A couple of months ago I got a call from Comcast advising me that my modem was outdated and that I should trade it in for a new one so we could take advantage of the fastest internet connection available.
I called Comcast and requested the new modem and promised to return my old one to the nearest Comcast store. A few days later the new modem arrived, Christian plugged it in and we were good to go. I was not at all impressed with the “fast internet connection,” if anything it seemed slower than before.
It took me a few weeks to return the old one and after waiting for 30 minutes while the customer service rep tried to process the return, I learned that we hadn’t received the right modem. The one I got was not for the high speed access and it didn’t have a slot for the phone. (which explained why I had no dial tone and the land line hadn’t rung for some time)
For some reason, she couldn’t give me the right one and so I had to make another trip back to the store and return the one that had been sent to me. Yesterday I made the final exchange and figured we were only a few minutes away from having high speed internet access and a dial tone again.
The instructions said to connect the modem to a computer, which didn’t seem to make much sense since we’ve got a wireless network, so we figured they must mean the router. Christian hooked everything up and we had phone and cable almost instantly, but no internet. Hmmmmm
A few minutes later Christian checked for internet access from his phone and was redirected to an “activate services page.” The process looked straight forward and once again I thought I was seconds away from having internet access.
I signed in and clicked “activate”:
“SOS We can’t connect to your modem, please call…”
I dialed the number and answered the minimum number of automated voice prompts before hitting “zero” to be connected with a customer service rep. A young and very pleasant female voice greeted me and asked how she could help.
After verifying my home phone, address, and the last four digits of my social security number she asked, “Is the modem plugged into your laptop?”
“No, it’s plugged into the router, why would I want to plug it into my laptop?”
She replied, “That’s where you need to start, plug the Ethernet cord into your laptop.”
I was puzzled but I followed her instructions. She tried pinging the modem, nothing. I realized that in my haste, I’d unplugged the Ethernet cord from the modem and now had my laptop connected to the router. Doh’! I corrected the connection, read her all of the tiny numbers from the back of the modem and still nothing.
“I think I may have simply missed a step or done something wrong in the set up. Can you just walk me through the steps?”
“Miss Beth, I think that it’s best if I transfer you to a specialist at this time, please hold”
One thing that I will never understand is why you have to verify customer information to each new person you talk to. I’m all for security and privacy, but it seems a little excessive.
I provided the next customer service rep my verification information, confirmed that the Ethernet cord was plugged into my laptop and listened to her provide a 5 minute overview of the advantages of the xfinity super customer service program.
“Miss Beth, since we are still unable to get your internet service working I need to transfer you to a technician. But before I do that, I need to activate the additional $10.99 per month charge for 24 x 7 access to the technical representatives.”
“What?! You’re telling me that you can’t help me troubleshoot this and connect to the internet unless I subscribe to this additional service?”
“Yes, it’s only $10.99 per month and the service will also help you troubleshoot your laptop, iPad, iPhone, and even your printer.”
“I don’t need all that, I just want to connect to the internet.”
“Well, there is another option for $5.99 per month that is internet only.”
At this point it looked like the only way I was going to resolve my internet dilemma was to sign up for this additional service so I did and made a mental note at the same time to call and get it removed as soon as possible.
I verified my account information and explained my situation for the third time.
“So the problem is that you aren’t able to activate your internet service?”
“Ma’am I’m really sorry to do this, but I’m going to need to transfer you to an activation specialist. This isn’t something I can help you with.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me, that’s where I started.”
“I wish I was kidding,” he replied.
“Ok, I know it’s not you’re fault, but I’m incredibly frustrated right now. See if you can do something for me. I don’t want to verify my account information for the 4th time.” (pretty sure I was growling at this point)
He returned after several moments and initiated the transfer.
“Welcome to Comcast, this call may be monitored or recorded for quality or training purposes. What is the 10 digit home phone number on your account?”
The fourth transfer put me right back in the land of automated voice prompt hell. I once again answered the minimum number of automated voice prompts before hitting “zero” to be connected with a customer service rep.
“Before we start I need to forewarn you that I will be doing my best to stay calm, but I’ve been transferred 4 times and the last time dropped me into the automated system and not to a real person. I’m more than a little frustrated at this point in time.”
“I can certainly understand why, I’d feel the same way. Can you verify your home phone number, address, and social security number and then I can help you.”
It took a while, but she was very patient and walked me through the steps. As it turns out, there was never a need to plug the modem into my laptop because the goal was to activate the wireless service.
What I needed to do was plug in the modem, connect the cable and phone cords to the modem, click the “WPS” button on top of the modem, select the new wireless network from my network connections, and enter the serial number.
None of which was on the instruction card that I received when I picked up the modem.
Can you say confusing?
I do have to say that normally I’m very happy with Comcast and have found their customer service to be very good. And while the experience was very frustrating, the reps were all very polite even when I got more than a little testy.
I’m thinking they should create a better list of instructions and that would make everyone’s life easier.
And in case you’re wondering, the internet connection speed is actually faster!