Morning Poll: Rate Your Experience With Comcast

by Scott Brodbeck January 5, 2011 at 7:43 am 9,835 151 Comments

Last night I had my most horrid Comcast customer service experience to date, and that’s really saying something. I’ll spare the details, but suffice to say that it was an hour and a half of my all-too-rare free time that I’m not getting back.

It’s not so much that the Comcast customer service agents themselves are that bad, it’s just that the customer service system in which they operate seems to be designed with the sole purpose of minimizing cost at the expense of producing meaningful solutions to customers’ problems and complaints.

Comcast has a partial monopoly in Arlington. Sure, Verizon FiOS and satellite TV are available to single family homes and certain apartment buildings and condos. But for many apartment and condo-dwellers, Comcast is the only game in town. The only option for those folks in the event of an unresolved grievance is to either grin and bear it, cancel service and forgo cable and/or internet altogether, or complain to the county’s cable administration office and hope for the best.

Competition is a customer’s best friend — a point of leverage in disputes. With any luck, FiOS will continue making inroads and internet-based TV will continue evolving into a viable alternative. Until that time, however, Comcast will continue to exasperate and frustrate those for whom going without internet or cable television service is not an option.

Rate your Comcast experience below, and feel free to vent in the comments. Who knows, maybe someone in a regulatory position will be listening.

  • LP

    So glad I have FiOS and don’t have to deal with Comcast BS. Had them as a customer twice, once in Philly and once in DC and will never, ever go back.

  • Arlingtony

    I was so relieved when FiOS was offered as an alternative to Comcrap. The latter company couldn’t have cared less about customer service. I’d have my internet go out, make an appointment to have a tech come out, and noone would show up. Never an apology or an offer for a rate rebate for outage time. Don’t know whether having a competitor in Arlington has improved Comcrap service, but I’m not willing to risk going back.

    • Juanita de Talmas

      Never…an offer for a rate rebate for outage time.

      Of course they won’t offer it, but if you request one, they usually do it.

      • Juanita O

        Even if you request one….You don’t always get what you should from Comcast. I’ve been with them since 1995….never had a problem until this transition to Digital from Analog. I had their Digital Voice service added…which has never worked well..even to this day, I’m still having problems with the phone service. I have a neighbor has had similar issues and a friend that lives in another town with the same exact issues. Their techs, who are always polite, don’t seem to know diddley.
        I was with them on the phone today because when I went online to see what my next payment would be. It showed my bill was due on 8/7/11….which I paid on 8/9/11 (two days late)…and they were including my upcoming months bill. They were showing my bill as close to $200.00. They just make me so furious trying to deal with people who cannot or don’t want to comprehend what your inquiring about. They just want to tell you what they’ve been trained to say …. The have no brains and even if you speak to a so-called Supervisor…you don’t get any further. Their prices keep going up….their service continues to suck…and I wish there was a dependable cable service. My brother in law had Wow Way, which started out with a low price…then skyrocketed. He changed over to Comcast. Even his phone service was with Comcast and guess what……same phone service problems that I’d been having….I told them so……..I’m thinking of calling Radio Shack and purchasing a converter box and looking into a good antennae…. The upfront cost will be high, but over the long run I’ll save money by not having to pay high Cable bills. As far as the phone service….I have Magic Jack which works just fine and is inexpesive. Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed that they don.t pull the plug on television over the airwaves. If they stop that, we’ll all be screwed.

  • Lacey Forest

    I was so happy the day I kicked Comcast to the curb and had FIOS installed. That was more then two years ago and I still have no regrets. I do feel sorry for those locked into Comcast service due to being in an apartment or condo.

  • CourthouseGuy

    Honestly, Comcast is awfulm, but FIOS is not much better. With every bill each month they try and overcharge me, then I stay on hold for hours each time and get crappy customer service by getting transferred or sitting idle listening to that horrid replaying verizon add. Their customer service system is just awful, where they will transfer you around to 5 deprtments and accomplish nothing. Another peeve, when the automated system asks you for all you information and confirmations, and the when you finally get a human, they ask you again, then the next human, again, and so on. Dont they record anything you input? Morons.

    • CJR

      I agree, Verizon Fios customer service can be very frustrating – the people are friendly enough, but just getting to the correct department is enough to pull your hair out. See how long it takes you to find the 1-800 number to call for FIOS Technical help – and actually get to the person. But overall, I do like FIOS and wouldn’t switch at this time.

    • Anika


    • NPGMBR

      My experience with FIOS was absolute bliss. I switched from Comcast to Verizon FIOS as soon as it was available in my apartment and that was almost four years ago. The installation was a little bumpy but once it was up and running I’ve never had another pixelated picture, audio drop-out or slowing internet speeds. Those days are behind me and I could not be happier.

      Should also mention that when I first moved into my apartment I had to order Comcast! Would you believe they missed three (3) scheduled appointments just to install the cable/internet? Not only that but they didn’t show up with the cable card I had requested for my TiVo. I wasn’t expecting any discounts or anything like that but an apology would have been nice. (I took days off from work for nothing)

      Oh heres the funny part. One day I was taking my FIOS box to ship it back to Verizon and a Comcast tech was just outside my door doing service for my neighbor. He looked at my box and began to tell me I “must have really hated that FIOS to be sending it back”. I happily informed him that although I didn’t like the Motorola box and VZ’s clunky software the overall FIOS experience was light years ahead of Comcast. (This was before they came up with the Xfinity scheme).

  • Ballston

    The only customer service worse than Comcast is Verizon Fios. It took 6 months of calls to correct the billing and then they applied the payment to the wrong account. I had to get a copy of the cancelled check to force them to apply it correctly. Sad to say, I am actually thinking about going back to Comcast.

    • Al

      I agree, Verizon customer service is ATROCIOUS. Not just for TV but for ALL of their services including cellular. Even worse than Comcast. To make matters worse, FIOS and Comcast don’t really compete. When FIOS first came out, I was expecting competition to drive down prices but if anything, they have gone up.

