A Trip To The Cable Company

Oh Comcast. There are so many people who work for you with whom I’ve had contact and who are wonderful. In fact that part of Comcast is nearly universal. Yet all I could think of today when I visited your New Haven office today was they’ve brought that DMV experience to the private sector!

I drove to New Haven to replace my RNG200 HD DVR. I’m now on my third.

You’ve seen TiVo? There will never be any confusion between it and this DVR!

To reach a higher channel when tuning you press up. To reach a higher channel when in the program guide you press down. Need I say more?

I pulled into the Comcast lot. No empty spaces. When a car finally did pull out another Comcast subscriber who’d gotten there after me pulled into the space. He was wearing a New Haven Parking Authority uniform with his name embroidered on the front.

This kind of thing is so irksome because he knows he did the wrong thing and just didn’t give a damn. I would so like to be a putz and find a way to get back, but I will leave it pass.

There were three long lines leading to four windows in the office. One woman asked another how it worked with three feeding four? No one knew. It was a situation that wasn’t poorly thought it. It just wasn’t thought out!

The waiting room itself is one of those drab places that doesn’t seem to be a profit center and is treated as such. Notices and advisories were printed then taped on the wall. Some were curling at the edges the way forgotten paper often does.

I could have had Comcast come to the house to replace my dead DVR. This seemed easier… well it did in the abstract. I waited in line and looked at my watch.

When I finally got to the window the agent was great. Unfortunately her microphone only worked every second or third sentence. I looked through the dirty, thick, plastic window symbolizing customer distrust and tried to read her lips.

I am a Comcast shareholder. I’ve owned a small position in their stock for a very long time. I appreciate the potential for profit in their business. But as a shareholder this experience was not a confidence builder.

They have a monopoly in providing TV and Internet service to my house. They won’t always.

24 Responses to “A Trip To The Cable Company”

  1. I know it’s a little bit farther for you to drive, but next time go to the Branford office. I’ve never encountered a line and mostly had good luck getting replacement equipment from them. Last visit was the Friday before Thanksgiving and received a brand new remote for my DVR in less than 60 seconds — walked in directly to a free employee, asked for a replacement, was handed one and walked out.

    • Geoff Fox says:

      I have been told the DVR hardware on the shoreline and near Hartford is different than what’s used in the New Haven office. Otherwise I would have gone to Bloomfield on my way to work.

      All their offices close at 6:00 PM. That doesn’t seem right.

      • Dee says:

        Very possible geoff that hamden can only be serviced by certain service centers as comcast uses SA/Scientfic Atlantic and Motorola. Not sure which svc ctr has what. Just give comcast a call at 1-800-comcast and we will be happy to get you to the right svc ctr. Just don’t predict snow

  2. Judy says:

    Hey Geoff….DirecTV has the same issues with the up and down buttons….makes me crazy!! BTW it is much much cheaper than Comcast and I had sat tv during both the storms this past year! Am very happy with my tv!

  3. Lou Lange says:

    Definitely seek out the subarban offices…the attitude is very different…HG is right on the nose.

  4. Wanda says:

    The few times I’ve visited the Waterbury office, everyone has been helpful and accommodating…and doing their job! Please do not discredit the employees because the decor of the waiting area was not to your liking (rolling my eyes here).

    • Geoff Fox says:

      Wanda – You missed the very first paragraph!

      Oh Comcast. There are so many people who work for you with whom I’ve had contact and who are wonderful. In fact that part of Comcast is nearly universal. Yet all I could think of today when I visited your New Haven office today was they’ve brought that DMV experience to the private sector!

  5. Tony says:

    I’ve designed plenty of user interfaces over my career and few things annoy me more than the complete lack of effort put into the software on cable boxes. Even Microsoft has a better design sense.

    Counting the days until their monopoly finally crumbles…

  6. Deb says:

    It’s not just Comcast. When we got our DVR box from Metrocast, we asked if there was an operating manual. Nope – all they had was a card with just half a dozen basic commands – which didn’t even tell what all the buttons on the remote were for. The cable companies need some real competition (and I’m not talking about Dish/Direct, who are no better.)

  7. Gail B says:

    We just had to replace our Tivo’s with Comcast DVRs as the forced “upgrade” by comcast conflicted with the Tivo and HD functioning together. So, I have two Tivos packed up in the cellar. Really ticked me off that I was forced to make changes due to their “upgrade” that made my existing equipment obsolete and will cost me more too. And yes, the Branford office folks are nice. But comcast was the only place where I had to personally appear with my mother’s death certificate last year in order to have the service shut off. Even SS took the info over the phone!! I’ll stop the rant now.

  8. Matt says:

    We recently just upgraded to a TiVo Premiere Elite, and it’s 4 tuner goodness. I know it way more than Comcast and AT&T uverse, but as I tell people, once you use a TiVo you’ll never want to use the crappy Comcast DVR again. We still have our TiVo HD, so between the two, 6 tuners, 6 things recording at once, also multi room viewing between them. Until Comcast comes out with a good DVR I won’t go back. Comcast lets you install your own cable cards now, and Comcast still messed it up in their side when I activated. BTW, the Comcast office in Bolton is small, but great people, although its a small office.

