my ridiculous experience with comcast cable (formerly att broadband)

[I think everyone hates their cable company... I'm no different.  This was a complaint letter I had to write years ago when AT&T Broadband, now called Comcast, did an amazing job screwing up my cable service]

December 29, 2000

32 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10013-2412

AT&T Broadband
Customer Service Department
PO Box 114
San Jose, CA 95103-0114

              Re:               Problems with AT&T Broadband service

Dear Sirs:

I am compelled to write you because of numerous and ongoing problems that I am having with my cable service.  My home phone number (which I believe is my account number) is (408) xxx-xxxx.  I apologize for the length of this letter, but my problems with AT&T Broadband have been so numerous that it takes this much space to even briefly describe them.

My problems with AT&T Broadband began in November, when I purchased a house and called to switch the cable from the prior owner to me.  Each time I called AT&T to accomplish this, I was quoted a different price for the services I was requesting.  Each time I was forced to listen to a high pressure sales pitch for services I repeatedly said I did not want (digital cable).  I was told I would have to pay a $41 “installation fee” for them to check the cable wires, which I knew were perfectly fine because the prior owner had no problems with her cable service.  I was quoted total prices, and when I requested an itemized explanation of those totals, I was given numbers that did not add up to the total.  After placing my order, I called back to verify the order and inquire about some of the charges, and I was told by the customer service rep that there was no record of my order in the computer.  She could not tell me what happened to my order.  Finally, I made a trip to your customer service center in San Jose where the representative was able to set up my cable service properly (or so I thought).

Regretfully, my problems were only beginning.  The service I wanted was “basic cable” (“A”) and ShowTime.  I did not want expanded basic cable (“B”).  I was told by Tom Carol (who I believe is a manager) that my “B” cable could be disconnected without a problem, retroactive to November 18, 2000 (the date my cable service began).  On the morning of December 28 a technician came out to disconnect my “B” cable, but actually disconnected both “A” and “B”.  I was left with no cable service whatsoever.  Upon discovering this several hours later, I called and a second technician was sent that day to reconnect “A”.  Unfortunately, he connected “B” instead.  That left me with “B” but not “A”.  The next morning (December 29th) I called again to report the problem, and I was told a third technician would come out on December 29th to reconnect “A.”

This was not my only problem.  In early December, I called AT&T and requested that a jack be installed in my family room.  I was told this could be easily done, for $18.50. I set up an appointment for December 18, and I made arrangements to take the day off work.  The installer came, drilled five holes in my walls, snaked cables through the holes, and then determined that it would not be possible for him to connect the cable to the cable service because the AT&T cable box outside my house has a lock on it that he did not have a key for.  He told me that he would set up an appointment for December 28 for a technician to come out and finish this job.  I made arrangements to take December 28th off work.

On December 28, a technician came out, but he knew nothing about finishing the jack installation.  He was there only to shut off the “B” cable (see above), and I was told by AT&T that the work order for the jack installation was nonexistent.  I had taken the day off work for nothing.  I immediately called AT&T and spoke with Darryl, employee #322, who repeatedly assured me that he would put a new work order in the computer for Saturday, January 6 between 1-3pm for the jack to be installed.  He set me up with a Saturday appointment because I told him that I had already taken two days off of work to accommodate AT&T’s installers, and each time they could not finish the job they were supposed to do because someone at AT&T had screwed up.  I simply cannot take any more days off of work to have my cable installed.  Darryl assured me that the appointment on January 6 would fix the problems.

On December 29, when I called AT&T to report that my “A” cable was disconnected (see above), the customer service rep told me that the January 6th appointment was in fact not to finish the jack installation, and that Darryl had incorrectly created the work order.  He told me that the next available appointment to finish the jack installation was on a weekday, in mid-January.  Again, I cannot take any more days off of work to accommodate AT&T, and I am very unhappy about having to wait until mid-January to do something that should have been completed on December 18.  This person told me that he was unable to set up a new appointment to finish the jack installation, because I already had a work order in the computer for my “A” service to be reconnected, and the system would not allow for two work orders at the same time.  This sounds ludicrous for a high-tech company to not be able to simultaneously accommodate two work orders for one customer.

Finally, Darryl told me that I was being charged for a converter box and a remote.  The converter box I have, but I was never given a remote, nor do I want one.  I should not be charged for a remote control that I do not have nor want.

I am at a loss for what to do.  I have made at least thirty phone calls over the past two months to AT&T trying to get this sorted out, and I have had to spend countless hours and several days off of work dealing with this.  I am tired of dealing with AT&T Broadband.  I do not feel that what I am trying to do is extraordinary or special.  I do not understand why I am having so many problems doing something that is not difficult to do.

I am requesting that someone who has the power to straighten all of this out to please contact me.  I can be reached during the day at (408) xxx-xxxx, and in the evening at (408) xxx-xxxx. Given the hours I have had to spend trying to sort out problems created by AT&T Broadband, and the two days of work that I have had to take off due to appointments that AT&T has incorrectly set up, I feel that I am also due at least a credit to my account for my troubles.

I look forward to speaking with someone with some authority to assist me with this matter.

Thank you,

Travis A. Wise
Attorney At Law

January 8, 2001

Tom Carroll
AT&T Broadband
P.O. Box 114
San Jose, CA   95103-0114

              Re:              Account No. 8770 10 003 0665649
Dear Tom:
This letter is to confirm our telephone conversation of this morning in which you agreed to reverse the charge on my account for the December 18, 2000 outlet installation ($18.95), as well as the charge for Expanded Basic service for November 28, 2000 through December 28, 2000 ($24.75).  This is in addition to an existing credit on my account for Expanded Basic service for December 28, 2000 through January 27, 2001 ($24.75).
Thank you for your assistance in resolving the numerous difficulties I have had with AT&T Broadband.
Travis A. Wise

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