Messin’ with the Comcast Customer Service Weenies

We’ve had a Comcast high-speed internet connection for about a year now, and generally speaking, I’ve been pretty happy with it. I’ve only called customer service once (twice, if you count this unfortunate experience in Florida last year), and resolving that problem just involved restarting the modem.

Tonight, something more flaky has been going on. Actually, it’s been going on all day. First the connection works, then it doesn’t, then it works, then it doesn’t, then it works but it’s dirt slow, then it doesn’t work at all, etc. So I called Comcast support up and spent the better part of the night getting a non-answer.

I’ll spare the details, but the short version is I either have some kind of problem with my router, I have some kind of problem with Comcast’s modem, I’m experiencing some unknown and touchy local service outage, or some weird combination of all these things. It may very well be the router, but I think I’ll wait a while though before assuming that the Comcast customer service knuckleheads are right.

But beyond all that, I learned a valuable lesson tonight: never call Comcast customer service about your internet access because there is virtually nothing they can do to help you. This might be because they’re just kind of dumb, but besides that, it also appears to me that they have very few options to actually provide customers service.

So, in the interest of a public service to those of you who might experience some sort of Comcast connection problem in the future, here’s how you should deal with it, more or less in this order:

  • Restart your computer. If that doesn’t work (and it probably won’t),
  • Unplug your router and wait a few seconds. If that doesn’t work (and it might),
  • Unplug your modem and wait a few seconds.

Some combination of these three things really will solve most problems, and, as far as I can gather, it constitutes the bulk of the advice that Comcast customer service folks are capable (allowed?) to give. If these things don’t work and you have a router,

  • Turn off your computer and unplug the cable modem, plug the computer directly into the cable modem (that is, bypass the router), restart your computer and plug the modem back in, and see what happens. If that doesn’t work,
  • You’re screwed. At least as far as customer service goes because there’s basically nothing else that can go wrong. They literally can not offer any other sorts of advice, suggestions, or remedies. There solution is to start over again by once again restarting the computer, etc.

I suggested to my customer service person that perhaps it was an area service problem because it’s been so spotty all day for me. “I don’t think that’s it,� she said.

“Why not?� I asked.

“Because it’s not on the board.�

“What board?�

“There’s a board here where they post the service problems, and there’s nothing in your area.�

“Oh,� I said. “So, do you think it’s possible that, you know, this is a problem that might need to go on the board and be investigated?�

“We don’t put things on the board. They do that someplace else.�

I really wanted to ask what this “board� looks like because what I’m picturing is a bulletin board with pins on a map, or maybe stickies. Or maybe it’s a white board with erasable markings circling different “problem� areas.

But I didn’t get a chance. Instead, my customer service person asked if I had restarted my computer, if I had unplugged and waited ten seconds before plugging my router back in, etc., etc….

What’s really irritating about this is that ultimately, the Comcast weenies are probably right, it probably is something to do with the router. This would not be the end of the world since routers are relatively cheap. And yet, right now, as I type this message, things seem to be working just fine. Oh, wait, it got slow again…. oh wait, there it goes…. maybe I should get out and push….

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5 Responses to Messin’ with the Comcast Customer Service Weenies

  1. Don Halley says:

    Steve,

    My Comcast service has been so bad as to be unusable for 2 weeks now. I’m a Network Engineer for Boeing. I work from my home. I need to download and upload large drawings to do my job. I have been unable to do so for quite a quite a while now. Each day, I have to burn all my work to CDs, schlep them across town, and work from temporary hotel space. Then, I have to reverse the process each night in case the problem has been solved. I’ve chatted with Comcast 3 times, each time starting from scratch (don’t they even have a customer service database?). Nothing helps. They won’t get off the help desk script and look at their network. Heck, they don’t have any idea HOW to look at their network. Anyway, I have this saga documented and I want to send it to the President of Comcast. All my attempts at guessing his email address have bounced (maybe he wisely doesn’t use Comcast as his provider). Would you happen to know how to reach him? Thanks – Don

  2. intel says:

    Comcast’s customer service is not good at all, at some point I told them I would have to change them for such instabilities, they said “that’s fine”

  3. Moor says:

    Comcast is able to offer speeds that most other companys cant offer so they use that against their customers. I require high speed internet and thus would not want to change to dsl but after talking to an agent i am seriously considering. Their billing department will never provide a refund even when they mess up your bill, there is neve a manager available, nobody ever knows whether the system is down and most of all agents can be very rude, i’ve spoken to a a couple of them and that seems to be teh corporate attitude.

  4. Rich says:

    I just got comcast. If I use my router i get 2.5mb if I am directly connected I get 7mbs… So I whipped out my DL360 Dual 1ghz server installed ISA and walla a kick but server that can handle a crap load for routing… still 2.5mb so I called comcast and told them all the senario’s.. and a ten min time to explain that I am not serving, its just technically a server.. hard concept. Thats right up there with riding a sport bike and not racing.. So we get to the basics… I ask whats your MTU.. and Comcraps responce…. we don’t tell anyone that. oh tay…. so I might get a refund as its only been 3 days.. I was getting faster speeds kiping my neibors 802.11 off a dsl line…..

  5. Paul Huber says:

    I have had a problem since I first connected to comcast, 16 months ago. I have never had more than 400 kbs. I have been told over and over that it must be my problem, internal cabling or my modem. I finally found out that the signal from my node is poor. I am concidering a suit for not providing service for 16 months.

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