Comcast Fail, level 999

Another run in with our cable company, another two and a half hours on the phone, and another complete failure in every conceivable way.

So three weeks ago I get a call on my cell phone with promises of “the X1 operating system, free HBO, free Starz, and upgraded internet speed” all for the low, low price of $130/month. Not only that, we’ll get to keep both of our DVR’s and no other changes in our service agreement.  I thought it sounded too good to be true.  Turns out, as usual, I was right. Honestly, this one is on me.  I knew better and every time, every damned time, I make a change to my cable service, I get screwed. But, I blindly believed what I was being told and signed up.

Two weeks goes by and no equipment, no email, no phone call.  I even logged into my credit report to ensure I didn’t get taken by some scam artist who promised me he was Comcast only to talk me out of my personal information.  Thinking back on this, maybe an encounter with someone trying to steal my identity would be less painful.

The website never seems to have agent chat available anymore, so I did what I always regret and called Comcast customer service.

After being half-helped and hung up on, twice, and holding for a total of at least 45 minutes, I got someone who had an IQ higher than that of a cucumber (only just) and we started the dance of agony that is Comcast’s verification process. I beat her to the punch: “my name is ——, my address is —–, and the last 4 digits of my social are —–. Can we please move forward?!”

I explained that I agreed to a new 2-year contract in exchange for the HBO, Starz, DVR boxes, wireless internet, blah, blah… Nothing had arrived, no one had contacted me, blah, blah, etc.

The agent pulls up my account information and explains that although the order was “put in but never shipped”.  Thank you, captain obvious. He went on to explain that we were not, in fact, receiving two DVR’s, we were getting one X1 DVR that would record up to 5 shows at the same time, and a “companion box” that would be able to play those shows in any other room (wherever the companion box was). I was disappointed and asked to be contacted by a manager and to put the whole order on hold until I could get answers.

Fast forward three days, and the fucking package with my new equipment shows up at my door step. So much for the “hold”.  Add to this that the DVR service stopped working in every room of our house, so holding off on installing the new equipment was basically pointless.

So the hell with it, I’ll eat the 2 year agreement and stay with the X1 companion box thing… I can’t imagine we’ll record more than 5 shows simultaneously.

Let’s plug in this stuff and get to it.  Internet modem fires right up, living room box is SLOW to start up and load working channels, but eventually it gets working.

Last step was to instal the bedroom “companion box” that had caused all the kerfuffle. “Please enter your account number and phone number”, I click continue and… “This box needs to be added to your account. Please call 888 blah blah blah” FUCK MY LIFE.

3 customer service agents, one hang up, 54 minutes on hold. I was asked to “verify my account information” 4 times.  FOUR FUCKING TIMES for a series of people to send multiple “reset signals sent to box”, and “can you please read me the error code again?”. And let’s not forget: “Sir, Starz isn’t included in your package, I’m not sure why the agent told you that it was”. “Of course not” I replied. “Of course not…”

After all of that, I’m awarded with nothing. Box is still broken, and a technician has to call me tomorrow between 5 and 9 PM.  $100 says I get no call.  I wonder how many times I’ll have to validate my information, unplug and re plug-in my box and receive “reset signals” before I get transferred to yet another asshat who can’t help me after I decide I’ve waited long enough and call the god damned 800 number. Be sure to tune in the next time I get my Xfinity internet service restored so I can blog about how pissed off I am about the 40 year contract they forced me into.

You’ll get the service you deserve, and you’ll like it

googleFailWhen the last big retail hack took place, ironically I think it was Target, I signed up for a Google Wallet card so I could put a layer of protection between my checking account and would-be thieves. So far the card has been pretty handy.  You can add funds directly from your bank account with no fee, and even transfer money to friends via email.  Pretty snazzy!

Earlier tonight I tried paying for my beers at the local World of Beer here in South Florida only to be declined.  Not that this was a new development, my Google card gets declined all the time.  So, I pick up my phone, open the Wallet app, and move over some funds.

But when I pulled up my transaction history, there was a $140.02 charge (the exact amount in my account, down to the penny), posted today, from a Target in Kissimmee, FL (home of Disney World, and surrounding shitty neighborhoods), which is 150 miles from here.

