EDITOR’S NOTEThe following letter was published on Des Moines Mayor Dave Kaplan’s Facebook page; we have received permission to post it here. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Waterland Blog nor its staff]

Well, my “friends” at Comcast sent their standard email with a link to a customer satisfaction survey. On their open-ended question (limited to 4000 characters), I had to whittle down my nearly 4800 character response. Here’s the text in its entirety: “It should not have taken 6 weeks to get my service installed. The lack of communications from the person who was supposedly my point of contact for everything related to my account (Christopher Archeletta) was HORRIBLE. Some 18 phone calls (I am not exaggerating) unanswered with no return call. With a few exceptions, every step forward was as a result of my having to call Comcast customer service to get something done or to find out something, simply because of lack of communications from your company. First came the week-long wait to find out why no one had emailed or called to let me know when someone would be out to install my service, only to find out that I was supposed to sign a contract that had never been sent to me. Then came the contract that had the name of the business misspelled and had to be redone before I would e-sign. At least a week and a half after I had agreed to the service on the phone before the correct contract was sent and signed. After that, the first installation visit was quick (the following Tuesday), but failed to take into account what I told the account rep which was that the office space needed to be wired from outside the condominium building (it’s a home office.) While the building was built with wiring (in 1979) on the south side of the building, not so on the north side. That service tech indicated that he would put in a request for someone to come out and do that external wiring work. After three days, I called to find out when someone would be out and was told one week later. So, a week later, you sent a service tech out … to do the inside install, NOT the external wiring necessary to make that room pre-wired. After a round-about way of reaching Mr. Archeletta via the regular customer service line, I came to find out that no one had been scheduled to do the outside wiring, and that the wireless modem I expected was not included with the package I had been sold. (He attempted to sell me a higher level service that included the wireless modem, and in frustration I agreed … but thankfully never received the new contract to e-sign.) In the middle of this frustrating experience, I went out and purchased a modem and router. Why? So I wouldn’t have to lease it from Comcast. I decided I wanted to give you as little money as possible. The following week I called to find out when the external wiring people would be out to do the work. Ms. Amber Day-Spring (the one customer service person who actually was of help to me a few times during this episode) called and emailed to let me know that the pre-wire people would be out on Monday, July 7 and that the internal install people would be back on Wednesday, July 9th. On July 7th, I waited not only the four hour window that the pre-wire people were supposed to be out, but an additional three hours and they didn’t show up. At least they never called, knocked on my door, or left a note that they were here … though they apparently put in a slip to Comcast indicating that they had been. After I called to demand the work be done before Wednesday, I was told they would be out July 8th. July 8th turned out to be another 4 hour waste of my time as no one showed. That afternoon I received a call from a guy named Ryan (who works for one of your contractors.) That was the first REAL conversation I had with ANYONE to talk about how to try and address the wiring issue for the office. He indicated that someone would be out on Wednesday to do that wiring work in advance of the internal install. But no one showed to do the external wiring that was needed. I managed to talk someone else into doing the external wiring work, since Comcast apparently can’t seem to get the job done. Your contracted installer Justin made everything happen, and he was also one of the few bright spots in this otherwise crappy experience. I’m a pretty understanding guy, but frankly, on the whole, this is the shittiest customer service experience I’ve EVER had … from any service provider. This was a business install, and if any of my business constituents had suffered through this same situation I would have been even more angry than I am now. And they HAVE BEEN suffering through this! I am the Mayor of Des Moines, Washington (a city councilmember) and I talk to our local businesses (who are located both at home and in their own shops/stores/office buildings) and they universally have complained about your service leading up to installation, and (in some cases) the services itself. I’m not done with this issue, and neither is Comcast. I assure you, things are going to change. Please expect to hear from me in the weeks and months ahead. Dave Kaplan Mayor & Councilmember City of Des Moines, WA (reluctant and pissed off Comcast customer)”
On a related note, here is another Comcast-related rant that has gone viral: [youtube]http://youtu.be/awV9PeX8eEA[/youtube] [Have an opinion or concern you’d like to share with our Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please remain civil and, pending our review, we’ll most likely publish it.]]]>

12 replies on “LETTER: Des Moines Mayor Dave Kaplan upset with Comcast customer service”

  1. I HATE Comcast!!
    We switched to DirectTV and are very happy with them.
    I do currently still have Comcast for my internet (long story why I have to keep it…) but would LOVE to not have that either.

