What to do about Comcast’s broken promises?

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Shelby Becker is trying to leave Comcast. Its latest trick: lying to her about a price. Can this relationship be saved?

Question: I’ve spent hours on the phone trying to disconnect my Comcast service because of their high rates.

The last person I spoke to offered me a deal on the X1 System for $169 plus tax. I agreed. I recorded the conversation and had her reiterate the entire package, what it included and what my monthly bill would be.

When I received the email confirmation this morning it was (shocker) nothing like our agreement.

I spoke to three Customer Solution reps that all told me the same thing: Too bad. She was wrong. We “can’t” honor what she promised.

Really? Just like that? So they lie to customers and it’s OK?

So they get you to stay with them with lies and then you are so frustrated and exhausted having fought with them for hours and hours you just give up, I guess?
Shelby Becker, Huntley, Ill.

Answer: I’m really shocked on many levels. First, that you would see the need to record your conversation with Comcast. Talk about broken trust. Second, that Comcast would renege on its promise, even though you have a representative promising you the $169 rate for your X1 system.

But third, that you would even want to stay with Comcast after all that — I’m dumbfounded. I’d rather live off the grid than do business with a company that treats me like that.

Comcast has so-called retention specialists whose job it is to keep you as a customer. When you said you were going to cancel, they did — and said — everything they legally could to get your business back. Unfortunately, they didn’t tell you the entire truth, and that’s being generous about it.

Now, to be fair to Comcast, it’s X1 platform, billed as a next-generation entertainment device, looks pretty cool. But if someone offered it to me for $169, I would expect them to give it to me for that price. No “ifs,” “ands” or “buts.”
You could have appealed your case to someone at a higher level at Comcast. I list the names and numbers of Comcast’s top customer service executives on my site.

I would say, “Get it in writing,” but after what happened to you, I’m not even sure if Comcast would have honored a written agreement with you.

At some point, I would have just walked away from this relationship. You are more patient than I am.

I contacted Comcast on your behalf. “The essence of it was that she was misquoted a price,” a representative admitted. Comcast followed up with you and you agreed to a price on an X1 that was mutually acceptable. You’ve indicated that you’re happy with this resolution, and if you’re happy, so am I.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on our help forum.

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  • Joe Blasi

    Comcast Chicago land sucks. Issues have been in place for years. ATT needs to roll out fiber fast. Comcast’s new MPEG4 HD plans to have lower bit rates then them.

  • RichardII

    Proof of Hanlon’s razor: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.”

  • Recording the call is the only strategy that gives you leverage in a case like this. They reserve the right to “this call may be recorded for quality assurance” and for exactly the same reason, so should you.

  • MF

    Another vote for recording CSRs? I’m sure that Comcast would have played back their recording for this customer, if they asked nicely… NOT!!!

  • Harold Hauser

    I haven’t experienced the complained-about problems with Comcast. I’m an X1 triple play customer in Niles, IL, near Chicago. They have frequent problems with accurate “confirming” emails after a phone conversation, but the actual bill helps to call a rep and iron out the problems. I quote a phone conversation to them, and they have always found it in the records. It hasn’t happened that I have been simply lied to and been denied the quoted deal. Their service calls have been on-time and almost always the techs sent are competent.

    I do happen to really like the X1 system too; it works well, though a bit slowly in the non-DVR locations in my house. Lots of “little” things I like.

    As a matter of fact, AT&T now has a fiber connection to our condo building, using the copper phone wires to carry the signal from there. I get credible assurances that the copper to the phones is sufficient to carry the traffic, but the rates they charge are commensurate with Comcast’s! So I can at least use them as a viable alternative now if I get unhappy with Comcast.

  • DChamp56

    I guess I’m the only one on Earth, who has the Comcast Triple-Play, and who gets exactly the price they quoted, and is very happy with their service. Their retention specialists always seem to be able to make me a good deal when my current deal expires. Remember, all you hear on Elliott.org is the problems. There may (or may not) be millions of happy customers too. Just saying.

  • Ianto Jones

    The “don’t do business with them” is not much of an option for those of us in markets where Comcast is the only residential provider of actual broadband (not DSL speeds _labelled_ as broadband, ala AT&T).
    Where they have an actual monopoly, would you opt for smartphone-only internet?
    Or – what alternative would you suggest?
    Thanks as always for your hard work and amazing site.