So, someone managed to get their hands on my Google account information.  Looks like my paranoia paid off!  Anyway, time to call the Google Wallet support line at 855-4-Wallet (how professional!) and report my issue.

EmailAnd, here’s where the Google monster falls down.  Had my bank identified a faulty transaction (which they have a few times in the past) there would be an immediate lock-down on my account, an investigation, and a full refund, all before I hung up the phone.  But, that’s not what happened.

“Sir, I’m sending you an email with a link to our dispute form, which I encourage you to fill out right away.”

All of that Google power, all of the fanfare and hubbub about their multimillion dollar buildings and I get a form to fill out… A form to fill out, and wait…

And what about my account?  You know, the one connected to my checking account.  Was it closed and locked?  Nope.  Disabled, or suspended?  Nope.  Customer service lady (who was very nice) told me she couldn’t do it.  I had to do that from the app, on my own.  Thanks Google!

Never anything on

Ever notice that there’s never anything on?  Well, if you have Comcast you do.  Because their fucking cable service doesn’t work.

That’s right… It’s broken again.  Here’s the latest score:

brokeSunday, my cable box in the living room started freaking out.  Blank screens, no guide information, sound would go out, DVR recordings wouldn’t play, etc.

So, on the phone we go…  Again.  After holding for what felt like 30 years, I hung up and went to the online chat.  As usual the agent had me restart the box, read the serial number, restart again, hop on one foot while reciting the Greek alphabet and burning incense, but… No dice.

All I ever got back from the cable box was a lonely “0” on the screen and no sound or video.

The agent informed me that the box is toast, and they had to swap it out.  Now I’ve had some experience with the repair jackasses coming to the house, so I opted for the “ship the new cable box” option.  It arrived Wednesday.

I plugged in the new box, and went through the online activation instructions (http://www.comcast.com/activate/) which didn’t work.  I know, I was surprised too!

The box reported via error message on the screen to call an 800 number.  That number took me to a menu with no option for my problem.  A second failure.

Finally, I went online and started another chat.  After unplugging the box, a ceremonial fencing match with technology, and a great deal of “I’m so sorry you are having that problem, sir” commentary, it finally started working.

sucksToday is Thursday.  The very next FUCKING day.  Now the cable box in the bedroom is freaking out.  Won’t play DVR’d shows, no sound, no picture, random fucking broken bullshit.

This time I decide to skip the phone bullshit and go straight to the web.  In a show of amazing patience and good nature, I don’t type in all caps and call the agent any names.  Although, I must admit the lure of vulgar vernacular was almost too strong.

Long story, longer… One of their technicians will be at the house Sunday between 5 and 7.  Which, when translated to Comcast technician-ese means Saturday at 11:00 AM when no one is fucking here…  Again.

Every kiss begins with the complete lack of customer service

This just keeps getting better.  Go back and read my last post if you haven’t been following the story.

Here’s the latest email string:

Dear Frank …,

Thank you for your reply.

I apologize that the store did not do the inspection on the Topaz ring.  Even though it is not covered under the Lifetime Diamond guarantee we still prefer to offer inspections for preventative measures.  We only have two warranties, the Diamond guarantee I mentioned on the last email and the Extended Service Plan (ESP).  The ESP covers the metal of the item such as bands, prongs, and chains.  If the Topaz ring had the ESP then it would cover repair issues to the metal but not the stone itself.  After the replacement was done on her ring, there would still have not been a warranty to offer for coverage.

The bracelet is currently being worked on at shop 8399.  If you have another issue within the next few months we can look at a possible exchange under your ESP that is on the bracelet.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please let us know how we can help you.  For immediate assistance, please contact us by phone at 1-800-…

Sincerely,

Cynthia S.

What the FUCK?!  I get protecting your company, but this is a complete pass-the-buck scenario!  I see the in-store customer service carries over into the corporate office as well!  Of course I wouldn’t post that first one without a witty reply:

I don’t want to be difficult, but at this point, “If you have another issue within the next few months” is not acceptable.  We have had the bracelet in 4 times now for the same repair. I expect a full refund for the bracelet, I can provide the original receipt if necessary.  The total was $…  I am NOT negotiable on this.  It’s just plain, basic customer service.

