14 March 2010 ~ 5 Comments

Comcast, Why? When You Know So Much?

Yesterday, our Comcast cable modem began resetting the Intenet connection almost continuously. Time to swap it out! From speaking with Comcast support, this is as easy as heading to your nearest service center and trading it in – no technician necessary.

A quick Google search landed me here, at what appears to be a pretty standard “store locator” on Comcast’s site:

Comcast's Service Center Locator

(1)  I’m a Comcast subscriber, accessing the Internet from my Comcast Internet account. Comcast knows I’m physically inside of their network and it knows my modem is associated with my account (to activate your modem, you have to provide your account number). If Comcast knows who I am, and where I am, then why do I have to provide any information?

(2) Is the apartment number query necessary? Do service centers split service down the middle of an apartment building?  I realize it’s marked as optional although I can’t see why providing it helps the person filling out the form.  Taking it one step further, only the zip code might really be necessary.

(3) Whenever you see this option you have to wonder in what context the creators of this form imagine you to be using it. At a coffee shop? In school? When would it be appropriate to forget the information someone provided in a form, unless it was their username or password, neither of which are present here.

(4) (not numbered) What purpose do the gigantic colon characters between form fields serve?

Points (2) – (4) are not as important as (1) because they are improvements that assume prompting you for your address is necessary.

Given what Comcast knows about me from (1), this is what I hope to see the next time I’m looking for a service center.

Rob's take on the Comcast Service Center Locator

Of note:

  • What you don’t see: No prompts for location.  Comcast should figure this out from the modem/account pairing.
  • What you didn’t know: The nearest location for each type of service center is shown.  Previously you only learned that there were different types of service centers once you started searching.
  • What you didn’t know: Your nearest service center might not service you.  Each service center only “serves” different accounts.
  • What you didn’t know: If you have a Comcast voice account (as I do), you cannot exchange your hardware.  In that case, this page would show a different message rather than your nearest service center – a UI to schedule an appointment for a technician to replace your modem.  I drove from Mountain View to Sunnyvale with my modem to find this out.
  • Thumbnail map view should be zoomed out enough such that you can make gross location decision making (“Oh I see Sunnyvale there, that’s 2 hours away.”)
  • If the guess is accurate, one-click access to directions (although I could see directions provided here too).  If the guess was inaccurate, one-click access to finding additional service centers.

There’s certainly room for improvement here.  What are the service center hours?  Are they currently open?

All of those improvements assume Comcast buys into the notion of not asking their customers for what they already know about them.

5 Responses to “Comcast, Why? When You Know So Much?”

  1. ComcastMark 15 March 2010 at 10:33 am Permalink

    Thanks for the valuable feedback. I will definitely share this with the appropriate department for evaluation. Hopefully you will have a better experience next time.

    Should you need more assistance with your service, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

    I apologize for the experience.

    Mark Casem
    Comcast Corp.
    National Customer Operations
    We_can_help@cable.comcast.com

  2. Rob 15 March 2010 at 6:03 pm Permalink

    Thanks for dropping by Mark! Good to see you guys looking out for this sort of thing. Hope it helps.

  3. Joshua Galle 4 August 2010 at 9:55 pm Permalink

    Mr Casem,

    My name is Josh Galle, Phone number is 678-551-5301 or 678-662-9447, I have been a Comcast Customer for 4+ years now at 3 separate residences. Each time I have moved I decided to select Comcast due to their Bundle Deals as well as overall satisfaction with Customer Service in the past. Overall I am still fairly happy with the Triple Play Bundle and service that I have had at my current residence for just over a year now.

    However some consistent issues that have not been properly resolved over the past year and have created additional serious issues are as follows:

    1) Since having Comcast installed at my new house just over a year ago in July 2009, the cable coming from the street to the exterior of my house was never installed properly, ie. it was not properly grounded, and also was never encased in a protective box. (I asked on numerous occasions for this to be corrected, and each time the Customer Service Rep or the Service Tech on location failed to notate the account or take proper corrective action).

    2) I have had 3 seperate HD DVR boxes replaced/installed due to lightning strikes causing power outages and surges. (3 times in 1 year, this is a trend, and should already notate a serious issue)

    3) Now moving forward July of 2010, due to surge from lightning strike on 7/26/10 that caused area outage overnight. my new Samsung 50″ 1080p Plasma TV and Samsung 5.1 DVD Theater system have been fryed

    On 7/27/10 I hired my own electrician to inspect the house before calling Comcast because I wanted to make sure I didn’t have a power/electrical issue with the house, the electrician said the whole house checked out fine, no electrical issues, and since no other issues, he says the cable coming from the street to the splitter mounted on the exterior of my house was not grounded properly, and should have been encased in a box, this was likely the source of the surge entering my house. If it entered through the electrical system it would have tripped the high-end surge protector I have the tv, theater and HD DVR connected to.

