Subject: an-open-letter-to-comcast-xfinity
From: Stacie
Date: 5 Mar 2015


My name is Stacie Huckeba I have been a customer of Comcast for over eight years.

I realize that it’s a dirty little secret and you don’t like to talk about it, but c’mon, between just you and me, you can admit it. Basically you have a monopoly on internet service, at least in terms of speed. It’s ok, I like money too. Nobody is happier than me when I deposit big fat checks. Sadly, I’m not quite as “connected” as you guys.

I’m a photographer and I think I’m really good, unfortunately, I live in a town with a plethora of talented photographers so I can’t just sit back and be lazy. I’ve sent emails to the Mayor, and Governor and even my Senators and Congressmen asking that they put in regulations to make sure I am the only photographer who can use professional and top of the line equipment in town. Weird, they don’t get back to me. One of you guys will have to tell me how you got them to do that for you. It would be so awesome to deposit those big fat checks knowing that I had no competition and could just be lazy, put out half-assed work and charge whatever I wanted because I was the only one in town who could deliver print ready work. God, I bet those feel so good going in the bank!

So, as much as I admire your business model, I am having some trouble. Back in November, I realized that I was utilizing Hulu and Netflix because of travel, work etc. far more than I was cable and I never had a land line to begin with. I mean can you even buy a phone that plugs into the wall anymore? I’m not sure.

I called to cancel my Triple Play Package and was talked into keeping it because I was really saving all this money by having it all. On a side note, I think it’s brilliant that the people who sell your services are all super easy to work with, you never have to hold for more than a second and you never have to get transferred. They can do everything through one representative fast and efficiently. They are also open seven days a week. While technical support and cancellation departments are a minimum hold time of twenty minutes, you get transferred sometimes 5, 6, even 7 times and each and every time, you have to start from the beginning with your name, address, account information and then tell the whole story as to why you called over and over again, making the whole process almost unbearable. And only having the option to talk to them during normal business hours is genius. I mean, how great would it be to have a person who booked all my shoots, (and there would be a lot, since no one else in town could do them) happily just raking in the money while I had another person who basically told all of my unhappy clients to get bent? God, you guys are so good!

Anyway, back to my problem. I realized over the holidays last year that I really was not using it and in late January, I called back and asked for my account to be downgraded from the Triple Play (I had the full package with the fastest download speed available. Again, your sales team is tops!) to just the internet at the Performance Starter for download speeds of up to 6 Mbps. I returned my cable box / DVR and other equipment in early February.

I was really having no trouble whatsoever with my service and actually had not really noticed a difference in my internet speeds whatsoever. In late April, I received a delivery from UPS from Comcast. When I opened it, there was a new cable box / DVR inside. I called about it and you know how this goes already. I spent literally over three hours on the phone in one of the most grueling, frustrating, infuriating series of transfers, hang ups, and different representative pass-offs, in history. It is a miracle I did not wind up curled in a corner talking to spiders. But alas, I had a photo shoot with Jason Ringenberg and some live chickens that day and had no choice but to get my head in the game. (I know you think I’m making that up, but I’m not. It really happened and I have the pictures to prove it.)
Jason and his chicken

Jason and his chicken

The cliff notes of that three hour transfer are this. You guys never actually cancelled my services. I returned the equipment for no good reason, I could have happily been enjoying the Real Housewives in my spare time and didn’t even know it. After being told at least 6 times that I had called the wrong department (I only have one number for you guys and there is only one option for customer service so that always confuses me. I bet that is also in the business model and it too is quite brilliant). They finally conceded and issued me a credit for the four months that I had still been paying for what was supposed to have been cancelled all along.

You guys need to fix that part. Eventually, if a customer can hang on long enough and not dig out their own eyes with a spoon from frustration, you can usually get someone to go back through your records and find where you did what you said you did and remedy the situation. The customer wins that way. Not good for your plan. You need to make that part harder. Well, except that you did get to kind of keep all of my money. It’s not like you gave it back. So I guess it’s not a total wash for you.

