Adventures with Comcast, Part 1

We recently added internet service on September 24th, 2015. We only have a grandfathered-in basic cable TV service, but it was time to upgrade and add internet service to the package. It was all very pleasant on the inquiring phone call—the woman was friendly and answered all my annoying, nerdy questions about the service. It’s much more affordable—and far faster—to go this route, so I pulled the trigger. I will be going from 3Mbps (laughably pathetic) to 75Mbps (a whole new world of “Wow, you can stream 1080p video on the internet?”) and the overall cost will go down $20. Our tech was scheduled to arrive and install another cable outlet on the other side of the house and switch on the internet the next day—today, the 25th—within the window of 3–5 PM.

I’d had an eye on the front yard since 3 PM just to be sure I didn’t miss anybody. All devices were prepped, in their desired locations, and ready to roll. And myself, being nervous about social encounters sometimes—I’d run through the conversation in my head explaining where we needed the outlet, as well as a series of potential followup questions for the tech. I even checked the Xfinity app and noticed the scheduled appointment now had vanished (probably because of the time slipping past the window, but that’s cool, whatever; it was there before, but surely nothing is wrong just yet.)

Here’s the timeline of how that went.

Let’s Call Customer Service

5:07 PM: Sometimes people are late. No big deal. But it’s a two-hour window and I needed to start thinking about dinner options, so let me call up customer service and check on the arrival time, and if it’s still happening.

5:08 PM: Call placed. I get through to a support agent. Let’s call him Jim. I explain the situation to Jim, that I just wanna check if the appointment is still happening.

Yep, it’s still happening. The tech is still logged into the job, and Jim says he should have been here by now. I’m afraid not, Jim!

~5:10 PM: Jim gets in touch with the service center in North Miami to make sure the tech is still coming. This takes a few minutes, he says. I hear lots of typing, so I assume this is an internal chat system he’s using. Jim tells me about the rain he’s having. I mention the rain we’ve also been having.

~5:12 PM: Service center tells Jim the tech should be here. I assure that he is not and Jim relays this to North Miami. Service center says they are contacting tech. I joke with Jim about the guy pulling around the corner any second now and we can get off the phone. Jim commends my positive thinking and hopes this happens, too.

~5:14 PM: Service center says the tech claims to be at the house. Jim asks me to go outside and check ... and I explain that I’m already sitting on the front porch. Tech isn’t here; Jim relays; Jim and I chat about the weather a little bit more. Jim’s a nice guy.

~5:20 PM: Jim says to be patient while we wait for communication from the service center. They finally get back to Jim: the tech is actually on his way, and it’ll be about 15–20 minutes. That’s a little weird, I think. He’s here—oh no, wait a minute, he’s totally on the way! Jim even remarks in his folksy way: “They’re backing their story up now, I see, ha!”

5:22 PM: I thank Jim for the help and we wrap up our call after he again reassured me—like the service center says—the tech should be here shortly, and that there will be a $20 credit on the account statement for the late service call. Thanks, Jim!

I sit on the porch and read some news on my information phone.

Let’s Call Customer Service Again

5:54 PM rolls around and I figure that’s enough time. Let me check the Xfinity app to see if anything has changed. My Spidey senses were tingling and something told me to just go ahead and take a look since the previous appointment had vanished. Hey, look at that—there is a new scheduled appointment! For October 2nd, a week from now. That’s really great.

5:59 PM: Let’s call support again and check on this. I get Mary; let’s call her Mary. Hi, Mary! I explain the situation and that I talked to Jim almost an hour ago, and that the tech was supposed to have been here by now.

Oh no, she says. The primary account holder has apparently rescheduled the appointment for October 2nd. I explain that that’s impossible and that I did not call back until just this very moment. She says that, no, not me, but the primary account holder, my grandfather, called and rescheduled according to the note in the computer.

I explain that is also impossible, since he passed away two years ago.

Mary’s a little surprised by this. I explain about how the account holder was never changed (another tale of Comcast hassle not worth telling), but I am still an authorized member of the account, and that I never rescheduled anything. I ordered the service package, for crying out loud!

I also discussed talking to Jim an hour prior and how I didn’t understand why he would do that—just reschedule me without saying anything when the opposite outcome was reassured? Jim made very clear that North Miami’s service center claimed the tech was on his way. Jim is my bud, Mary; don’t you dare tell me Jim would do this to me, because I can’t even right now.

I am a little pissed off at this point. In my mind I’m thinking this is some punitive gesture by the tech because I called to check on the status of the visit, and I voice as much to Mary. “Call and check on your service appointment will you? Fuck you, see you in a week, if you’re lucky!” Well, I don’t say that to her, but I’m certainly thinking the worst of the techs at this moment. Mary claims that techs cannot do that. She also says that Jim did not take the rescheduling call from the primary account holder, that it was someone else. How can that be? I ask as much, and she says that the call was taken and the reschedule occurred at 5:14 PM.

Now it occurs to me: someone at the service center must have claimed the primary account holder—my grandfather’s ghost, remember—called and rescheduled my appointment at 5:14 PM … yes, that’s right, during my call with Jim. I wonder who that could have been? My guess here is that the techs get dings on their work records for missing appointments, so in my case—if techs really cannot perform this kind of rescheduling themselves and this wasn’t a punitive gesture—someone at the service center is covering a buddy’s ass with by falsely claiming an incoming reschedule call from the account holder.

Mary said that this story was “far out”, and I agreed. She promised to “watch the ticket” to see what more might come of it, but that the best she could do was schedule me for September 30th, 3–5 PM (so far, not a winning window to be put in). So basically, “Sorry, piss off another five days, and cross your fingers for Wednesday!”

At least we didn’t need a Ouija board to contact my grandfather for this particular rescheduling confirmation.

What a bizarre load of bullshit. This is not a fun start with Comcast internet service! We’ve been customers for well over a decade—I’m pretty sure ever since cable service has existed here and before Comcast became its name.

If the tech’s going to be late, that’s fine, tell me that. If he’s not going to make it, fine! No problem, let’s reschedule. But don’t tell me he’s coming, then just reschedule it yourself and say someone else asked for it. Don’t lie to me like I’m stupid and can’t figure this out. Even if I hadn’t looked at the app on a whim and noticed the mystery reschedule, I would have still figured it out—because I would’ve been sitting on my porch like an asshole waiting for “15–20 minutes” for someone who never showed up anyway.

Let’s see how Wednesday goes.