The Great Comcast Saga

TechMom

I write a monthly column over at AlliOSNews. It’s a techie site – extolling all the goodies and gunpowder on the Apple OS. (SHINY TOY!) I’m TechMom. And these are my stories on how technology is really used. This is what you must deal with, as I am a Silicon Valley nerd by day.

I’m well aware it’s Thursday. TechMom Tuesday is typically published the first Tuesday of every month. This month it’s a wee bit late due to the Big Apple Announcement last week. Also, as you’ll see below, I’ve had some connectivity issues. I reserve the right to rant more or less as the technical goings-on, well…go on.

This is not the saga of an Apple product. But it is the story of my trials and tribulations to connect my beloved iOS devices. I’m pretty sure there’s a Silicon Valley commandment (for those who worship tech as our religion) that THOU SHALT NOT DENY ME MY INTERWEBS.

“Moving has never been easier!” screams Comcast’s website.

Moving can be stressful, but setting up your XFINITY services in your new home doesn’t have to be. We’re here to help make your service transfer as smooth as possible.”

Someone should share that with the nice people at Comcast.

We recently moved. Shockingly, even with the two TechTots creating chaos in their stead, the change of address was relatively seamless – we’ve even dug out from 99% of boxes. Our technological transition, however, was a mockery of modern day capabilities – a muck up composed of a large number of clusters.

10 Days Prior To Move
I call Comcast to clarify all information required for the big day. The nice customer service lady assures me this will be extremely simple – simply call the day I want service transferred, provide my equipment’s unique identifiers and then we all happily go about our highly connected lives.

Moving Day
Full of naïve optimism, I waited until the large trucks relinquished all my worldly possessions and immediately dug out the cable modem and television box. I called Comcast.

Fifteen minutes later, I was informed no information about my account had been entered into the system. We had to start from scratch. Mildly irritating, but this should all still be instant right?

And then the rep discovered my new address was labeled “DA.” I now understand this to mean “duplicate address,” which are also marked as “do not service” within Comcast’s inner systems.

Next, the rep informs me I will be getting a new phone number. He is nonplussed by my repeated requests against such a change.

Rep: It’s a very easy new number.
Me: But I don’t want a new number.
Rep: It has to do with 911 dialing. We have to assign you a new number because you moved to a different area code.
Me: But I didn’t move to a new area code.
Rep: New numbers assigned to your relocation have the new overflow area code.
Me: But I don’t want a new number.

We compromised. I was assigned a new number and then I called back and canceled our home phone line entirely.

For my remaining cable and Internet services, I was told to wait for a verification call and then call the activation line.

1 Day Post Move
TechTots deposited back at preschool, I had but one goal. Get. Back. Online.

I eagerly dialed the activation line. Finally a gentleman answered – he had his script in front of him, and he was ready to read and repeat.

Rep: Yes ma’am. Thank you very much for your assistance. Can I please have the number of your box.
Me: Which one?
Rep: Yes ma’am. Thank you very much for your assistance. Can I please have the number of your box.
Me: I mean which one – our cable modem or television DVR.
Rep: Yes ma’am. Thank you very much for your assistance. Can I please have the number of your box.

Four or five times around this ferris wheel and it was abundantly clear the DVR wasn’t connecting. No matter how many times the Comcast (potentially a pretty decent AI bot) asked me to repeat the serial number, reboot my modem, or change the channels, no signal was forthcoming.

3 Days Post Move
I was told to wait until my cable modem’s “online” light lit back up. But I found was perpetual darkness.

Once again I phoned 1-800-COMCAST. Despite my experience in dealing with this system, I suddenly found myself in a battle royal with their phone tree bot. This new gal was far less accommodating. Five minutes into my “Please press 1 for more options or remain on the line” adventure, I found myself simply shouting the cable box’s serial number into the phone. I had it memorized now.

Finally an agent appeared. It seems the problem was the “DA – do not service” notation on my record. I assured the nice lady that my address very much so did exist. In fact, I suggested she send over a technician. I would happily show them.

Agent: It appears we’re having difficulty reactivating your account after it was disconnected in 2009.
Me: So did someone come and steal all of the cables?
Agent: Can we ask who you’re returning from? I don’t have any record of you leasing new equiptment.
Me: I didn’t get new equipment. I just brought our existing boxes over with us.
Agent: The same ones from 2009?
Me: I’m not sure when it was replaced. I’ve had an account since 2003.
Agent: No you haven’t.
Me: Yes I have. Or I want a lot of money back.
Agent: You are Patricia XXX right?
Me: No. I’m Tricia Stream.
Agent: Oh. Did you change your name in 2009?
Me: No. I changed my name in 2007. But not from XXX. That was the previous owner.
Agent: So you are not Patricia XXX?
Me: Nope. Just someone with the same (not uncommon) first name.
Agent: I’ll schedule a technician to come out this week.

5 Days Post Move
By this point I was like a smitten teenager waiting for her first date. I was perched at my window waiting for my technician on a white horse. He would gallop up, stoic atop the driver’s seat of his white Comcast van filled with wires, and whisk my house away from the loneliness of “offline.”

