Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Comcast’

We slipped into a Black Hole of non-existence. I do not even know where to start.

I blame Comcast. I am fairly certain they did some not-quite-ethical maneuvering, but I am wise enough to know I probably cannot prove it. Still, this whole bizarre journey began with their bungling of a simple request to change Internet and telephone providers in an effort to save money. Instead, it cost me a lot of time and frustration, the loss of the telephone number we have had for 12 years, and the loss of telephone and Internet service.

We received a nice letter from some airhead at Comcast thanking us for our complaint. I am still undecided about posting that on my blog with a reply (so much time has elapsed in the meantime, mostly because of Comcast’s bungling. CenturyLink was not a whole lot better, but everyone I spoke to on the phone was helpful, nice, polite, and empathetic. I think C-Link only put me on Interminable Hold twice and I only dealt with two people at C-Link who simply could not help me.

I learned a lot about how Big Corporations do business poorly.

Comcast has a Public Relations problem that will never be fixed until they decide to restructure and fire their Voice Activated Automated Answering System (or whatever the hell that quagmire is called) and hire real, trained, local people to answer calls. Not gonna happen, so the best advice I can give anyone is this: DO NOT GO WITH COMCAST UNLESS THEY ARE YOUR ONLY OPTION. And if they are your only option, complain loudly, publicly, online and with Letters to the Editor.

CenturyLink outsources all of their 1-800 calls that are made after working hours (8-6PM locally). Any orders placed after hours is probably going to be lost into the Ethernet connection, never to be retrieved. You may (or may not) receive actual equipment, but the service will never follow unless you call during regular working hours and are willing to talk to someone for at least 30 minutes.

I would not recommend CenturyLink to anyone, either, but it is my only alternative choice to Comcast.

I also learned that it would probably be wise to cave in to the peer pressure of the 21st Century and get a Smart Phone. If one of us had a Smart Phone (which everyone assumes you have), we could have connected to the Internet and posted regular (and scathing) reports to FaceBook. The Smart Phone will have to belong to me because I actually own an old cell phone and have an old pay-as-you-go plan that has worked great for my needs until this past 4 weeks.

My husband’s concession to the 21st Century is to own a SPOT GPS and he only has that because he hikes alone in the Cascades frequently. A cell phone would not help him in the Cascades: there’s no reception. He can almost always ping off of a satellite to let me know he is safe and sound, hence the SPOT. If you have a loved one who spends inordinate amounts of time alone in the wilderness somewhere, make them carry a SPOT.

I digress.

Comcast had our land line disconnected on 11/29 before I had a chance to Activate the order for our new (cheaper) Internet/Phone bundle with them. I was already fed up with their ineptitude which you can read about here and here, if you are so inclined. I mailed their modem back to them on Saturday, December 1.

C-Link was supposed to retrieve our old phone number and set us up with a brand new account on 12/6. The Internet was disconnected on 12/6. But our old telephone number was lost to FCC Cyber-space because Comcast never made it a freaking billing number because Comcast never Activated out <insert several swear words> account because I could never get through to anyone who had the actual ability to flip the freaking switch.

And because (I know, that’s terrible grammar to begin a sentence with “and” and a preposition, but deal with it, OK?) Comcast never made out old phone number a “billing number”, C-Link could not retrieve it and because they could not retrieve it, our order fell through the space between the bars into the Black Hole.

I called – after hours – and reordered a phone/internet connection with C-Link. By now, it was as much a matter of pride (I will NOT use Comcast unless forced to) as it was necessity: we need a land line and CenturyLink is the only available carrier in our area that I will do business with. Barely.

I did not know then what I know now: DO NOT CALL CENTURYLINK AFTER HOURS AND ORDER ANYTHING BECAUSE IT IS A THIRD PARTY VENDOR WHO WILL NOT FOLLOW THROUGH AND WHO DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR ORDER.

