Wednesday, August 1, 2007



Thanks to the Consumerist readers who dropped by to leave comments on here and on the Consumerist story. I don't believe in karma or fate or Alanis Morissette's definition of ironic, but sure enough, as soon as Consumerist posted our story, Geoffrey finally made some progress with Comcast, and our internet is back up. For now.

I'm not quite sure what to do about this blog. I would like to go back to June and detail how when I first tried to sign up for Comcast internet, I bought the self-install kit at Best Buy, took it home, and soon encountered the first batch of many of Comcast's follies: not letting me use the install CD that came with the modem, suggesting that I install on my MacBook Pro a version of Internet Explorer that I used in school nearly a decade ago, having the web-based version of their install software be a file that isn't natively decompressable by OS X and requires StuffIt, and having the decompressed installer be completely useless unless my goal is to have Internet Explorer open up infinite "Welcome to Comcast" windows. That would be fun to explore.

Consumerist actually just hired me to handle their tip line emails and help pick out stories, and I've quickly realized that there are enough Comcast stories--unsolicited, no less--to do several posts each day just on Comcast's horrendous service. Maybe I'll link to the stories that get published. Maybe Consumerist can do an All Comcast Day or have a special WTF, Comcast feature or something.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Not yet

I know it's only 8 and he had said wait until noon, but for the record, the internet is not working.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Deja vu

So after talking with GB, I bust out the new modem and try setting it up. The Comcast for Mac installation package still wants me to install the version of Internet Explorer that I used in 2000, and just opens up infinite windows when I do install it, so I boot up Vista in Parallels and try installing it through Windows. It's going well until it asks for my name, address, and phone number. I put in Elvira's information, and it doesn't understand. Internet is hard!

Alright, I just called and I’m typing this as I'm talking with Comcast. Only a few minutes on hold when you call at 11 p.m.! They confirmed the account information and are checking things out. Asking about the modem--I told them that because they apparently blocked the old MAC address, we are now using this modem. He says that they need to send us a new modem; I said no, you said yesterday we can use a different one, and this is a Motorola Surfboard (gnarly!) just like the old one. He says hold on, then came back and took the MAC address. Hold more, then takes the customer serial number from the modem. This time he forgets to put me on hold, and I can hear him talking with someone and laughing. I'm really hoping he calls me a name or something, but other than whatever lolocaust he's having, it seems ok. Finally, he comes back and says the exact same thing they said two days ago: they need to add our MAC address to their database, which the guy can’t do from where he is. He’ll give it to the Help Desk (I don’t know what that makes the people we keep talking to) and they’ll have it working by noon. I tell him this is what we were told two days ago, and he gives me a ticket number so I can get right back into my complaint when I end up calling tomorrow evening. Sweet.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I think there's a law against this

I’m calling Comcast myself to find out what’s going on.
I just passed the ten-minute mark on hold.
Alright, now it’s been thirty minutes; I’m hanging up.

Bad evening

Internet is still broken, browser takes me to the Comcast setup page. Comcast now says, oops, we can't do anything with our DaTa WaReHoUsE; we need to use a different cable modem.

Bad morning

The internet is still broken, using my browser takes me to the Comcast setup page (which suggests that I download the installation kit, which requires that I install a comically ancient version of Internet Explorer on my MacBook Pro, which is not going to happen).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Comcast doesn't care about brown people?

GB spends about an hour on the phone with them this time. When someone finally picks up, he pretends to be Elvira, and gives them the same information he gave them earlier. He is speaking with a slight Hispanic accent (GB has lived in Central and South America, so except for the deep voice, he sounds like Elvira), and he tells me that every person he talks to now is being really rude to him. He eventually gets in touch with someone competent, gives him our address, phone number, SSN, and MAC address, and holds for a while. When the guy comes back, he says he’s figured out the problem and he can fix it: Apparently, when they turned off the internet for no reason, they blocked the MAC address of the cable modem, so they have to call the data warehouse (wtf?) and let them know that our MAC address deserves the internet, or something. Data warehouse is closed; they’ll call first thing in the morning and internet should be working sometime in the a.m.

Hold plz, k thx

Comcast makes GB hold for ten minutes or so, then takes our information and listens to our complaint. They put him on hold for ten more minutes, then they come back and say, sorry, but Elvira has to call with this information. GB that Elvira already has called, but she was out of town and unable to get the information from the modem like they had requested. Too bad; call Elvira, give her our MAC address, and have her call back. Oh, and what about the technician who was supposed to come this evening? When Elvira called earlier, Comcast cancelled the appointment, even though they didn’t actually accomplish anything with her.

Gangsta MAC

There’s a message from Elvira in my voicemail: She called Comcast and tried to get them to turn the internet back on, but they needed some information from the modem. Elvira is in California, so of course she can’t give them our MAC address, so she gives me her phone/account number and social security number so we can turn it on ourselves.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Oh hai. I can haz interwebz?

GB calls them back because we haven’t heard from Elvira and our internet is still down. Here’s their story: When GB called to activate our internet a month ago, it confused Comcast. (Remember, our tech was supposed to show up on Friday, June 22. No one showed up. It was about to be a weekend, we wanted our internet, and it’s not that hard to set it up, so GBcalled Comcast, gave them Elvira’s account information and the MAC address from the cable modem that Elvira ordered from them and had shipped here, and got our internet working. All was well.) They had, without giving us any notice, changed our tech’s appointment from Friday, June 22, to Monday, June 25. Meanwhile, GB got our internet working. So I’m at work on Monday and I get a call from our front desk telling me there’s a Comcast person downstairs. I had been uneasy about allowing a Comcast tech in our apartment even while one of us was there, now that the apartment was empty (and yeah, our internet worked), there was no way I was letting them in. I asked the front desk to tell them that our connection had been set up and he could leave. That set off some silent, slow-moving shit storm at Comcast that took over three weeks to work through the system: because GB called Comcast himself to set it up (in effect doing exactly what the tech would have done, had he bothered to show up), no one was being billed for our internet! So, instead of notifying anyone, they flipped the switch and turned it off. I understand that if they weren’t able to bill anyone, maybe they didn’t have Elvira’s number or something. But why weren’t they able to bill anyone? GB gave them Elvira’s apartment and phone number when he called, and he gave them the MAC address. That should be enough to make the connection. Whatever; Comcast is sorry, and they’ll send someone out to fix it tomorrow evening around 5, which means GB has to leave work early.