There’s no “Five Finger Friday” this week. Like I said. I’ve been having “issues.”
Instead, let us break down the stupidity of the Comcastic service and the reason I hope all their phone monkeys die in a fire. People seem wildly interested. You will understand why I wish death on their phone monkeys.
Fair warning. This is long, long, long, long, long. More like 3800 words long.
I really don’t know what to do. I loathe Comcast. I could seriously contemplate doing without TV – except that I would then possess an insanely expensive modded TiVo box with no purpose other than decoration.
I also don’t know what I’d do without reliable high-speed Internet access at home. I NEED to be able to work at home for my real job.
If anyone has experience with aircards, please leave a comment. I’m a little leery of them – but am seriously thinking of going to the Verizon store to at least hear what they have to say. I belong to the cult of Apple – so take that into consideration.
ME VS. COMCAST, IN 66 ROUNDS
Comcast and I have been fighting a war since January. January people. It would be funny if it were not so tragically awful.
Fact the first: Comcast is a local monopoly. There is NO other option for cable television service, other than DISH Network.
Fact the second: The ONLY other option for Internet service is through Embarq – the rebranded Sprint local service – which enjoys a monopoly on the local telephone service.
SPRINT/EMBARQ IS NOT AN OPTION. I WILL CUT OFF BOTH LEGS, ONE ARM AND GOUGE OUT MY EYEBALLS WITH A RUSTY SALAD TONG BEFORE GIVING ANOTHER DOLLAR TO SPRINT.
Fact the third: Of the two, I used to despise Comcast marginally less. I also do not have a landline, which is why I went with Comcast for Internet service.
Fact the fourth: I live in an old building that was converted to apartments in an older area of town. It is quaint, has more charm than five Southern ladies and plays hell with infrastructure. The neighborhood was here before telephones and cable television and fiber-optics and all that jazz. Still, not my problem. That’s what I pay Comcast to deal with. That’s what I pay Comcast a VERY large chunk of money to deal with.
Fact the fifth: In JANUARY I began having problems where my digital cable (HBO/Showtime) and high-speed Internet would go out – but where I still had the basic tier of cable channels. Basic signal strength. I get everything but the digital cable channels. For some reason, it seems like I speak Swahili whenever I try to explain that to Comcast.
Fact the sixth: Highly annoyed that I am paying more than $140 a month for the privilege of not being able to watch “The Sopranos” or post to behindthecounter.com, I call Comcast. This is January 29. I have to schedule a “service call” for Feb. 2. They neglect to tell me that I will get a “confirmation call,” so I am in a phones-off-meeting at work when Comcast calls to “confirm” the appointment and miss the technician. Because of out-of-town obligations, I have to reschedule for Feb. 16 – a two-week time period during which my digital cable and Internet work only intermittently.
Fact the seventh: The “window” for the next service call is “1-5 p.m.” Having learned from the “confirmation call,” I take the afternoon of Feb. 16 off – and find myself unable to work from home because – SURPRISE - the Internet is out again. The “technician” arrives at 5:45 p.m. – at which point everything is working properly. Have I mentioned I hate Comcast? The technician looks at my modem, looks at the cable box, has me sign a sheet saying that he did indeed come to my apartment – and leaves. If he was in my presence for more than 3 minutes, I’ll eat my MacBook without soy sauce.
Fact the eighth: Five hours later, as I’m trying to catch up on the work I didn’t get done during the day, the Internet goes out again. I call Comcast. “Do you want to schedule a service call?” Well I guess so, since you seem incapable of resolving my problem. Maybe this tech will be brighter than the one before. My obvious irritation gets me an appointment on the Feb. 19. My Internet service is working intermittently – but more on than off.
Fact the ninth: The appointment window for Feb. 19 was 5-9 p.m. – I told them I couldn’t miss work just to wait for the “technician” to show up 45 minutes after the window closed. This “technician” walks in, says “It’s not your equipment. It’s a problem with the line,” has me sign the paper stating that he did come to my apartment and leaves. He was inside for less than one minute.
Fact the tenth: Things are good for two days, until I wake up on Feb. 21 and have no Internet service. I sigh and go to work. I come home ten hours later and there’s STILL no Internet service. I say “To hell with it” and go to bed. The next morning, Feb. 22, I wake up and see that I STILL don’t have Internet service. I get on the phone. “Do you want to schedule a service call?” NO! I DO NOT WANT A DAMN SERVICE CALL. IT IS NOT A SERVICE CALL. IT IS AN EXERCISE IN POINTLESS STUPIDITY.