The Topaz ring and the diamond ring with the missing diamond (photo attached), the store associate telling us that “the warranty was returned”, and then keeping the only paperwork we had since it was “no good for that ring”.  I can assure you that we never “returned” anything, the diamond ring was a gift from my grandmother.  The topaz ring, as I mentioned earlier, was a gift from her father.  They’re probably $100 each, and I imagine the warranty would be worth what, maybe $20?  I decided to include these stories in my original email because this is about customer service and standing behind the product you sell.  I expect a reinstatement of the warranty on the diamond ring, and the repair work to be covered.  I am not negotiable on this either.

I think I’ve gone way above and beyond here just turning the other cheek on the topaz ring, looking past the misrepresentation of the Kay warranty by the local store, the completely failed local customer service after the fact, and having to take this up with the corporate office on my own time.

I can’t help but feel like anything I buy with Kay, regardless of cost, will be completely ignored from a customer service standpoint if I lose the receipt, spill coffee on the warranty card or just forget to bring my papers with me.  This is unacceptable for a customer who has purchased a single item, and certainly more so for someone like me who has many purchases spanning over multiple years.

Do your company a favor and forward this email to your management.  Don’t respond to me with another “we’ll see, if it breaks again”.  And don’t lose a loyal customer over a few hundred dollars.

– Frank

Comments?

The customer continues to be wrong

customer serviceAvid readers of my blog will recognize this post as another in the long line of “customer service failure” complaints that I have posted.

This time, the lucky winner is Kay Jewelers.  Perhaps I’m just a needy customer, but I don’t think so.  Here’s the customer service email I just sent them:

Items I have purchased from Kay’s over the past 3 years: Two pair of heart diamond earrings, one diamond heart necklace, white gold diamond ring, one diamond/sapphire necklace, a white and black diamond necklace, and finally one diamond bracelet (described in the last paragraph below).
The white gold diamond ring has lost a stone. When we had this evaluated, the store clerk advised us that “someone returned the warrantee on it”, and that they could do nothing for us. I don’t even know what this means.

A topaz stone white gold ring was purchased by her father. The stone fell out between inspections, and when she took it in to have it replaced, we were told that “they can’t find the paperwork in the system under her name, her father’s name, or her mother’s name”. My girlfriend paid for the replacement of the stone OUT OF POCKET, and to this day (even that you have replaced the stone) it is still uncovered by any warrantee. She no longer wears the ring because the stone is AGAIN loose, and she isn’t willing to pay for another replacement.

I purchased a silver diamond bracelet for my girlfriend a few Christmas’ ago. Since that time, she has diligently brought the bracelet (and many other Kay’s pieces I’ve bought over the years) into our local store every 6 months as required for inspection and cleaning. This particular bracelet has been an issue since I bought it. First: One of the rods that connect the links of the bracelet together slid out causing the bracelet to break into two pieces. The local store (in Orlando) sent it in for repair. 3 days after we received the bracelet back, she noticed a loose stone so we sent it back again. Another visit to Kay’s to have it inspected resulted in yet another trip to the repair shop for the rod, this time here in Fort Myers. We received the bracelet back last night, and while we were at dinner we noticed not only a missing stone, but yet ANOTHER rod had backed out. Literally 3 hours after we picked it up! At this point I just want a refund, but the store told me my only option was to send it in to be repaired (again), which is where the bracelet is now. I am sincerely disappointed in the Kay’s quality, and even more so with your company’s refusal to stand behind their products.

I would normally, at this point, voice my disappointment over the way we’ve been treated for the past few years, but I’ve typed it five or six times now and there is just no way I can illustrate my unhappiness.

So? You tell me, am I being unreasonable?  One would expect that these kind of customer service failures would cease to befall one angry blogger, no?  Statistically speaking it is incredibly unlikely that these encounters persist, yet here we are…  Here we are again.