    The Electrician’s suggestion is that a surge coming through the cable, hit and fryed the exterior splitter, hitting an additional splitter in the interior, and hitting the Comcast HD DVR, and finally hitting my TV/Theater System through HDMI. The TV and Theater system still get power, and picture still shows clearly on TV via Coaxial connection, but my HDMI,Component, AV inputs on my TV are all not working, this means the entire input board on the TV is damaged. Also the HDMI connection on my Theater system no longer works along with the Component connections, this means the same damage was done to the theater system. Both the TV and Theater system were connected via HDMI to the HD DVR, and were plugged into a high-end surge protector, which did not fail or trip.

    On 7/27/10 the Comcast tech (Charles) came out 2 hours after the end of the scheduled time, and found that the exterior splitter was not properly installed, said it may not have been properly grounded. Charles than inspected the interior splitter and said he was not getting any signal inside so that meant he needed to replaced the fryed splitters, he also inspected the HD DVR which was flashing an Err 65 code I believe. He stated that he believed due to the lightning storm and the entire Comcast system being hit, a surge may have hit the exterior splitter, then hit the interior splitter, and then the HD DVR and finally the TV/Theater system via HDMI, those were the only shared connections throughout the entire system. Charles called his supervisor ( John Richards, Tech Ops Supervisor Email:john_richards2@cable.comcast.com) both were in agreement that damage had been done through cable (Again let me clarify, I have no other damage from power to my house, except electronics connected to the Comcast HD DVR that shorted-out/fryed, along with multiple splitters, which were not grounded correctly nor installed correctly, this is Comcast responsibility, to properly install and inspect for safety and code, I have had an independent professional electrician that I paid to inspect, and his opinion is that Comcast is responsible, and I now have a Comcast Service Tech and his supervisor all stating that Comcast should cover repairs.

    On 7/27/10 (Charles) repaired and properly grounded the exterior splitter, and installed a box to the exterior of the house to encase the splitter per my request. He then replaced a 4-port splitter in the interior of our house, and replaced our Cable box with the wrong box, we got a new HD Box, instead of an HD DVR that we pay for) he then spent 1/2 hour connecting the HD box to the TV via HDMI, Component, S-VIDEO, and A/V and no connection worked from the box to the TV, he stated no signal was making it to the TV. He even tried, brand new HDMI and Component Wires that he brought, none of these worked either. He further used the same new wires to re-connect the Theater system to the TV and that was no good as well. He then connected the new HD Box directly to the TV via Coaxial, and the TV finally had clear picture. So the TV is working (just the input board is fryed) and the Theater system is working (but input/output board is fryed)

    On 7/27/10 Charles, Service Tech spoke to his supervisor and they told me I would have to call in and submit a “Claim” once the Repair Ticket was closed.

    On 7/27/10 at approx 7:30pm I called and made a claim, and referenced ( John Richards, Tech Ops Supervisor) Claims rep told me I would get a call back in 24-48 hours, which I did not get a single return call ever.

    On 7/28/10 I contacted a Samsung Authorized repair center , they said it would cost $500-$600 to repair/replace the input board on the TV and that the theater system cannot be repaired and must be replaced. There suggestion is not to spend the money fixing last years model TV that I recently purchased, but to replace with a new model. So basically I am currently out a $999 Samsung 50″ 1080P Plasma TV, and a $494 Samsung 5.1 1000w Dvd Home Theater System, for total of damages at $1493.

    From 7/28/10 – 8/04/10 I called to follow-up with Claims everyday until I finally got a rep who was rude and told me the claim was denied and Comcast was not responsible, this is funny because John Richards the supervisor never came out to re-inspect, and notate the issues, how can a claim be denied so quickly without the proper information?

    On 8/03/10 I decided to call sales and get my situation escalated, at which time I got a hold of (Rene, Sales Mangager in my area) Rene contacted John Richards the Tech Supervisor, and he set a time for 8/04/10 at 2pm to come to the house and inspect himself in person.

