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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