Finally the technician cometh. I resisted the urge to sprint from my entryway and hug him. Mostly because I couldn’t check the Internet to review proper protocol.

Ultimately, the technician determined there was an issue with our internal connection. He managed to fire up the line from the street, while promising us that he was placing a work order to replace the external drop cables. They were to be installed within 7-10 business days, with no discernable interruption to my service. He mentioned the work order would show, “To be completed by Tuesday, 9/16.” (Remember this date.)

We decided to call an electrician rather than have the technician drill a hole through our wall. I didn’t have a lot of faith in the C-men. And I’m really a big fan of having four walls.

Instead, TechDad snaked the outside cable through the front window, which was then secured by a PVC pipe to prevent hooligans from hopping into my new house. Less than four hours later, our new neighbor politely inquired about the ghetto fabulous setup. We promised it was temporary.

7 Days Post Move
Finally! I (mostly) had connectivity!

Until we attempted to turn on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for the TechTots. The cable box died. As in All Dead, not Mostly Dead. There was no chance for resuscitation.

9 Days Post Move
TechDad awoke bright and early to journey to a brick-and-mortar Comcast store. (Did you know they actually exist? Relics!) He returned home and set up all our new technology.

Cable’s still snaked obtrusively through our window, but whatever works, right?

Except it didn’t work. Any show attempting to play HD would skip unintelligibly. A half hour back on the phone with our favorite cable company ended with the pronouncement that the box must be bad.

Rinse and repeat.

10 Days Post Move
TechDad awoke bright and early to journey to a brick-and-mortar Comcast store. (Did you know they actually exist? Relics!) He returned home and set up all our new technology.

Cable’s still snaked obtrusively through our window, but whatever works, right?

Except it didn’t work. Any show attempting to play HD would skip unintelligibly.

This time it was my turn to call. I’m pretty sure Comcast has me on a “bad customer” list. Today’s rep, with yet another story about my service, informed me there was no way they could activate our new hardware until the outstanding work order was complete.

It was only with my valiant and voracious debate skills that I convinced the rep to send a signal despite the irrelevant work order. I did not know this would come back to bite me.

But in the meantime, I googled  the issue (as one does). It appears to be a known problem when one tries to plug their Comcast device into an AV system. Comcast, unsurprisingly, has done diddly squat about fixing it. (And why would they, they have a monopoly on the market.)

14 Days Post Move
Comcast arrived. I watched as worker dudes spent three minutes changing the drop lines in the general vicinity of my front yard.

Five minutes later, I had no service.

I called my friends at the cable company back. They noted the work order had not been closed. (That’s nice. I’d like my Internet back.)

Rep: We have someone scheduled to come out on Tuesday, Sept. 16.
Me: No you don’t. That’s when the work order was to be done by. They came today. They did not finish the job.
Rep: I understand. But there’s nothing we can do until they come back out on Tuesday.
Me: That’s completely unacceptable. Look, you and I both know no one is coming back on Tuesday.

I took to the Twitter.

No one ever got back to me.

16 Days Post Move

Since I’d have no Comcast for the foreseeable future, I felt like I should be heading down to the local Blockbuster for Friday night movie. Rocky Horror anyone? “Let’s do the time warp again!”

18 Days Post Move

Apple iPhone 6 preorders now available. I was absolutely petrified that this would affect my ability to pre-order my shiny toy. UNACCEPTABLE!

20 Days Post Move

I was playing in the front yard with the TechTots. Suddenly I heard TechDad say, “Hey, I found the connection line. There are open wires just hanging out.”

That’s right. Comcast DID NOT HOOK OUR CONNECTION BACK UP.

This seems like a major faux pas, as it is a rather critical piece of the puzzle.

21 Days Post Move

Note that this TechMom Tuesday originally posted on Tuesday, Sept. 16. You will shocked to hear no one from Comcast showed up.

24 Days Post Move

Jon went ahead and hooked our wires back up. For our own safety. Our electrician grounded them. It’s pretty obvious this was simply human error. But no one knows if humans are paying attention at the monopolistic behemoth.

I’m a lucky one – I’m married to a really handy guy. I can’t even fathom the frustration of being forced to wait for Comcast to correct their own error, much less acknowledge them.

Alas, we can’t leave. They have really fast Internet…

3 Comments

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3 Responses to The Great Comcast Saga

  1. Comcast Cassie

    Hi Tricia,

    First let me say how very sorry I am for the run-around service you’ve received. I work for Comcast Corporate in Philadelphia and would like to extend my assistance. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you now or in the future. Email me or tweet at me (@ComcastCassie) and I’ll get back to you. I’ll be notifying appropriate leadership about this case, so thanks for bringing to our attention. If you do decide to email me, I’d like to get some more information about your account so we can pass it along to your local market as well.

    Thanks for posting,

    Cassie

    • I appreciate you getting back to me. I’d be happy to send you an email with more of the details – hopefully that will help at least one other customer experience an “easy” move.

      • Cassie

        Great! Feel free to email me at work and be sure to include some account information (address, phone number or account number) so I can pull it up. Thanks for getting back to me.

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