Have I mentioned lately how much I hate Comcast?

Just had a very frustrating chat with Comcast Customer service.  My TiVo Premier has been on the fritz for the last several months.  Rather than buy a new one, I decided to give Comcast’s X1 a try.  So Barbara took our cable card into the Comcast service office this morning and asked for an X1.  They told Barbara that the X1 would have to be professionally installed, so they scheduled an appointment to have the X1 installed on the 10th, and gave us a regular Comcast DVR to use in the mean time.  She was told that this DVR would cost us $10/month (as opposed to the $1/month we were paying for our cable card) and that when the X1 is installed it would go up to $20/month because apparently it’s twice as good.

Barbara left the DVR for me to setup when I got home, which because of a GDG meetup I had tonight, wasn’t until about 9:30 pm.  After getting home I spent a good 20-30 minutes reconfiguring our entertainment system to replace the new defunct TiVo with the Comcast DVR.  Once I got everything hooked up, I went to comcast.com/activate to activate the DVR.  I didn’t even get to the point where I could enter in the serial number of the new DVR before I was given the following error message.

We’re sorry, we were unable to complete your activation. Order service returned an OPEN Service Request with ScheduleDate before TECH activation.

So I tried the phone activation method, and it said that they were going to have to forward me to a representative.  After waiting on hold a couple minutes I was given a recording that the office was closed and to call back between 9 am and 7pm Monday through Friday.

Not willing to believe that I was not going to be able to have television service tonight, I decided to try the online chat method instead to see if I could get any help.  After waiting a good 10 minutes for someone to get into the chat with me, the following chat transpired (serial number and the last 4 digits of my social security number redacted for my security).

Bryan > Hello Nicholas, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Bryan. Please give me one moment to review your information.

Nicholas > My Issue: My wife picked up a DVR today from a service center, the automated system won’t let me activate it. Can you help me get the box activated?

Bryan > Welcome to Comcast! It’s a pleasure to have you on chat. How are you doing today?

Nicholas > I’m ok I guess

Nicholas > would be better if I could get television 🙂

Bryan > That’s wonderful! I’m happy to hear that you are doing fine.

Bryan > I would be more than happy to help you, Nicholas.

Bryan > I understand how frustrating this might be, I apologize for the inconvenience. Rest assured I will do everything within my means to address your concern today.

Nicholas > great. I tried to use the automated system to activate it, and it wouldn’t let me, it says something about service before activate.

Bryan > Once we are done with the troubleshooting steps, we will decide whether a technician or swapping the box is needed to completely resolved the issue. Are we good with this?

Nicholas > I think what happened is this. My wife went down to the service center and asked for the X1. They said they would have to schedule professional installation of the X1 and they scheduled it, but they gave her a regular DVR in the mean time

Bryan > Thank you for providing that information.

Bryan > May I ask what is the exact error message you are getting?

Nicholas > “We’re sorry, we were unable to complete your activation. Order service returned an OPEN Service Request with ScheduleDate before TECH activation.”

Nicholas > it never even got far enough for me to put in the serial number of the box I’m trying to activate (which is ***** by the way)

Bryan > Thank you for providing that information.

Bryan > Let me check the code of the box on my end.

Nicholas > ok

Bryan > I have found what’s causing the issue.

Bryan > The box is not activated yet on our end.

Bryan > But don’t worry I would be happy to activate it now.

Nicholas > yes, I know, that’s what I’m trying to do

Bryan > I will now put codes for the box to work.

Bryan > Thank you for providing that information.

Nicholas > ok, thank you

Bryan > You are most welcome.

Bryan > For security and privacy purposes of the account, may I ask for the following on the account.

Bryan > Last 4 digit of SSN

Nicholas > ****

Bryan > Thank you for providing that information.

Bryan > I would like to set your expectation that for the DVR service to work I will need to code it as a DVR the box for the system to allow it.

Bryan > This is the authorization or activation of the service.

Bryan > Adding this will cost $17.95 so you can use the full function for it.

Bryan > Should I get it now?

Nicholas > the person at the comcast office said $10

Bryan > Let me check it again to make sure.

Bryan > Thank you for patiently waiting, Nicholas.

Nicholas > no problem

Bryan > The $10 cost is for the channels with no DVR function.

Bryan > The $17.95 will be the code for the channels with DVR function.

Bryan > May I ask which way do you want to proceed?

Nicholas > we were given a DVR and told adding the DVR would add $10 and only $10 to our bill

Bryan > I’m really for the lack of information provided to you.

