Comcast service rep: a deeply fearful employee trying to hold onto his paycheck




I was hoping that you guys would pick up on this part. This tells us something about monopoly power and how it is used in multiple fashions (against employees, customers, competitors.)

Why can they use this against employees? "You don't like your job fine, I can get 2,000 English speaking Indians to do this for 1/3 we pay you, not to mention all the other people in the US who need work."

I wrote to, my internet service provider (which is also a full fledged phone carrier) and suggested that the CEO comment on this.

They have a retention team too, but they aren't jerks about it. It might be because the incentives aren't the same and the company culture is different.



Next up: Comcast goes after the guy who wrote the Reddit post.

I recently worked in the web design department at a company you've heard of. The best description I can give of their bonus system was "incentivizing mediocrity". Every time I took the time to build a website the right way without taking shortcuts, I got a talk from my supervisor about my low numbers. In one particularly ludicrous situation, they fired one of the five guys on my team without any plan in place for replacing him, and then we started having near-daily meetings about why our team's numbers were down 20%.

The upside to being a temp with no chance of receiving any bonus regardless of how good a job I did was that I never felt the pressure that most of the department did to sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity.


All the more reason to ask for a supervisor as soon as you get any push back on any service call. Main reason is to get someone who has the authority to yes/no your call, and let them take the hit instead of the scared employee.


Having just spent over an hour on the phone with my cable company (RCN) over severely screwed up bills I can attest to the fact that all of thees companies are the same (and I have been a Comcast, TWC, and Charter customer in the past).

In my case the person I spoke to last month - after my bill more than doubled with no warning or changes - took it upon herself to unbundle all my services and then try to add them back ad hoc. I can only imagine this is because their back end systems are as broken and inefficient as everything else they touch; I don't imagine she was trying to fuck things up.

Now I am faced with trying to get the bundle back - but they are twisting themselves in knots trying to not give me new customer pricing, even though their system clearly thinks I am. The best part is that through looking closely at my bill I notice they are charging me rental on a Tivo box that is included in my bundle and also charged me for a "new" modem a couple of months ago when they changed my internet speed from 25-50 Mbps. Of course the irony is that I never received a new box, and my speed remained at 17-18 Mbps where it has been for the past 6 months despite what I pay for.

I also notice that I now have a surcharge for broadcast TV and another "sports surcharge" for professional and collegiate sports (neither of which I watch). They tell me these are because their costs have gone up - presumably the $60 a month for cable TV doesn't cover these?

Any way - apologize for being somewhat off topic - but I agree that most of the people on the phone at these horribly dysfunctional companies are just regular people doing their best to pay the bills in a horrible work environment. It's the senior managers who all deserve to be publicly shunned and shamed (was going to say hung by their heels from a lamppost, but maybe that's a tad too harsh).


If it's not good for the investor, then get bent.


Not one word of this is surprising, and it's all over the place, not just retention departments. The sad part... well, the other, other sad part is the people who will take out their rage against Comcast on the poor schlub in the call center. Personally, I'm really good at helping irate customers - but I've overheard all kinds of crap.


I dunno, I found the part where apparently people potentially have to work for no pay a bit of an eyebrow-raiser...

Are we in scumbag neo-liberal utopia yet?


And how much worse will Comcast treat them after it merges with Time Warner Cable and become the only broadband choice in many areas?

You make it sound like Comcast and Time Warner are currently competing for customers. When they have no overlap in service areas and are basically monopolies in their coverage areas. You want a different cable/broadband company, for many people, the only option would be to move. Help us Google Fiber, you're our only hope!


I miss Sonic. Stuck with a bundle of Cox.


How can we, as culture jammers, increase the incentive for companies to provide a better service because it costs less to provide good service than suffer the abuse of a spurned consumer?

For example, who can script an ELIZA with recognition of the retention scripts and voice to speech to keep the retention person on the line for, oh, his entire shift because it knows how to hem and haw?
"Your argument is persuasive. But I hate you. But I feel like I need you. But I threw away the TV because of my hate for you. But I can get it out of the trash." All we need is one working model. Give it to a Comcast subscribing friend and let it run while you capture the resulting hours of audio to a big RAID.

When the retention unit is exasperated because your Eliza Comcast Canceling Companion can outlast entire shifts of persuasion, how can the companies' retention strategies continue to work without affecting their returns on investment?

Digitize the audio of your ELIZA working its way through to the point of the company's exasperation. Edit the audio so it contains only the ELIZA part because that will make it more non-sequitur for anyone on the other end of the line. Put it on the Internet under a CC license.

When people need to cancel their Comcast accounts, they can just pull up the website we set up, set the audio playing into their Comcast phone, and walk away. The bills should stop flowing in and our friends can return the equipment.

Hit Comcast (and their ilk) in the pocket book. That will stop the insanity.


I'm working three jobs to try and ensure my children don't end up the service economy.


Had to go through this hell, and circumvent it to some extent by lying (note from Miss Manners: It is ok to lie to Comcast)

We are fortunate to have a real ISP in San Francisco, Monkey Brains, which I highly recommend to anyone living in SF.

As for Comcast, enjoy a bag of Network Neutral dicks.



so basically comcast management has incentivized these account reps to become argumentative jerks.. if middle management is this messed up, it makes one wonder if upper management there is any better.

let's hope comcast chooses to take a more enlightened and humane approach to treating it's workers going forwards..


Thank you for reminding me that I need to take a five day vacation to Colorado and watch this movie a half dozen times wink


sounds like you are proposing a bb meetup.

2001: A BoingBoing meeteup

In the eventuality of Net Neutrality becoming a reality, I think we need to think about trunking the free exchange of Ideas that the Internet currently facilitates from the Commerce that provides the $ to build out infrastructure but which is now collecting on its "loans."

Free ideas should be spread by mesh networks.


Yes ELIZA. Exactly.



Because fuck the ISPs!

I would so be an early adopter if this ever got anywhere near getting off the ground.