Connection date was 12/17. I called C-Link on 12/18 during business hours and reached a wonderful employee name Jolie in the Boise area. Jolie listened to my story, muttered under her breath about third party vendors and then called the Portland area dispatch. Jolie was the person who told me that C-Link outsources after hours and this happens FREQUENTLY.

Long story short, this woman got our telephone line hooked up on 12/19 with a 7mbps Internet connection to follow on 12/24. The out-sourced people told me I could have 12mbps, but that is not true: Portland isn’t set up for 12 mbps. 7 is the highest we go as of 12/12.

MEANWHILE. If you thought all of that was difficult to follow, my life got even more bizarre at work. Or maybe that’s non-existent? I mean, where do you go when you slip into a Black Hole? Out the other side? And what is there?

On the day our Internet was disconnected, I arrived at work to find my computer completely shut down. I never shut down my work computer. I just lock it. The darn thing would take over 30 minutes to load if I shut it down and restarted it every day. Operating system: Windows 2003. Apparently, hamsters had moved into my machine overnight and were working the hamster wheel rather furiously.

I turned it on briefly to check. Yep. There were definitely hamsters running the ungreased wheel. It sounded awful and I shut it off. A co-worker took it apart and tried to save the fan. No Go. A new computer was ordered, but it didn’t arrive at the IT Dept. for several days. In short, for 9 days I was without a working computer of my own at work. My entire job is on a computer. I spent 4-6 hours a day on my boss’ computer while she twiddled her thumbs. She used her computer when I was not on it.

I couldn’t even sneak in FaceBook time at work because I wasn’t at my own work station and I didn’t have my break or lunch time available to me.

I did have my Kindle Fire that Don got me for my birthday. But in order to use that, I had to either set up shop at a local coffee shop or the library – and that had to be on my spare time. Interestingly enough, there are more free WiFi spots in the little town where I live than there are in West Portland where I work – so I had to schedule WiFi time for weekends.

My Kindle saved Christmas. I just wanted to say that: I got all the grandkids’ gifts ordered and shipped while sitting at the local library and accessing Amazon.com.

ANYWAY… On December 22, we got Direct TV. I didn’t really want a TV package, but Jolie worked it in at a really cheap discount and my husband is going to be down for a month after a surgery, so I figured it would be cheap entertainment. He’s already addicted. I knew he would be. I read to decompress and he watched TV to decompress after a long day at work.

But NO INTERNET.

How hard is this? Oh, you do not want to ask. I called CenturyLink on 12/24 but they were off for the Holiday. I couldn’t be mad: I was off for the Holiday, too. A bonus Holiday day, gifted by the president of the company I work for.

I called again today. The gal I reached insisted the Internet was turned on on 12/24.I insisted it was not. She insisted I should check another phone jack. I sighed. OK. I already blew up at Comcast people, but this gal was trying very hard to be nice and let’s put things into perspective: my grandchildren are all alive. None of my relations lives in Newtown, CT.

I told her I would try one more time.

And in the most bizarre twist of all: another phone jack worked. Our freaking phone jack by the main computer is DEAD. Sometime between the disconnection on 12/6 and today, it died a terrible death.

I hope it did not involve hamsters. I doubly hope it did not involve mice. We have big dogs. Big dogs should eat mice. This is why I want a cat.

We made a trip to the local Kroger’s, got a longer phone cord, and jury-rigged* the modem/router.

And we have Internet. Ta Da!

*jury-rigged: “Jury rigging refers to makeshift repairs or temporary contrivances, made with only the tools and materials that happen to be on hand. Originally a nautical term, on sailing ships a jury rig is a replacement mast and yards improvised in case of damage or loss of the original mast.” (Wikipedia)

It is *not* “jerry rigged” as most people mispronounce it. It’s one of those grammatical things.

I’m just happy to have Internet. And a Land Line. And my husband is happy to have Direct TV.

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I did not think it was possible to have any more to add to this story, but that was before I got up this morning and checked the messages on my cell phone.

