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Customer Service or Customer Fraud?

As with any large provider of a consumer product, Comcast, the provider of the “Xfinity” television and High Speed Internet Service and the sole cable provider for residents living in Santa Clara and the surrounding communities has had its share of customer complaints. While it is true that any provider of a large-scale service can have their problems, for the most part, when things work, they can work well, even for Comcast.

However when things don’t work and a company is expected to produce results to keep their clients loyal, is what separates the good companies from the bad. Unfortunately, even though Comcast’s internet service can be relatively reliable, their customer service practices could be described as draconian and quite possibly, illegal.

Illegal Practice?

Comcast’s customer service representatives are trained to apologize for any inconvenience suffered by their customers. What they fail to mention is having a technician dispatched to resolve a problem could result in having a $28 service charge added to their bill for each service call.

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A Santa Clara reader wrote, “Our internet service started dropping – as if someone were flipping a switch on and off. During two separate phone calls to Comcast’s customer service department, no one ever mentioned a service charge. Neither technician that came out, said the problem was at our house. Less than a week after the first technician, the problem returned and we called Comcast again. The second onsite technician informed us that ‘Comcast had run out of Internet Addresses (IP Addresses) and was working to correct the problem within the next day or two. In the meantime, they’re dropping the service for some customers to alleviate the demand.’ When the bill arrived, there were two ‘service call’ charges for $28 each. When we called Comcast, we were told by two support agents, that ‘since the technician didn’t replace anything, the problem was with the wiring in our house and they had to charge us. That seemed to conflict with what the technicians had said. When we asked why we were never warned about the charges, we were told they ‘don’t inform customers ahead of time since we don’t know what the cause of the problem is.’ We were finally able to get the charges removed by complaining to a supervisor no one had even mentioned we could be charged, but only after being on the phone for almost 45 minutes.”

More Money from the Customers or Less Service Calls?

Charging customers a service fee without previously warning them seems unethical at best. Comcast’s assertion that the problem must be with the wiring in the customer’s house is especially bothersome. Unless the television signal is also having problems, then that is either an outright lie, or badly misinformed customer service representatives, who are repeating something they heard, quite possibly from a supervisor. In these days of ever increasing competition from other service providers, this could either be Comcast’s new way of getting more money from their customers, since most won’t know to question the service charge, or getting customers not to call in anymore. In either case, this isn’t what could be called good customer service.

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