Monday, July 13, 2009

The madness stopped on the 4th day: My Comcast Hell

It took them 4 days in total, to resolve a simple physical connection problem. Turns out that my actual cable was disconnected. The apartment located on the 2nd floor got disconnected from their Comcast Service so someone from Comcast Provisioning disconnected them. They did not even check that the connection was originating from a splitter, one goes to the apartment on top of me, one goes to my apartment. They disconnected the entire cable feed. Another epic provisioning to on-site tech coordination FAIL.

My savior on my 4th day in fire and brimstone of zero Internet was a good-natured on-site tech guy named Tom. Tom was a classic good-ol'-American gentleman. He reminded me of those 1950's to 60's Handymen portrayed on television. He has a cool utility belt with all the tools he need, he has a cool mustache and beard, and sports an old-school baseball cap. He was a little bit odd with his seemingly non-sense gibbering while tracing the coax cables from my living room all the way outside the veranda but one thing is for sure, he knows his craft. He knows how to pacify someone who has been deprived of their connection for days by virtue of hard-work and results. Comcast Tech Support people should take a page out of Tom's book of work ethics.

All work, less talk. No promises.

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Comcast Hell Continues....

It has been 3 days now and my Comcast Cable Internet is still down. I guess that gives me the right (and pleasure) to say that Comcast Technical Support sucks, as well as how they coordinate with their local dispatch units that handles installation and on-site troubleshooting.

The thing is, Comcast Call Centers are distributed in North America and most of their on-site technicians are contractors, even better, sub-contractors. lol. Earth to Comcast, please stop hiring and giving out contracts to clueless companies to render service to your poor customers.

And one more thing, in case you call in Comcast Technical Support Hotline, ask them to transfer you to their Call Center based in Tucson, Arizona because the guys there will help you. The rest are plain stupid, newbies, too old to do technical support jobs, or just completely clueless.

I was in a hurry to go home today so I can meet the Comcast tech guy at 6PM PST, as promised over the phone yesterday by another clueless Supervisor. So around 5:45PM PST they called me and I told them to wait for just at least 5 minutes, 8 minutest tops, because I am already on my way to my apartment walking, coming from the BART station.

You know what was the reply of the guy who called me representing Comcast?

"Sorry, but we cannot wait because we have other job orders pending today." And that was it.

OMFG. I have been patiently waiting for the past 3 days for them to restore my Internet service, and the freakin' on-site Tech Guys couldn't even wait for just 10 minutes for a customer who has been down for 3 days?!

How I wish Comcast Managers can read my post. You guys gave me a new definition for ultimate customer service FAIL.

Have a goodnight Comcast people.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sorry Comcast, but first impression lasts!

So I just moved to a new apartment. The place is totally empty, I have no furniture yet except for my laptop, HD LCD and game console. That's it. My clothes are still inside my traveling bags even, and yes, I am sleeping on the carpeted floor, reminds me of my college years.

So whats the very first thing I worked on on my first day at the new spot? Yes, you got it, Internet. I am nothing without Internet, the rest of the bare necessities can wait.

In reading the Apartment Lease form, I saw a big Comcast Cable Service Ready smack at the bottom of the document. Turns out Comcast has first dig on the apartment complex, AT&T can't touch the area for some reason. So I immediately called the courteous guys at Comcast and in a couple of minutes a technician is already installing the Cable Internet. He brought a used Modem with a big Comcast logo on it, I said fuck it, I don't mind if its used, as long as its working right. So after a few minutes, Coax Cable on wall to the back of the Modem is installed. Ethernet Cable plugged it, and I politely asked the tech guy if I can hook it up at the back of my laptop already so we can test it. He said "Ok but its not up yet, I need to call to get it provisioned, but yeah you can hook it up because I need to check on it as well."

After hooking up the modem I immediately launched the terminal console on my Macbook to check what IP the gray box is giving me. The box was on a default gateway IP address, immediately opened my Firefox 3.5 and headed straight to it. The modem has a web-based configuration access but there is nothing we can do currently because it still needs to be provisioned. The tech guy said "Hmm, so you know how to do this huh?" I said, yeah only a little. This guy definitely needs to look around my empty living room because right next to us are scattered Cisco and CISSP books, lol.

The tech guy made a few calls on his NexTel phone, and after like 10 to 15 minutes, modem was up and operational, signal was good, and firmware updated. I saw this with my own eyes. The tech guy told me to do some speed tests, so he directed me to The site testing gave me remarkable results, 15mbps download, 3mbps upload. Destination San Jose, from my place in Union City. Perfect. He told me that's Powerboost baby, but since you are not signed up for it, you may only get something like around 8mbps down, and 2mbps up. So I said, ok, its cool, still more than sufficient for my needs. Signed the papers that service was installed and working properly, a few chit-chat, tech guy left.

Everything was doing good till the next day, the freakin' Cable Internet went out on me. Multiple calls to their 24x7 Support Department wasn't fruitful, they could not even tell remotely from their Support Contact Center if there is a problem with the line or the modem. The first tech support guy that I spoke with told me I need to pick up a replacement modem, for free of course, but turns out I need to drive all the way to their office in Fremont or Hayward. Fuck that, its freaking far. So I told them I'd rather go to Radio Shack because Its right next to my place, all I need to do is walk.

So I asked the guys at their Technical Support Department, Supervisors included, what is my assurance that once I go out and spend like 40 to 60 bucks on a cable modem, swap it, that it will fix the problem?! Their answer? NONE. If its not a modem issue, I'm negative 60 bucks, if its a line issue, they can only send in an on-site tech guy on Monday, because of the long weekend. WTF. Another epic FAIL in customer service.

So I made a call again to their Support Department next day, 2nd day of my outage, made a plea of my case, and finally, they told me they will send in a tech guy on-site to check on the modem. The tech guy will bring a modem so he can swap it out. So I said yes, finally progress, and a sign of true customer service. But turns out there was a catch to it. If it turns out to be a line problem, cable problem, etc, or anything aside from the the modem being the source of the problem, they will charge me $46.00+ for the on-site service. Wow. The rabbit hole gets deeper. But the courteous lady tech support told me, I can avoid the service charge If I sign up for the 99 cents monthly service fee to cover such similar issues. Wow, another can of crap opened right in front of me. I politely replied to the support lady that I will not sign up, just send someone out for heavens sake, I just signed up for your service, and its already out the next day. Do me a favor please.

So here I am, typing this blog, spilling my guts out in disgust to their service at Starbucks so I can be online, its $3.99 plus tax for 2 hours by the way. They told me to wait for the call somewhere between 1PM to 5PM PST. They will call me on my mobile phone before they drop by. So I said, fuck it, I'll give them another chance, or not.

Its almost 4:15PM PST, assuming they come and fix the problem today, what I am going to do is call first thing on Monday and cancel the service. I am switching to AT&T's DSL and Telephone Line service instead.

Ah, revenge, so sweet I can almost taste it. Sorry Comcast, but first impression lasts!

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Packet Boy Perseus
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I am an InfoSec Innovator, a Blue Ocean Seafarer and a Paul Graham Pupil.