So sure enough, once that was fixed I noticed real quick that the internet was way too slow and was not going to work for me, so I called back. You know how this goes too. I called back and within moments I had a representative on the line and he had me bumped up to the Blast package with download speeds up to 50 Mbps in just a few minutes. Easy breezy when you want to add on. It’s just so smart!

The problem is that my internet never did get faster. In fact, it got slower. I used your Xfinity speed test off your website and sure enough, I was barely getting 3 Mbps. I know better than to bother you guys right away, so I set out and did all kinds of things to try and remedy the situation. Clearing my cookies, changing my browser, running diagnostics on my computer, sending refresh signals and of course the first and main thing your representatives always push to fix the problem. I unplugged and replugged the modem and router in a myriad of combinations.

Sadly, the call had to be made. You know how this went too, don’t you? I called, spent a half hour on the phone with 3 or 4 representatives and then got hung up on during a “transfer” (You know I get you, and so you know that I know that sometimes “transfer” is code for “click, bye bye”.) I’m tenacious though, so I called back and this time spent an hour on the phone going through the same thing. I actually finally got to a retention specialist who confided in me that really the people that you talk to on the phone don’t ever really know what is wrong because it could be 100 different things. It’s really just a guess. He suggested I get a technician to my house. “Great idea. Let’s do that”, I said. Well, of course he can’t do that. Nobody in the “the customer has a problem department” can do everything like they can in the “the customer wants to buy something department”. So back I went on hold and I should have known, I got hung up on. God, that is so funny how you do that! I absolutely love it!

But like I said, I’m kind of tenacious, so I called back yet a third time but I went right to asking for a person to come out, so this time it only took another half an hour. I mean, thirty minutes to schedule a tech coming out is pretty good timing for knowing exactly what you need and asking for it directly. I wish it was that way everywhere I called. Wouldn’t it be awesome if it took thirty minutes every time you wanted to order a pizza or make an appointment with your Veterinarian or whatever. I could just sit around on my ass all day if every call took thirty minutes. Hell, I wouldn’t even need to get dressed some days. I could just sit here in my underpants eating cheese all damn day listening to advertisements and bad music while I was on hold. Man, that would be the life! You guys get me, you really, really get me.

As luck would have it, the only appointment you guys have is not for six whole days! And while I have told you several times in this note that I am all for being a lazy, until you tell me your secret about how you got the government to shut down your competition, I have to work. Jason Ringenberg has that Farmer Jason record coming out for Christmas and he’s gonna need those chicken pictures. I can’t upload those bad boys without proper internet and six days doesn’t really cut it for me right now.

Lucky for me, my neighbors are cool and are letting me steal theirs to get this out, but I can’t be using up all their data plan sending chicken photos. They are musicians and can’t get the government to shut down all the other musicians in town either. And we live in Nashville, we have lots of musicians, so they really have to hustle to make ends meet. I can’t ask them to up their data plan to accommodate me and some chickens while I wait for a week for you to come out here. My neighbors are assholes like that.

Look, I feel like we are friends. We understand each other, so I’m asking you to do me a solid and just this once, maybe you can use your pull to get someone out here before then. I wouldn’t normally ask, but since you’ve got a few hundred bucks of mine that I don’t really owe you anyway, maybe just this time you could bump me up in the line.

And since we are kinda friends and all, I’m gonna do you a solid too. I think you guys are awesome and misunderstood so I’m gonna take this whole letter and post it on my blog. I only get a few thousand views on my blog when I post one, but maybe if a few people could see you the way I see you they would quit talking trash and recognize you for the brilliant and genius business moguls that you are.

Please, don’t thank me now, getting my internet back to speed before Thursday will be thanks enough (wink wink. No pressure). See what I did there. I might not be Comcast, but you aren’t the only ones with a plan!

Your friend,