I use Comcast for high-speed cable internet access at home, and have for quite a while. The connection has generally been good, and for the most part I’ve been pleased with the service (despite the fact that the monthly fee keeps creeping upwards).
Until this week, that is. On Saturday the connection went down, and kept going down for days. And then DNS was failing repeatedly for days (once I figured out that the problem was DNS related I had my router connect to an alternate DNS server). Aggravating, but these things happen, I understand that, and sympathize to some degree.
But what I can’t understand or sympathize with is poor customer service. I placed 8 phone calls to 800-COMCAST on Saturday and Sunday, and each time (after being on hold for a while, and being told by a recorded message that there were no known problems) was told “we can’t take your call now, try later” and then disconnected. That is unacceptable. Worse, the web site network status page did not acknowledge the problem, even when they figured out that they were having “DNS issues for about 48 hours”. A simple post saying “we are having DNS problems, use an alternate DNS server until it is resolved” would have saved time and aggravation. That too is unacceptable.
The sad thing is that I know quite a few developers at Comcast, and I know that they are competent, technically proficient, and are good at what they do. Shoddy customer service, incompetent support personal, and an inability to be upfront with customers makes them all look bad.

20 thoughts

  1. Feeling your pain, Ben. We have Comcast as our provider at work and we switched to different DNS servers a while back. We would lose our service at least once a week due to DNS failures.
    And, of course, you are not the only one complaining; I’ve seen complaints all over the Internet this week.
    You’d think that they’d fess up to either breaking something or that they installed something new and blew the installation, if that is the case.
    Oh, and first-level support for Comcast home; ugh!

  2. I’ve been a comcast customer for a year now, and generally I’ve been happy with them. But the last month has been a different story. The Internet service has been horrible, and as you said the customer service worse (hard to imagine I know). Comcast should really take a lesson from IBM. Yesterday, on my 5th call they decided to send a tech out (Although I told them there was nothing wrong on my end). The tech preceded to tear apart every connection in my house, and blame my contractor for a shoddy wiring job (But it has been working fine for almost a year I said). After "fixing" the problem, the tech left. Today, to everybodies suprise, I am having the same problem.
    Thanks comcast. Maybe they should start providing customers with backup dial-up service. At least it is reliable.
    Sorry for the extended rant here… ARG
    Mitch

  3. dude…
    i was working, i forget, last friday night or something, and then all of a sudden, NO DNS!
    and rather than call those bumbling idiots @ comcast who try to explain to me something that i know worlds more about than they do, its like, alright, go find a dns server, point my box there, and back on…
    that reminds me… did they get it fixed? i want to go back to theirs, but i forgot to check/change.
    tw

  4. Ben,
    Totally agree with you once again… Lately there has been numerous outages.. The first time, I went to comcast.net which is still served within the Comcast network. Clicked on the chat support, it said that I was number 334 on the waiting cue.. the number kept going down, and down… after about 45 minutes of seeing the numbers get down to 2 it stopped.. 5 minutes , 10 minutes, 30 minutes and nothing… I called Comcast and finally got a hold of someone and asked them what sort of stupid joke is that to tell your customer that you are on a cue then shut down when they get to 2.. They apologized but nothing came out of it!!! I rather have them tell me that "Due to large volume of customers we cannot get to you soon, please try again later…" This won’t have me waiting like an idiot following the countdown while in front of the TV…
    The problem is that right now Comcast is used to being the only game in town.. specially for those of us that don’t want to install a dish on our roofs!!.. their customer service acts like a monopoly.. But hey, Verizon is laying fiber optics directly to my house as we speak!!! Can’t wait to tell Comcast Goodbye…. for good!!!
    Cheers..

  5. Hi Ben, My problem was not related to DNS. I was a comcast customer. At the very beginning it was so incredible fast and reliable that I could not be more happy. But then all the other neighborhood in my condominium started to migrate from DSL to cable and then I started having nightmares. So, I learned that cable is only good if few people in your area use them….

  6. Same issues here. My service has been great until these last two weeks, and then my connection started going up and down, about every other day. Now, I have a fairly stable connection, but the connection speed is going from a little over 3 mbit/sec to 1-2 kb/second, or no connection at all, at random.
    Of course, after calling 4-5 times they finally agree to send a tech out, but I’ve yet to actually have the tech arrive for their appointments.

  7. Same DNS issues here.
    Unfortunately, DSL isn’t available in my area yet (too far from the CO). I just dropped most of my cable TV services to save $50 a month. I cant wait until I can go DSL / Satellite

  8. And here in NW Michigan we suffer extreem poor service reliability for two weeks also. When it’s up it’s hopping fast. When it’s down… it makes you wonder what they mean by "Allways Connected"! If there were an alternative there would be a quick jump on most of our parts.

