengthy amount of time on hold. She hung up, called back, and decided to dial 2 for Spanish. This is not a case of lost in translation; she sprechen sie Spanish better than she sprechen sie English. After speaking with someone, we had to decide between an option for college students and basic cable and Internet. I watch most shows online, so TV was not that important to either of us. We really just wanted Internet, but we decided to go with the package for college students. We set up an appointment for someone to come install it on Sunday morning. On Saturday, my roommate changed her mind and decided to go with the basic cable option. She called, switched our order, and all seemed swell.

The Comcast man arrived at 9:30 Sunday morning. I should reiterate the fact that Comcast knew we were college students living in an apartment. The guy comes in, installs everything to my TV, and hooks my laptop up to the Internet. Then he informs me that my roommate’s TV cannot be hooked up because we do not have another outlet, and he needs to drill a hole which he cannot do without permission from the apartment manager. He told me that it is very common and should be easy to get the letter.

I realize that it is not their job to make sure we have enough outlets, but I would have appreciated it if this fact was mentioned to us before they came to install. Though not Comcast’s fault, I cannot imagine that Giovanna is the first person living in her room in this apartment who has wanted cable in it. Why a little hole for this purpose does not already exist in her room boggles my mind.

“Fine,” I told Comcast man. “We will get the letter. Do we get a wireless router so my roommate can get on the Internet?” What a silly question for me to ask. He laughed and said, “We don’t just give those things out. They cost $150.00 to install. You can order one online from us for free with a self-installation kit or go to our office and pick one up.”

I found myself boggled on why it costs $150.00 for them to install it when a customer can get one for free and install it themselves in five minutes.

My roommate came back on Monday to find nothing was hooked up in her room. Oh, and surprise! They installed the wrong package. My roommate called and told Comcast how they messed up. They told her that they could not come install the package we ordered at the discounted price because we were no longer new customers since they had installed the wrong package the previous day. That makes absolutely no sense, but the customer service representative repeatedly explained this to my roommate. I was having none of it.

Feeling very assertive, I called Comcast. I explained the problem very matter-of-factly. I was then transferred to a different department. I explained again and was transferred again. The third person I spoke to informed me that the package we were originally told we could have never existed; therefore, we could not have it, and we should stick with the package that was installed because it is such a good deal. She said once we had the letter, the Comcast installer would come back out and hook up cable in Giovanna’s room.

On a Thursday between 7:30 and 10 a.m., an installer came, drilled a hole, and left. I wish I could somehow frustrate Comcast as much as they have frustrated me; but then I remembered where their office is located, and I understand. It’s not their fault. They are doing the best they can considering there is no air conditioning in Hell.

I have not had the best experiences with Comcast. However, I’m sure many people who have Comcast receive perfectly acceptable customer service. I talked to Angelynne Amores, Comcast’s director of communications for Illinois, who was very polite and helpful. She assured me that my situation was very uncommon.

“Comcast strives to provide superior customer service. When something goes wrong, we work hard and diligently to gain back the respect of the customer,” she said.

She also reminded me about Comcast’s customer guarantee, which was created about a year ago to insure customer satisfaction. This includes a 30-day money back guarantee and round the clock customer service. Everything worked out eventually, and I still have the option to cancel and get my dollars back.