Utilities. Love ’em or hate ’em, we gotta have ’em.
Having a relationship with the cable, water, gas, telephone and electric companies is like being in a bad marriage that even a divorce can’t help.
They all boast about awards they receive for customer service, but I have rarely witnessed any award-winning service from any of them.
I have had problems with my cable company, Comcast, in the past (read part 1 here, and part 2 here). Mainly because the people they employ at the end of an 800 number don’t have a clue about what to do with a customer using a CableCard in a non-Comcast receiver.
For those that don’t know what a CableCard is, it’s a little “card” that slides into a television receiver or DVR like TiVo that unscrambles the cable signal, authorizes the channels you’re paying for, enabling you to watch them on your TV. They’ve been around for a long time, and all the TiVo units on the market today require a CableCard for use.
Like cable boxes provided by the cable company, these CableCards are a one-way communication device that are programmed by the cable company’s central office where a signal is sent to the card giving it the “go ahead” to turn your service on.
This is standard-issue cable company stuff here!
My latest run in with Comcast happened Wednesday, when the CableCard in my one TiVo box suddenly lost it’s programming and my premium channels suddenly went dark. Knowing that all they needed to do was reauthorize the card, I called 1-800-COMCAST and spoke to a technician who “claimed” to know what to do to fix my problem.
We started out by rebooting the TiVo, which is basically a waste of time. 8 minutes of wasted time to be exact. He had me change channels, which did nothing. After explaining to him what he needs to do, he did nothing but walk me through useless exercises and eventually scheduled a service call.
Knowing that this was a simple issue that could be fixed by someone who actually knows CableCards, I called back. The second person I talked to didn’t even want to hear my problem. As soon as I said CableCard, she saw that I had an appointment scheduled and told me to wait for the appointment.
Strike two. Will I strike out on a third call?
Just to get my facts straight and to get the exact steps Comcast needed to take to get this issue resolved, I called TiVo which happens to have a dedicated support line just for CableCards. After explaining the situation to the tech, he confirmed what I knew all along. Comcast needed to reauthorize and re-pair the card. Since non-premium channels were working, it wasn’t a problem with the card, but a problem with the programming on Comcast’s end.
Third call to Comcast and I gave very detailed instructions to the technician on what they need to do in their computer system to get the authorization to CableCard. The gal I talked to once again was about as experienced in these issues as I am with open heart surgery.
Frustrated, I gave up.
Later that night, when I felt like I wanted to get hit on the head with a brick one more time, I tried Comcast’s live chat. Maybe, just maybe, I would get “someone” on the other end who can help. No such luck. Instead I spoke to someone in a foreign land who turned my live help session into a “Can I call you” session.
I bit. But even a call resulted in loud head scratching on the other end.
Knowing I was getting nowhere, I reached out to Bill Gerth who handles the @comcastcares Twitter account. He helped me before with an issue and called upon him once again.
Unfortunately, Mike never emailed be back, but he did forward my email over to Meredith in the Boca Raton office who was supposed to help me, but only really confirmed my service appointment. I told her the steps that were needed to authorize the card, but I don’t think she tried any of them.
So here I sit on Saturday morning waiting for the Comcast tech to come out and look at the CableCard. At 9:36am my phone rang and it was an automated survey call from Comcast asking how my appointment went, even though nobody showed up yet.
14 minutes later, Meredith called asking how the service call went. I explained to her that I’m still sitting here waiting. She did a little research and told me that the automated system that confirms appointments in the morning did not get an answer from my phone number.
My phone never rang, as the screen shot shows.
Frustrated beyond belief, I flew off the handle and hung up on poor Meredith.
I don’t feel bad tho. If you’re in business and don’t know how to support the product you’re selling, that’s not my problem. A quick search in Google will show you just how frustrated CableCard customers are with Comcast’s lack of knowledge with these devices.
Add myself to that list.
I know “someone” from Comcast is going to read this blog and will be able to solve my problem, so take a minute and work your magic on CableCard 0-011-251-803-109 and Host ID 0-350-127-308-244.
Prove to me that @comcastcares is more than just a Twitter username.
Something tells me this is going to get fixed.
I’ll keep you all posted.