What is to follow is the only way I can physically keep myself from going to the nearest Comcast Customer Service Center with every piece of comcast hardware I have and a roll of toilet paper. I was going to include several guns on my list, but I think even joking about that is illegal in this brave new retarded post 9-11 world.

I am still on the fence as to whether I would throw the hardware through the window and smear my feces on the door, or take it inside and set it on the counter and shit on it. And then set it on fire. Or eat every piece of Comcast equipment I have and mail them my shit.

Anyway, this will be a tour-de-force; an epic tale of the culmination of a needlessly expensive product, horrible website usability, inept customer service, and the Scotts – A family who does not like wasting time trying to fix shit we are paying for on a monthly basis.

As such, I’m sure it will draw at least a few readers who think I am overstating, overreacting, or not being fair to Comcast. To those people I would like to make one thing clear-

Fuck you.

I mean, feel free to tell me that I am an asshole, but also be prepared for an immense amount of humiliation at the hands of my keyboard. Trust me – I am better at this than you are. If after reading this you think that I am not justified in my anger, you are wrong. It is that simple.

I guess I shouldn’t oversell it. On with the statement…

It is a fairly well established fact that we are in an economic recession. People are hurting for money. With that in mind, think about a free-market economy where price and service drive sales. Basically if you want a job, you are going to have to provide better service at a lower cost because if you don’t someone else will. I love that about this country. I’m not going to go into the lack of competition in cable television because while I know it is complicit in the problem I am having, I want to keep this relatively simple.

With the present state of the economy, I am constantly amazed that companies refuse to work with paying customers to retain their customership. A friend of mine was signing a rental agreement at Alexan360 (a huge new apartment complex in Atlanta) and they pulled the bait and switch on him – making him pay for the credit check, and then informing him that his rent was almost $100 more per month than they had initially agreed to. He basically said “Listen. That is not what I was told. We agreed on this price (pointing to the shiny brochure it was written on), and if you are going to change that, I will need my $150 credit check fee back.”

Here’s how that conversation should have gone –
“Let me check with a supervisor (if necessary)”
“Okay sir, we will honor that price.”

Or maybe –

“Let me check with my supervisor.”
“Okay sir, we have very strict guidelines on pricing, and I have no idea why you were told that price, but we will be able to offer you a free storage unit for a year/ upgrade an appliance/subsidize your drinking habit/give you free internet access/sing you to sleep at night and fellate you awake every morning. Anything to ensure that $1000 a month does not walk out that door and have its friend mention us in a popular blog with a link to our shitty apartments.”

Good deal. No one walks away pissed, they get their $1000 a month, he gets a place to live, and their anemic 30% capacity is now 30.18%. If they couldn’t honor the price, they should do something else.

Instead, they called him back and essentially said “take it or leave it.”

He left it.

Case in point – Comcast. My wife and I have been customers for several years at $100 a month for Cable, Phone, and Internet. A couple of months ago Comcast sent us a package that would “allow us to continue enjoying television programming on any channel higher than channel twenty”. Hm. I thought that was what the hundy a month was for.

Inside the box were two black boxes about the size of Pandora’s. They each had a power cable and a remote control. The instructions said “These stupid boxes must be plugged into any television you own that does not currently have a digital set top box attached to it. Now you have two more fucking remotes to keep track of. By the way, if you have a DVR plugged into any of these televisions, take it apart and plant flowers in it because it will not work with this little gem – but you’ll still have to pay Tivo $12 a month. Also, it will now take 30 seconds to change the channel and you will see several random channels during this delay that will confuse you and cause you to keep trying to change the channel. We call this ‘The Comcast Customer Suicide Assistance Game’. By the way, if you would like to get rid of these stupid little boxes, we invite you to pay $199 a piece for additional digital set-top boxes that will allow you to watch all of your favorite shows in standard definition. And also an additional $10 a month per box. And a good dry anal fisting, as that what we at Comcast think our customers need.”

So yeah. Eat a dick, Comcast. The fun hasn’t even started yet.

The search for a new provider started the next day. First, let’s scope out the competitive landscape. Fast forward 2 hours and basically no matter what I do if I want to be able to watch television and view pornography on my computer while talking to my dad on the phone, it is $100 a month. Lots of offers for “$39 a month, but that changes to $90 a month after 12 months and then to $900 a month after that, and you have to sign a contract in which you agree to willingly be raped for at least two years, after which we will probably make you pay to return your used equipment or something. We haven’t thought that far ahead.”

To start with, I’d like to suggest to all of these companies to change your strategy to something other than “Piss off your customers – the more loyal they are, the more we charge them.”

Now I need to look at my Comcast bill and see what we are currently enrolled in. Would anyone like to point out where I log in?

Portal to the underworld

Click for full size

Didn’t think so. Pay my bill? Well, I want to look at a bill, so maybe…okay, now I’m logging in. username soandso…klackity smackety….password…clickeroo…

And I get this screen.

