Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Comcast - The right hand knows not what the left hand does

*Soap Box*

So, I decided it was time to up my Internet service and was ready to hop on the Cable Internet bandwagon. So, I hit up (since comcast has the monopoly on cable in the west). I hit the link saying I'd like to shop for Internet service. It asks for my address...and then for my city (which I guess it couldn't figure out from my zip code that only services one city). And then I go shopping. Since I don't have (nor do I want) Cable TV, I get to take the more expensive option (only $10 more). I punch in other options (I want one modem, will be using my own router to service multiple PCs, and I want you to come on one of these days). I hit SUBMIT and then go into the queue to finalize my order and set up my appointment.

Hi, my name is Jane and I'll be your Comcast helper of the day.

While Jane confirms my address I confirm the modem I'm purchasing and what the tech will do. Then she interrupts and says she can't help me because my address isn't in their system. I confirm my address and suggest she type it in the system (telling her that I'm not a comcast customer so it won't be in the system yet). She says that she can't put me in the system, but that it actually has to be done at an office. I can't even just call a phone number and talk with someone...I have to physically walk into a Comcast office and fill out some form so someone can type my information into their magical mystical system that allows them to take my order.

Her explanation was that I must be in a new subdivision so I'm not in the system yet (yup, my 100 year old home that I've lived in for ~7 years is part of the new subdivision that was just built in the middle of Bountiful). She apologized for the inconvenience and said I could check the website for local offices (she gave me a URL that turned out to be broken so she then copied and pasted some office locations for me).

The closest office is either in Layton or in Salt Lake...each about the same ~10 miles from me. And naturally their office hours aren't convenient for someone that works during the day...which means I have to try to squeeze in on Saturday...provided I don't decide to go with the other monopoly (DSL, paying Qwest for their lines and Xmission for service...I won't pay QWest directly more than their lame line rental fee).

How do companies stay in business like this. The sales team can't type my address into their system and take my order. It takes some special bureaucratic red tape of a form filled out at an inconvenient time to prove my existence.


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