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In Alameda: My comcast phone service repaired around 6:30 p.m.

By epearlman
Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 at 9:27 am in Alameda Power & Telecom, Comcast, Events, Island Life.

When the Comcast repairman arrived just as we were eating dinner, he was friendly and kind. It took him about a half hour of moving here and there in our house (he said that there was a short on the line…though, in the years we’ve lived here we’ve never had any difficulties at all) to restore phone service.

He only showed up two hours outside the window THEY told me, about six hours after I expected him, based on my first conversation with my first Comcast rep of the day. My favorite part about dealing with Comcast is that no one appears to be accountable. I called Comcast four times today and spoke to four different operators in four different cities. There is no way to speak again to someone you’ve already spoken to, and there is no way to make contact directly with any of the people relevant to the situation—the local dispatcher, the local technician. How hard would it be to set up a system where customers can call their local dispatcher to find out where their technician, and when s/he might be expected? Each time I called Comcast, the phone call took more than eight minutes. And, I got to do my favorite (in the sense of not favorite) thing which is enter my phone number on the key pad and then tell it again to the operator when I speak to them. Ergh.

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  • Andrew C. Johnson

    Ms. Pearlman: You may be aware I’m the VP of Communications for Comcast and I’m interested to learn more about your experience. One question, did you happen to take advantage of our special Alameda hotline, (510-567-9350)or did you use the 1-800-Comcast number? Carefully reading the contents of your posting it appears the problem was a “short” in your phone line, and when our technician disabled that specific outlet, phone service was restored. One other note, I was glad to see your installation went flawless. Thanks for being a Comcast customer!

  • Eve Pearlman

    Hi, Andrew,

    Thanks for your comment.

    The first few times I called Comcast yesterday I called the 800 number. I think the last time I called I tried the Alameda transition number, which definitely got me a live voice on the phone more quickly.

    As I mentioned above, I think it would improve customer service if there were a way to have one party be responsible for a particular repair/issue. I spoke to four different operators in four different cities, each time explaining the details of my situation. Does this really save money? Alternatively, might there be a way for waiting customers to speak to someone about when their repair might be? I called at three yesterday to let Comcast know I HAD to leave the house (I’d rearranged my schedule otherwise, and I’d been clear from the outset that I couldn’t be here for the whole time window). But I couldn’t get the rep I spoke to say she’d tell the tech not to come in while I was gone OR to say she’d tell the tech to come later…which seems silly all around (and I’d been told before two that my house was the next in line…), My best guess is she did tell the tech to come later, which is why he came at six, but no one told me that, so it’s just a guess. –Eve

  • http://laurendo.wordpress.com Lauren Do

    Nice, two and a half hours after your designated window.

    Apparently we had our switchover to Comcast yesterday and everything went smoothly, for us. But then our neighbors a few blocks away called to ask us if our internet connection worked (it did, otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to call us since we have Vonage). So it’s pretty hit or miss right now with regard to the switchover.

    On another note, in our letter that indicated our transfer date and time it mentioned that the envelope contained information about the channel comparison and other services, but the letter was on the only thing in the envelope, so I’m not really sure if there was change in our line up yet since I haven’t checked my cable yet.

  • Andy

    Since we’re sharing Comcast experiences, my service was switched over this past Sunday. Comcast showed up at 11.55am, just before the end of the 8-12am window they had advised.

    They did a good job with the wiring drop from the pole. The service itself – Internet and TV – is OK so far. My download speeds are slightly lower than I was getting with AP&T (3Mbits vs 4Mbits), although Comcast claims 6Mbits (and more with their Boost feature). Upload speeds are far better (1Mbit vs 256Kbit with AP&T).

    TV is not great so far – HD channels have a lot of macroblocking – but I think the problem is mine, not Comcast’s. Comcast’s signal into my house is much stronger than AP&T’s (12-15dB versus 3-4dB with AP&T), and I think my video amp is driving the signal too strong for my telly.

    Haven’t had to use Comcast customer support yet…

  • Dave Johnson

    I called the Alameda hotline and they said that there was absolutely no comparable product to switch to that they were offering. I had the Premium AP&T 4Mb/1.5Mb package with a static IP (my clients connect to my FTP server to download large graphics work ready for them). They also told me that if I decided to not go with a static IP address, than I would be in voilation of their terms of services if I allowed any clients to download files from systems connected to their network.

    They then gave me another number to call which turned out to be the business department of Comcast. They told me that the only way for me to get a static IP address was with them and that it would be $64.95 base price (plus some amount of typical tax and fees on top of that I’m sure). Which is $12 more than what I was paying with AP&T. I am researching other options at this point but I will likely be stuck with them since our oligopoly of high-speed services became a monopoly with the AP&T sale.

    I had Comcast when I moved back to Alameda 9 years ago, but when they could not keep the system from disconnecting for several hours every week or two (and after 5 wasted days of technician on-site visits and all the pain that come with them) I switched to AP&T and never had another issue that wasn’t resolved in a reasonable and timely manner without undue hoops to jump through. I am sad that they are gone.

    I have read all the sentiment from local politicians and the overwhelming tone is how the sale was near a miracle and saving grace, which only makes me question THEIR competence at making daily management and direction decisions, rather than just their competence at running a public communications utility. The product was exemplary compared to the competition so the blame for the purported mass losses can ONLY be attributable to them and their complete incompetence in managing the project.

    This has made myself and most of my family (also island dwellers) think trice before supporting or voting for some worthwhile public services if they are spearheaded by the Alameda powers that be.

  • Deborah James

    The only problem that I had when AP&T made the switch was that they didn’t send out any notice. My bill had been being paid online by deductions from my checking account. I then noticed that there had been no deductions for at least 2 months; called my bank and was told that the payments were rejected. I then called AP&T and asked them what was going on. The answer was simply that they were not taking online payments anymore.

    I then received a disconnect notice and a bill for 3 months. I paid it because the money was still in the bank. It should have been fairly simple to send out a paper bill with a note saying that the service had been sold to Comcast.

    Oh, that’s the problem – why do something simple when complex makes more sense? Maybe that’s part of why they ended up bankrupt in the first place.

  • Dave Johnson

    Deborah James:

    To be fair, Comcast *did* send out a generic non-personalized notice that looked very much like typical advertising junk mail that outlined all of your billing concerns and expectations. You likely missed it as I nearly did the same.