  • imissTX

    I currently have no choice but to have comcast, and I fucking HATE IT. The last 3-4 times I have called customer service, I end up getting transfered to a department that has nothing to do with my problem (e.g. – getting transferred to billing when I’m clearly noting that I have trouble with cable service), or I get transfered to another city and state altogether and have to start the whole process over again. Their phone system is designed to just frustrate people and make them give up. But if you want to “upgrade service” someone is on the phone in about 30 seconds. So terrible.

    They also overcharge you for various things constantly, apparently hoping you won’t read your bill. And if you notice the discrepancy and call them, it’s like you are obviously guilty until yelling at enough people that you are innocent. I haven’t heard of anyone having a good experience with comcast, but they don’t seem to give a shit.

    • Steve

      I’ve used the fact that a live human is on the phone within 30 seconds if you’re trying to upgrade to my advantage. If I have a service problem, I give them a call and choose upgrade service – the “sales” person is more than happy to transfer me to a actual support person and it’s worked out decently lately.

      Also, if the human I actually get to speak to isn’t working out for me (incredibly hard to understand, taking too long, giving me the runaround, etc.) I hang up and try again. If their CSRs can be rude to me I give it right back to them. Usually the 2nd or 3rd person I get is infinitely more helpful. Is it a waste of my time? Yes, but at least I usually get the help that I need.

  • PGFDE121

    Consider going through the local office in Clarendon, much better assistance with real people who do a great job. Whenever our bill increases off promotion rates we’ll always head down and ask if they can get us back on another promo, and they always manage to help out somehow. Basically the job of the local offices is to keep customers happy…so use it if you can. Located on Wilson down by Whole Foods.

    • Arlington, Northside

      I fully concur.

    • jan

      A few years ago a retired Air Force officer waited in the Fairfax Comcast office for 4 hours, only to discover the manager had slipped out the back door and the receptionist had neglected to tell her.

      After continued evasion, the Officer returned with a hammer and took out the office computers.

      Is my memory on track?

      • Arlington, Northside

        Fairfax has had Cox for decades, not Comcast. The staff at the Arlington Comcast office are great.

      • david
        • jan

          Thanks! I appreciate the tone of the report. And notice how many comments it got.

      • NPGMBR

        I remember that story! I died laughing when I saw it on the news. But thats how frustrating it is to deal with Companies. Once they have your money and get you locked into a contract, customer service flies out the door!

    • imissTX

      I feel like comcast reps are getting on here and commenting. I have been to the Clarendon office several times. They are a convenient spot to drop off items or get stuff switched out, but that’s where the convenience ends. They also provided me with terrible customer service and were the reason that one of my closed accounts kept getting charged for months (without me being sent a bill) and then eventually sent to collection. It took me about 5 phone calls to resolve that one.

      • mehoo

        A Comcast rep on the phone once told me I could go pick up some equipment at the Clarendon office. Went there, and they said they don’t have that equipment there. Thanks, jerks. Now I know to verify everything. (Just like I know never to trust websites that list things like office hours, etc. Been burned there too. Always call.)

        • Chad

          Same thing happened to me. Talk to the CSR and they say “sure, you need to replace your modem, go to your local store.” I show up, “yea, we’re out of modems, not sure when we’ll have more.” Awesome.

          • NPGMBR

            Me too. Was told I could get my cablecard there (because the techs installing my service didn’t bother to bring one) and when I arrived there were none.

      • I have to think you’re right. My two experiences in the Clarendon office were some of the most underwhelming live customer services experiences I’ve ever had. The folks are obviously not happy with their jobs, and they push that on their customers. To their defense, I can’t say I’d be wanting to deal with people who hate my company all day, either.

    • Teyo

      When my DVR box stopped working, I called and was told to exchange it at the Clarendon office. As I live on Columbia Pike without a car and this was the weekend, I decided to get a Zipcar and go up there to exchange the box. I got a new one, brought it back and plugged it in only to discover after a half hour on the phone with Comcast that it wasn’t working either. So back to Clarendon to exchange the box again. This time, there was a long line of other people exchanging their boxes and by the time I got to the front of the line, they told me they only had one box left so they gave me that one. I returned home and after another half hour with Comcast tech support, they concluded that the second box was also broken. As there were no more boxes at the Clarendon office, they had to schedule a technician but obviously couldn’t get me an appointment until almost the end of the following week. So I spent half my Saturday morning shuttling broken Comcast hardware between Columbia Pike and Clarendon only to be without TV for the next week. I did get a whole $5 dollars from them for not having service for that week, haha.

      • JackFan

        I have had numerous experiences like the one you described above. Box after box after box (especially for HD TVs). Going in and back to the Clarendon office b/c the customer service reps on the phone were complete idiots and the earliest available time to schedule technicians was invariably over a week away. I so wish I could get FIOS but it’s not available at my location. Comcast is the absolute worst. “Press 2 to refresh signal”…sure buddy.

  • Arlwhenever

    Comcast is GodAwful. Have never regretted the day we switched to FIOS.

  • bob

    I’d agree they like to sneak charges on your bill — little one or two dollar stuff that you don’t notice for several months. But in all honesty, my experiences with them are not bad. When you catch it, they usually credit it back.

    I do wish PRICES would go down, but they are offering me internet + digital for about 80 a month, and that is really not bad.

  • AQ

    I live in the Shirlington area. I have an ongoing issue with my Comcast internet service. When I call customer service to report I have no internet service, I usually spend at least 30 minutes going through all the tests with them, only to be told I’ll need to make an appointment for someone to come to my place. Then the next day, I get a call from Comcast saying that there was an outage in my area, and they ask if I still need the appt. The pattern repeats. I keep telling the customer service rep of my experience, and they can see all my canceled appointments, yet they tell me there is no outage in my area and that I need to make an appointment. Every time (at least 6 times in 2010, maybe more) my internet connection is back in a day or two, and Comcast calls to tell me there was an outage in my area. It is definitely frustrating.

