Folks, I could have called this problem coming a mile and a half away. Anyone who has ever dealt with a cable company, cell phone company, regular phone company, etc. has dealt with this problem or one similar to it. Before we start, a message to Mark Casem – if you’re out there, you may want to read this one. Here we go…
My promotional rate for the bundled Comcast services that I am subscribed to (cable, internet, and phone) was expiring at the end of June. On a separate, unrelated call (one of the cable boxes in the house went down), Comcast advised me to contact them to get a new promotional rate for the coming year. I thought that was nice of them to give me a head’s up, so I made the call.
I must have called two or three weeks ago and they verified that my promotional rate was expiring and that I was eligible for a new promotional rate that would actually lower my total bill by $15 each month. That’s not bad! However, this made my the synapses in my mind start to go off because we’ve all dealt with this problem: you change your service in the middle of the month and the service provider winds up double and sometimes triple charging you which launches your next bill into the stratosphere. Nobody wants to deal with that for two reasons. First, it’s extremely annoying and everyone hates getting annoyed. Second, when you contact the actual service provider, 99% of the time you’re stuck on the phone with a person who has a script and is required to stick to it. Talk about doing anything but providing service!
Yet, to Comcast’s great credit, the woman on the phone must have anticipated this problem and suggested that she was going to make the changes effective for the next billing cycle. SWEET! There goes that headache and now all was in place for the next bill to come in. Or so I thought…
The woman on the phone told me the new monthly charge (something like $157 per month) and I thank her for her time. It really was a pleasant ohone call and a pleasant process. Until I received my next bill.
Not only are none of the changes that the woman talked to me about reflected on the bill (as they should have been), but the total monthly bill is $210. TWO HUNDRED AND TEN DOLLARS?! That’s $38 MORE than what I was originally paying!
I took a look at the bill and nothing that I talked to the woman about was reflected. Not a thing. Do you know how frustrating that is for a consumer? I spent half an hour of my time on the phone with that woman and NOTHING that we talked about was processed. Come on! I mean what? Is my time worth nothing?!
At this point, I did what any consumer would do – I picked up the phone and made a call to 1-800-COMCAST. This was a useless move. After 10 minutes of not getting anybody on the phone, playing the “Press X for…” game, and listening to crappy music while I was on hold, I hung up and went to Comcast.com to use their live chat. Now, to prove that I can say “good job” when it is well-deserved, let me say that Comcast.com’s live chat is excellent.
After signing on, a very nice live chat woman named Siena Rose answered my request in a matter of seconds. She was extremely pleasant and, if you want, you can read our entire conversation by clicking here. The end of this part of the story is that I had to call the local office in order to get the changes made on my account that I was told were made weeks ago. If you click on the transcript of the discussion above, you’ll note that as pleasant as Siena Rose was on the live chat, I did get very offended when she went to an obvious “copy and paste” tactic at the end of the chat. In short, she suggested that I can now consider my issue resolved when it was clearly not resolved. I didn’t like that. Read the transcript – you’ll see.
Oh joy, I get to call the local office. More of my time spent on something that should have been done weeks ago.
The next day rolls around and I call the local office. After playing the ridiculous “Press # for…” game and sitting on hold for 12 minutes, I hang up. Great, now I have to call the NEXT day. In other words, I have to take time out of MY WORK DAY to tell the local office that they made a mistake and that they need to fix it. At this point, I’m beginning to get enraged because I know exactly what’s going to happen – I’m going to request a new bill be generated erasing the false $210 bill and the local office isn’t going to do it. However, I learned once that you shouldn’t get mad at things before they happen, so I choose to simmer down before I make the call on Monday (during my work day).
Up until this point, I’ve spent almost an hour of my time trying to fix a mistake made and admitted to by Comcast. What do I get for this? If I made a mistake with my payments (which would never happen), Comcast would get a late fee. Where is my equivalent of a late fee for the mistakes that Comcast made and the loss of an hour of my personal time?
Instead of waiting to call the next day – during my work day – I decide to call 1-800-COMCAST to see what they can do. After about a minute on hold, some guy answers and asks me how he can help. I tell him my problem and he says that he can put me through to the local billing department, before I get a chance to say that I’ve been waiting on hold with them for 12 minutes already today – he puts me through. The same familiar, aggravating elevator music pops onto my phone…
Now I want to put my fist through someone’s face, but I’ve decided instead to calm down the rage and wait on hold (again). As I wait on hold, I begin writing this post so I don’t forget any of the absolute ridiculousness of this situation. After another 12 minutes on hold, I give up and realize that I’m going to have to make this phone call the following day from my office. That’s completely unfair, but what choice do I have?
Monday morning rolls around and after waiting on hold for a few minutes, I’m on the line with a customer service representative at Comcast. Here comes another dreadful moment – having to re-explain everything all over again (which I do as pleasantly as possible). The woman on the phone (didn’t catch her name) has no idea what I’m talking about and tells me that the reason why I have the wrong charges reflected on my bill is because I made the changes on June 27th and my billing dates run from the 20th of each month to the following 20th.
I explain to the woman that I called on June 15th to make the changes (she gets more confused) and that my billing period is the actual month itself. In this case, we’re talking about July 2nd through August 1st. This is met with a, “Wuhhh…uhhh…” Super! I tell the woman on the phone that the live chat specialist told me she made extensive notes in my account and that she should take a look at them. The woman on the phone, again, says that this is all confusing.
She asks if she can put me on hold, to which I say yes. After six minutes on hold, she comes back on and tells me that no changes have been made to my account…newsflash! She also said that she was going to transfer me to an account manager (how do you get the phone number to talk to an account manager directly?). An account manager named Marissa gets on the phone and goes over all of the issues with my account. She immediately sees all of the issues and I’m telling you – within a matter of two minutes she had everything fixed. She put me on hold for a few minutes and when she came back on, she reviewed my bill with me and I left a happy customer.
Before the end of the call, Marissa told me what the new amount was for the bill. I asked her again, “If I pay this amount, there won’t be a notice that I haven’t paid the entire bill or anything, right?” And she said, “No, like I just told you – this is how much you have to pay.” So I reminded her that I was told one thing on June 15th and something completely different on June 27th. She understood, apologized again for the oversight, and commented that I only had to pay the amount that she quoted me. In fact, she gave me her name, service number, and told me her location in case I ever had another problem. I thought that was a nice touch.
Whoever Marissa is in the Comcast organization, she should be given a raise. Every other step in this process was miserable except dealing with her. The most annoying part of the entire process (besides losing a few hours of my time and getting aggravated) was that I had to keep repeating myself and repeating the story.
Now let’s see if what Marissa says holds true when I go to pay my bill. I will be sure to let you all know the outcome!