If you don’t like rants, turn your eyes and run away. I’ll have a new post up in a couple days.
If you like them, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s get started…
Terrible Customer Service
On the opposite end of the customer service spectrum from Costco (who has great customer service IMO) is Comcast. Or, as they call themselves now, Xfinity. Because that’s such an easier name to pronounce, right?
For nine years, Consumerist ran their “Worst Company in America” competition. For six of those years, Comcast finished in the top three. No other company did as “well” in this competition as Comcast.
Their results were well-deserved.
I’ve had my own love/hate relationship with Comcast. They generally offer an expensive service with terrible customer service. We’ve also had our run-ins in the past (in a different city). But we had reached an agreement — I pay them a fortune and they at least offer some semblance of a decent product.
But now they’ve done it again and gotten on my bad side. This is the story unfolded…
I Can’t Record
At the beginning of December I went online to do my weekly TV recording. I did this all online from their website. A few clicks here and there and all my shows were set to record.
When I went to the site this time I noticed something different — there was no option to “record” the shows. I could watch them online but not record them.
I went to the app — my second option. Same thing there. Hmmmmm. Something was up.
So on December 2, 2017 at 10:59:50 am, I got a Comcast rep on a chat to see what the problem was.
Here’s the transcript from that discussion:
ESI: There is no record option either online or on my app. What happened to that? How am I supposed to record shows?
Comcast: Hi ESI, thank you for contacting Xfinity Chat Support. My name is Art (changed from actual name). Please give me a moment to review your account information.
Comcast: I do understand your concern about that, let me help you out.
Comcast: I am now pulling up your account to look for the possible cause of this.
Comcast: We are going to troubleshoot this here in my end by sending signals remotely to your affected box. If this will no fix it I will quickly get you the soonest appointment for our tech to get this fix permanently.
Comcast: I will now send an account refresh. After that please check if you can see the record button in your online browser or on your app.
ESI: Ok, just to describe exactly what is happening: when I go to the website and select a program from the TV listings, I used to get the option to record it. Same on my app. That is no longer an option. I can watch the shows live but not record them. Shows I have previously set a series recording for are still recording.
Comcast: Alright, thank you for your clear explanation.
Comcast: I am now digging deep to find out the cause of this. Please give me a minute or two.
ESI: To be clear, I’m not sure if I can record from the TV (using the remote) or not. I seldom do that and haven’t tried since this became a problem yesterday. I do all my recording either online or on the app.
Comcast: As per checking, we have removed the functionality from the XFINITY Stream app and web portal, as well as the XFINITY TV Remote app. In addition, the Priority Manager functionality that allows customers to prioritize scheduled DVR recordings has also been removed from the XFINITY TV Remote app. This functionality was available on Apple devices only.
Comcast: This will be available soon, please provide an email address and call back number so that I can notify you right away once this function is back.
Comcast: For the meantime, we can use your remote to setup the recordings in your DVR.
ESI: Well, as I said, I don’t use the remote. It’s inconvenient.
ESI: My email is ********@gmail.com
Comcast: I will provide to you the steps on how to setup recordings.
ESI: My wife’s email (which is on the account) is **********@gmail.com
ESI: I know how to set up recordings using the TV — I just don’t prefer it.
Comcast: I do apologize for this but the feature will be back as soon as possible. I can assure you that, there was just some maintenance that has occurred to get this fix permanently.
ESI: My phone number is 555-555-5555
Comcast: Alright, that’s noted.
ESI: How long before it’s back?
Comcast: Thank you for providing that.
Comcast: I will notify you as soon as this is back, rest assured that you will be the first one to know once it is back.
ESI: An hour? A day? A week?
Comcast: For this inconvenience, I will also credit your account, would that be okay?
Comcast: As per checking this might takes a couple of days. Rest assured that you will get updates with regards to the progress of this feature.
ESI: Ugh. Ok, please use MY email address to notify me. It comes to my phone (which is always with me).
ESI: What sort of credit will we receive (I’ll let my wife know since she handles the billing)?
Comcast: This is sort of a refund, I will apply a $20..00 as a partial credit to your account.
Comcast: Rest assured that I will notify you through that so that you know right away.
ESI: Ok, I will let her know and be watching my email for news that it’s fixed. Thanks.
Comcast: You’re welcome.
Comcast: Have I address all your concern today?
ESI: Yes, thank you. Bye.
Comcast: I just want to share that you can download Xfinity My Account App using your smart phone. It is a fantastic app that let’s you manage your bills, troubleshoot your services like sending a signal to the cable box, check if there is an outage, manage tech appointments and many more!
Comcast: You’re welcome.
Comcast: At the end of this chat there will be a short survey. I would appreciate it if you would take a moment to complete it so we can continue to improve the service we provide to you.
