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Comcast: Approaching the most frustrating company on the planet – 2 out of 5 stars

August 1, 2012

Pros:Screaming fast internet  Good phone service
Good value during the promotional period                 
Cons:Poor equipment  
Frustrating customer service  
Getting different “deals” from “Authorized Reps” that Comcast won’t honor;
The Bottom Line:Internet – good
Phone – good so far
TV – There are better choices out there.  They have a poor reputation and they have earned it. 


I have been “holding fire” on this review until I got all of the kinks worked out of my Comcast service, but that has taken so long, I decided that I could not wait any more.  I believe that I am a patient and objective person, and I do not write negative reviews as a rule, but I cannot keep quiet any longer.  
I recently (meaning 4 weeks ago) subscribed to the “triple play” bundle from Comcast in Albuquerque, NM.  Prior to that, I had home phone and internet from at&t in Houston, TX and I had Dish Network for my TV provider (HD with DVR – one box servicing two rooms).  I was paying about $85 for phone plus DSL internet and about $65 for TV per month.  I liked the services, but the DSL was definitely too slow for things like streaming HD video (3 Mbs max). 
So here is my assessment of the equivalent services that I have contracted by Comcast, which I will follow up with a chronology of events. 
Pros: Screaming fast internet (20 Mb/s up and down – only promised 8 Mb/s) for a reasonable (promotional) cost 
                Good “landline” (VOIP) phone service 
                Good value on the “triple play” bundle during the initial promotional period (6 months to one year) ~ $115/mo 
                Mostly nice customer service individuals and service technicians who all have to work to satisfy customers who are, for the most part, mad at the way that they have been treated by Comcast. 
Cons:  1) Exceptionally poor cable TV equipment (I am on my fourth cable/DVR box and not one of them has worked properly);  2) Extremely frustrating customer service business model  (no local phone number, no  “call back” if you get cut off, many automated menus to navigate to talk to a real person), highly variable expertise at the other end of the phone line; 3) Getting different “deals” from “Authorized Sales Reps” that Comcast wont honor; 3)  Foisting equipment that is nearly 10 years old (Scientific Atlanta 8300 HDC DVR cable box) on unsuspecting clients; 4)  Calling “local” numbers and immediately being routed to a Regional or National office out of state; 5) being sent defective cable TV box AND internet/phone modem, which I had to drive 30 min to the Comcast store to replace – several times;  6) calling customer service to activate my phone service (calling the number recommended in the documentation) and reaching someone who could only activate “cable” meaning cable TV.  
I could go on and on with this list, but I am not sure that it would do any good.   
My story with Comcast is as follows: 
After moving to an outlying suburb of Albuquerque, I did a fair amount of research on what the options were for internet, voice, and TV providers, and I found that, at least for high speed internet, Comcast was, essentially, the only game in town.  AT&T U-verse was not available, and any of the other available internet options were DSL, which I was trying to get away from.  After doing more research, I called one of Comcast’s Authorized Sales Reps who quoted me on a “Double Play” bundled service of internet and phone.  My plan was to get those services from Comcast and get TV via satellite, probably from Dish Network.  After going over all of the details and numbers with the sales rep, I was passed on to Comcast for installation.  It was at this point that I was told that the “bundle” I had been “sold” was not available in my area at the current time.  I was passed off to a Comcast Sales rep who tried to sell me the “triple play” bundle, but she was so full of conflicting information that I hung up.  The next day I called Comcast directly and was put through to their regional sales department, and was told that 1)  there were no deals in my area for phone + internet and 2) the tv+phone+internet  was a good deal.  The numbers looked good, even though I knew that the TV service was not a good as Dish Network, so I decided to go with the full “triple play” from Comcast.  From that point forward, I have gotten so much conflicting information, so much bad equipment, and so much run around, that I am truly regretting the experience.    
 I had the “self-install” kit to start with.   The internet worked like a charm (even though they did not include the required special battery for the device – something I had to chase down myself), but the phone and TV would not “activate”.  I went through the online insta-chat (as I had internet) and worked with someone who “promised” that the phone would be up and running in minutes after he got off of the chat session – needless to say, this did not happen.  Eventually, I got the phone kinks worked out, after being passed to “level 2 support”, but the TV was another matter.  The very nice woman working level 2 support determined that she could not fix the problem with the TV, so a local technician would have to be sent out.  
(By the way, if you schedule an appointment with Comcast for them to arrive between 8 and 10 AM, expect to get a 7:00 AM pre-recorded wake-up call from Comcast.  Also, even though the sales agent told you that you would not get charged for the “self install kit”, expect a $30 charge on your first bill for that item anyway) 
The very nice, competent technician was able to determine that, despite the fact that I could get internet, phone, and standard definition TV over the cable, there was enough noise to mess up the HD signal getting to the 10-yr-old cable box that they had given me, and he would have to run a new line.  Then he found out the box was bad anyway, and he gave me a “new” ten-year-old box with a defective DVR (only found out later).   Comcast charged me $50 for that little problem.     
Now, after 4 cable boxes, 2 service calls, 2 trips to the Albuquerque Comcast “office/store” thirty- minutes-drive away, and many, many hours on the phone with Comcast, I now have what they promised me to begin with.  How many other people have had these problems?   My guess is hundreds of thousands. 
All I can say is that I was warned.  Comcast has a terrible reputation, and now I know how they earned it. 

Recommended: No

Amount Paid (US$): 115/mo

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