    1. unless directv has a cable or dsl based internot option dont waste your time there, both us satelite based i ternet providers have about the same customer service level as comcast, have much higher rates, and have much lower bandwidth caps (example, exede’s highest bandwidth cap it 25 gigs, thats like watching about 6 movies on netflix, dont even bother trying to binge watch a season of anything). and that service is about 150 per month…

  2. Hopefully this encourages the mayor to bring/allow/bid for comparable speeds to be brought to ALL of Des Moines. I’d have switched long ago but nobody provides an even similar speed in my neighborhood.

  3. Wow….4800 words is a lot of text. I can see your frustration and hope you are able to get it resolved. One word of caution…..you are in a position of power and authority in our City and are well respected.

  4. I hope the city will be motivated to allow competitors. Even if the other guy is just as bad I’d appreciate a change!

  5. I too hate Comcast. It’s an insult to hear them claim customer response is positive. I’ve not met a single Comcast customer who said anything positive about Comcast.
    I use them because I don’t have a choice at my location.

  6. It’s not for lack of wanting competition. We’ve had two or three various providers, each with a unique approach, apply for a franchise agreement. The Council approved them, but the providers were either underfunded or got bought out by some other company and their plans not followed through with.
    I know that CenturyLink has begun laying fiber-optic cable in the area, but I’m not sure if they’ve started in Des Moines. And I’m intrigued by what Google has done in Kansas City and is starting to do in a number of locations.
    Competition is good for us, the consumers. I hope to hold a study session some time this fall and invite all of the telecommunications and internet providers to attend, so we can hear what their current and future plans are. We deserve MUCH better than we’ve gotten.
    Dave K.
    Mayor & Councilmember
    City of Des Moines, WA

  7. My guess is that the mayor installed internet-only service. We had a similar issue with Comcast and came to the conclusion that Comcast did not want to install. In our case, Comcast had made some changes to their feed point that made it more expensive for them to install, even though there had been previous service at the premises.
    So we believe they simply tried everything they could to get us to go away, including just cancelling the install and claiming that we did it. It also took us around six weeks, because they kept marking the tickets that were opened to complete the job, as worked and closed.
    We’re in Florida, and because of some changes to the way cable utilities are franchised, Comcast is not required to offer Internet-only service, so while they don’t ever directly state this, they can pick and choose their customers while still enjoying duopoly protection.
    Internet service has reached the same point that telephone service did in the 20s and 30s. It is a necessity and those who provide it through public rights of way must be mandated to provide it to all residents. In many jurisdictions, consumers don’t have this protection.
    If the mayor looks into this deeply enough, he’ll discover this was no isolated incident. His install was more difficult than flipping a virtual switch, and Comcast’s install division didn’t want to be bothered for something that didn’t include lucrative video service.

  8. I know this is an older thread but I wanted to put my 2 cents. The Port of Seattle is responsible for making Des Moines a technological black hole and as such should subsidize both internet and television.
    I believe there is a Federal law that assures everyone has access to over the air television. I kicked out Comcast TV but kept internet since there was no viable alternative. But TV reception since the third runway startup and digital changeover is sketchy…cutting out every time a plane flies over. And I don’t have a spectrum analyser but suspect that internet dropouts are directly related to RF interference from plane to tower communications on the system amps and modems.
    I’ve experimented with different antennas and aiming. Nothing seems to work. Comcast couldn’t give me a good signal after the digital changeover, blaming everything on my house wiring, even though the Comcast wiring was brand new.
    Our over the air signal is intermittent, internet speeds are hit and miss, and trying to deal with the alternative, Centurylink, is comparable to dealing with Comcast. I cancelled my home phone, and had the number for 39 yrs., all because of Centurylink customer service, and city taxes and Federal taxes making a $12 phone service cost $40.
    I’m glad the mayor experienced what the citizenry have been putting up with since 2009. Now the problem gets some visibility.
    So the City of Des Moines needs to emulate the City of Tacoma in providing cost effective TV and internet utility, and the Port of Seattle needs to subsidize it.

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