    • UrsusMajeure

      I’m another Shirlington dweller with similar experiences – the internet (which I still have) has been fine, but during my 8 or so months of subscription to cable and HDDVR, I had an almost comical run of problems, from similar claims of ‘outages’ that would last for weeks before one could get them fixed, having multiple appointments botched (they would claim the appt was for another day, despite my having a written record of the appt date), having techs come out with non-functional DVRs on successive appts, etc. I went through four of their DVRs in four months, they are complete garbage, and no substitutions are allowed. The only bright spot was that the techs were generally nice people, but with terrible equipment and lack of corporate support, that did not translate into good service.

  • V Dizzle

    Comcast gave me herpes.

  • NorthAdams

    The Arlington Cable Complaint Office is great — they really get the Comcast people’s attention. If Comcast doesn’t resolve my problem in a day, I just call the County.
    Comcast is terrible and I hear Verizon is just as bad in the hood here.
    why can’t all these pizza people go into cable communications instead?
    why is it we can 500 million pizza places but only 2-3 people who provide internet.

    • The Dope of South Arlington

      Socialist! Get the government off business’ back!

      • NorthAdams

        I agree about government.
        BUT it is COMCAST who requested permission to put THEIR cable lines in OUR public right of way. By asking to do this they ask for government regulation.

        • mehoo

          The Dope was being sarcastic. He’s The Pope’s evil twin.

          • Hank

            You couldn’t be more wrong — This is not some private enterprise, the utility companies (including cable), NEED government regulation because they hold LEGAL MONOPOLIES. If there is no avenue for competition (i.e. many apartment buildings / condo buildings), then the government NEEDS to regulate the business.

  • Eh

    I’ve had Comcast for 3 years and FIOS for >1 since living in Arlington. Ive found both are the same headache when initiating or renewing service–in terms of forcing you to spend hours on the phone, talk to multiple people and get multiple promises, and then end up fighting for three months to actually start receiving a correct bill. Had not had much service interruption problems with either.

  • kay

    comcast tried to charge me for service for FOUR months after i terminated service. it took an hour on the phone to explain to them that i no longer lived at that apartment and service had been shut off four months ago.

    • imissTX

      Same here…

    • Carmen

      My problem was that someone else moved in a day or two after I moved out. Comcast then sent me a bill for their cable. And acted like I was an idiot when I called about it because “the account number is different”. Then don’t put my name on it and send it to me. Dumbass

  • Arlington, Northside

    Not that I would endorse DishNetwork or anyother SatTV system, but you do have that option in an apartment building or condo. Legally, the building management can not block you from going that route for about a decade now.

    • Tiffany

      Only if you live on the correct side of the building …

    • FrenchyB

      Management can’t block you, but if you don’t have a clear path to the southwestern sky for your dish, then you’re out of luck.

  • ClarGirl

    I miss living in The Clarendon and having DirecTV. The local provider wasn’t super helpful but DirecTV always was and the service was better for what I paid even if it went out during big storms. I’ve had Comcast in various other buildings for a few years now and it’s such a pain and the product is not that good for what I pay.

    • jan

      I had Directv once and the service was outstanding. Real people answered the phone and repairmen were responsive.
      Unfortunately, I had to switch to FIOS. Among other things, a tree kept growing branches into the dish.

    • ChrisW

      DirecTV is good for customer service, but if you want truly high-speed Internet service too and you live in The Clarendon you have to switch over totally to Comcast b/c the way the building is wired. Crappy bargain. It’s a shame The Clarendon doesn’t have FiOS.

  • Jason S

    Threads like this aren’t going to represent the full gamut of opinions as most people probably just don’t care that much and upset people are more likely to speak. Comcast for me has been fine, but I only have their Internet and cannot speak about their TV service. I can’t say that I like Comcast, but it would be a stretch to say I dislike them. The only time I’ve had a problem, they refunded the day or so that it didn’t work and I checked my email and such at Starbuck’s. These are high class worries, so I don’t let them get to me.

    • FrenchyB

      +1. This post is trolling for page views.

  • Cat

    On November 1, 2009 I opened an account with Comcast and they gave me a cable/internet installation date of November 30, 2009. On November 12, 2009 I received a bill by mail that included about 14 pay-per-view movies, most of which were porn.

    After a year of paying $70 for basic cable and wi-fi, my bill was raised to $120 per month with no additional services. That is nearly double. Needless to say, I’ll be canceling my cable subscription altogether and picking up a Roku box or Wii.

    • Arlington, Northside

      Go in to the Arlington Office and I would put money on them lowering your bill to something reasonable. They KNOW you have other options.

      • Cat

        Thanks for the tip. I’ve heard that service providers of all sorts (cable, wireless, etc.) will usually bend when you drop the right words, like Fios… DirecTV…

    • Chad

      Call Comcast and go through the prompts to cancel your service. Tell them you want to cancel and are switching to Fios or DirecTV. They will generally offer you promotions or deals to stay. If they call your bluff, say you will think about it and call back until you get someone who gives you a promotion.

  • dss

    Comcast is a disaster. My speeds are terrible and I get better performance by tethering my PC to my cell phone. As to customer service, you should be able to get to talk with some one with real technical skills quicker as opposed to having to go through their diagnostic script (yes, my modem is turned on…..). Can some one tell me who in the Arlington county government is responsible for granting and negotiating Comcast’s franchise license? Are there public meetings regarding both the franchise agreement and Comcast’s performance under the agreement? If so does any one know when they are held? Also the fees are totally ridiculous given the level of service.


    • dss

      I found my answer…..


      “If subscribers are unable to settle the dispute with the cable company, or if they have additional questions, they may contact the Cable Administration Office:

      Cable Administration Office
      Department of Technology Services
      2100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 612
      Arlington, VA 22201

      Email the Cable Administration Office

      Also, subscribers may complete the Online Cable Complaint Form

      The County Board has also commissioned an advisory group to advise them about cable services in Arlington. The Information Technology Advisory Commission (ITAC) is a group of Arlington citizens appointed by the County Board to provide oversight of various technology issues, including the cable system and make recommendations to improve service. ITAC meetings are open to the public and are usually held the 4th Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at Court House Plaza, 3rd Floor Conference Room, next to the Board Room, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201.

