Monday, August 4, 2014

Comcast / Xfinity... again

It seems that I only post to this blog when I'm having problems. Sigh. I am a 99.9% happy-type person and need to change the flow of this blog to more fit my personality. However, today it's another rant.

Problem: For years we've been having problems with intermittent service. In recent months the problem has been growing to the point where we're missing huge chunks of programs, missing ends of sentences, etc. Phone drops. Internet goes out. TV continually pixilates then goes blank, get a message saying to call Comcast if issue persists. Sometimes it lasts for over half an hour, and has been hours at times without any service. Been calling. Had tech visits.

I just got off the phone with Comcast / Xfinitiy again. A supervisor this time. (Side note: called from home phone, call dropped when phone went out, had to call back from cell phone).

Conversation went something like this:
Me: We've had umpteen tech support come out and each time they tell us there's not a problem at our house, it's an area problem. They tell us they can't fix it and they're escalating the problem.
Supervisor: You have a tech appointment today from 10 - 12.
Me: No one told us about it. And why would they be coming out again when they can't fix anything?
Sup: They have to check the lines.
Me: They've been out here four or five times to check the lines. The last time was last Wednesday. They gave us a window of 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. for their visit. We stayed home all day. They came out around 7 p.m. and said there was still nothing wrong with our lines. It was an area problem. They would escalate it again.
Sup: I see you have an tech visit scheduled from 10 - 12 today. They will check your lines. They can escalate the problem.
Me: We have been calling for two months. They come out. They check the lines. They tell us it is an area problems, not something they can fix. They will escalate the problem. Our phone, TV and Internet work only sporadically. Over two months. Numerous visits. What is the point of having someone else come to our house to check out lines?
Sup: We have to have someone come out before we can escalate the problem.
Me: They escalated it Wednesday.
Sup: A technician is scheduled to come between 10 & 12 today.

We played that game four or five more times before I said forget it. Which, I have to surmise, is their goal.

That is typical of what has been happening for the past two plus months. We've been patient. We have spent countless hours on the phone, waiting for tech support, following technicians around as they do exactly the same thing again and again and tell us the same thing again and again. I posted a few of my on-going Facebook posts below if you'd like more details of calls, etc.

Only one phone no-service person / chat person / technician has mentioned their supposed guarantee. Chat person. On one subsequent phone call I asked the guy about it and he said I need to call billing. I mentioned it to the supervisor today and he completely ignored me, said he needed to check to see our record. Went back to June, commented on it and said "Oh, I see a technician is scheduled to come out today between..." (you know where that conversation ended!).

It's 11:22 a.m. and they haven't shown up. Not that it would matter. One time the service people told us they were going to replace all our inside equipment. I asked how the phone modem could affect the television. He said we needed to have all our equipment replaced to make sure that wasn't the issue. When the tech type came out she said that was crazy (well, she didn't quite say crazy, but she did say that wasn't the issue). We did get an email receipt showing that nothing was changed out.

I'm going to be calling or visiting my neighbors over the next few days to see if they're on Comcast & determine whether they area also experiencing problems. If it turns out they ARE having problems then I'm going to see about getting some sort of group effort going. If it turns out we're the lone stranger I'll deal with it differently.

Either way I'm getting ready to spend a bit of time with Clark Howard, the state of Georgiia's folks and Fayette County government types who approve the Comcast contract. I also have some names, addresses and phone numbers of some folks on up the food chain.

I've been tagging Xfinity on my Facebook posts. No message. No response. Guess they must be overwhelmed with complaints.  Here's a recap:

July 31 Facebook post
A lot of you have asked me about what happened with XFINITY/Comcast. They came around 7. They did not conquer. In fact, they told us they could not conquer, that it wasn't an issue here at the house; replacing all our equipment as suggested / promised wasn't gonna happen. Supposedly it's an area-wide issue and they have been out trying to figure it out without luck. It is going to take Super-Comcast-Repair-Person with magical abilities in addition to being able to fly and use x-ray vision to potentially identify then fix the issue. This magic superhero will appear someday and our problems are promised to vanish...maybe...however, no one will call and there is no known timeline for fixing the issues. Gotta love a company that has those great commercials.

July 30 Facebook post
Transcript of chat with XFINITY/Comcast. I think you'll laugh. I cut out some due to length or privacy (.... to show missing bits).
Chandan > Hello -_, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Chandan. Please give me one moment....
Me_ > My Issue: During last chat Christian said someone would call within 15 - 30 minutes. Still no call. Ticket #....
Chandan > To ensure we are on the same page, I understand that you need to know about ticket status Is that correct?
Me_ > I guess. We've been sitting here all day (again) waiting on someone to come out & fix problems we've been having for months. Time frame was 8 a.m. - 8 pm. We wanted to see if could narrow down time as we'd really like to do something other than waste ANOTHER day waiting... Christian said dispatch would call us within 15 - 30 minutes. Been longer than that, about an hour I'd guess. Just want to know when someone is coming out.
Chandan > I am here to provide you with excellent customer service today.
Me_ > Does that mean you're going to find out when someone is coming today?
Chandan > You have reached the right person. I can help you.
Chandan > I would now verify the account .....
Chandan > As i can see that technicain has been sent from our side to fix this issue.
Me_ > You're saying they are on the way? They're not here yet.
Me_ > Do you have an estimated time of arrival?
Chandan > Thank you for patiently waiting.
Chandan > I would reques you to wait. They are on the way. They will reach you soon
Chandan > Rest assured. As soon as possible
Me_ > On the way now or they'll be here before 8 p.m.? We've been waiting since 8 a.m. this morning. Your answer isn't giving me a window of time.
Chandan > I can understand how important it is for you. I will arrange a technican to fix this issue.
Chandan > They will call you before they reach
Me_ > I give up. All I wanted was a time frame. Last chat person said 15 - 30 minutes. Been well over an hour now. You're not giving me any kind of time frame, just another very vague answer. Calling before they get here could mean a call at 7:30 tonight. All I want is a simple "they'll be there in 30 minutes", "they won't get there until 6 pm." anything that's a little narrower.
Chandan > i can understand your concern. I apologize for the inconvenience
Chandan > you will recieve the call withing 1 hour from the technicain to fix this issue.

