Why I Dislike Comcast

Happy New Year!! And with the new year comes new internet\TV service for the house – actually, it isn’t completely new, it’s the same service, just at a different address. Who is the ISP you ask? Why, it’s Comcast. Admittedly, I am one of the outliers in their “median network usage” calculation between lab traffic, cloud backups, and (legitimate) streaming traffic – and I also probably know and care more about security and networking than a large percentage of their customers. And in all honesty, once the service is (finally) setup correctly, it’s usually quite reliable.

My beef is not with the customer support team either. Every person has been very courteous and tried their darndest to solve my problems….I said courteous, I didn’t say technologically capable. So lets discuss my specific scenario – moving from one part of Florida to another and using the ‘Movers Edge‘ program.

  • 12\31\2015 – call initiated to movers edge – new account setup, new plan, etc. There was some discrepancy about plan and billing in trying to get the best deal, but the agent noted all of this and opened a ticket with the billing team to get correct “triple play” applied to account – even called back giving me the internal ticket number – very helpful.
  • 1\2\2016 – attempted equipment hookup in new location – TV channels were missing and overall did not appear correct, but this was noted by the movers agent that I may need to swap out the cable cards. Modem came online and issued DHCP – internet service was up.
  • 1\4\2016 – Internet service dies randomly in the afternoon after having been up for the previous 2 days; I still have an external address on the gateway, but no traffic to the next hop. Numerous calls to support with no resolution – claiming everything from it should be working fine, to hang-ups, to the automated system hanging up on me…finally someone is able to give some resolution that I need to take the cable modem to the local Comcast office so they can “scan it” since the local offices have some magical power that phone support doesn’t have. (seriously)
  • 1\5\2016 – Took the modem to the local office as instructed, also did a swap of the cable card; turns out they had never put any video equipment on the new account which is why the old account was not de-activated completely and why the cable modem was not showing on the new account. Talked to a very nice guy at the office, and he was able to take care of the issue. I took the modem and new cable card home, and voila! Internet Service! Then I needed to pair the new cablecard to my account. Numerous failed calls to customer support again. NO ONE in standard support knows what a cablecard is or how to pair it to the account – I didn’t say they were not courteous, I said that they tried to activate the cable card as if it was a standard cable box. Finally found the direct cablecard activation number and got it paired successfully – see notes below.
  • 1\11\2016 – Received the first new bill for this account and it is nearly double what it should be. This is not because of a pro-rate mistake…it’s because I was charged for two completely separate TV and internet plans. This should be fun to get resolved.
  • 1\12\2016 – Before I even get a chance to call in about the billing nightmare, internet service is out again. Upon calling in, the technician is immediately able to see that the modem was disabled and that my account was all kinds of messed up. Remember that billing issue from the initial movers call – yeah, it was never actually resolved. Finally get service back up and some $100 per month corrected on the bill – thank you.

**Edit 1/15/2016 (oh, it gets better)

  • 1\15\2016 – I just received a call from Comcast. The conversation went like this:
    • ‘Is it correct that the account [at my previous address] was cancelled?’
    • Yes.
    • ‘What was the reason you cancelled your account?’
    • Because we moved.
    • ‘Can you give any detail – were you dissatisfied with the service?’
    • I have the same service at my new home – I used the movers edge program that Comcast provides. Do you not see that in your system??!!??
    • ‘Oh so you have service at your new location?’
    • Yes. Do you not see my new account in your system??
    • ‘Oh, well I’m just an account retention sales representative – I don’t really look for that.’
  • Once again, Comcast proves that their staff, while courteous, are completely useless when it comes to the technology their company provides and in this case information in their own system that would have saved them and me time.

**

My initial plan was to get a backup ISP – and after all of the above outages, it was clear that I would need something. But there’s a problem – I can’t even get crappy old-school DSL in this area. I’ve tried. Several times. There’s nothing available other than Comcast. And I am not dealing with the latency of satellite. I may end up paying for 4G cellular, but that’s really expensive for the amount of data you get. South park hit the nail on the head on this one.

South Park Cable

I will admit that I’m a ‘unique’ customer – and some of these issues are caused by my requirements:

  • I refuse to use the Comcast provided gateway device and have purchased my own cable modem – why?
    • I don’t trust whatever security it may have
    • I’m not going to fight with trying to do passthrough, or NAT, or rules on that device
    • I have my own wireless AP that is far better than the “fastest in home wifi”
    • I don’t want anyone within range to be able to leach off (and who knows what else, security wise) my xfinity wifi signal
    • At $7-10\month rental, buying my own device pays for itself in less than a year
  • I use a cablecard and don’t need any cable boxes – why?
    • Again, cost. Each cable box is a per month rental fee
    • I still get DVR and broadcast TV in every room
    • I don’t care about on-demand, and I still have a guide, so there’s nothing more to justify the additional expense

Then there are the things that everyone should hate Comcast for:

  • Their automated support system
    • I have called in so many times that I now know the pattern of numbers to press to get through the system as fast as possible
    • When I enter the numbers with my keypad, don’t waste half a minute repeating them back to me EVERY TIME
    • This is a big one: if I’m experiencing trouble with my internet service, A DEVICE RESET DOES NOT FIX THE PROBLEM 100% OF THE TIME so don’t treat customers as if it does with your automated system.
  • Cablecard is a foreign language
    • They are FCC mandated to support cablecards, but they hate to because it means less fees per month
    • Know the direct cablecard support line: 877-405-2298 (See this very helpful page from Ceton: http://cetoncorp.com/infinitv_support/cablecard-activation/)
    • Why not have a web portal for cablecard pairing like Verizon FIOS does????
  • Stop using the ‘fastest in home wifi’ marketing – anyone that knows anything about networking knows better
    • If a customer has 50 or 75Mbps internet speed what good does 150Mbps+ wireless do? nothing.
  • The data cap is a cash grab just like most of the other services (equipment rentals, etc)

But all of this doesn’t matter – It won’t change anything. There’s simply no competition (again, South Park is spot on here) and when customers don’t have a choice, Comcast can get away with whatever they want. I miss Verizon FIOS.

 

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