      For more information about cable policy and issues in Arlington County, please visit the ITAC webpage.”

  • I live in Arlington and had so much trouble trying to get a CableCard installed correctly in my TiVo. The first time around, it took about a week. Then a couple of months ago, service on a few HD channels just disappeared. I had a tech come take a look, he said my cable signal was fine and scheduled me to have my CableCard swapped (which took another week). That didn’t work, so they was going to try again. I contacted TiVo and he diagnosed the problem within 5 min – my cable signal was too low. Comcast wouldn’t do anything about it, so I had to go buy a cable signal booster at my own expense. SO FRUSTRATING.

    Also, is it just me, or does it seem like there’s an internet outage every week or two?

    • Brandon C

      That really worries me as I use the cablecard w/ TiVO as well. I wonder if I’m missing out on channels like BBC America and what not. I don’t seem to get them but I figure they’re not included with my package – perhaps that’s not the case.

    • Everwood

      Comcast was clueless when it came to installing a CableCard on my Tivo. The first time, they “forgot” to bring a CableCard – even though that was the whole point of the appointment. The second time, no one showed up. The third time, they had a “broken” CableCard and said they would “reschedule” – which they never did until one night, I got a “reminder call” they were coming “the next day” – which hadn’t been previously arranged. I called them back and said I was “done” with Comcast. Called Fios and they came on time, and scheduled my CableCard – I get wonderful HD and couldn’t be happier. Comcast – never again.

  • Anytime I have a problem with Comcast, I just fill out a complaint form on Arlington’s website.


    I usually get a call from a LOCAL Comcast rep within 24 hours who handles the issue.

    No stress.

    • The Dope of South Arlington

      Why must you liberals go running to the government? Let the free market sort these things out.

      • dss

        Because Comcast service in Arlington County is granted via a franchise issued from the county government with in some instances one alternative service provider (FiOS). If there was true competition then there would be no two year contracts so customers could switch providers, Comcast would give refunds for service outages (no matter how small) and service degradation. You should read the “Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith to get a better understand of market economics.

      • Liberal? Try telling that to the ACDC lackeys on this site who call me a right-wing tea-bagger.

        I agree about market forces, but I want service. Complain enough and you get served.

        • idi amin dada

          Typical of today’s so-called “conservatives”. Get the government out of our lives! Unless of course it’s YOUR ox being gored, then you’re all for regulation.

        • mehoo

          “I agree about market forces, but I want service.”

          So which is it? You want the government to help you, or to stay out of it? Make up your mind.

  • Have FiOS. It has been great!

  • Brandon C

    I wanted to watch The Walking Dead and The Daily Show once again, so I just recently allowed evil back into my home.

    It wasn’t a great experience, but my original issues with Comcast are beyond horror:

    This was my experience in 2007 when I first cancelled my service.

  • Tiffany

    After being stuck with Comcast for years, I was finally able to switch to FiOS and couldn’t be happier. Had zero issues with installation and have had no outages since then (installed in October 2010). Doesn’t hurt that the internet is much faster, even on the lowest package, and the tv picture is much, much clearer. With Comcast, I had constant problems with my cable box and had to have it switched out repeatedly and my internet would go down at least twice a month. Best part of FiOS is that my price is locked in for two years, so I don’t have to worry about an increase in 6 months or renegotiating a different promotion.

  • BoredHouseWife

    Comcrap has horrible tv. Its internet is better. Then again, I do not have a fios option where I live.

  • ComcastMark

    Scott – I work for Comcast and I sincerely apologize for the poor experience. I would like to offer my help and get more details on your experience so that we could address it on our end. When you have a moment, please feel free to contact us, provide your account info and a link to this page at the email below.

    For those of you who are also experiencing or experienced any problems with Comcast, I sincerely apologize. You can also contact us at the provided email if you need further assistance.

    Mark Casem
    Comcast Corp.
    National Customer Operations
    [email protected]

    • JD32

      Hahahahahaha ok, whatever

    • mehoo

      Uh-oh, Comcast got wind of the latest flamefest. You ruined our fun, Mark.

    • dss

      Thank you for your response. Could you please tell us what physical plant upgrades you have planned to ensure internet connectivity and how you are addressing the current substandard service? Although addressing individual customers is good for customer service, it is best to state to a public audience how you plan to remedy the current performance issues.



    • Lola

      Yeah, right. I’ve told Comcast millions of times since I got it installed last year that the installer broke one of the HDMI outputs on my then brand new t.v. No one to date has fixed it. They’re very nice on the phone, but then nothing gets done.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    My concern is that even though they have a county franchise and exclusive access to public right of way, they are constantly trying to lock us into proprietary extras. 10 years ago, you bought a TV, hooked it up to the cable and pushed the buttons on the remote control. Now a days – we’ve gone back to the 70’s with needing a box, which really undermines the user-friendly-ness of the systems, especially for the non-tech and aging population.(They seem to have deliberately impeded the cablecard and that has similar user friendly-ness issues) It’s more and more difficult to get a DVR from anyone but them(which they charge you rental fee’s for). This is a huge step back – and should be the focus of the county Admin office.

    • Arlington, Northside

      Two of my four TV’s operate without a box, get 1-70something fine.

    • mehoo

      I have Comcast without a box. I think it’s because I don’t have the digital enhanced version or whatever. I only get about 80 channels.

      • Bluemont John

        That’s the one thing I miss about cable–the ability to hook up other TVs without more boxes. With Fios, you have to have the box, even if your TV has a QAM tuner. (I tried hooking directly into our HDTV from the Fios router, skipping the STB, and all but about four local network signals were scrambled.)

      • Suburban Not Urban

        Right now, you are right but they have been moving away from that, other locals have lost more than we have to date, and I believe they have stated in the press that long term you’ll lose more, and certainly not get anything new to justify their constantly increasing prices.