Comcast: You got me on this, right?
Comcast: Take good care.
Comcast: Thank you for choosing Xfinity and have a great day!
ESI: Thanks. Bye.
Comcast: Thank you, you are one of my great customer.
So that was it.
There was some issue but it was going to be fixed in two days.
And they gave me $20 for two days, which seemed good.
Then the waiting began…and NOTHING changed.
Terrible Customer Service, Round 2
I waited past the point of embarrassment for NINE DAYS and then, on December 11 at 10:21:46 am, I started another chat…
ESI: Look at my CHAT transcript from Dec 2, 2017 10:59:50 AM. My account was supposed to be fixed in a couple days. It’s now NINE days later.
Comcast: Hi ESI, Good day! Thank you for contacting Xfinity Chat Support. My name is Katie (changed). My pleasure to have you on this chat, rest assure I will do all my best to help you with all your concerns today.
Comcast: I am sorry to know that you’re account is not being fixed yet. Let me check on that ESI, please leave this to me, I will try to do all the best I can to assist you with this concern.
Comcast: May I know if what’s the problem that is ongoing to your account or services ESI? So I can proceed fixing this.
ESI: Can you access that chat transcript? It describes everything.
Comcast: Let me check it here ESI if I can locate that chat transcript with other Agent.
Comcast: Please give me 2-3 minutes to locate this.
ESI: It was Art.
Comcast: Thank you ESI.
Comcast: I have now locate the transcript of your chat with Art ESI. And now I will going to review your chat so that I can understand the concern’s here.
ESI: Here are the highlights:
ESI: There is no record option either online or on my app.
ESI: When I go to the website and select a program from the TV listings, I used to get the option to record it. Same on my app. That is no longer an option. I can watch the shows live but not record them. Shows I have previously set a series recording for are still recording.
ESI: I can record from the TV (using the remote) but it’s a pain. I want the functionality back to record from the website or my phone.
ESI: BTW, Art said he was going to credit me for my inconvenience. That was supposed to be $20 and the repair was supposed to take a couple days.
ESI: I’d like to know if I actually received the $20 credit (it’s far too little now anyway — this is a huge inconvenience) and even if there was ever any work scheduled.
ESI: I’m now spending another chat session on this same problem. I just don’t know why it hasn’t been handled by now.
Comcast: Thank you for the patience ESI. I get it now ESI. Actually, sadly but I have to inform you that, the recording option on the app is currently not available right now, because the server is having an maintenance right now, we really do apologize for that ESI.
ESI: What about the website?
ESI: And have you had a server issue for nine days!!!!????
Comcast: Yes, I can definitely check the $20 credit here on your account if Art did applied that on your account.
ESI: What about the website? Why can’t I record from it?
Comcast: The website is still working, but the recording session is not yet available at this time.
ESI: It’s been nine days….
ESI: Why am I paying for a service I’m not getting?
Comcast: I really do apologize for that ESI, what I can do here is to escalate this issue for the feedback so we can waived this as the feedback from our valued customer like you ESI, so we can waived this issue as soon as possible.
ESI: Do you have a supervisor I can talk to?
Comcast: May I know the reason why you want to talk to our supervisor ESI?
Comcast: Let me check here if there’s any available supervisor at this moment ESI.
ESI: Because I’m not getting a reasonable answer from you.
ESI: I’m paying for something that has not been fixed for nine days
ESI: It was supposed to be fixed in two
ESI: And I’m not sure you understand the issue
ESI: Or that you will get it fixed
Comcast: Oh! I really do apologize for that ESI. I’m just giving the information that I know and should be shared to our customer
ESI: I need to talk to someone who can handle this NOW
ESI: I’m tired of waiting
Comcast: Alright ESI. I will now going to process the request to our supervisor’s chat with you.
ESI: I can not use the system like it’s supposed to be used — and yet I’m paying full price for it
Comcast: I really understand where you’re coming from ESI. I will now go ahead and will ask to our supervisor.
Comcast: Please stay on chat I am now asking for the request.
As you can tell, I was starting to lose it.
First it was an issue that was going to be fixed in two days.
Now it’s a server issue.
I was getting the total run-around and was losing my patience.
I had to get an answer as I was not going through this again.
Also, FYI, while this is fast to read, there was often a minute or two between each response. I was not going to spend another extended chat session nine days from now because the server still wasn’t fixed.
Finally, I Get an Answer
So they transferred me to a supervisor and here’s what happened…
Comcast: Hi, ESI. This is Jess (changed), the supervisor on duty. I hope your day is going well. How may I help you today?
ESI: Can you see the issue above?
Comcast: Please give me 2-3 minutes while I review your chat conversation with the previous analyst.
