Monday, March 08, 2010

Comcast is the Worst Internet Provider In the World, with apologies to Keith Olbermann. TWO UPDATES

Here’s how I spent part of the last hour. See below the transcript for the rest.

dave>
Comcast keeps taking over my search engine.

analyst Sonia has entered room

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

Sonia>
Hello, Dave!

Sonia>
Thank you so much for patiently waiting on the queue. How's your day so far?

Dave_>
Fine, I just was online with s tech named Kathleene, I have Firefox set to use Google to give suggestions if I type a bad URL. For some reason you have decided to redirect me to customer.comcast.com (which gives lousy results). Kathleene had me delete Recent History which took me back to Google; but, you took it over again. I don't want that, how do I get rid of you?

Sonia>
Oh I see.

Sonia>
I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this might have been causing you.

Sonia>
No problem!

Sonia>
I would be very glad to assist you on that.

Sonia>
Dave, all you need to do is to turn off the Domain Helper.

Sonia>
Kindly log-in to http://dns-opt-out.comcast.net .

Sonia>
You will need to log-in using the primary username of your account.

Dave_>
If that works fine; but, why did you opt me into it without my asking? Very annoying.

Sonia>
That's by default, Dave. That's why you have an option to deactivate the service/feature if you want to.

Dave_>
Again, bad business. I would like the option to opt in rather than having wasted the last half hour trying to get rid of it. Thank you for your help, assuming it works

Sonia>
It will surely work, Dave. Once you deactivate the service, it will be fully deactivated within 24 hours.

Sonia>
The technicians who will be working on this will send you a confirmation email confirming the successful process.

Sonia>
Then when you receive the email, reset your modem so the changes will fully take effect.

Dave_>
Are you telling me that you took over my computer and won't give it back for a day? Check out the raging post I'm about to write about this foolishness at ratherthanworking.blogspot.com. And now you tell me I have to reset my modem? This is garbage. I know I shouldn't bother you with this as you aren't in charge; but, this is really outrageous.

Sonia>
Dave, I understand how you feel regarding this issue. As I said, within 24 hours, not the whole 24 hours. As soon as you deactivate this feature from your account online, the account technicians who are in charge of this will be working on this right away, then they will send you a confirmation email once the process is completed in the system. The modem reset will refresh your connection from the system so the changes will fully take effect.

Sonia>
I apologize if these steps was not directly given to you by the previous analyst so you should have saved some time troubleshooting the other way.

Dave_>
I fully understand, still totally wrong on Comcast's part to take over the computer and make me go through all this. It isn't the first tech's fault, it is your employer's fault. It may be time to go elsewhere.

Sonia>
I understand, Dave. Are you able to log-in to turn off the feature?

Dave_>
I'll stop with you and do that. If it doesn't work, I'll be back. You really ought to tell a "power that be" that this is a bad policy. People don't like their computers being taken over and then being forced to "opt out." Leaving now.

And the “Thank you for your help, assuming it works?” It didn’t. I logged in, gave my user name and password – no access to “Domain Helper,” I get an endless loop asking me to log in again. I’m tired of this for now. I’ll harass them tomorrow while I’m sitting at the car dealer in the morning while they check out why my check engine light and electronic stability control not working light came on about 4,000 miles before the warranty expires.

TO THE RAMPARTS! DUMP COMCAST!

It seems I’m not a happy consumer at the moment.

UPDATE:

I'm at the car dealer waiting to hear what my next problem's solution is. I went online and found a Comcast blog dealing with its roll out of the Domain Helper "feature." Someone named Scott McNulty with Comcast extolled the virtues of the fact that Comcast unilaterally has hijacked all of its customers' browsers, re-directing any mistyping of a URL to its DNS server which gives you Yahoo search alternatives to your misspelled URL and, surprise, Ads!

I spent some time reading customers' comments on the hijacking and found not a one that was happy. The majority were as irate as I was in the transcript above. Another "surprise," most had the same problems I had - you couldn't get rid of the "service." But, one unhappy customer noted that Google has a free DNS server service. I am now the pround custodian of an "8.8.8.8" route to the Internet, having end run the bastards at Comcast.

It's another pretty day in Atlanta with a projected high in the low sixties. And, I must be living right - I just saw them pull my car up outside. Nothing too bad could have happened in forty minutes.

SECOND UPDATE:

I've got to say that after the fact, Comcast does respond, quickly and in force. When I got to the office from the dealer (O2 sensor went bad for the second time) I had an Email from a guy in their corporate complaint office that was quite apologetic, though still defending their hijacking as a "service." I responded in a bit more detail about what bothered me. About 15 minutes ago I got a response to that from someone else in the same office with another apology and as you can see below in the comments, yet another response, with another apology and offer of help.

I suppose the quick, multiple apologies, coupled with each of my correspondents saying they were going to pass my complaints on to the people that make these (to my mind stupid) decisions is about as much as I can ask beyond getting the couple hours of my life back. And, since Clapton, not Comcast, is God, I guess that isn't in the cards.

7 comments:

Jim Donahue said...

Ugh.

ComcastCares1 said...

Dave,

I apologize for the trouble and I will share your valuable feedback to the appropriate department. I hope that the "opting out" of the domain helper has already taken effect for you. If you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. I work for Comcast.

Regards,

Mark Casem
Comcast Corp.
National Customer Operations
We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com

Dave said...

Mark, read the update above. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Dave said...

One more thing. You will note that Mark's comment is from "ComcastCares1." If you click the link, you will see that CC1 has had a thousand profile views since 2008. I'm not sure that's good or bad.

The Curmudgeon said...

How frustrating for you.

As for the car, you're right there is a serious defect!

You wrote that the "electronic stability control not working light came on about 4,000 miles before the warranty expires." That shouldn't happen until after the warranty expires....

Oh... and thank you, Dave.

Dave said...

Such subtleness Curmudgeon. For the rest of you, he was uncharacteristically jargony at his place today and I had to explain what he was saying to his other readers.

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