Bob Garfield, host of public radio’s On The Media and a columnist for Ad Age, is mad. Fightin’ mad. It all started mid-August when he signed up for Comcast’s triple play. Or at least tried to sign up.
On September 9, Garfield takes his first pot shot at Comcast and the fireworks begin.
He writes from "HELL ON EARTH, Md." Title: Comcast Must Die: Seeking Ideas for a Consumer Jihad
The blog post is an astonishing litany of woe: disappearing installers, endless phone calls, interminable hold times.
Eventually, after word gets out and the news spreads far and wide - because, you know, he’s Bob Garfield! - Comcast responds.
(Rule #1 in dealing with Comcast: they hate bad press. And Bob gave it to them by the boat load.)
Comcast distributes a press release to say how appalled - yes, appalled! - they are. "We are working hard to ensure that all of our customers receive the best possible service," they say.
(No, let’s be clear. They were working hard to ensure that Bob Garfield receives the best possible service.)
Garfield is undeterred. He slams the press release. "I’m told I have a phone message waiting for me at home from a Qualmcast VP. No doubt it is simply oozing with regret.
And that regret is sincere. Qualmcast seriously regrets that the customer they mistreated so brutally was me. Because I have an audience, and friends in the blogosphere, including Jeff Jarvis, who has helped me spread the infuriating story far and wide. Qualmcast senior director of corporate communications Jenni Moyer deemed the outbreak of hostility as something that must be contained, so she issued a press release."
Bob cannot be mollified. I mean - this is Bob Garfield we’re talkin’ about. He posted again yesterday - a rant about Comcast paying bloggers $5 a pop to tout their services. Comcast Must Die: Part 5
"So sleazy, so pathetic and so unnecessary. If Comcast — or any other gigantic service provider — wants good buzz, it can get it in exponentially greater volume for free. All they have to do is treat customers right.
That doesn’t mean being flawless. It just means being responsive, diligent and respectful.
Yeah. As if."
Go Bob. And welcome to the club.
P.S. After my "Fleecing of A Subscriber" post, my name was red-flagged throughout the Comcast customer service system. Whenever I contact customer service, they’re loathe to deal with me. I’m told there’s a note in the system that says I’m required to contact "executive services" with any problem. I’m handed an 800# to call.
I’ve never called it.
I don’t want special favors and actually cannot accept them. I’m darn temped to publish the executive service 800# so anyone can access the service I’ve been offered. But I guess that would be going too far.
P.P.S. I’m still paying a fortune every month for HD channels I’m not receiving. And Comcast is waving pom-poms about all their new HD offerings. Well, goooood luck. Once you sign up for HD, you’ll find that Comcast will start holding the new HD channels hostage, as a way of milking you for more money. Well, I’m sure if I called and threatened to simply cancel my service, it would be a whole different story…
Just like I recently told AT&T to disconnect every phone line in the house, after I was so fed up with their excessive charges. And some of those phone numbers have been in the family for twenty years.
Guess what - Retention (after they figured out I was dead serious) offered me a super cheap plan. I’d been asking for a better plan for THREE years and AT&T INSISTED they had nothing to offer. When I finally decided I was completely fed up paying their extortionist rates, they offered me a deal not disclosed to the general public.
But I want to know - why do we have to resort to threats and blackmail and bad press to get decent plans and service? yeesh!
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