Over the years, Crabby Old Lady has listened to friends complain about their dealings with Comcast, the telecom that provides their internet and cable television connections. But Crabby is understating.
They don't just mutter about dim customer service reps or tardy technicians. Oh, no. Their tirades are of operatic proportions - they spit and screech and turn red in the face.
Now, it turns out, Crabby's friends have a lot of company. Last month, Comcast beat out runner-up Ticketmaster by a voting margin of 59 to 41 percent to win The Consumerist's annual Worst Company in America Award - The Golden Poo. (Imagine for yourself what the statuette is.)
According to the Washington Post, Comcast spokesperson, Jenni Moyer, upon being told of the award, issued this statement:
“We're working everyday to improve our customers' experiences with us, including offering a Customer Guarantee that's backed by significant operational changes...”
and blah, blah, blah - more corporate crap.
So Crabby Old Lady was wary last week when she telephoned Comcast to arrange cable and internet installation at her new home in Oregon and she was not disappointed. First, she could not have the discount package offered on their website, said the representative, because she had telephoned. When she tried a live chat online, a different rep said she could not have the discount and refused to give a reason, saying only that Crabby is ineligible.
Crabby gave up for the time being and moved on to the next item on her list.
She phoned PGE in Oregon to arrange for her electric service. The customer service guy was smart, efficient and friendly and the account was set up in five minutes. Then he asked if there was anything else he could do to help Crabby with her move. Laughing ruefully, she asked if perhaps he has an in with Comcast.
Crabby was blown away when he said that, as a matter of fact, he does. PGE partners with another company, Allconnect, to arrange other services. That representative – as smart, efficient and friendly as the PGE person - took Crabby's Comcast order, made the appointment for setup and gave Crabby an even bigger discount than the one offered online. Whoopee. Easy and less expensive. What more could a Crabby Old Lady ask for?
She checked both items – electric and cable - off her to-do list.
Returning a missed a call from Comcast, she got a recording and left her phone number. You already know this was not a “welcome to Comcast call,” right? Six hours later, a Comcast person returned the call and asked what she could do for Crabby.
Crabby explained she was returning Comcast's call and after some confusion (what else?), the woman said Crabby's appointment had been canceled because the current owners had not requested cancellation of their account. Crabby explained she would be moved in by her installation date, but the Comcast woman read her script and would not budge.
Crabby admits she got testy, noting colorfully that the electric company, bank, insurance agent and U.S. Postal Service have all set up Crabby's new accounts so that her services will not be delayed and what's wrong with Comcast that it can't?
Of course, Crabby got nowhere and there is now a big, gaping hole in her otherwise complete “Oregon Move Checklist.”
But wait. There's more. A flurry of emails between Crabby and her Oregon real estate agent revealed that the current owners have requested cancellation and a transfer of their account to their new address but they, too, have been caught in Comcast's ghastly limbo unable to get the worst company in America to move forward.
Sometime today, Crabby will talk to the wonderful people at Allconnect and see if they can pull off their magic again. Crabby is told that fiber optic will be available in her part of Oregon within six to 12 months. Guess who will be first in line.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Ellen Younkins: Old Age