Normally, I write here about the humorous adventures I have involving being a dad to Maddo, age 4, and Little Sis, who is 2. With these little dynamos running around, brawling with each other, crying for me to turn on Disney Jr. [“DADDY!!! WE NEVER GET TO WATCH DISNEY JR.!!!” is one of Maddo’s standard complaints, even though she watches more of that in one day than my wife and I get to watch of our shows in a week], there is almost always something insane for me to commiserate about. And a reason for me to linger just a little longer on the craft beer aisle at my local BevMo store.
Today, however, I’m just going to vent about Comcast, the cable TV/Internet/phone service behemoth. And if you have ever dealt with Comcast’s customer “service” department, you know that, in the words of Lloyd Bridges in “Airplane”, you have picked the wrong week to quit drinking.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a diehard, and long-suffering Seattle Mariners fan. Lord, how many years have I willingly given up just to watch by Beloved Mariners put out year after year after year of losing baseball teams on the field. Oh, it wasn’t always bad. There were the “Glory Years”, if you can call them that, from 1995 to 2003 when the M’s had seven winning years out of nine, made the playoffs four times, won the American League West Division three times, and were loaded with stars like Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Jamie Moyer, Randy Johnson, Jay Buhner, John Olerud, Brett Boone and a young, pre-asshole Alex Rodriguez.
And, of course, Ichiro, who in 2001 won the AL in batting average, hits and stolen bases, was the leading vote-getter for the All-Star Game [held in Seattle that year], and became only the second player in big league history to win the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards in the same season. All this while leading the M’s to 116 wins, tied for most-ever in Major League history.
And there was this throw, which I saw in person and served notice that you never, ever run on Ichiro’s arm.
Yet the Mariners didn’t win the World Series that year. They didn’t even get past the horrid New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.
The Mariners haven’t been back to the post-season since. But they are still my team and during the season I follow the Mariners religiously, especially when “King” Felix Hernandez is pitching.
This gets me back to Comcast. Which right now I hate with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.
I live in Oakland, and while I like the A’s, I love the Mariners. And because of this, every year I torture myself and order what is called the MLB Extra Innings package from Comcast. For $199, I can watch every Mariners game, and those of any other team located outside the San Francisco Bay Area. And every year, when I order the MLB Extra Innings package, I take advantage of being able to spread that $199 over four monthly payments.. This is what I told Comcast I wanted to do when I ordered the package this year.
And this is not what Comcast did.
Oh sure, they signed me up. And for the first month of the season, I was going along just like I have done for the last few years, watching the M’s occasionally win, but mostly lose. Then my Comcast bill came, and let’s just say the size of it was surprising.
I won’t go into how much it was, but let’s just put it this way: all $199 for the season of MLB Extra Innings had been charged at once. This was not what I asked for when I ordered the baseball-viewing package a few weeks back.
On April 22, I called Comcast, waited an obligatory amount of time on hold, then finally got someone from India on the phone. I explained what happened and told her I wanted the $199 spread over four months as I originally ordered. After a couple of minutes, the woman on the line said it was taken care of and all was well. I was satisfied.
I shouldn’t have been.
Yesterday, I went to check my bill, expecting it to be much less than it originally was. And it wasn’t. It was, in fact, the same, originally too-high amount reflecting Comcast’s mistake in charging me for the entire amount at once. Needless to say, I was very upset.
So, I called Comcast, waited about 20 minutes on hold, then finally got another of of Comcast’s crack team of Bangalore-based customer-service representatives using American names that aren’t their own. She said she would need to transfer me to the “resolution department.”
Any one who have ever dealt with their cable company on the phone knows what happened next.
I was transferred, and some guy answered the phone. After he asked me how he could help, I shotgunned all my information at this guy before he knew what hit him. He then replied the only way anyone would in this situation:
“Well, sir…This is the repair department.”
I guess, technically, “repairs” are “resolutions” of things gone wrong. But there would be no repairing or resolving of anything with this guy. He then transferred me to the resolution department.
By this time, I had been transferred twice and on the phone for a good 40 minutes. I figured it was also time to go back in to my office. But I wasn’t ready to give up yet, even though the second Indian gal on the line had put me on hold. I went back to my office, but kept my phone on.
This lasted for about 15 minutes. Or, until Comcast cut me off and the line went dead.
By this point, I had been mostly on hold for more than an hour and I was madder than fire. Being at work was the only thing that kept me from spewing a stream of swearing like that of a Deadliest Catch crab boat captain. I decided to get online and take my frustrations on a poor Comcast sap in an online chat.
“Patrick” would bear the brunt of my frustration and anger. And instead of just recounting it, I decided to print up the chat transcript so you can see what I went through for about another 45 minutes. Have some sympathy. For me, not Patrick.
Patrick: Hello Rex. Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Patrick. Please give me a minute to review your information
Patrick: Thank you for choosing Comcast for your entertainment needs! Our goal is to provide you with a consistently superior customer experience — that’s our guarantee. Learn more about the Comcast Customer Guarantee at http://www.comcast.com/corporate/Customers/Gurantee.html?fss=customer guarantee
[Yes, it was as bad as all the crap in that link]
Me: My issue: I was on hold on the phone for AN HOUR, and was transferred to a THIRD PERSON, so I am very disappointed with Comcast’s customer service right now. I am contacting you because of an ERROR on my bill.