When I had my brain fart last week and ordered Comcast, I wrote down the instructions given me by the very nice man who sold me this bill of goods. “Do NOT call CenturyLink and cancel your phone until you have your modem and you are ready to go,” he said. “You will need your phone to call us if you have any problems and to activate the account.”

There was one voice mail message on my phone. It was from the CenturyLink telephone repairman who apparently called shortly after I put in my service request online. How I missed the call, I don’t know. I’m kind of glad I did:

Comcast put in a disconnect order for me and had my land line disconnected. This is wrong on so many levels that it boggles my mind. I hadn’t even connected with a person who could activate the work order to start our cable internet service yet, so why would they have my land line disconnected?

Whatever.

So now I have a disconnected land line. Thankfully, Comcast did not put in a disconnect order on our Internet, or I’d be without Internet.

I had a root canal scheduled for today (as if dealing with Evil Entities wasn’t enough). I had some errands to run and ended up at the endodontist’s half an hour early, so I thought I’d just finish this business while I waited for my appointment. You know, something to take my mind off of the oral surgery I was facing (which was actually a little more complicated than a simple root canal and involved an incision into my gum and stitches and an $800.00 down payment).

I dialed 1-800-XFINITY and selected the right buttons to put me through to the right person. Her name was Jamie. I explained all of the past few days to her, as briefly as possible. At this point, I was polite. I calmly told her that we wanted to cancel our work order, we’d changed our mind, and that I had to call from my cell phone because Comcast had managed to get my land line disconnected already. And, yes, I knew that I had authorized it but I didn’t understand why it was done before we got the cable Internet activated.

She pulled up our account and said. “You can’t cancel the work order. Your account is under one name.”

Say what?!

It’s only under my husband’s name.

I said, “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?”

She assured me that she was not joking, that only Mr. Presley could cancel the work order.

I was no longer calm. *I* could call and activate this account, *I* could call and activate the work order, but *I* could not call and CANCEL the damn thing? What is wrong with this picture? I had to have his SSN# to open an account. How could *I* open the account if *I* could not close it?

She actually asked me if Mr. Presley was available to speak to.

I started calling her “honey” and “sweetheart” and I didn’t mean it in an endearing way. I wasn’t very nice when I told her that Mr. Presley worked for a living and he was not available. Of course, I put her on the defensive, but I forewarned her that I was already irate and why.

I hung up.

I called CenturyLink to see what they could do about hooking our land line back up. As mad as I was at Comcast, I thought it couldn’t get any worse. So with shaking hands, I punched in the number at 12 minutes to 10:00.

Enter China, a Customer Service person for CenturyLink. China looked up our account. Bad news: because I had a brain fart last week and decided to switch to Comcast and because Comcast had our land line disconnected by C-Link, our account with C-Link no longer existed. In order for us to get a land line reconnected, we would have to open up an entirely new account with an entirely new telephone number. China explained that unless the work order with Comcast was in place, Comcast owned our phone number.

She wanted to put me on hold, but it was now 3 minutes to ten and I really had to go. So she offered to call me at noon (“If you can talk then”) to work on fixing the mess. If she couldn’t reach me at noon, she would call me again on Monday morning, but she was shooting for the noon appointment.

I went in to have the root canal. That was fun. The endodontist cut open my gums and took one long look at the tooth with the infection before announcing, “That tooth is fractured. I have to pull it.”  Yes, dear readers: I donated a tooth today, on top of everything else. It’s not right in front, so you can quit sniggering.

The good news is that the $800 co-pay dropped to a $60 co-pay, effectively saving us a lot of money.

China called at noon. I held an ice pack in one hand and my cell phone in the other hand.

35 minutes later, we had a new CenturyLink Internet/telephone bundle with our same phone number because China worked magic (and asked her supervisor questions). We are going from 5mps to 12mps, we get a new wifi modem/router to handle the bumped-up speed, and it’s $30/month less than our old contract with the same company. Ten dollars a month cheaper than the package Comcast sold me.