  • SB

    Does anyone know why exactly some apartment buildings are only wired for Comcast?

    I haven’t had too many issues with them, other than sometimes spotty internet, but my boyfriend’s internet and cable go out every other week with them so when we start looking for our next apartment we will definitely be asking what each building is wired for.

    • Arlington, Northside

      To wire up a second provider would require fishing lines through the entire building, not easy to do so not likely to happen. Comcast is the one with the county franchise, so that is who you get. Verizon is wiring up new buildings with Fios, but I would think that retrofiting old ones would not be that easy, but if tenants are willing to pay…

    • One place to start is with the Apartment Guide online. You can search Arlington for properties with either FiOS or DirecTV. Their list isn’t complete and more are being added all the time, so best to ask the property manager specifically.


  • Vinh An Nguyen

    I’ve had both Comcast and Verizon; can’t say I could see much difference. I will say that Verizon is the worst when it come to quoting a certain price for their services (“get our triple play for $99.00 a month!) but then once you get the bill, after the taxes, fees, service charges, etc. the price ends up being 20-30% more than what you thought it’d be.

  • ArlBlueSky

    Comcast’s billing is 1000x better than FIOS. I’ve had both. Comcast’s bill is clear and concise.

    FIOS’ bill on the other hand is tens of lines, complex, and on top of that, for the exact same service in the same location has much more tax added.

    I’m talking about < $1 for Comcast tv/internet and almost $10 for tv/internet with FIOS.

  • Bluemont John

    I had Comcast for 6 years. I recall that installation scheduling was less than smooth. Also, the cost of limited basic went up from about $11 to I believe $19 in those six years. And when we moved, it was VERY frustrating that I couldn’t terminate service online. I had to call–whereupon the CSR told me I had to go in physically. At which point the cable modem I’d been using for $5/month was literally pitched into a pile, most likely to be discarded.

    We now have Fios. So far so good. Pricey but probably worth it.

    On a related note: Most of us can remember when basic channels (about 20 of them where I grew up) were free of charge over the air, and cable was a luxury. I think cable companies should have to provide limited basic for free, since analog over-the-air (OTA) is gone, and the people who would want to still rely on OTA do not have the technological wherewithall to retrofit their old TVs with a digital set-top box and antenna. And the digital reception is so spotty compared with the old analog OTA signal.

    Here endith the rant.

    • Arlington, Northside

      20 over the air channels?
      I remember six in the DC area growing up:

      4 WRC-NBC
      5 WTTG- Metromedia until Fox came about
      7 WMAL-ABC in 1976 became WJLA
      9 WTOP/WDVM/now WUSA-CBS
      20 WDCA independent/UPN/now Fox Owned
      26 WETA-PBS

      Channel 50 was a pay channel until some time in the mid 80’s
      32 WHUT could only be received if you were near Howard or the weather was just right.
      Baltimore stations also were weather dependent.
      Cable to your house has never been free, but the basic channels used to be much cheaper.

    • Suburban Not Urban

      +1 on the OTA stuff

  • mehoo

    Now the FiOS guy is here.

    Let’s just let you two duke it out while we watch.

  • rahul

    a lot of my comcast service problems were solved when i got a tivo, Comcast has the worst DVR’s on the market. the technician once told me that they rarely fix a box they just swap them around.

  • The author said it well, “competition is a customer’s best friend”. Verizon is working aggressively to build and offer FiOS services in condo and apartment communities in Arlington in order to offer residents options, but we haven’t reached everybody yet. A lot of people like our FiOS service, but whether you prefer us, Comcast, somebody/nobody else, having a choice incents every provider to work harder, innovate faster and lower prices.

    If FiOS hasn’t yet reached your condo or apartment, I would suggest expressing your desire for competition to your board or management company. We work with property owners to bring FiOS to the building, so we’d be happy to talk with your community’s management, and it’s likely we are already. Property owners/managers can reach Verizon at http://communities.verizon.com/default.aspx?page=ownmulti

    For residents wanting more information on FiOS, we can be reached at @VerizonSupport on Twitter or the Verizon FiOS page on Facebook where we’ll monitor and respond to questions. We’d enjoy competing for your business and understand that we’ll be fired if we don’t measure up. Sorry for the Verizon commercial here, but I wanted to provide a possible outlet for all of this energy on the topic.

    • Rover

      Just be prepared for the Verizon installation contractor to take forever to install a permanent fiber to your house if one doesn’t already exist. He’ll run a temporary fiber through the lawn, bushes, over the driveway and through the birdbath. But, he’ll never return to pull the permanent fiber underground once they have their billing fangs into you. Be prepared for major frustration.

      • Bluemont John

        That wasn’t my experience. It took about two hours and was no big deal. Guy ran new fiber from the telephone pole on the street (on the same route as the electric and unused landline wires), then installed an outdoor box and an indoor one in the basement.

    • Kevin


      Its my understanding that Verizon is no longer rolling out to new markets and cities which leaves many of us over in south Arlington (serviced by Alexandria apparently) out in the cold:



  • To be fair, Comcast service is 2x better than WHORE-izon. I remember ditching WHORE-izon 10 years ago when I got Vonage and swore I would never again use any of their services.

    I’m in the process of porting over our company lines to RingCentral and had to deal with WHORE-izon and I remembered why I hate them so much.

  • G

    My comcast internet works fine but I never know what channels I am supposed to get because my lineup constantly changes on its own. Some HD channels that I am technically paying for with the HD DVR don’t work. Comcast could never fix my problems so they just lowered my internet and HDDVR bill… by quite a bit actually. A lot of the residents in my condo have satellite even though we get Comcast TV service for FREE through my condo association! I think that says a lot about Comcast service.

  • Rover

    Comcast are a bunch of thieves. You need to keep a watch on their billing practices. That said, at least there is some (a little) customer service. The same can’t be said for Verizon. I dumped Verizon finally and went to Comcast, the better of two evils.