Fact the eleventh: When faced with the third “Do you want to schedule a service call?” question, I detail the pointless service calls I have received so far. And I tell the phone monkey to look at the notes on the account. Her response “Oh. I guess there is a problem. Well, I can get you a service call.” I hung up on her.
Fact the twelfth: I get home on Feb. 22 and the Intarwebz are working again – right up until around 2 a.m.
Fact the thirteenth: Comcast gets another call. The first time I call, I wind through the phone system and wind up at a LOCAL billing facility in Kentucky. This only fills me with more rage. At this point I’ve decided that I’m through playing nice. I have the utmost respect for people in customer service positions, but a “service call” is not going to do it. Money will be refunded. Please note that I had to request a credit. At no point during ANY conversation with ANY Comcast CSR did ANY person EVER offer to compensate me for the outages.
Fact the fourteenth: In the early morning hours of Feb. 23, I get another stupid phone monkey – who seems to share the trait of being unable to listen and COMPREHEND what the customer is saying to her. As soon as she asks “Do you want to schedule a service call,” I tell her NO and tell her exactly why. The problem is NOT with my line, my equipment or anything else under my control. A “service call” isn’t going to fix any of that. What I need is for Comcast to fix their bad infrastructure. My irritation was mighty. It had been two weeks of essentially no Internet at home – even though I was paying Comcast an enormous sum each month. Her response? “Well, I can schedule a service call and put a note to send a supervisor or a ‘super technical’ person out there.”
Fact the fifteenth: We set up a service call for Feb. 28. I get a 3-7 p.m. window and a substantial credit.
Fact the sixteenth: My Internet manages to stay on until Feb. 28. It manages to go out an hour before the technician arrives. I actually thank the entire pantheon of gods in the heavens, because I can now demonstrate what is happening with words and pictures – because it is my considered opinion that the Comcast “technicians” are as dumb as a sack of hammers.
Fact the seventeenth: This turns out to be just another ‘service call.’ The ‘super technical’ person turns out to be just another technician – albeit one with a slightly higher degree of competence. This one actually LISTENS when I explain what is going on – and says “It’s a problem with the line – you’re losing signal strength.” WELL I COULD HAVE TOLD YOU THAT. I TOLD EVERY SINGLE PERSON I EVER TALKED TO AT COMCAST THAT I GOT BASIC CABLE BUT NOT DIGITAL AND HIGH-SPEED INTERNET. COMPLETE EFFING MORONS WHO DO NOT AND CANNOT LISTEN TO THEIR CUSTOMERS.
Fact the eighteenth: This technician actually makes the effort to go out and root around in the yard behind my apartment building and test the wires coming into my apartment. He replaces the connections on my apartment’s specific wire and shows me a device that measures the signal strength. It clearly shows that I’m not getting enough ‘oomph’ for premium cable and high-speed Internet.
Fact the nineteenth: I sign yet another “Tech wuz here” form, and the technician promises to report back and have a line crew sent out to “look at the lines in the area.”
Fact the twentieth: We’re good until the early morning hours of March 13, when I again experience withdrawal of Internet service. Comcast gets another phone call.
Fact the twenty-first: This time around, I get a phone monkey who offers a “service call,” gets my NO AND HERE’S WHY reply and only then looks at the notes. She tells me that the technician never requested any follow up action. I wanted to throw the phone through a window.
Fact the twenty-second: I get yet ANOTHER service call for March 22 – “because we’re just really busy.” Damn. I wonder why? Could it be you have craptastic service? This service call is double-promised to be the ever-elusive line crew and I confirm with the phone monkey that I do not need to be at my apartment for this. I also get a credit for a week of service.
Fact the twenty-third: Flash-forward to March 22. I have working Internet at home. I’m in a meeting at work when I get a phone call from Comcast to confirm my “service call.” I wanted to physically beat someone until they were bloody, then continue to reduce the meatbag to its component parts – using just my hands.
Fact the twenty-fourth: I tell the tech that I don’t want a service call, and that I want a line crew. I also tell him that I’m not driving home just for him to say “Yup. It’s a problem with the line.” The tech asks if I am canceling the call. I tell him that he can do whatever he wants, but I’m not wasting any more time with Comcast.
Fact the twenty-fifth: I get home around 6 p.m. on March 22 only to find that – SHOCKER – my Internet is out again. Comcast gets another call.
Fact the twenty-sixth: This phone monkey informs me that I canceled a service call that afternoon and should not be complaining – because calls can take like eight days to get set up. I demand the phone monkey read the notes on the account. “Oh.” More promises of a line crew.
Fact the twenty-seventh: Sometime after midnight on April 3, my service, which has been off-and-on, but more on than off, conks out entirely.