ESI: You should also read the transcript from my chat with Art nine days ago.
Comcast: I’ll pull up the chat you had with, Art. Please bear with me.
Comcast: Thank you for waiting, ESI.
ESI: So you understand that I can not record shows from the app or from your website?
Comcast: Yes. T
Comcast: The functionality was removed due to a legal ruling. Comcast disabled the feature while actively pursuing an appeal, and there are no plans to reinstate it at this time. You can still watch, download and delete recordings on the XFINITY Stream app and portal as usual.
Comcast: My apologies for the inconvenience this has caused you.
Comcast: I will apply the $20 credit promised by Art on Dec 2nd.
Comcast: The credit will reflect on next bill.
ESI: That’s how I use 90% of your product
Comcast: I totally understand your frustration and I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.
ESI: How come Art and Katie gave me different answers?
ESI: What are my options? Not sure I want to continue my service if I can’t use it the way I am accustomed to.
Comcast: In behalf of Comcast, I apologize for the miss of the previous representatives.
Comcast: You can still watch, download and delete recordings on the XFINITY Stream app and portal as usual.
ESI: But I can’t RECORD.
ESI: That’s how I do ALL my recording!
Comcast: I understand. My apologies, ESI.
ESI: Recording on the TV remote is very clunky
ESI: What is the process for canceling my TV subscription? If it’s going to be so difficult to use, what’s the point of having it?
Comcast: For cancellation, please contact our Customer Solutions Team. Only the Customer Solutions Team can process your request. They can be reached via hotline at 1-800-XFINITY.
ESI: I’ll talk to my wife and she’ll handle it. It’s very disappointing that 1) this happened, 2) you didn’t inform anyone when it did, and 3) your reps have no clue what’s going on. I was told it would be fixed nine days ago and today I was told it was a server issue. If I hadn’t talked to you, I would still be waiting for the server to be fixed.
Comcast: I totally understand how feel at this time, ESI. I deeply apologize for the inconvenience.
Comcast: Other than this, would there be anything else that I can assist you with today?
And that was it.
What Really Happened?
After I got off the chat I did a bit of Googling and found this. The summary:
Comcast has yanked a feature from its Stream app for mobile devices and web browsers that enables subscribers to schedule DVR recordings remotely.
The removal of that feature comes a few days after the International Trade Commission issued a final ruling that Comcast had violated two TiVo patents, and a “limited exclusion order” that prohibits the importation of certain DVR receivers and software components.
That ruling is now undergoing a 60-day presidential review period. Comcast, which disagreed with the ITC’s ruling, has removed the remote recording feature as it prepares to appeal.
I also found this:
The move results from Comcast being on the losing end of a patent fight last week with Rovi Corp. — or TiVo, as the DVR pioneer is known. According to Reuters, the ITC ruling prohibits Comcast from importing and selling certain types of Rovi’s Xfinity X1 set-top boxes.
“We respectfully disagree with the ITC’s decision in this matter,” Comcast said in a statement to GeekWire. “In fact, Rovi has never disputed that Comcast or its predecessors independently developed our X1 platform and our cloud- and app-based technology. While we believe the ITC reached the wrong decision, we will remove this feature from those offered to our subscribers while we pursue an appeal.”
I don’t blame Comcast for losing a lawsuit. After all, those things happen. But here are the problems I have with how they handled it:
- First, why didn’t they notify their customers of this change? A little proactivity would have saved me over an hour and 15 minutes of chat time just to get an answer.
- Second, why didn’t their customer service reps have the right answers? Was it because they hadn’t been updated on the situation? Was it because they were intentionally hiding the truth? Was it because they were poorly trained? Whatever the reason they both gave me incorrect advice that was less than helpful. If the first rep had told me what the supervisor eventually did, I would have saved an hour. I would not have been happy about it, but I would have had a better feeling about them than I did after they made me jump through hoops to get to the truth.
- Third, $20 in no way makes up for the loss of this feature (not to mention my time). It’s way too little, but then again what did I expect from them? And furthermore, it appears Art was a total Bozo and did not credit me the $20 the first time (the supervisor had to do it nine days later).
Someone please play the Keystone Cops theme song — it seems so appropriate here.
Done with Cable?
So now I’m asking myself if it’s time to cut the cable.
I’ve gone back and forth on this and am willing to hear from you.
A couple questions I have:
- If you cut cable (or never had it), how do you get your TV (I especially watch soccer and my wife likes HGTV and the Hallmark Channel)?
- Where do you get your internet service (I could go all the way and cut everything with Comcast)?
Finally, just let me remind you that Comcast/Xfinity is trying to sell us all home security features.
If they are this poor at handling TV customer service, imagine how bad they’d be when a real security issue pops up. Yikes!