July 30 post:
XFINITY/Comcast update... still not here. No call. Went on-line & did a chat to see if could narrow down time-frame. Was told dispatch would call within 15 - 30 minutes to give us a time. Been about 20 minutes, clock is ticking. Funny --- chat guy ended by asking if we'd be interested in their Home Security system. After I stopped laughing (on-line chat, he couldn't hear), I politely typed that given the issues with all the rest of their services I definitely would not be interested. Can you imagine having a security system tied into a Comcast phone service that only works intermittently? I'd have to ask whoever was breaking in to hang on for a minute as I was calling Xfinity trying to get service so the alarm system could go off & notify dispatch so they could notify police... Might not be a bad idea though if I could hook it up so that every time the service went out they automatically notified tech support so I didn't have to waste my time calling...

July 30 post
More on XFINITY / Comcast... stuck at the house ALL day today 'cause they couldn't give me a window for arrival of tech support for this round of attempting to fix the problem. Well, they did give a window of sorts --- 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

I've lost count of the times they've been out and SAID they fixed the problem. This time they are replacing ALL of our inside equipment and finally getting up on the pole to check the connections up there. Seems like that would have been their 1st stop, but hey, we're just the ones putting up with the intermittent service, not the "knowledgeable" (but very nice) tech types that stick gauges on connections & say everything works fine.

OK, said I wasn't going to vent anymore in my last Xfinity/Comcast post but am not thrilled about sitting around all day waiting for them to show.

On the phone when making the current call I asked about that famous guarantee on compensation for lost service if not fixed...the one that all their tech guys are supposed to share but never do...turns out you have to make a call to billing and beg (they didn't say beg, of course). Seems to me that if there's repeated calls on the same problem good customer service would entail offering something.

And yes, if I had a choice I'd be trying something else.

Vent finished.

July 14
Short update on my ongoing XFINITY / Comcast issues. I received a call this morning from them. It was one of the techs and he told me they'd identified a problem in the area, fixed it, and wanted to know if everything was working OK. Well, at the time, it was. He then wanted to know if they should cancel our Wednesday tech appointment. I explained that the problem was intermittent and thus I had no way of knowing if what he fixed would resolve our problem. Nice that they're trying. Could be they fixed everything. But I'm not cancelling the appointment!

July 13
Getting ready to VENT. On XFINITY / Comcast. For years we've been having issues, TV vanishing randomly, Internet going out often at the same time, & sadly we also have their phone service (yep, dumb move). Just got off the phone with customer we-try-to-check-every-box service. I know they have a check list. I know when you say certain buzz words they automatically pull up the appropriate list.

But we have been doing this forever. I've unplugged, checked wires, they've re-buried wires, they've left wires above the ground, they've left then swinging in the wind and been out to fix and been out to fix.

The random interruptions got worse so called again a few weeks back. Guy came on Friday. He buried the cable that's been above ground. I thought they were coming to fix the problem. Lady heard "above ground" and "assumed" that was the problem I guess.

Anyway, internet, phone & all 3 TVs out Saturday morning. Came back on by the time I finished workout so didn't call, figured maybe area issue. This evening happened again.

We have two separate lines coming into the house, one for TV, one for Internet / phone. Lady wanted me to unplug all 3 TV boxes, plus the ones in my office for computers / phone. I flat out refused. Told her there's no way that ALL the boxes were bad, logically two separate cables into the house and all those separate boxes can't all be broken / have issues.

Bottom line, they're coming out again on Wednesday. A few years back we had issues and they came out so many times & weren't able to figure it out that the area supervisor gave me his direct line so I didn't have to keep calling main # & go through rigmarole each time.

They've completely put in new lines (leaving stuff waving so we had to caution the lawn guy not to use his weed wacker). If there were ANY other alternative I'd be there. I am going to ditch the phone service, even though it would only decrease our bill by $2 due to the "deal" we have. It's not a deal when you go without phone service every for sometimes hours on end.

OK, I'm done. I know I went on LONG, but it sure feels good to vent.

OK, you get the gist, I'm not going through my Timeline to find more. I have posted a lot as I've been going through this revolving lack of service.  Waste of time but as I've written, it makes me feel a bit better.

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