Fact the twenty-eight: April 4, an entire day with no service.
Fact the twenty-ninth: April 5, an entire day with no service.
Fact the thirtieth: April 6, an entire day with no service.
Fact the thirty-first: April 7 dawns and I have Internet service – right up to the point I go out to get lunch and come back. It’s out again. I have become used to such “comcastic” service by now. I just sacrifice another floppy disk at the altar of the modem and pray it comes back on. Soon. Please. Must have LOLcatz.
Fact the thirty-second: Some time after midnight on April 9, I decide that I have had enough of Comcast’s shitty service. I call, get the “Do you want to schedule a service call?” spiel and demand to speak with a supervisor.
Fact the thirty-third: This complete and utter tool of a human being and I spend more than 40 minutes on the telephone arguing about why I “HAVE” to have a service call in order for me to get a credit. I detail the entire list of issues I have had with Comcast – including the multiple time-wasting “service calls.” Allegedly, it is Comcast policy to not issue a credit until the problem is “resolved.” WELL MOTHER-F*****. I WANT A CREDIT FOR EVERY SINGLE DAY SINCE FEBRUARY 9 BECAUSE MY PROBLEM IS STILL NOT RESOLVED. Apparently, because I did not call to report the outage on the first day I did not have service – April 3, I can’t get a credit for any day prior to today. And battle is joined. Note to Comcast: Whoever this CSR is, you need to promote them, or pay them more. They have drunk the Comcastic Kool-Aid and will defend your slutty Comcastic honor to their last breath.
Fact the thirty-fourth: After 40 minutes of me refusing a service call and ComTool refusing to give me a credit unless I agreed to a time-wasting service call, I capitulated. I sold my honor for a $35 credit. I got a service call for April 10 – with a 1-5 p.m. window.
Fact the thirth-fifth: I told ComTool that I was completely disgusted with the way Comcast was treating me – an that I felt like I was being ignored every time I called – even though there were pages of notes on my account. Moreover, I felt that I was not getting good value for my money. ComTool – probably because he was as sick of talking to me as I was talking to him – told me to call every time my service was out to request a credit - which is a DIRECT contradiction to how things are ALLEGED to work.
Fact the thirty-sixth: The morning of April 10 dawns and I have Internet service. I get a queasy feeling, because morning service usually means no afternoon service and vice versa. I sacrifice another floppy disk to the altar of the modem in the hope that if it does go out, it will be out when this latest idiot technician is here.
Fact the thirty-seventh: I take ANOTHER afternoon off work and come home to wait for ComTech. Five o’clock rolls around and there is nothing. Six o’clock and nothing. Seven o’clock and nothing. At least I still have Internet service. At 7:30 p.m., the technician calls and says he is “running late.” REALLY!
Fact the thirty-eighth: This technician comes, says “It’s a problem with the line,” pokes around the box that has the lines going up to my apartment, sees that another tech replaced the connection and tests the signal strength. I’ve still got Internet, so of course it is bumping. He tells me “I don’t know.” I AM TELLING YOU WHAT THE PROBLEM IS. It is NOT the line into my apartment. It is NOT my equipment. It is the MAIN LINE FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD. HOW HARD IS THAT TO UNDERSTAND?
Fact the thirty-ninth: I sign yet another “Tech wuz here” form and go back upstairs to my apartment. The Internet is out. I debate my options: drink, drugs or a chainsaw. Maybe a hammer like that crazy woman in Pennsylvania.
Fact the fortieth: I immediately call Comcast and demand they confirm I just had a service call and yet still do not have service. “Do you want to schedule another service call?” Only the fact that I knew getting angry at this stupid cow would solve NOTHING prevented me from going into a fit which would have rivaled any white trash throwdown at any Wal-Mart anywhere in America.
Fact the forty-first: I demand a credit. “Well, we don’t do that.” I’m sorry, but you are unable to provide me with service. I want a credit. “Okay.”
Fact the forty-second: My Internet service resumes a day later and manages to bump along for a couple months. April, May, June. July. August. It looks like they finally fixed whatever needed fixing. There are intermittent outages, but these usually occur sometime around 3 a.m. and are usually over by the time I wake up and leave for work. Given the balance of how bad it WAS, I’m happy to have service 95% of the time.
Fact the forty-third: On August 11, the Internet starts burping again. My service goes out for the entire day on the August 11. I’m not around much on a Saturday, so I don’t really let it bother me. I figure it will come back Sunday.
Fact the forty-fourth: I wake up Sunday morning and the service is still out. I come home from the House of Wal at 11:30 p.m. and the service is still out. I’m angry, but don’t feel like picking at the scab of my Comcastic wounds just right then.
