Comcast Corporation Complaint - The same NO-response Game you're familiar with
MANASSAS, VIRGINIA -- I am emailing because I wish to file a corporate complaint as well as vent about the service (lack of)of Comcast in the Manassas, Prince WIlliam County, VA market, or at least in my neighborhood. The story is basically the same as the article published in the Washington Post in June 14, 2005 titled "Six Weeks Stuck in Comcast Limbo". It is listed if you google "Comcast Corporate Complaints"
I am an owner/publisher of advertising magazines and work from home, so does my wife, a realtor. I depend on high speed internet to transfer large files to my corporate office in Charlotte, NC and when the system is slow or down, I am out of work. This has been a problem consistently since last October 2005, about a year.
In Oct '05 I switched to broadband internet access with Comcast since the files were getting much too big to transfer through dial up service. After 2 years of waiting since my driveway is very long, about 1000 feet, Comcast finally agreed to offer service to me Back in 2003 they refused. I think it was because they were so busy it just wasn't worth their time to run the cable, even though my neighbor had one whose driveway is about the same length, and despite the offer that I would pay for the installation. It has been a nightmare ever since.
The internet never worked very fast from day one. I did not know what was normal since I had just switched from dial up, but I certainly knew when it just wasn't working at all. On or about June of 2006, I added television service since my DISH Network system was worn out. I figured I would take advantage of the discounts available by multiple services and the Comcast people assured me the problem would be fixed immediately. Since I had no experience with Comcast ever before, I trusted they would do what they promised. Another problem was that since I traveled so much, at the time, I did not realize that the Comcast signal was not only too weak to run both services but was in fact too weak to run just the internet alone properly. I had no choice since Verizon does not offer DSL here, or I would have switched to Verizon in a heartbeat. I just thought it was an occasional problem, a "things happen" kind of thing and they would be responsive to fix problems when they arose. They also assumed that since I did not call to complain regularly that everything must be OK. I did not call because I was often out of town for extended periods. Everything was certainly NOT OK.
Once I stopped traveling as much, I worked much more from home (or attempted to do so) and the volume of file transfers I need to send has increased dramatically. I waited, called, complained, pleaded and begged them to find the problem and fix it, to no avail. Maybe I was much too nice or patient. I NEVER received a single return phonecall. NEVER a kept promise. In the summer of 2006, about 3 months ago, I called to complain once more, finally decided to cancel and return to DISH for television, spend more money but thought "at least it works", and was "sold" by a Comcast rep that everything was fixed and they assured me it would work as designed. At that moment it was working. It actually worked fine for about 3 days before and about 3 days after that telephone call when he convinced me it would be fine. I really wanted this to be true. It was not.
The rest of the story turned ugly. The Comcast rep was so sure everything was fine he convinced me to take advantage of the offers and the savings, so I even added Comcast VOIP service to now have ALL of my communications through Comcast even though I told him that I cannot risk going without communications and that I did NOT want to find out later that the bugs are not fixed. It was a major problem from day 1 of setting up the phone service. For months I would telephone, telephone techs would run tests and have me unplug and do tests from their scripted troubleshooter guidebook. I would reboot the modem, etc, etc. and eventually they would give up a schedule a Level 1 field tech to come out, waste more of my time and they would fix nothing. At one point a Comcast tech showed up and actually asked me what I thought the problem was. ..Unbelieveable! I would constantly run up and down the stairs to the basement to switch the cable from television to internet and HOPE it was strong enough to run the just the internet and the telephone. Most of the time it was not and I was "out of business" for a few hours to a few days. I spent many hours of time and aggravation playing this cable swap game, usually to no ultimate benefit. By this time I could BE a Level 1 tech for Comcast.
For months the billing department did not seem to have any problems with their billing system. They had no problem calling me for payment but seemed to have a lapse of information to answer the question about a credit for service I was not receiving. I was paying for phone, television and internet without a single small courtesy adjustment for my trouble, or the lack of service????? I think ?I finally received one small token adjustment in August although for months I paid for services which I could only use one at a time, never together at the same time.
For months my family was not able to watch Television while the cable was connected to the modem (not even actually "on-Line"). This was because the signal was not strong enough to connect the internet cable AND the Television AND the telephone at the same time. It seems that there was enough signal to run the phone and TV but not the internet. Sometimes it was too weak to run the phone and the internet together, OR the phone and the TV. NEVER could it ever run the internet with TV service and the phone at the same time. I would have settled for slow, like Mr. Ghandi, but I had nothing. Sometimes there was not even enough signal to run the phone and internet and I would be forced to disconnect the phone just to have internet service, sometime I had no internet service at all even if nothing else was connected. What about a router? Certainly not --- at any time.
To add insult to injury, a level 3 tech finally came out and diagnosed the problem. All the other less qualified techs tested the "tap" as the street and diagnosed no problem. The level 3 tech realized that the driveway is 1000 feet long and referred it to "Construction" to run a new "Tap" or a "Plant extension". It seems that Comcast normally runs only 250 to 400 feet of cable before they come up and install an amplifier to carry the signal strength adequately to it's final destination. This was the problem. There was a cable installed with a 1000 foot run with no amplifier. It seems the level 3 tech had serviced my neighbor who had his "drop" reduced by moving the "tap" or installing a "plant extension" or perhaps it was installed correctly the first time, I do not know. There seems to be adequate signal carried to his home. So why was this such a problem for Comcast? Why does it take so long to fix what should have been an easy fix? This has been a problem for a year and finally diagnosed about 3 months ago! Still no correction.
I have a very long history in the Comcast Customer Service records. I have been complaining nicely and patiently for about a year. I have waited and waited because I want it to work, I need it to work, and I trusted that such a big company would fix the problem in a reasonable timeframe. But no.
It is now October 12, 2006 and I am still waiting. The telephone just rang while I'm writing this email and the caller cannot hear me. A Comcast problem that has happened several times before. If I wait a minute or they call back in two, it works again. Sometme eeven today I cannot get on the internet, I'll wait for a few minutes and maybe I can-Maybe. There is no consistency, no trend as far as time of day or day of the week. It is a completely random and sporadic signal. I have since cancelled Comcast television service and gone back to DISH. I plan on canceling the telephone service tomorrow and going back to Verizon. This will cost me a lot more money for three different Utility companies, but at least I can HOPE to have internet service occasionally (the cable will be dedicated only to internet access) without having to run up and down the stairs to change the connections at the cable box in the basement. I am not terribly optimistic though, since I know from experience that even when it is JUST the internet, I have no confidence it will work even then.
I WISH I had the luxury of a "Six Weeks Stuck in Comcast Limbo", but for me it has been the better part of a year.
What can I do??
Signed, "Frustrated and Exhausted";
Kevin M. Germain
PO BOX 533
Bristow, VA 20136
firstname.lastname@example.org (If it's working-Maybe)