Problem: Comcast phone service inexplicably stopped. My theory: A flock of birds blocked Comcast’s Internet phone service in April.  Comcast’s Theory: A “system problem.”  My explanation had a clearer cause-and-effect than theirs, but their theory led to $200 compensation for the service failure. So it was OK.

When I tried to pick up messages from my East Coast Comcast number by calling it from my West Coast AT&T number, it rang 9 times before a voice said, “This number is not in service.” For two weeks, I could not reach my NJ number but always got that message. Comcast phone service comes through the air, not through a wire. Comcast is still learning how air-borne technology works.

Comcast outsources Technical Service to reduce service costs. Telcoms like Comcast view service as a cost center, not a profit center. Thus service suffers. Comcast’s technical outsourcers could not agree on what caused the problem or the fix needed. So they made it up as they went along: The Comcast outsourcer in the Philippines said 24 hours were needed for the system to fix itself. Two days later, the line still inoperative, Comcast’s outsourcer in Granada said the Philippines techies were wrong: 24 to 72 hours were needed. Both were winging it, so to speak.

What should a consumerist do when Comcast’s service is not 100%? Answer: Avoid outsourced outposts. Demand connection to a Comcast management office in America. That word triggers transfer to the “Office of the President.” It’s Comcast’s escalation step for consumerists like me. There is no “president” there but there are people trained to deal with customers who demand the services Comcast promises.

Comcast USA discovered the problem: Comcast had conducted a “routine system audit.” The “system” found I did not have the auto-answer option, so it unsuccessfully tried to add auto-answer but instead successfully disabled the whole line. (I have never used, wanted or asked for Comcast auto answer.) The Office of the President fixed the problem and issued a $200 credit for my loss of service.


Tags: ,


  1. Kurt May 21, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    You should publish a list of companies’ customer service departments with the magic keywords that get you to an American that can not only go off-script and who is empowered issue credits. (Comcast really uses over-the-air technology, like microwave?? I would think most of their service areas are mature and dense enough to have all types of fiber options…but I guess they don’t want to pay for it?)