Fact the forty-fifth: I wake up Monday, August 13 and see that I have service again. I chalk it up to a momentary interruption and forget about it.
Fact the forty-sixth: August 15, my service goes out again around 10 p.m. I take it as a sign and go to bed.
Fact the forty-seventh: August 16 dawns and service is still not restored. I call Comcast and argue with them for a while. “Do you want to schedule a service call?” NO.
Fact the forty-eighth: Comcast’s phone monkeys and I, we do a little pas de deux while arguing over a credit for the past week. “I can’t give you a credit if you don’t have a service call.” I DON’T WANT A SERVICE CALL. IT IS A WASTE OF MY TIME AND YOURS. “I can’t give you a credit if you don’t have a service call. We don’t give a credit until the problem is ‘resolved.’” This would have been cute if I had not gotten at least three credits without a “resolution” to my problem.
Fact the forty-ninth: I allow them to schedule a service call. I pick a day at random and ask for the latest possible block. When the technician calls to confirm the appointment, I press IGNORE on my phone. If you waste my time with your vast reservoir of stupidity and unhelpfulness, I will waste yours.
Fact the fiftieth: The problem sorts itself out by August 21. A credit for about $10 later shows up on my September bill.
Fact the fifty-first: Throughout late summer and into fall, I experience only brief outages – usually late at night and nearly always gone by the time I wake up.
Fact the fifty-second: Some time around 11 p.m. on November 1 I lose Internet service. Seeing as how this is the first time in at least a month I’ve had an outage, I chalk this one up to bad luck and move on. I’m back online the next morning.
Fact the fifty-third: Some time after midnight on November 3 I lose service again. I sigh and move on. I’m back online the next morning.
Fact the fifty-fourth: I am without service when I get home around midnight on November 4. I’m NOT back up the next morning but appear to be OK by late afternoon.
Fact the fifty-fifth: Depressingly, I am without service when I arrive home around 10 p.m. on Nov. 5. I can’t deal and just go to bed. Repeat on November 6.
Fact the fifty-sixth: I’m trying to write on Wednesday night (Nov. 7) when I lose Internet service around 1 a.m. I am in a really evil mood, so I pick up the phone and call Comcast. “Do you want to schedule a service call?”
Fact the fifty-seventh: Phone monkey is unimpressed by the litany of issues documented on my account and repeatedly demands that I take a service call – or else she can’t help me. I refuse, ask that my outages be documented on my account and request a transfer to Billing for credits.
Fact the fifty-eighth: The phone monkey in Billing is even worse. “I can’t give you a credit without a service call. We don’t give a credit until the problem is resolved.” EVEN THOUGH A ‘SERVICE CALL’ IS NOT GOING TO RESOLVE MY PROBLEM?
Fact the fifty-ninth: The ComBill wench and I go round-and-round for at least twenty minutes. Apparently, their history of bad service is my fault, because I have placed any “potential” credit in danger by not reporting the problem immediately. “If you want a credit for Nov. 2, why didn’t you call on Nov. 2.” I straight up told her – “I have better things to do than stay on the phone with Comcast all day, every day.”
Fact the sixtieth: We agree to disagree – and to submit my account for “research” to determine if I really had an outage. I PAY YOU $144 EVERY MONTH AND YOU ARE ARGUING WITH ME OVER A HALF-DAY CREDIT FOR FIVE DAYS? I hope every single one of your diseased howler monkey loin fruit dies a horrible death – except the one who lives long enough to abandon you in a nursing home.
Fact the sixty-first: About 1 a.m. on November 9, as I am writing this history of my travails with Comcast, I lose Internet service yet again.
Fact the sixty-second: I call Comcast. “Do you want to schedule a service call?” NO! I DO NOT WANT A SERVICE CALL.
Fact the sixty-third: Phone monkey starts muttering “Let me look at your modem.” I tell him “There is no problem with my equipment, the line into my apartment or my connection. Please check the notes and confirm what I am saying.” Phone monkey goes “Oh.”
Fact the sixty-fourth: This phone monkey looks at the notes on the account and pretends to listen when I say that having a ‘service call’ is a waste of time. I request a line crew. I now allegedly have a line crew.
Fact the sixty-fifth: Phone monkey asks how long I’ve been having an outage, even though this was allegedly documented last night. I tell him. He “checks” something and tells me “Yeah. I can see where the modem has been going offline overnight all week.” I wanted to scream at him.
Fact the sixty-sixth: I bite my tongue and ask him to put all this into my file. I will have ammo the next time I go into battle with the wenches in Comcast Billing.
Have I mentioned I hate Comcast?