  • Michelle

    Wow, there are so many people complaining about Comcast. Are you that pressed for cable TV? If you’re in such a shit show why don’t you just cancel it and go without?

    • mehoo

      I just can’t live without watching chicks from Arlington get dumped from The Bachelor, shows about Columbia Pike restaurants on AVN, or reruns of Saved by the Bell. I must have them!

    • FangedFaerie

      Comcast isn’t just cable TV service. For some areas, it’s the only available internet service. For a number of people, it’s also internet-based phone service. So when it’s down 25-50% of the time, that’s a pretty serious problem. And that’s exactly what’s happening to people in my area.

  • Yeah, FiOS guy here. As the author said, “competition is a customer’s best friend”. Whether you like FiOS, Comcast, somebody/nobody else, there is no doubt that having a choice makes each of us more customer responsive, innovative and price competitive.

    We’re working hard to bring fiber to as many condo and apartment communities in Arlington as we can. If you’re interested in having FiOS as a choice in your community, express that you your condo board or property manager/owner and suggest they contact Verizon at http://communities.verizon.com/default.aspx?page=owners

    Residents with questions or inquiries about FiOS availability can reach us either on Twitter at @VerizonSupport or on our Facebook page Verizon FiOS.

    We’d appreciate the opportunity to compete for your business, and understand that we’ll be fired if we don’t measure up. Sorry for the Verizon commercial, but wanted to provide an outlet for all of this creative energy I’m seeing. Sorry, no cage match planned between Verizon Mark and Comcast Mark.

    • mehoo

      But that would settle things so much faster.

      BTW, I’m getting FiOS.

    • Jane Fonda

      Haha! Verizon told our 600+ home community that if EVERYONE agreed to sign up for Fios, they’d consider coming in. Or, if everyone who wanted Fios agreed to cover the non-subscribers’ monthly fees, they’d agree. Really?

      It was a big old middle finger, and right back at you.

      • mehoo

        Why should they spend millions to put lines in if they aren’t sure they’ll get enough customers to justify the cost?

        • Justin Russo

          If they need every single person in the building to justify the cost, there is something wrong with their business plan.

          • mehoo

            Well, sure, if she literally meant every single one. They can’t expect that to happen on any street.

      • Chris

        That is interesting. They added Fios to our N. Arlington Condo (and to the one next door) once the condo board agreed to let them have access to our building and lines to install whatever it is they needed to install. They did all of this before even signing up a customer in the buildings and there was absolutely no requirement that we use Fios. The Con to all of this is that it took about a year to get everything done and one day I couldn’t drive into my building because they had machinery blocking the street to put in the Fios lines from the main junction.

        • Jane Fonda

          It’s not a condo bldg. We are a townhouse community that is legally condo. So it’s very spread out. Once Verizon realized that (and understood what a large and expensive undertaking it would be), they weren’t interested.

          • mehoo

            Yeah, so they made a sound business decision.

            Perhaps your condo association could figure out a joint deal to get them in there.

    • CourthouseGuy

      Yeah please report back to corporate to do something drastic about your awful customer service, and schemes to try and add extra billing charges. Fios TV is great, but it not worth it because they try and rip you off every month with bs charges, and when you actually call in to get it squared away (again), they F- you around until you give up. F – for customer service Verizon. See my previous comment in the into.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    Just be aware that if you switch to FIOS for phone too, that they have to install a powered box at your house, and when the power goes out, it goes to battery backup and when that is done, your phone goes out – I’ll stick with copper wire.

    • Arlington, Northside

      Pretty sure you can still keep a copper line at no additional cost.

      • jan

        tried to no avail

    • mehoo

      I know. Just like a cell phone.

  • Zer

    Its worth noting that Comcast service in Arlington is different from that in the rest of the country. Several years ago Comcast took over for Adelphia in Arlington and kept their legacy equipment. That is why we have fewer HD channels, lousy DVRs, and awful menus. It is also why things like the xfinity iphone app wont work on our systems. Our cable technology is about 3 generations behind comcast customers in the rest of the country. If you know someone in the District with comcast check out their setup some time. Its completely different. I believe parts of Houston and Connecticut are in the same boat as us.

    I’ve talked to several comcast reps about this and they claim Arlington will soon be getting a major upgrade that will add more channels and newer interfaces, but they’ve been saying this for about two years now, so I wouldn’t hold my breath. I’ve had comcast in other places that I’ve lived and it was great. Not so much here in Arlington.

    • ArlBlueSky

      This is the only reason I switched to FIOS as soon as it became available — because Comcast in Arlington is so far behind.

      Comcast’s internet is better IMO than FIOS, but their TV is crap. Fios beats that hand down.

      Comcast’s billing gets an A, Fios’ gets an F.

    • SB

      Wow – really? What decade is it in Manassas then? I know someone with comcast out there who is paying the exact same as me and does not have DVR or the HD channels I have. I thought we were doing well in Arlington.. guess I need to do my research.

    • DB Three

      You’ve hit probably two of my biggest pet peeves about Comcast in Arlington (and the cable/telco industry in general).

      For starters, yes, the equipment is way behind the rest of Comcast’s network. The vast majority of Comcast customers have Motorola boxes with an HD channel count that rivals FiOS. I came from the San Francisco Bay Area where Comcast’s Xfinity service has about 100 more HD channels than Comcast Arlington’s 36. That was easily my biggest motivator in switching to FiOS last May.

      The second issues is the communication. I also heard the same song and dance about the equipment switch/upgrade to Motorola boxes and away from the ancient Scientific Atlanta/Cisco boxes they currently use. I was a little optimistic when Comcast named the Washington metro to Xfinity’s initial launch list but alas, that went nowhere.

      I can at least understand that it takes time to change out a system and convert customers over time, but communication would be AMAZING. Getting a good idea of a realistic time table for transition, plans, etc. would have gone a long way in regards to keeping me a Comcast customer.

