Why I'm not thankful

Opinion: Columns

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Harriet Hausman

Every year for the past 33 years of doing business with Comcast, I use their seasonal service package for my little Florida condominium. This service allows me to close my full service from mid-April to Nov. 1, followed by full service from November to April — the months in which my family and I frequently visit Florida. 

I made my usual call to Comcast and received assurances that all would be set for us when my niece and I planned to enjoy some sun and warmth for one week, beginning Monday, Nov. 4. To our dismay, we learned we had no Comcast service on arrival — no phone, no internet, no cable or television.

I began my never-ending calls on Tuesday morning. Of course, I waited and waited (22 minutes to be exact) to reach a human voice after answering their recorded questions — name, address, phone number, last four digits of Social Security number, mother's maiden name, and then what is the problem. The human voice (a pleasant, sweet voice, to quiet my annoyance of waiting) asked the same questions, only to transfer me to "someone who could better help the problem."

The next department answered after another eight minutes, asked me the same questions, and then transferred me to the Technical Department where I was asked the same questions (amazingly, I still didn't have a heart attack from utter frustration). After the quiz, I finally was able to relate that I had no service in my Florida apartment. The Comcast technician decided, after 17 minutes, I should have a technician check everything in the apartment.

Now it is Wednesday of my "vacation." I haven't even been out on the patio yet — too busy holding the phone. The Comcast agent said not to hang-up: "Just hold-on or you will have an even longer wait for a new agent and any service." The technician came, checked everything, replaced two boxes which he set in the middle of the floor with many loose wires strewn everywhere. As he was about to leave, I asked him to please take the mess with him. He refused and asserted I would have to return this stuff to a Comcast office, but he did say that all was in perfect condition, performing well. 

We immediately checked and it seemed we were finally finished with Comcast. I kept count. In total, I had spent 16 hours and 18 minutes over three days. 

Wednesday evening my son called on my cellphone to alert me that my Florida landline was not in service. Only a short while later, my daughter had the same experience. I seldom use my cellphone, and I realized my friends and other members of the family could not reach me if the apartment phone was not available. I was particularly concerned for a dear friend who was to undergo heart surgery on that day.

My anger with Comcast only grew stronger with learning, after all that time and annoyance, I had no phone to use. Thursday, I decided to just forget the vacation, return home, and fight my battle with Comcast from home where first, I could be satisfied all was well there and with my dear friend (she's doing fine!).

Friday morning, I was determined to wait out every question, transfer to department after department, even to the extent that one agent insisted that all was well and hung-up on me. Friday afternoon, three hours after I started my morning call, I finally spoke to a supervisor who seemed to know a means by which to learn why the phone number I had used for all of those past years and was no longer working.

She decided to research the history of Comcast service to my Florida apartment. The problem began when some Comcast agent decided I was a new customer rather than an old customer desiring to merely change from a seasonal service to a normal service. As a new customer I was to receive a new phone number. When we purchased the condominium, a local company had been providing service (Bell South). About two years ago later (33 years ago), we switched to Comcast for phone, internet, cable TV service and retain our original phone number. 

In the meantime, AT&T bought out Southern Bell and all its phone numbers. When this Comcast genius assigned one to a new customer, my phone number was returned to AT&T. The supervisor said Comcast could retrieve it, but it might take as long as a month to six weeks. 

The supervisor's last statement was the last straw for me. "Mrs. Hausman, we won't charge you for these days you've been without your full service." What a way to spend my vacation!

I said goodbye, thanked her, and immediately signed on with AT&T and my old phone number. I send my condolences to anyone dealing with Comcast.

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