Comcast Cares? This Year’s Horror Stories Say Otherwise

comcast logo

Get this: Comcast receives 25 complaints per day according to the Federal Communications Commission. That translates to more than 9,000 registered complaints to the FCC each year, including many complaints about Comcast’s violations of net neutrality. The Better Business Bureau lists over 35,000 complaints about Comcast within the last three years. As expected, most of the complaints go unresolved:

comcast chart 1

Consumer Affairs lists over 3,000 complaints about Comcast (date range unspecified) . It’s difficult to determine how many unregistered complaints Comcast receives, but we know it’s a lot. The 2015 American Customer Satisfaction Index surveyed 70,000 customers of consumer products and Comcast was ranked last within Internet Service Providers:

comcast chart 2

In the same ACSI survey, people ranked ISPs dead last for customer service relative to all industries surveyed:

comcast chart 3

So suffice to say, Comcast was the worst of the worst in customer service.

Comcast Cares?

In response to the constant negative publicity, Comcast continues to tout its community efforts in the form of “Comcast Cares Day” which was launched in 2001. According to Charisse Lillie, President, Comcast Foundation in Community Investment:

“Comcast Cares Day . . . gives all of us the chance each spring to give back even more to the communities we support year-round.” In 2015, Comcast Cares Day mobilized more than 100,000 people to serve for 4 million total hours.

In spite of this negative perception, Comcast is the American market leader in pay TV services with a 22% market share. If Comcast “cares” about its communities and 22 million Americans choose to subscribe to their services, why do people hate Comcast so much?

I’ll tell you why. Many would say it’s because Comcast is not who they say they are. Comcast wants to sell you this image:

comcast cares

But evidence would suggest this is who they really are:

comcast meme

Their indifference to customer complaints and apparent unethical business behavior make Comcast Cares Day look more like Phillip Morris anti-smoking campaigns than a step towards community improvement. Let’s take a look at some real life customer experiences that exemplify how much Comcast really “cares.”

Real Customer Experiences with Comcast (Complaints in 2015)

#1 Lisa Brown, a volunteer for a missions organization in Spokane, WA, had a billing problem with Comcast, her local cable provider. When she tried to cancel her cable service, she got referred to one of the company’s “retention specialists,” who apparently didn’t like being told “no”. “I was never rude,” she told Elliott. “It could have been that person was upset because I didn’t take the offer.” The name on their next bill was changed from her husband’s name, Ricardo, to “Asshole” Brown.

comcast bill

#2 Mary Bauer, 63, of Addison, Ill. says her cable continually kept shutting off, and she had to keep calling to get it fixed. “I had 39 technicians here from November to April,” she said.

Someone along the way, Mary says, finally got it right, but then she says her bills stopped showing up – four months in a row.

“I was nice enough to call them to ask how much I owe,” she said. “I was little hot and a little angry because I never got good service.” But she says she didn’t swear or call them names.

It was not an usual complaint, but when Mary got her bill today…

“It says Super B—- Bauer,” she said. “This is a disgrace to me. Why are they doing this to me? I pay my bills. I do not deserve this.”

comcast bill 2

#3 God forbid you want to disconnect your service. Engadget co-founder Ryan Block posted a recording of his 18-minute attempt to cancel his Comcast cable service over the phone in July. In this legendary call, a desperate Comcast rep insisted that he return his Cablecard in person and give reasons for canceling the service, and he grew shriller with each workaround that Block tried to suggest. You gotta hear this recording:

#4 Tim Davis (a pseudonym) posted a 14-minute video detailing how the company promised him he wouldn’t be charged for something, charged him anyway, and then refused to undo the charges until Davis revealed that he had recorded the initial call. “What have we learned today?” Davis asks at the end of the video. “Well for one thing, always record your calls with big companies. Especially ones that don’t give a f—” about you, like Comcast.”

#5 Mike of Pittsburgh, PA on Oct. 9, 2015 states in his own story he and his fiance went with Comcast for cable and internet. The tech came on the requested date, but after he left, the internet wasn’t working. Not only that, he left the wrong remote TV remote and they weren’t receiving HD channels. After 2 weeks (11 hours of phone time), the HD situation was fixed, but they still didn’t have internet or the right controller.

#6 Here’s a story from Maddy of Littleton, CO on Oct. 13, 2015:

I absolutely DREAD calling Comcast to activate my equipment, every time I have to do it. I cancelled my cable service because I didn’t wanna deal with it but my new place has it included in rent. 🙁 So I call, and my fiance and I got disconnected FIVE TIMES! He has AT&T and I have Verizon. We both had full bars and we’re getting disconnected. Pretty sure that was Comcast’s end. Every time we got disconnected, nobody bothered to call us back except for the very last person we spoke to.

It feels like you just talk in circles every time you calm them and it’s so nauseating. “Is everything connected properly, what is the serial number, I’m gonna send a signal, I’m going to try to reset it, what does your screen look like, is it on the right input, is everything connected properly, I’m gonna send a signal, I’m going to reset it, what does your screen look like? Is it on the right input?” Over and over until they just decide they’re going to send out a tech to fix it which costs anywhere from $30-$50 to fix their ** equipment. I had to drive to Comcast twice to get a new box and was in tears because of how frustrating it was. I would never recommend Comcast. ** customer service, ridiculously expensive prices, for ** equipment and ** internet connection.

Where Bad Customer Service Meets High Prices

Abraham Lincoln once said that Washington D.C. is a city in which “Northern hospitality meets Southern efficiency”. Little did he know that he was actually talking about Comcast. They’re the company where bad customer service meets high prices. In most industries, you take the bad with the good. For example, utility companies are slow to respond, but at least your pricing remains affordable (and stable). You might think the U.S. Postal Service retail locations are painful to visit, but they generally deliver your mail on time for a fair price. Not so with Comcast.

It seems that Comcast tries to lure you into thinking they are a “community partner,” yet they attack other companies within the TV industry like Netflix by slowing down their internet speeds and devouring smaller Internet Service Providers. Don’t get me started on Comcast’s abuse of Net Neutrality. Or Comcast’s lobbying efforts which includes contributing money against then-incumbent mayor Mike McGinn in the 2013 Seattle mayoral election because he proposed gigabit fiber which would compete with Comcast.

In short, Comcast combines the worst facets of all worlds. They have the customer service of a government-regulated utility and the pricing of a monopoly. And the complaints show it.

Chris Brantner