      FiOS does an alright job of keeping folks informed about their service through their blog, but it’s far from perfect. The lack of MASN2 for a long time and the complete absence of ESPN Goal Line (think NFL RedZone network for college football) with no word why when every other FiOS subscriber in the country had it was very ridiculous.

  • jonblaze

    Speaking of, has anyone heard any information about when Arlington can expect Comcast to conduct its “digital migration” (aka “World of More”)? I don’t think we’ve had a new HD channel added in over a year.

  • Frustrated

    Lack of choices is definitely the root problem. Comcast is terrible. We live in Avalon at Arlington which finally begain offering FIOS, but Comcast would constantly cut out on us for both Internet and Cable. You try calling, get the runaround. I hope to switch and give FIOS a try when I move out in the spring.

  • Shirlington

    I have Verizon FIOS now but let me tell you my horror story with Comcast 2 years ago. We moved in a new townhome community where we were the only ones with Comcast (we had it in our previous apartment building and had no issues so we transferred service). Everyone else had DirectTV or FIOS. After a few months there, cable service would go out for a little while and would come back. Finally, we lost cable completely and called Comcast who told us that we were the only ones who were reporting an outage so it really wasn’t an issue with them. It must be something in the house. Here what we guessed: Since we were the only ones with that issue and the people on the nearest street didn’t lose cable, the issue must have been between our house and the street. Makes sense right? Not to Comcast. They were condescending and told us that we were not technicians so we possibly couldn’t know what we were talking about. To which I responded: “No, we are not technicians but we can have common sense and can deduct where the issue may be”. They couldn’t (and wouldn’t) do anything about it for 2 weeks. This was around the NFL playoffs and the presidential inauguration. Let me tell you that we were not pleased. We kept calling and being told that a supervisor would call us back. It never happened. Finally, I found the address of the vice-president of customer operations and on a whim sent him a letter. Someone called us 2 days later and a technician was at our door the next day. We promptly switched over to Verizon FIOS which we absolutely love. It’s not cheap but it works. And they haven’t treated us like dogs like Comcast.

  • overpriced

    How come we can’t let another cable service provider in to the county for better service? Comcast has the worst selection and highest prices of them all.

  • Everwood

    After several “no shows” by Comcast, and several bad service calls, I switched to Fios. My experience with the two companies was like night and day. Comcast field staff were the worst. They missed appointments, didn’t bring the proper equipment even though the knew what work needed to be done (e.g., adding a cable card to Tivo), and lacked much in customer service on site. In contrast, my experience with Fios was close to flawless. The technician arrived on time, was friendly and helpful during the installation, and took great care in following up with a personal phone call after the work had been done. I did have fairly good interaction with Comcast’s phone staff – but the rest of the Comcast experience was unprofessional and lacking in quality.

  • R.Griffon

    Love, love LOVE reading this thread. I stopped watching TV with any regularity several years ago, and I’ve never been happier. I canceled my DishNetwork plan (service was actually very good … just tired of paying $70/mo.) and never looked back. I finally bought a digital media receiver as a concession for the wife. It gets Netflix and Hulu (among others) and I think I’m paying about $15/mo. for both combined. Between over-the-air, Netflix, Hulu, and DVDs, we’ve never felt like we were missing anything. Except the big bills, hassle, a bunch of trashy shows, and some white noise in the background that we didn’t need anyways.

    Seriously – cancel your cable/satellite/whatever and after a month or two you’ll wonder why you ever had it in the first place.

    • mehoo

      This will be a good option for more and more people soon.

      • R.Griffon

        Soon? But you can quit your TV addiction NOW!

        But seriously, I know you’re talking about the digital receiver option. I honestly only recommend it as a last resort if you simply MUST have your TV. It’s like going down to “lite” cigarettes – the only healthy option is really to quit altogether.

        • mehoo

          I am not addicted to TV though. I just want to watch it sometimes. And as it stands now, I have to get alot of channels or shows I don’t want in order to get the ones I do want.

          I’m a TV snob just like you, but I still want to watch some TV.

  • Arlingtonian

    Comcast customer service is god-awful. I haven’t experienced any that horrid in a long time. My experience with them was unbelievably bad and I won’t ever use them again if I can help it.

    Fios has been heads and shoulders above anything else I have used so far.

  • Robert

    I switched from Verizon to Comcast for internet 4 weeks ago. Verizon would not give me the promotional rate that was on the mailers they sent me endlessly because that rate was for new customers only! So bye bye Verizon. Given all the negative feedback on Comcast’s customer service I was a bit hesitant about the switch but their price was right and that was the only choice. I know it’s only been 4 weeks but I have to say so far I am impressed. I think it’s clear that they are trying to improve their customer service. They have a guarantee that the tech rep will show up on time (he did), do not have to sign a contract so can cancel at any time, and followed up with an automated survey regarding the service I received. My tech was very personable and professional and stayed until the internet was working as promised. He even gave me his personal cell number and told me to call any time if there was a problem. We’ll see how I feel a year from now but so far, so good. Don’t have, and don’t want cable tv so can’t speak to that side.

  • PMcS

    My favorite Comcast horror story was the phone call I made when the cable went out for no apparent reason. The young man refused to believe that (1) I couldn’t tip my TV forward that had taken two grown men and a dolly to set up and (2)I only had one TV in the house. After 15 minutes of arguing I gave up. I’ve only had to use Verizon’s tech people once and it took 2-3 minutes and was a pleasure!

  • Cyrus

    Hide your wife, hide your children, hide your husbands, because Comcast is coming after them next.

