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Comcast abandons customer on hold for three hours, then closes

In yet another Internet video that sheds light on poor customer service practices at Comcast, YouTube user Aaron Spain uploaded a video this week that details the length of time he was kept on hold by the Comcast retention department. Solely responsible for cancelling a customer’s service, the retention department is specifically designed to retain customers that are leaving Comcast for a competing Internet or cable service. In the video, Spain shows off his iPhone display with a ongoing call that’s 3 hours and 22 minutes long. The number dialed, 1-800-266-2278, is more commonly known as 1-800-COMCAST.

According to Spain, the call was transferred to the retention department at 7:17 p.m. Using a Samsung mobile device, Spain called the same number at approximately 10:20 p.m. After navigating through a maze of automated options, Spain finally reached the retention department for the second time, only to get a message about the department being closed for the day. Assuming the account of his experience is accurate, it’s yet another black eye on the customer service department at Comcast.

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Comcast did release a statement about Spain’s experience with the retention department. The statement reads “Under no circumstances is this the experience we want our customers to have. Our goal is to be respectful of our customers’ time and fix any issues the first time. We take this very seriously, and after investigating Mr. Spain’s situation, we want to apologize to him and acknowledge that his experience was completely unacceptable.” Of course, the statement may not have much of an impact as Spain’s video has been viewed more than 450,000 times and continues to grow virally. 

If you are unfamiliar with the negative attention that Comcast’s customer service department has received as of late, it all started last month when tech journalist Ryan Block attempted to cancel his Comcast service and was continually harassed by a retention rep seeking a reason for his cancellation. After uploading the audio of the call to SoundCloud, that 8-minute recording has been played more than five and a half million times. 

This week, Comcast’s customer service department got into trouble again after attempting to overcharge customer Tim Davis for an installation after claiming that there would be no install charges. Davis recorded the first call of a rep stating that the installation was free and used that as leverage to have the charges removed. However, if that call wasn’t recorded, Davis would have been stuck with the bogus charges.


Beyond these continual customer service issues, it was recently reported by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington that Comcast and Time Warner jointed contributed more than $130,000 to fund a single dinner that will honor FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn this year. Of course, the Federal Trade Commission is currently reviewing the merger between the two companies that’s valued around $45 billion. While there are no rules preventing this type of donation, the research director of the ethics organization calls the timing of the donation “curious.”

However, Comcast has been a consistent donor to the foundation’s fundraising dinner for the last three years, namely after NBC Universal was taken over.  Interestingly, both Comcast and Time Warner have donated more than a million dollars to the event over the last ten years. Responding to the timing of the donation, Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice told the Washington Post “We absolutely dispute the notion that our contributions have anything to do with currying favor with Commissioner Clayburn or any honoree. Such claims are insulting and not supported by any evidence.”

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