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Monopolies and foreign ‘customer service’ need to go

By Staff | Jul 24, 2014

The high winds of a storm or the corner of a tractor trailer-not sure which caused the collapse of the Comcast cable wire connection at my home this week; but the resulting phone calls to Comcast left me with an eye-opening education.

Let me say that I have been a Comcast customer for years and have usually had speedy and efficient service whether it was a change in my cable lineup or sending a signal to re-boost my internet access. Never before had I actually needed someone to physically come and reconnect the cable to my house.

Initially unaware of what was causing my cable and internet outage, I dutifully called the toll free number only to find I couldn’t get through. It literally hung up on me as soon as it answered. Okay, next resort, on-line chat. That was better. The representative told me there was an outage in my area and it was being worked on. Made sense. Four hours later and contact with all my friends who had their service had me on “chat” again. This time, no outage in the area. They will research. In the meantime, I tried the phone line again and got through to an individual (I dare not even say customer service rep) who should not yet be assisting via telephone, at least until the English language could be somewhat mastered without such a thick accent.

I did learn, however, that to ask for an “English speaking customer service representative” only angers Comcast telephone assistants and they hang up. Four phone calls later and more than 14 hours without service despite the fact that we had discovered on our own that downed cables were the problem, which, said the foreign-speaking agents, was a safety issue; still no indication of a fix. Between 9 a.m. and 12 noon, one agent said. At 1 p.m., another said, no, it would be between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., said again in broken, heavily-accented English.

It finally dawned on me to ask where exactly this representative was when I asked to speak to her supervisor, preferably one without an accent (which did not happen, by the way). She promptly said, “Manilla.” She then told me she had no phone number to give me to reach a Comcast office in the United States; corporate office or otherwise.

A quick drive into Ranson to the local office brought me face to face with pleasant, competent and understandable representatives. What it didn’t bring me was quicker service because that all had to be scheduled through Manilla or wherever!

Something must be done to eliminate the cable system monopoly (or electric, internet, medical, whatever) monopolies that do not allow for any competition among providers. Legislators must address the issue, otherwise we continue to be stuck with someone on the other side of the world who could care less what is going on in West Virginia.