  9. John M says:

    Comcast “customer service” is an oxymoron. Spent close to an hour on the phone with a “tech” today, and I use that term loosely. Was trying to hook their Digital Transport Adapter to my PC to connect with Windows Media Center. After all the back and forths, and being put on holds, he finally informs me that the problem is the DTA cannot be connected to a PC. Duh! That’s one of the things it exists for. So, after advising him to read up on his own company’s web page (which details this), I hung up and installed it myself in ten minutes. So much for service.
    At least I’m not paying them much per month…..Oh wait…..

  10. meredith says:

    Happiest phone call I ever made in my life was the one to Comcrap cancelling my service the day I got AT&T U-verse installed. We were the first people in our neighborhood to get U-Verse (landlord wouldn’t allow installation of a dish, so satellite wasn’t an option), and I’ll go without TV entirely before I go back.

    Comcrap is the United Airlines of in-home entertainment delivery.

  11. bill ferrante says:

    Hey,GEOFF! Had a similar experience, back in august. I’m disabled and walk with a cane. Had to take back my 9th dvr box (a record, perhaps??) because the computer chip died, at least thats what a service rep said. Found out, most of the dvr boxes, are “REFURBISHED”, some, as old as 3 years!! COMCAST used to have plenty of seats in the lobby and a “WORKING” wall of monitors, for people to watch. On 2 trips, none were working! Now, there are “ONLY” 6 seats,to sit on, its like playing musical chairs, if, your on line! My last visit, lasted well over an hour and a half. Many people were openly griping and complaining, it was very warm (94 degrees, outside) and crying kids made it even WORSE. The customer service reps did try their best, to take care of customers quickly, but, many people were openly hostile towards them. It took me all of 5 minutes to exchange my box and remote,but, for some, it wasn’t short enough. Next time, i’ll have the tech visit my home, which may be soon, my dvr box, is acting up,AGAIN!! UGH!!

  12. Jamie says:

    Geoff, go with Uverse if you can. We’ve found it superior to Comcast in many ways. Although you won’t get TWC’s local Weather on the 8s – they only provide the satellite feed – I don’t think someone in your line of work would need them anyway. They do have interactive weather and other neat app-like pages that make up the difference. And the greatest advantage is if you’re in Fairfield, New Haven, or parts of Litchfield County, you could get the ABC affiliate out of New York (if you know what I mean, hehehe)!

  13. Mike says:

    You can always switch to the other monopoly in town ATT Uverse. BUT–unfortunately I did that a couple of years ago. They were awful and as a special added inconvenience as a national rather than a local company like my cable provider Cablevision, Uverse had no clue where Milford, CT was!! Poor service and lack of the local area knowledge ended that very short relationship. Then, of course, there is satellite…………

  14. ComcastMark says:

    I apologize for the poor experience. On the other hand I appreciate the feedback that you shared. I’d like to share this with our local leaders so that we can create a better experience to our customers. If it is not so much of a trouble, will you please contact me provide the following?

    -Your info
    -The address of the local office you visited
    -A link to this page?

    Thanks in advance,

    Mark Casem
    Comcast Corp.
    National Customer Operations
    We_can_help@cable.comcast.com

  15. G says:

    Ahhh, the joys of cable t.v. As a former Cox subscriber, I can truly sympathize about the DMV qualities of the offices. I remember when I we’d switched to U-verse, I had to go to Manchester to turn the boxes in, since in their infinite wisdom they’d closed the small branch office in Elmwood.

    Got satellite now, but still got AT&T for the Internet. AT&T Internet is pretty good for what we need.

  16. Lisa says:

    Here in Woodbury we have Charter, not too bad but the DVR had
    some issues and they came out like three times, it seems to go
    out when my husband is watching or taping something. I will not
    switch to a bundle though, the only thing that worked when the
    storm went out was my phone line. I do work from home and have
    my internet in a business account (pay a little more per month)
    but if it goes down they have to do same day service or next day.
    The only complaint I have is when you do call in and you get India on the phone and they can not understand you and it is not
    worth it so I just say good bye and call back another time. I have to admit they did give us credits during the storm no issues
    but not like Cox cable they are not giving credits. Geoff make
    your next post about the NorthEast Utilites giving a credit only
    if you were out of service for more than 7 days What I was out
    6 so I am out of luck.

  17. Bdubs says:

    Time to get rid of cable and get a roku.

  18. Reggie says:

    As a shareholder of Comcast, I would say that this company is in dire straits.

    Their outsourcing is terrible, not to mention their employees run ComcastUnion DOT com

    I would think that a bigger shareholder or someone with a higher vested interest in Comcast would buy this website.

    They have the name on godaddy and think its worth 75 or 100K. As a shareholder, heck its worth more than that. That is bad press.

    So overall it’s looking like a bad investment, stay away for now.

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