    On 8/04/10 Upon John’s late arrival at approx 2:45pm he was quite rude by not introducing himself and when I was speaking to him, he was frequently interrupting me by not talking/listening to my issues and was instead constantly taking calls on his mobile. Finally he approached me and said “so you want to know what happened with the damage, and what Comcast will and won’t cover or repair?” I stated yes, and he asked me to show him what had happened. I walked him to the exterior connection from the street for the cable, pointed out the new box that was installed to encase the cable splitter, he opened and stated that the splitter had not been replaced and that it was properly grounded, he further said he was getting conflicting stories. He attempted to make it sound like there was no further issues, since the box had been installed and splitter was now grounded. I stated to him that upon (Charles, the service tech’s original arrival) their was no box installed, and that the grounding wire was not properly connected, I had an Electrician inspect who noticed the splitter was not grounded, and I personally observed Charles the entire time from inspection to repair, and watched him physically cut the ground wire, and than attach properly to the splitter with the mounting screw. I physically watched Charles install the box to encase the splitter, and than I escorted him to the interior, and watched him replace the 4-port splitter in the interior, as well as the HD Cable Box. I further shared that after Charles had tested all the various wires and input options and found the TV was not receiving signal, that he stated the input board was fryed on the TV and on my Theater system and would need to be repaired/replaced. He made a call immediately to John Richards, and they had a discussion for several minutes, and again this led to me being told to place the claim.

    On 8/04/10 I re-iterated this entire sequence of events to John and initially he said that there was no way that power traveled through the cable and hit the TV, he now has changed his opinion or story and claims that the cable only carries low-voltage, and that it doesn’t travel through coaxial. He stated he would have another service tech come out, disconnect the previous ground wire, and then re-ground the exterior splitter to the main ground for the house. He also stated that the exterior splitter once the box was properly grounded, and that the fact that a box to cover the exterior splitter was never installed would not allow for a short/surge.

    Who has conflicting stories now? because as I stated earlier I had already had an Electrician that I hired come and inspect before, and he stated that power does travel through cable, and it was the point of origin for a surge into my house to my TV/Theater system, since both were connected to the HD DVR via HDMI, and in this case they do carry power and that power to the cable box, tv and theater system were all through a surge-protector that had not tripped.

    After being told a 3rd time that I was wrong, and that Comast wouldn’t cover it, I told John that I wanted the claim re-submitted or re-opened and wanted the TV/Theater system repaired or replaced. He said it would take 24 hours for him to submit a claim to Comcast’s insurance department, and they would contact me within an additional 24 hours.

    So at this point, my TV/Theater system has been damaged for 8 days now, and until today I did not have my new HD DVR, and I finally got a whopping $24 credit for the lack of HD DVR and ON-DEMAND features? Why am I paying for service that I cannot properly receive, on my equipment that has been damaged by your equipment, and your failure to install and ground correctly?

    On 8/05/10 I found this Comcast email address, and thought I would notify you, in hope that this case/claim be properly addressed before I choose to terminate my account with Comcast. as well as take legal action. I have also contacted various Comcast Employees through Twitter and other Social Networks to help resolve my situation.

    The way I see it, Comcast makes about $100+ from me in monthly service fees for my HD Triple Play Bundle (Now Xfinity I guess), in a given year that is $1,200.

    So let me ask: would you rather repair/replace $1493 and keep making $1,200 a year in the future? or lose $1,200 in annual revenue from me, and gain serious legal and negative PR? What is your profit margin on “nothing?”

    The least I expect Comcast to do for me as a Customer is pay the approx. $1,493 to repair/replace my TV and Theater system. If this is done I will not pursue legal action, I will remove my online posts or complaints, and I will continue my service with Comcast.

    Take care of me as a customer that is all I am asking for!

    My contact info again:
    Josh Galle
    678-551-5301 or 678-662-9447

  4. Sam M- Chicago 28 August 2010 at 6:15 am Permalink

    Josh,

    I have the same exact problem. Cable was installed in winter and not grounded. Paid Geek Squad to come out and said the power supplies were fried on two flat panels from not being grounded $1200.00.
    It has been over three months, several comcast investigations and still no resolution. This appears to be an epidemic with lazy (3rd party installers) and comcast not taking accountability. Dumping it to a third party for the damage claim. I have pursued this on principle and found some good resources from the state attorney generals office, you should also consider writing your local newspaper they like to share stories like this.

    If enough people stand up to the Juggernaut they will evently fall. Dish/ AT&T U-Verse have been good experiences.
    Best of luck.

  5. sally 30 August 2010 at 6:37 pm Permalink

    kinda funny that I have comcast as well and have had several probs with my cable and a tech has been out 2 times maybe 3 cant quite remember, the funny thing is that my power went out right around the same time yours did, and when it came back on my cable did not work (i have hd/dvr). Not very long after the power came on comcast called but husband couldn’t get to phone in time so he called back and they said they had no record of anyone calling.Later he looked to see whats wrong and sees that are hdmi where u plug comcast cable into your tv is fried.on our tv itself. hmmmmm. called comcast and they said they would send a teqh. out. grrrr.


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