Bad news: it can’t be connected until 12/6/12.

Good news: we get to keep the 5mps Internet until 12/6/12.

All that was left was canceling the work order with Comcast.

Oh, but wait – it gets better.

I waited for Don to get home so I could put through that call to Comcast. Our marriage has a few rules and one of those is this: I do all the business calling, setting up of accounts, and dealing with automated systems. Don doesn’t do that. Don doesn’t even own a cell phone. So in keeping with our unspoken set of rules, I made the call.

I got through to Bob. I explained to Bob who I was and what I wanted to do while Don waited for his turn.

Bob asked me one question, “What relationship are you to Mr. Presley?

“Oh, you’re his wife? Well, for security purposes, we have to verify who you are before we can go through with this. Do you know the last four digits of his Social Security Number?”

I rattled them off. Bob canceled our work order. I asked if he needed to speak to my husband because he was sitting right next to me.

Bob answered cheerfully, “Oh, no, we don’t have to do that. As long as you can answer the security questions, we’re good.”

Comcast: Bob needs a raise. Bob is a really great employee and he understands the concept of Customer Service.

CenturyLink: China deserves a raise. She deserves a promotion. She deserves to be Employee of the Month.Give her a Christmas Bonus, too.

I take back every nasty thing I’ve written about Qwest (CenturyLink) in the past. Comcast has been elevated to Evil Entity #1.

*The End*

Read Full Post »

I had a major brain fart this past month. I actually thought I could switch Internet Providers and save $20 a month for a year and I could be happy with that choice.

I had been debating this change for several months with my dear husband (who is pretty cool about whatever decision we were going to make) and my techie brother and my son. Nobody really was very helpful because there isn’t much to be helpful about:

Do I trade in the one Evil Entity (CenturyLink) for another Evil Entity (Comcast)?

Nobody had conclusive answers. they are both Evil. But my Qwest – er, CenturyLink – wireless modem keeps locking me out and Comcast had a better deal on the table, so I caved and called the cable company. I didn’t even have to wait on HOLD. In less than 10 minutes, we were signed up for Comcast’s “high speed internet” (the salesman never did tell me exactly how fast that high speed internet is) and their phone system. The new modem would be arriving via FedEx by Monday.

Tuesday afternoon I came home with a clanging migraine in my head. The new modem had finally arrived and was waiting to be installed. The instructions that came with the modem were generic and not specific to the modem we got. The manuals weren’t manuals at all, but some sort of advertising pamphlets with lots of reminders to call 1-800-XFINITY if we had any problems at all.

We muddled through the instructions and hooked the modem up.

Nothing.

The phone still worked because I still had not called CenturyLink to tell them we were jumping ship. So we had a phone but no internet.

And I had a migraine.

I called Comcast to activate service. They have one of those wonderful automated Voice Activated systems that we all love so much. I told it OPERATOR and it said, cheerfully, “So you want to speak with an associate? Is that correct?”

Then it put me on hold with a little recording that everyone was already busy and the wait was estimated to be about ten minutes.

My migraine made me hang up. I’d just call in the morning when I felt better.

Here’s a short synopsis of Wednesday:

6:50AM – voice recording that Comcast high speed internet is experiencing technical maintenance and if you are having a problem connecting, this is why. Please call later.

Because I am a good employee and I do not make long personal calls at work, either by cell phone or work phone, I waited until I was home to make this call. Besides, I was slammed at work and didn’t have time to make any personal calls. My husband doesn’t have access to a phone during work hours and he doesn’t do this sort of thing, anyway.

6:30PM – I call and get a live person. Yay! Greggor verifies I am who I am and looks up my account. “Hm. That’s interesting. Wonder why… I need to look into this. May I put you on hold?”

Sure. Why not. He can’t be gone for five minutes, right?

