Thursday, February 5, 2015

Turns Out There Are LOTS Of Rude Name Changers At Comcast

Consumerist said last year Comcast was the nation's worst
company. Not sure what this year will bring.  
Lots of people kind of chuckled and shook their heads last week when a Comcast customer reported that somebody there changed her first name on her account to "Asshole."

It took practically an act of Congress to get this fixed, and it finally did get fixed after the person, who apparently really isn't an asshole, went to the press.

Despite Comcast's poor customer service record, that had to be one rogue employee just being a troll, right?

Well, maybe not. Consumerist reports that a number of other people have come forward with news that Comcast has changed the names their parents gave them and dubbed them things like "dummy" and "whore."

Journalist and consumer advocate Christopher Elliott has been all over this, and has found quite a few examples of Comcast calling its customers mean names.

Way back in 2005, Comcast called one woman a "bitch dog" on her bill. And in the several days after Elliot disclosed that recent customer was called an "asshole," other people who have had dealings with Comcast have come forward.

In December, someone at Comcast changed the first nae of Julie Swano to "Whore."

She said she talked to many so-called customer service reps on a variety of issues for the next month. She wondered why all those people saw that "whore" name and didn't change it until she confronted Comcast with the name problem on January 6.

Another Comcast customer, Carolina Heredia, said the cable provider changed her name to "Dummy" in her online account, Elliott says. 

Heredia said Comcast offered no apologies ore explanation as to why her name was changed like that.

Just today, Consumerist reported another Comcast customer came forward, saying the company changed her name to "Super Bitch."

The name changing can't be by one rogue employee, there had to be several.

I don't know whether any of the customers involved were actually pains in the neck or just normal people trying to get a problem resolved.  Employees at all businesses mumble under their breath about customers they believe are frustrating.

But changing their names to insults on billing records and requiring an act of Congress to change the names back to normal?

What, these Comcast workers never got past middle school?

As is always the case with these public relations disasters, a spokesman for Comcast, this time Tom Karinshake a senior vice president for Comcast customer service, apologized and said systems would be put in place to prevent such things in the future.

"We're retraining our teams on the importance of making name changes properly," Karinshak said.

Good idea. But these insults and incredibly poor service to Comcast customers keep coming out of the woodwork. Remember that epic phone call when one customer wanted to end service.

The drama in that call went on forever

According to The Verge, which did a fairly exhaustive investigation on Comcast last summer, the cable giant doesn't have a lot of incentive for customer service, given their near-monopoly status in many communities. No competition, no incentive to do better.

Plus they shower campaign contributions on politicians.

The Verge had this to say:

"Comcast spends more than $2 billion a year on customer service, a painfully large number for a publicly tradec company eager to maximize shareholder returns. That is perhaps why Comcast pushes its employees in customer service and tech support to make sales  - a skewed incentive when customers are calling in with a problem.

The company also overbooks technicians, leading to late and missed appointments, an relies heavily on contract labor, where quality control can be difficult."

OK, pro-business types, your turn. If the free market is the way to go, and competition makes things better for everybody, why do all these so-called pro-business, free market types let outfits like Comcast be such an monopoly?

Why do they support its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable to make an even bigger monopoly, and why do they oppose local government efforts' to create their own little public utility broadband and cable services?

If anybody's got some good answers, I'll post 'em.

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