Sunday, December 20, 2009

Comcast continues to amaze me

I promise I'll get back to my regularly scheduled blogging about constructing the ultimate family with my next post, but first I need to vent about Comcast one more time. We're now into our third week of owning a new Tivo and of having Comcast pay visits to the house only to have no clue what to do with us.

It was such a simple matter. Tivo requires the use of a CableCard. Comcast provides CableCards. Make an appointment, have a Comcast dude come over and install it, and you're golden, right? So let's see where we are....

December 4: Make appointment for a week from Saturday
December 12: The 8-12 window of the appointment goes by, and at 11:59 lady calls to say the tech has no cable cards, can they bring me a set top box instead. I explode at her for making me wait all freaking morning to tell me this, instilling fear and wrath such that the woman cowers in a corner and pleads for me to let her supervisor call me. Supervisor never calls, so I call Comcast tech support and complain for an hour. Supervisor then calls, comes over 45 minutes later with three CableCards, none of which work. Says he needs to get new ones from "the warehouse" during the week. Makes appointment for 6pm-9pm December 16
December 16: Tech shows up at 1:30 in the afternoon. WTF. Installs a Cablecard. Spends an hour on the phone with the home office. Gets it working, except there are no premium channels showing. Doesn't mention that to my lovely wife, and leaves thinking he's free. I come home see there's no premium channels, call Comcast.They spend ten minutes trying to send a signal to the Card with no luck. Says they need to come out again with a new CableCard.
December 19: Tech arrives on time, but with no replacement cableCards. Spends an hour on phone with home office, trying to get current card to work, with no luck. Lists the name of every supervisor he can to woman on other line, pleading my case to her and explaining how Comcast has totally screwed us. I like this guy, despite the fact that he didn't do anything for us. Plus Daisy LOVED him. Our next attempt happens Tuesday afternoon.

Okay, so that brings us to today. I've realized the flaw in their system.

First of all, it's a known fact that CableCards arere a commercial failure for the industry, primarily because Comcast and other Cable companies realized that they shouldn't offer $2.00 CableCards to customers when instead they could market $10 cable boxes and get additional revenue with On Demand sales. Sure, makes sense. But that doesn't negate the fact that new Tivos REQURE the use of CableCards, and Comcast still OFFERS CableCards, therefore they should SUPPORT CableCards.

Second, most of their techs work from home. They wake up each morning and say, "Well Brain, what are we going to do today?" Pinky answers with, "Same thing we do every day, Pinky...install some cable boxes." Basically if a gadget ain't in their truck already, they aren't prepared for the day and there's going to be a problem. At no point are the techs informed ahead of time that there will be a CableCard installation, and he'd better stop at the warehouse and get a working CableCard.

Third, CableCard settings expire. If the tech grabs a bunch to keep in his car, they are already initialized and coded to work with the local Comcast system. But if they aren't used in, say, three months, the settings automatically expire and the card needs to be reinitialized before it's brought to the house.

Seems like a classic failure to communicate. If they ever get this working right, the next thing I'm going to do is have a little chat with Comcast, and have them lower my bill by using this strategy.

Oh and the next Comcast employee who asks me why I wouldn't like to keep Comcast's DVR instead will get punched.


Howard said...

When do you call the FCC to report Comcast for not meeting their cable card support requirements?

Just thought I'd throw that out there :)

ComcastCares1 said...

We apologize for all the troubles we caused. We like to make sure that the service call is completed successfully tomorrow. Will you please send us the phone number on that account so that we can look into this?


Mark Casem
Comcast Customer Connect
National Customer Operations

Blogger said...

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Guess what? This is exactly what large companies are paying for. They need to know what their customer base needs and wants. So large companies pay $1,000,000's of dollars every month to the average person. In return, the average person, like me, participates in surveys and gives them their opinion.