Me: OK…Listen…I signed up for MLB Extra Innings, and was supposed to be charged $44.75 a month for four months. Comcast has, instead, billed me all AT ONCE…I spoke with someone there on April 22 who said he situation had been rectified…Well, I went to pay my bill and it HAS NOT BEEN FIXED!…I want this taken care of IMMEDIATELY…I am sick and tired of being on hold and Comcast NOT rectifying its mistake…Oh, on top of it, my call just got dropped after an hour.
Patrick: Rest assured, I will personally exhaust all options to resolve your issue today — We value your business. Here at Comcast we truly care about our customers, so let’s see what we can do to resolve your concern today. Thank you for providing your account information on our security form prior to this chat session. For additional security verification, may you verify your full Comcast account number?
Me: There is only ONE THING to do, and that is to fix my bill so that MLB Extra Innings is billed in FOUR INSTALLMENTS, like it was supposed to be. Hello?
Patrick: Yes. Was waiting for the account number.
Me: Has this chat been abandoned like my call was after I spent AN HOUR with three different people? I spoke with someone on April 22, who said this change would be made…Why is it so hard for Comcast to just do what is asked/requested by its customers?
Patrick: Rex, so I can relate and enter the account, can I have the account number, please?
Me: I don’t have my account number right here. My phone number is 510-XXX-XXXX. You should be able to use that to find it.
Patrick: Thank you for providing you account information on our security form prior to this chat session. For additional security verification, may you verify the last four digits of the account holder’s SSN.
Me: XXXX…This is the THIRD TIME I have had to go through this.
Patrick: I will need 2-3 minutes to pull up the account. Would it be okay with you?
Me: Not really.
Patrick: Perfect! Thank you! Appreciate your patience on this matter.
Me: As you can tell, I am very upset at the incompetence I have experienced with this matter…Comcast was supposed to fix this over a week ago…Actually, there shouldn’t have been any problem if Comcast had billed me in four installments LIKE IT SAID IT WOULD!!!…Forget it! I’m paying you in four installments, PERIOD!…Good Lord! Is ANYONE there?
Patrick: I apologize this is taking more time than usual. Would you mind waiting for a couple of minute while I finish? I would really appreciate it.
Me: How hard can this be? NO, I indeed MIND! I shouldn’t be having to go through this at all! Comcast said MLB Extra Innings would be billed in four installments, and it’s trying to screw me over…Oh, this is great! Including this conversation, I have been dealing with Comcast for one-and-a-half hours, now…WHO IS THE SUPERVISOR THERE?
Patrick: Rex, please be informed that some markets may not offer installment options. And I’m sorry if you were not informed about this by the analyst who assisted you previously.
Me: NO! I have been a customer of Comcast for more than a decade, and have subscribed to MLB Extra Innings for several years and have ALWAYS had the option to pay in four installments. So, PLEASE fix this now!
Patrick: I truly understand. And I want you to know that I personally want to fix this for you. Please continue to hold.
Me: HOLD??? How in the world does this take so long? You guys are wasting my time.
Patrick: I know how important your time is. My time is important as well. There’s more customers waiting after you. So I would need to resolve this for you as there are others waiting.
Me: There shouldn’t be ANY problem, IF Comcast had billed me correctly in the first place.
Patrick: Thank you for your patience. I’m still working on this Rex. Please bear with me…I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Me: Horrid…Ridiculous…Coming up on TWO HOURS between calling, getting transferred twice, having my call abandoned, and now THIS!
Patrick: I have discussed the matter to the proper team who handles issues like yours, for your account correction for this to be corrected. For installment pricing. I have placed the information about what we have done today and the conversation we have to have them informed ahead. They will be needing your to cal 1-888-934-6489 to discuss the matter over the phone and verify pertinent information. Please call us between the hours of 8:30 a.m.-5:30 pm EST Monday through Friday. This is currently in pending status and will be completed right after you call….There should be nothing to worry. As I have noted, everything here in your account so that they will be expecting your call and you will not have to repeat yourself.
Me: You have got to be KIDDING ME!…No, no, no…You guys fix this RIGHT NOW!….I am NOT getting on hold again. No way.
Patrick: This is for this to be corrected, Rex.
Me: This is Comcast’s fault, and now I have to waste all day with this?
After that, Patrick ended the chat. I couldn’t get him back so that I could verbally destroy his confidence some more. I call the number he gave me and, just like I knew would happen, I ended up on hold for about 20 minutes and finally got some guy, Frankie, on the like. I pictured this dude from “Jerseylicious” cast answering the phone. And, of course, I had to explain everything, again, to Frankie. And, of course, he couldn’t understand what the problem was that they idiots had in the first place.
Eventually, Frankie fixed it, which was a damn miracle after all I had been through with the Comcast waterheads earlier in the day. The bill is now how it should have been from the start.
The things I put up with just to watch my Mariners. At least with last night’s game, Felix Hernandez brought the gas and Tom “The Bartender” Wilhelmsen set the Blue Jays down in the ninth to give Seattle a 4-0 win. If only my victory over Comcast felt so sweet.