Ordering Internet Service – My Comcast Odyssey

Though the focus of my blog is photography, I decided to share my experience last weekend ordering new internet service from Comcast. I began this journey on Saturday, June 21st…today is Tuesday, June 24th. Here we go…

So, I wanted faster internet at home. After looking at all the options available I decided to drop my DSL and go with Comcast cable internet. Rather than paying $7/mo to lease a cable modem I went ahead and purchased my own compatible modem/router. Bonus – It was on sale for $20 off at Target. Note: If there is any redeeming factor in this ordeal, at least Comcast (unlike AT&T) provides a fairly extensive list of compatible cable modems.

Weary of listening to an endless sale pitch to upgrade my service I decided to place the order on-line. Guess what? After years of accessing my account using a Gmail login I couldn’t order new service since “I” wasn’t the “Primary” account holder. Had to call Comcast and set up this special designation with a new “comcast.net” e-mail address. Since I won’t ever use the Comcast e-mail address I had to provide an alternate e-mail for any communications. Sorry, you can’t use your Gmail account since it’s associated with the other “You.” You know, the non-primary-user You. What??? I had to use my work e-mail address and now have the biggest mess ever. Thank goodness I had a spare e-mail address on hand. About 10 minutes wasted taking care of this.

Okay, with my new modem in hand I can now order my new cable internet on-line. The ordering was straightforward at first. Selected “have my own modem” and clicked Continue. Then I was told I had to order a “free” self-installation kit. The “free” kit had a $9.95 (standard) or ~$26 (express) shipping charge. Self-installation kit? Why the hell do I need a self-installation kit? What could this kit possibly contain that required $9.95 for shipping and handling?

I clicked the Comcast chat box to see what this was all about. Instead of answering my question, Comcast Chatter Chris started drilling me on my current service attempting to sell me more stuff I didn’t want. Here’s a bit of how the chat with Chris went:

“The lines that is currently installed in your area is for cable TV service only.” Hello McFly? Are you installing new cable lines in my neighborhood to provide me with internet service? Though Chatter Chris wanted to “stay with me” through the order process, I closed our chat out of frustration. Just Great! I was promptly logged out of the system upon closing the chat session. Damn you Comcast!

Logged back in and reluctantly agreed to the $9.95 self-install kit shipping and clicked on Place Order. Wait…what…sorry, you must first “Chat with us” in order to place your order on-line. “Chat with us” is code-word for a sales pitch.

Waited, waited and finally got a new Comcast Chatter, Michael, on the line. Let him know up front I wanted to add internet and nothing else. Michael did explain that I wasn’t paying for a self-installation kit, but rather an “activation fee.” After waiting and waiting I wondered if Chatter Michael went to lunch or something. Hello Michael…Are you there???? Finally a response. No technician needed. No special dongles. No special Comcast gadgets needed.

Apparently Chatter Chris was wrong and Comcast wouldn’t be digging up my neighborhood installing special new lines for my internet order.

Once done chatting, the actual set-up only took about 2 minutes and automatically started when I opened my browser. This was by far the easiest part of the process.

Success, now I can relax. Think I’ll see if I have any work e-mails on the iPhone. Yea…Comcast sent two e-mail to my work e-mail (see above about the multi-email issue). E-mail #1 confirmed my new charges including the self-installation kit/activation fee. This fee is now referred to as a “one-time installation charges with standard shipping”.

E-mail #2 was confirmation that my self-installation kit was in the mail and they gave me a tracking number.

I decided to click on “What’s Included” to see what amazing and helpful things were on the way. Wow, for that $9.95 in shipping and handling I’m getting:

What??? All this crap is online and I could have downloaded it with my new speedy internet. The “two easy steps” could have just as easily been e-mailed. If someone has internet access to order “online” they can certainly use that same access to download this “kit”. Thank goodness its “environmentally-friendly.”

Behold the self-installation kit. Environmentally-friendly glossy/non-recyclable paper, coax cables, a splitter and cable tacs I neither needed nor asked for.

Oh good grief. What an agonizing experience. I felt much better after consuming a few frosty adult beverages following this Comcastic experience.

Happy Beer

Update (6/24) – After working fine for 2 1/2 days, I arrived home from work and the internet wasn’t working. Headed for a frosty beverage and free wifi so I could do some more Comcast chatting. While chatting remotely, Chatter Chelsea told assured me that my modem was online as of that “modem”.

Somehow I think this relationship won’t end well…..

Update (6/25) – Internet service intermittent. Logged into my Comcast.com account and Internet isn’t listed as one of my services though it has worked for 3 days.  And yesterday Chatter Chelsea assured me that she could see my “modem at that modem.”?? Time for another Chat from work. My initial Chatter, Sikhwinder, couldn’t seem to figure out the problem and transferred me to Chatter Chelsea in the Billing Department. She said that internet wasn’t added to my account. “Not to worry” she gave me a number to call. Obviously Chatter Chelsea sensed a problem as she ended the chat stating that she would give me a $20 credit on my bill.

Called the Activation Department from the office. I figured that since the modem was on I could just use the automated prompts. No such luck. I was transferred to Live Person Leticia. Since I wasn’t home at the time she seemed a bit hesitant to help, but I asked her to look into my actual account. “I’m sorry David, I see where you ordered your service but that order was never completed.” “I’ll take care of that now” she said with a pleasant voice. How nice of her. She said to call back once I got home and after I’ve “had a chance to relax.” She mentioned “relaxing” before calling back twice on this call. Was this part of her standard script, or did she already believe something ominous was going to happen?

Update #2 (6/25) – I skipped the relaxing and called anyway. Theoretically I have actual service now. Do stay tuned for updates though…

The End!

Postscript – Hello, Google Fiber, any chance you could come to Alpharetta?