The voices in my head tell me things.  Bad things

Click for full size

Let’s take a look at this. My goddamn CAT knows that if you ask for something on a web page, you’d better offer someplace for the input. The only option is to make a payment. “Yeah. We got nothing for you because of another in a long line of new federal regulations (by the way, does anyone actually think this is a good direction for this country?), but we’d love for you to pay us!”

Diabolically, I was forced to click the pay now button. At this point, they amazingly don’t give a shit about the security they are working so hard to protect. I was taken to a page where I could choose from any of fifty ways to give them money, but no way could I see my bill.

Assuming I ever find a place to input my PIN, I should probably know what my PIN is. Since Sara set it up, I asked her, and she said she couldn’t log in either so she went the route of the helpful online chat agent.

Suffice it to say the Customer Service [sic] agent informed Sara that Comcast had assigned her a user name without telling her. They had also assigned a PIN that they emailed us four years ago and had never been needed prior to today. She needed to verify the PIN, but could not do so unless Sara left work and came home, stopping to buy a telephone that plugs into the wall, plugged it into the wall, and then had Comcast call her on a number that we don’t even know because we only use the land line for the security system. By the way, they can call between 10 am and 7 pm.

The alternative? Mail it to us. Apparently the most foolproof, high security way to transmit information is to write it on a piece of paper and then have it transported across country via a series of trucks, vans, and ex-cons in blue uniforms who hopefully put it in a 20 Gauge aluminum box with no lock at the end of your driveway. I bet you thought it would be “over a secure internet connection”, didn’t you?

A week later, we get the holy goddamn grail of numbers, our security PIN. It is 8515, in case you were wondering. Please log into our account and do whatever you want if we still have an account by the time I post this. Change our subscription, call support, whatever you want. If it wastes Comcast’s time and money, please go sick.

So now that I have the number, all is good to go. Simply log in and…

Dead end - now with shiny objects

click it.


Oh yeah – the minor detail that this ever-so necessary PIN cannot be entered anywhere. Ooh. A FAQ section on the right…funny I was just wondering what I could do from my email toolbar in my SmartZone Communications Center. If you are using something called a SmartZone Communications Center, my guess is you are the guy who prints out email forwards and brings them to parties as a replacement for your personality.

Here is what the SmartZone Communication toolbar enables these power users to do –
Attach cute smileyfaces to stupid emails about your cats.
Create a custom signature in a green script font with a bible verse in it and an animated butterfly with glitter spraying out of its ass.
Store and organize your photos because you are unaware of the existence of DVDs or the hard drive in your computer
Make a stupid photo album with a Jack Johnson song in the background (be sure and set transitions to “random” in case you have any friends left who don’t want to kick your ass).
Keep track of the list of “friends” you can forward shit to daily.
And many other things that will erase any doubt that you are retarded.

Anyway, where do I go from here. Maybe “account and bill” has a place I can update my account information.
Kuh-lik.

RAGE

I posted this one really small to make it difficult. JUST KIDDING! CLICK IT!

White hot rage is all I can feel. I am left with but one choice –

“Thank you for calling Comcast. Our menu options have changed, so please listen to all options before dispensing turkey baster full of ammonia into your pee hole just to distract you from what will be an agonizing phone call.”

Existing customers press 1.
-boop-
Please enter the phone number on the account
-beepboopbopboopbeepboopbip-
“we’re sorry, that number is not associated with an account. Please enter the phone number we secretly assigned you when we installed that shitty modem. The number you have never used.”
(me hitting the pound key a bunch of times as if it is my cellphone’s fault)
“main menu – existing customers press one, if you do not experience enough daily rage and would like to join Comcast, press 2. Por favor espanol pinata, marzipam numero tres. All other questions, press 4.
-4-
For trouble with your ser-
-beep-
Please make a valid entry to continue. For trouble with your service, press 1. For
-1-
I’m sorry. I am a digital cunt without a brain. You must make a valid entry to continue. For trouble with your service, press 1. For sales, press 2
okay…-2-
I’m sorry, you must make a valid entry. Goodbye.

The white hot rage changed to something else. I mean something at a genetic level – a man who never thought he would be was now capable of taking another’s life. Hell, if I had a person to blame, it’d be easier in a way, but no, companies like Comcast have created this accountability-free behemoth and the only person I can unload on is some poor college fuck who didn’t sign up for a dose of me this early in the morning.

With my last fiber of self control, I dialed 1.800.COMCAST once again. Using a few tricks I learned from friends who worked at customer support, I circumvented the automated whore and got to a sales guy.

