Customer Call Recording Hits Comcast Again

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Customer Call Recording Hits Comcast Again

August 13, 2014

Normally, when we call a customer service line, we're often treated to the disclaimer that this call may be recorded for training purposes or to improve service. But even when that disclaimer doesn't come up—and sometimes when it does—the call is indeed being recorded, but by the customer. This already lead to the now-infamous case of Ryan Block, a tech journalist who called Comcast and endured a 20-minute disaster—eight of which he recorded—and showed us all just what's going on on the other end of Comcast customer service. But now, another such call has emerged, prompting still more apologies from Comcast.

This time around, it's Tim Davis,who moved to a new house, installing his own Comcast equipment and later finding that the service had gotten a little “spotty”, based on reports, so Davis attempted to get some technical support. To Comcast's credit, the rep on the other end told Davis that the visit from a technician wouldn't result in any charges as it was an “outside issue”, or something that doesn't involve the house, apartment, or structure's wiring, the kind of thing that can happen to any Internet service provider, really.

But after that call you can imagine Davis' surprise at finding a $182 bill for charges related to a “failed self-install”, as well as for a wireless network setup that Davis didn't even know existed until he read the item on the bill. Naturally, Davis' next step was to find out what had happened, where a supervisor disputed the charges...until Davis played a recording of the call showing that Comcast's own reps acknowledged that this was an “outside issue”, not the kind of thing that customers got billed for.

The charges related to the “failed self-install” were subsequently expunged from the bill, but only after the recording had been played. The supervisor, meanwhile, reportedly said that the initial stonewalling could be summed up as “we try to negotiate”, which given that the charges were erroneous to begin with doesn't exactly seem quite according to Hoyle, so to speak. Perhaps the most shocking point was when Davis noted that, had there been no recording of the call, there would have been no reversal of the charges. The supervisor reportedly replied: “That is correct”.

Comcast, meanwhile, offered up a statement, saying, “This is not the type of experience we want our customers to have, and we will reach out to Mr. Davis to apologize to him. Our policy is not to charge for service visits that are related to problems with our equipment or network. We are looking into this to understand what happened and why it happened.”

Considering that this all happened while Ryan Block's ordeal was fresh in consumers' minds, it was very much bad timing for another Comcast incident to take place. Worse, this isn't the only one, either; reports emerged about another Comcast nightmare involving $1,320 in charges, and the Comcast subreddit is reportedly almost on fire with horror stories about Comcast's customer service.

This is a disaster for Comcast; the more of these that emerge, the more that customers will depart for other alternatives, or where there are none, increasingly demand same. With some cities looking to offer local fiber optic networks, and Google Fiber sufficiently desired that towns are competing to be Google's next installation target, the market is eager for anyone to step in. That spells opportunity for someone, and increasingly, that someone isn't Comcast.

Edited by Adam Brandt

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