Fifteen minutes later (and I-don’t-know-how-many-replays of Flight of the Bumblebee later, there was a little click on the phone and the music changed. A feminine voice intoned, “All of our representatives are busy. Your expected wait time is over ten minutes.”

Say what?

I hung up and redialed, thinking that Greggor accidentally lost me. Someone else answered and I explained that I was talking to Greggor and he lost me. Instead of offering to reconnect me to Greggor, this person asked me all the verification questions again. Then she said, “Oh. I work in CABLE. You want INTERNET. Please hold while I transfer you.”

Cue:  “All of our representatives are busy. Your expected wait time is over ten minutes.”

I hung up and redialed. I pressed all the right buttons in the automated Voice Activated system, indicating that I wished to activate a new service and I was calling about high speed internet.

Repeat the above.

I hung up and redialed.

Repeat the above.

I sort of went off on him. Hung up. Went upstairs. Cooled off. Tried again. Got the voice message: “All of our representatives are busy. Your expected wait time is over ten minutes.”

I waited until 9:00PM when I figured volume would be down. Got through to someone named Isabella. She had a soft Hispanic accent. I explained to Isabella what I told the outsourced Entity. Isabella believed I was irate and did her very best to help me. She worked in CABLE (are we sensing a trend here?) but she didn’t try to put me through to the internet people. Instead, SHE looked up my account and she did it while I was on the phone. It did not take her 15 minutes, but took her less than 5.

“Oh. Your work order is not completed. I can’t do that. That has to be done during regular business hours. You will have to call back during regular business hours.”

For the record, Isabella deserves a raise. And a promotion. Comcast, get that woman off the phones and put her to work where she’s appreciated. She had the courtesy to tell me what I needed to know, even if it was unpleasant news.

I called Comcast from work this morning.

Repeat this scenario: “Hm. That’s interesting. Wonder why… I need to look into this. May I put you on hold?”

Sure. Why not. She can’t be gone for five minutes, right?

Fifteen minutes later (and I-don’t-know-how-many-replays of Flight of the Bumblebee later, there was a little click on the phone and the music changed. A feminine voice intoned, “All of our representatives are busy. Your expected wait time is over ten minutes.”

ARE YOU SERIOUS???

I acquired permission to call Comcast one more time on the work dime.

One can always hope, right?

I got this nice man, Pat. Pat listened to me as I explained how many people I had spoken to since Tuesday night and all I wanted to do was activate my account so I could have Internet and phone. And then Pat said he was in CABLE. But he understood how angry I was and he would personally make certain I got through to the RIGHT person. So he transferred me.

I waited about three minutes before someone picked up the transfer. Pleasant woman who listened to the whole story and then asked me to verify everything. And as I rattled off our phone number, she said…

“You’re in Oregon?”

“Uh – yes.”

“They transferred you to SEATTLE. I am in SEATTLE and I cannot access Oregon accounts. I can’t help you.”I hung up.

Here’s the summary of the past 3 days:

1. I have no computer at work and no idea when I will get one. My boss took a vacation day and let me use hers today. She may do that again on Monday. She has lots of vacation days, so this does not hurt her at all.

2. We have Internet, but it’s through CenturyLink. I promise to never lose my mind over this again. 3. I came home tonight and Don had hooked up the CenturyLink modem. But our phone line is now down. I put in a service request with CenturyLink. You know how that goes. (See my links above for those stories).

4. I have a root canal scheduled for tomorrow morning. On my way to the endodontist, I will drop off the Comcast modem and get a receipt for it. I’m not sure which is more painful: dealing with Comcast or going in for the root canal. I am certain you do not want the gory details on the latter but it involves peeling back the skin on my jaw and going in at the root from the bottom and then stitching the skin back in place.

5. I’d sooner have the root canal than deal with Comcast Customer Service again. And I thought I hated CenturyLink (Qwest).

Read Full Post »