“Thank you for choosing Comcast. This is Andy. How can I help you?”
“Well, Andy, let me start by saying that I am about as pissed off right now as a human can get without being hospitalized. I know you did not cause this problem yourself, so I will try my best to maintain with you, but be assured that I am very close to losing my shit completely and for good.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, sir, hopefully we can fix this problem. Can I get your phone number?”
“No. I entered it in the website 5 times and it doesn’t like it.”
“hmm…what about the login information?”
“Username God of Thunder (all one word) password I will rape your mouth if you don’t get this fixed (all one word, no apostrophe)”
-klikketyklik-
“okay sir, for security purposes can I verify your address?”
“123 Asskick Avenue, Atlanta, Ga 30308”
“Alrighty – our records show you are a customer in good standing, and you attempted to log on this morning. Was it problems with the website?”
“Yes, oh god yes, Andy. Like you said, we pay you guys what I consider absurd money every month, and in your defense, the cable and phone service has not had many issues, but now we want to simply view our bill to see what we are paying for and it is impossible. I mean, I have four goddamned cable boxes that are about to become a smoking pile of melted plastic on the-”
“Sir, please don’t use profanity.”
“Andy?”
“Yes, Mr. Scott?”
“Now is not the best time to tell me what to do. I am the angriest person you have ever spoken to, and I’m really doing my very best not to physically explode into some kind of supernova, but if you can’t take this level of intensity, please escalate this case to your boss.”
“Please hold, sir”

“Yes, Mr. Scott? This is Mark. Can I help you?” came a booming voice wrongly under the impression that I would be intimidated by its boomyness.
“I sure hope so, Mark. I want to look at my bill.”
“Are you currently at a computer?”
“Yes, but if I log in and see the dead end screen again I fear for my health and the health of others. How about you do it.”
So Mark tries and gets the same screen. No to be derailed, he says “Oh. You went to Comcast.com instead of Comcast.net.”
“I’m sorry – can I interject something real quick? Look at that screen. How are you not getting millions of calls about that?”
“Haha, oh we are – we’ve had sev-”
“Okay, is it really cheaper to pay an army of support staff to answer the same question or to just create an input field on that page? That was rhetorical, of course, but surely you see my point.”
“Yes, sir, I do. But if you go to Comcast.net…”

WTF

Click

“Okay. I’m there. As long as we’re on the subject, comcast.net has precisely zero comcast branding on it and does not look anything like a part of your horrible organization. It is just a collection of headlines for stupid people who give a damn about lady Gaga’s Bikini. If I saw this page I would not be quick to enter any kind of personal information. In fact, this page is probably what terrorists look at if they start to forget why they hate America.”

“Well, that’s what we have right now. To get to your account information…if you go over to the right about ¼ of the way down, you’ll see an icon that says ’email’. Just below that is a tiny link that says ‘account links’. Click on that and in the second column of the menu is another link that says SmartManager. Click that and it will take you to your account.”
“Really Mark? This is the website of the world’s largest ISP? I think if you made the link pop out from under the period after ‘all rights reserved’ if you clicked three times and named it something in Cuneiform it might be more difficult to find. You guys need an interface guy. This is really the wors- Holy fucking mother of fuck, I am going to burst into a fountain of boiling blood.”

Good way to turn into a human geyser

you know what to do.

“Mr. Scott, we do not allow cursing on these calls. If…”
“ARE YOU SERIOUS? I WANT TO SEE MY BILL. IS COMCAST TELLING ME I HAVE TO UPGRADE MY SERVICE TO DO THIS? BECAUSE IF THEY ARE, OOOOHhhh dear sweet baby jesus give me your baby strength…”
“No, sir…no. You have high speed already. Just log in using your password -”

Yes, this one too.

“MOTHERFAARRGGGHH! ITS THE SAME FUCKING PIN SCREEN WITH NO INPUT AREA FOR THE PIN. DO NOT TELL ME TO STOP CURSING, EITHER. IT IS HOW I EXPRESS MYSELF. YOU AND MY MOM CAN GET TOGETHER AND DISAPPROVE AT YOUR EARLIEST CONVENIENCE.”
“Please calm down, sir. I-”
“Listen Mark. My anger is only directed at you because you happen to be the one on the other end of the line. I’m mad at Comcast, and this is as calm as I’m getting until this is resolved. I have an account in good standing and I want to see a copy of my bill. I am going to hang up now and I want an email TODAY with either a Copy of my bill and an explanation of what I am currently paying for, or the necessary account login information so I can get it myself. When I have that, I will be calling back to close this account and doing whatever I can to keep others from signing up.”
“Well, for what it’s worth, I understand your frustration and I will do my best to get this resolved. Please remember that the survey you will be asked to take at the end of this call is in reference to my service and not the Comcast company in general.”
“I know. You have been professional. I guess your job is like being Muhammad Ali’s jump rope trainer. Thanks for your help all the same.”

Comcast, you need to get your shit together like Mexico needs to get its shit together. Yes it is that bad.

My wife and I have collectively spent more than 2 days over the past week trying to view a bill. Not trying to order equipment, not trying to build a custom channel lineup consisting only of The History Channel, National Geographic, The Military Channel, The Food Network, and a live feed from the Hubble telescope (although if you offered that I would reconsider my stance). What we are trying to do is very very simple and it has become the loss of at least one customer as well as many future customers as this blog is read and I personally spread the word about how they are better off with any other company.

Still waiting on that email.

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