Selling cable TV through Amazon seems like a reasonable idea, so at first I didn't give much thought to Comcast's recent announcement that it had started to sell services via the giant Web retailer. However, less than two weeks later, Amazon's Comcast page is filled with one-star reviews knocking the pay TV provider.
I can't say I'm surprised. More like disappointed. Comcast last year reacted to a barrage of negative stories about its famously terrible customer service with a pledge to spend $300 million fixing the problem. Maybe they'll get it together, I thought.
But judging by all these new angry and sarcastic reviews on Amazon, it appears that big pot of money hasn't produced many badly needed changes. Of the 75 reviews posted at the beginning of this week, 87 percent gave Comcast the lowest possible rating (one star), and just seven people gave it the best rating (five stars).
And the 'award' for Tech Bozo of the Month goes to ...
This sad state of affairs makes Comcast the "Consumer Tech Radar Bozo of the Month" for March 2016.
One particularly telling review comes from the user "Chitown Kiwi:"
"When you finally come to your senses and want to cancel your service, be aware that it will take a LONG time. I was hung up on 3 times trying to cancel, after about 35 minutes on the phone. The 4th time I was lucky enough to get someone that would not hang up ... only took me about 45 min the 4th time. Don't forget though, you will need to return the cable box, which takes about another hour as you wait in line at Comcast's 'customer service' center."
One of Comcast's more embarrassing incidents occurred last year when an angry customer posted a recording of a bizarre conversation with a service rep who essentially wouldn't let him cancel his contract. The company eventually apologized for the incident, but the message apparently hasn't percolated down to the deck hands.
Comcast customer "Petruchio" is rightfully angry about the company's policy of enforcing data caps in some areas and making customers pay if they download more than their quota:
"Terrible, terrible service. And to make matters worse, Comcast now has data caps on your Internet service. Watch too much Amazon Prime Video or Netflix and you'll be charged extra money for overages."
Petruchio is right. Comcast and other providers are moving toward data caps, and as you might guess, it's really about profit and not network congestion. So Comcast is making its customers miserable with terrible service and then hitting them with price hikes. Way to go, bozos.
What does Comcast have to say about all of this? Kate Finn, a senior PR director, told me that Comcast committed another $300 million to improve customer service this year and is working to meet its pledge to hire more than 5,000 new service reps. After our conversation, Finn sent me the following:
"We know we need to do a better job for our customers. We are in a midst of a massive transformation where we are looking at every touchpoint our customers have with us — from sign up, to install, to billing, to repair, to moves — and improving it. It's hard work, and it won't happen overnight, but we are completely committed to doing what it takes and won't stop until our customers see and feel the changes we are making in every interaction."
Nothing personal, Comcast, but actions speak much louder than words.