  9. I had a ton of problems with their service. All my services would go down-call, wait forever, then have to schedule a tech 5 days out. They’d fix one service but the other wouldn’t work. So you either had cable or internet. This went on for about 4 months until one of the technicians left a message on my wife’s phone that he was outside, got no answer and that i should reschedule. I was sitting on my couch watching the driveway all afternoon. So after he lied to me. I went and ordered WOW cable/internet service. Better customer service, better prices, and you get to talk to someone on the phone. Comcast has to be one of the worst run companies ever. I just hope that smaller companies like WOW pop up and nibble comcast to death.

  10. convergys provides their customer service, not sure if convergys does 100% but i know that many calls are routed to convergys sites.
    i was a comcast subscriber for a year and loved it when it worked, cursed it when it didn’t work. always the same answers "there are known problems we are working on" blah blah for MONTHS.

  11. Other than the two recent outages, I’ve been pretty happy lately… especially with the recent upgrade to 6Mbps/768Kbps for premium accounts. I’ve been downloaded pretty consistently at about 650KB per second since the upgrade, which makes the CFMX7 download all the more bearable. 🙂

  12. Had the same problem. The person I spoke to was friendly butclearly did not want to be associated with Comcast as he kept saying that "that is all Comcast is telling us". The fact that this went on for 5 days now seems crazy to me…the right thing to do would be to offer some compensation to customers due to the outages.

  13. I had similar problems when I lived in New Jersey and was a Comcast customer. But, they had me by mna manhood as I was too far from a switching station for DSL and Comcast had a monopoly in my town.
    Since I moved to West Virginia (yes we have Internet access here) I have been a customer of Adelphia. In a year I can remmeber 2 times service was down. ONce was a few weeks ago when they upgraded the service. The other was last summer when a tornado tore up about 200 yards of fiber optic cable, I lost my Internet connection for about 3 days. But, I think ‘tornado’ is a very reasonable excuse for that.

  14. Is there a pattern here?
    It seems my problems might also be DNS related but the "experts" DownUnder in Australia insist otherwise.
    In the meantime I have been tweaking my new Acer Aspire 1800 (with cool 17" widescreen) and re-writing code for ColdFusion 7. So keeping occupied for now…
    Yours in pain…

  15. There’s a lot of websites in the states I can’t get to anymore – it’s been like this for about 1.5 weeks. Calling 1-800 numbers of the providers didn’t help, but we did determine it was a DNS problem. However, I wasn’t sure if it was local or in the States. You’d think DNS errors would fix themselves over night or something!

  16. I highly recommend Cbeyond if you can get them in your area. I dumped Comcast about a year ago and went with Cbeyond. I have a Dynamic Allocation IP router from Cisco that takes the T1 coming right into my house and dynamically alocates bandwidth for phone or data as needed. I run a webserver, have a local net with 8 computers all over my house and have up to 5 phone lines/numbers all on the same connection. This way I could say bye-bye Qwest too…:-)) Their customer service is excellent- I can call their tech support 24hrs a day and talk to a live person! What a concept! And it’s not a bad price…for what you get.
    Check them out:http://cbeyond.net

  17. Ben, you might wanna consider SpeakEasy. I’ve used their service for over two years w/o a hitch. Their customer service is great. They always let you know ahead of time when they’ll be an outage, and they give you a lot of add-on options. About a year ago, they doubled my bandwidth without raising my bill. They’re also offering VOIP. You’d have to check if they’re in your area, but I’m pretty sure that they’re nationwide.
    speakeasy.net

  18. I can heartily second the endorsement for SpeakEasy. They’ve had outages and have proactively contacted me to let me know about credits to my account, even though I never called them to complain. Service is very steady. And they understand networking from other than a Windows XP perspective. I’d asked them for a little technical assistance setting up a linux-based firewall that boots off a floppy disk and their tech support was able to address my questions. Many other ISPs I’ve talked to will either walk through their script for Windows clients or tell you your configuration is not supported.

  19. convergys provides their customer service, not sure if convergys does 100% but i know that many calls are routed to convergys sites.
    i was a comcast subscriber for a year and loved it when it worked, cursed it when it didn’t work. always the same answers "there are known problems we are working on" blah blah for MONTHS.
    Posted by old comcast subscriber at 4/14/05 4:12 PM
    how do you know that it is Convergys? did you use to work for a lame excuse for an anti american company. who gives a hoot for us americans who should be closed down because they give jobs to canadians and american indians.

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