Bryan > Sorry for the typo. Please disregard that last message.

Bryan > I’m really sorry for the lack of information provided to you.

Bryan > I understand how it feel.

Bryan > What I’m providing to you now is the codes I can see available on your account.

Nicholas > This is very disconcerting, this is 60% more than TiVo which is a far superior device. This Comcast DVR box is stuck in the 90s, but whatever, go ahead and activate it, it’s only temporary anyway

Bryan > I’m now reviewing the account more since you went to the store the code should be added already.

Bryan > If the code was added and the issue still persist we will continue to troubleshoot.

Bryan > Would it be fine with you to hold for 2-3 minutes? I’m currently having issues with the account when trying to add the code and working on a fix for it.

Nicholas > sure thing

Bryan > Thank you very much!

Bryan > Thank you very much for patiently waiting, Nicholas.

Nicholas > no problem

Bryan > I’m really apologize for the inconvenience. We are not able to activate it now because there is a work order on the account which is your X1 order. If activate the box the X1 order will be cancelled. This is because per account only one order can be made. What I can advise you now is to wait for the technician to come and install your X1. However there is no need for you to worry since you are not being billed right now for the services because the X1 order is not completed yet.

Nicholas > That is ridiculous. The guy at the service station gave us the DVR box to use until the X1

Bryan > I really do apologize for the inconvenience and lack of information provided to you. I would greatly appreciate your understanding.

Nicholas > and now you are telling me 1) I just wasted my time hooking this thing up

Nicholas > 2) that I’m going to be without a TV for a week

Nicholas > that is NOT acceptable

Bryan > I completely understand how are you feeling right now, Nicholas.

Nicholas > Why would they give me a box if I can’t activate it

Nicholas > that’s stupid

Bryan > Yes, I understand. I’m really sorry for the mistake made on the local office.

Bryan > What I’m providing you right now is the correct information on the account.

Nicholas > Well I’m sorry, but it’s not acceptable information.

Bryan > Yes, I understand.

Nicholas > I just spent an hour redoing my entertainment system

Nicholas > I expect to have TV tonight

Nicholas > if you are telling me to wait a week, you may as well cancel the whole thing and I’ll switch to another provider tomorrow

Bryan > I’m really sorry for the inconvenience. What I can do now is credit the inconvenience this has caused you.

Nicholas > can you cancel the X1 and just activate the box and I’ll call them about ordering X1 later

Bryan > Yes, we can do that. All you have to do is call the hotline and cancel the appointment and add the code for the DVR to be activated.

Nicholas > which I can’t do, because the hotline is closed

Bryan > Once they added the code it will start to work immediately.

Bryan > I would love to do it on my end now however I will not be able to do it on my end because my tools is restricted to do that.

Bryan > What I can do now is advise you to call them tomorrow morning so they can cancel the order and activate the DVR.

Bryan > My sincerest apologies, Nicholas.

Nicholas > and tonight I’m just stuck staring at a blank screen, and will probably be stuck till Saturday since I work during the day.

Bryan > What I will do is note this to the account so the next agent will be able to know what to do.

Bryan > There is no need for you to worry about he charge because you are not being billed to it yet.

Nicholas > well thank you for trying, there’s no point in taking any more of your time

Bryan > I’m glad I was able to provide you all the information on what’s causing the issue and how to fix it.

Bryan > You are most welcome.

Bryan > I hope you are satisfied with your experience with me here on chat. Do you have any additional question? I would be happy to assist.

Nicholas > no further questions

Bryan > Thank you very much for your patience and understanding, Nicholas.

Bryan > I really appreciate your kindness.

Bryan > It was truly a pleasure to speak with you! Thank you conctacting Comcast. Feel free to contact us again through live chat (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Comcast also offers great FAQ and Help forums located at www.comcast.net to help you solve many issues on your own. You can also reach us at (1-888-739-1379).

Bryan > Have a great evening, Nicholas!

Nicholas > well that’s not possible. I was so looking forward to watching some TV tonight after a long day of work, but that’s not to be. Hope you have a better evening than I do.

So after all of that, no I don’t have any television service, and it doesn’t seem likely that I’m going to have television service in the foreseeable future.  All I have to say is Google Fiber can’t come to Sunnyvale fast enough.

Posted in: Stress
Tagged: Comcast, and Bad Customer Service

Nick Moline

Senior Software Engineer at Justia, Tech Wizard for Harry Potter Lexicon, Theatre Sound Designer.

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