Another Bad Comcast Story. Or Is It?

Also on Comcast Today: Drexel and U-Delaware students to get free Xfinity TV on campus.

Another day, another awful Comcast customer service story. Or is it?

BGR reports on the plight of Douglas A. Dixon, who posted a YouTube recording in which he spends 90 minutes on a call, “ in which he was shuffled through a whopping six different customer service representatives, none of whom knew how to solve his problem.”




Dixon, who posted about his experience on Reddit, simply wanted to find out why his Internet service was still only capable of reaching a top speed of 50Mbps even though Comcast sent him a notification telling him that it had increased his speed up to 105Mbps.

Along the way, the six reps he spoke with told him wildly contradictory things about the status of his supposed service upgrade: One said that he was indeed supposed to get a speed increase but was not able to fix it, while another said that Dixon “misunderstood” the email telling him that his service had been upgraded and told him he’d have to pay more to get the 105Mbps service. Another rep told Dixon that the problem had been fixed, but upon checking it out for himself, he found that he was still getting the slower tier. Another one accused Dixon of “threatening” her once Dixon revealed that he’s recording the phone call.

The entire, horrible experience took up 90 minutes of Dixon’s life and he still never got his questions answered or his problem fixed.

Say: Here’s a good time to speak up in defense of Comcast.

Really.

While BGR calls this “the most brutal Comcast call” yet, we can’t help but notice that the people on the phone with Dixon are, generally, trying to solve his problem. They’re not trying to charge him for a service he didn’t receive. They’re not trying to prevent him from dropping the service. Nobody here is trying to screw him over, as best we can tell. They just can’t quite solve his problem. It doesn’t appear that they’re not trying to.

And that’s too bad. But one thing we’ve noticed: Sometimes technical problems are hard to solve, and even to diagnose correctly.

Yes, there are disagreements over whether Dixon should’ve received the higher speed or not, and yes, it probably would’ve gone easier if Comcast had a system for dealing with IT pros like Dixon somewhat differently than it does the regular public — that is, if he’d just been connected to an engineer, as he frequently requested during the phone call.  (And yes: He spent way too much time on hold.)

But on the whole, this looks to us like people actually trying to serve Dixon. They’re not doing a great job of it, no. But this is a different category of problem — inefficient or incompetent service, maybe, instead of exploitative service that’s merely trying to wring every last buck out of the customer — than we’ve seen during the last few weeks.

One form of bad customer service is a choice. The other: Just sort of human. We're inclined to put this incident in the latter box.

Other Comcastic headlines:

Drexel, Delaware students will get free Comcast TV when they’re on campus: Having tried it as an experiment for several months, Comcast is expected to announce Thursday the official launch and expansion of a service that allows students at seven colleges to watch live TV and video on-demand on their computers and mobile devices via campus Wi-Fi networks. Available only to students who live in university housing on campus, the service won't mean any extra fees, Comcast says. Dorms are equipped with cable outlets, since universities typically buy cable or satellite TV connections in bulk. Now, students can ditch their TVs and watch on computers and mobile devices. They'll need the school password to log on. Equipped with about 80 channels, the Xfinity On Campus service will be available at Drexel University, Lasell College, Bridgewater College, Emerson College, the University of Delaware, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of New Hampshire. Comcast plans to expand to additional schools in the future. (USA Today)

Now’s Your Chance: FCC Public Comment Period For Comcast/TWC Merger Ends Monday: Comcast and Time Warner Cable announced their intention to merge into wedded corporate bliss back in the middle of February. Now, six months later, the process is still rolling along. Monday — August 25 — is the deadline for members of the public to leave comments with the FCC about the merger. Got thoughts? You have three days left to make them heard. … If you want to add your name to the chorus, here’s the place to do it and here’s a reminder of how. (Consumerist)

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