  • Carmen

    So far Comcast has:
    1. tried to charge me for cable for a condo I used to live in,
    2. took 6 technicians and almost 2 weeks to install a working cable card in my Tivo box
    3. took 3 technicians and almost 1 week (a year later) to install another working cable card in a second Tivo box
    4. did something that stalled my cable by the time I got home from their office (3 blocks away),where I went to return their cable box when I replaced it with the Tivo. I begged them not to do anything to mess up my cable while I was at the office.
    5. My internet service went out whenever the cable froze so I replaced that with Verizon
    6. Sent paper and e bills one month that stated my payment was due on the 10th of the following month. I paid on the 9th using bill pay like I always did. The next month I got a bill with a late fee saying I paid late because it was not paid by the 3rd. The crazy person at customer service kept telling me I paid the bill late even though I had a paper and e bill saying it was due on the 10th, just like all the other bills they sent. She told me I should be happy that she waived the late charge. B*tch. Of course the next bill was due on the 10th just like all the others. I used to pay electronically 1 day before the bill was due. Now I pay when I get the bill or no later than 1 week before it is due. I hate Comcast!
    7. They continue to send me paper bills, no matter how many times I asked them to stop, no matter how many times they promise not to send another and despite the fact that I have been an e bill customer since the first day they offered it and always pay on time.

    I hate Comcast with a passion. And I will never again move to any place that has Comcast as the only cable option. NEVER! Sorry to go on and on, but I really hate them!

  • BarbinArlington

    Dad lives in Florida. While we were there in early December we thought we could help him get the new digital Comcast installed. Well, we ended up sitting around one afternoon waiting on Comcast, but they never showed (three hours wasted); two days later, another appointment, Comcast never showed (another three hours wasted). Finally, the day before we were to return to Arlington, a Comcast guy showed up. Is the TV functioning? Barely. Then, to top it off, a few days later, Dad’s TV screen says something about a problem and asked he call comcast. Another afternoon wasted, because now there is absolutely no reception and my aged Dad has decided he will never let Comcast in his home.

  • VaSqJay

    I currently have Comcast TV & internet. If a problem, getting the issue resolved is always a pain in the ass, which many of you have said in the comments. Having Fios in my previous apt, I have to say Fios provides a better service. Not to mention the cable guide is 1000 times easier to navigate. Comcast’s guide looks like something I created in HS computer science back in the 90’s.

  • Courthouse

    When I had Comcast, Internet would ALWAYS go out for days on end during the summer, in nice weather as well as thunderstorms. 3 years in a row. Complete crap.

  • MC

    My Comcast internet went down over New Years, and repeated calls failed to reach a live person. My callback put us on hold, then when I was supposed to be transferred to a human the call mysteriously was disconnected. A return call but me in another 355 minute queue. Calling later in the day had the same result.

    I signed up for FiOS this weekend. I’ve heard plenty for discontented FiOS customers, but while I face hassle having to wait for a technician, at least I get a 33% discount over my Comcast bill, which shows how unreal the pricing is. I’ll quite FiOS the day they raise my bill — there can be no loyalty to abusiveness. Kudos to the County to having a cable complaints department – finally a County service I pay for I might use!

    • MC

      I meant 35 minute wait — the fat thumbing must have been Freudian.

      • mehoo

        Nobody noticed. A 355 minute wait is plausible.

  • Fed up with Comcast, I called to drop my cable service to internet only, which was going to be something like $60/mo. A bit of a rip, but do I have an option? Verizon DSL is not one; I regularly work from home and stream video. I was then told for $50/mo I could have my internet and basic cable as well [and not deal with my HD antenna]. A savings of $10 to get more. :shrug:

    If you’re fed up, give them a call, plan on canceling, and you’ll see a nice discount on your monthly bill. Sure, I no longer get all the bells-and-whistle, but at $.99/episode online, I’m paying a lot less to receive only what I want to see.

  • KathyColumbiaPike

    My condo The Carlyle House is in the process of getting FIOS. It takes some time. The condo board has to work out a contract with Verizon (just completed by them) and then Verizon has to run wires up through our 11 story building and then to each unit. Everything I have read about Verizon service on the Internet is that the reception/performance is great, the techs are good but the billing/sales customer service is awful.

    My past experience with Verizon for phone service/Internet was aggravating. When I moved to a different apt in the same building in Arlington, they kept charging me for an extra phone line I had in the old apt even though I did not live there anymore. Then when I moved to another condo, instead of transferring my DSL service to it, they started up a new DSL service for me and kept charging me for the old DSL service at the old location. I took a lot of calls to get my current DSL service and old email address back and working at my new address. And many calls to try and cut the duplicate service and get refunded. Everytime I called they had a different excuse why I should not get refunded. They also claimed they did not have any of the billing available and I had to fax them all the disputed bills. I only got part of what I was due and then gave up because of all the stress involved. My coworkers would laugh when they heard my raised voice in cubicle land “She must be on the phone with Verizon!”

    So we may get FIOS in our building but I am leery of making any changes in my service. I have the limited $20 Comcast cable TV service because it is the only way I can get TV at all. I do want to get some TV. Our building TV antenna no longer works and will not transmit the digital signal (I don’t have the newer TV anyway) because it is the wrong . So few people in our building were using only the TV antenna the condo board could not justify the $8,000 cost to get the new digital antenna.

  • Pox on Both Houses

    Wow! By the tenor of these remarks, I’m glad I don’t have cable at all. Between Netflix and the FREE HD channels I get over the air, I’m perfectly content. If I want to watch the big game that’s being broadcast over ESPN, I merely saunter down to the end of the street and pay a visit to the innumerable bars that dot our fair county. Oh- and if I want to waste time on my computer, the Java Shack is open with lotsa tasty coffee and FREE wi-fi.

    Amazing. This string really is a First-World Lament. Oh- and yeah, I’m also one of *those* people who don’t have a car (I get plenty of exercise WALKING to our WONDERFUL public library for a BOOK -remember books?) Not trying to sound pious, but c’mon people. Remember the key priciple of Buddism: “Attachment is the source of our suffering”.

    • Just the Facts

      Glad you like living your life the way you do. Not glad you like telling us how to live our lives.

      I also think that if you’re going to cite Buddhism you should learn how to spell it.

  • R0bespierre

    These morons only completed half my install back in September, so I waited on hold for about 30 minutes to get to a person, who proceeded to first tell me that they could not get the guy back out, and then once I asked for the manager, suddenly the guy COULD come back out, but the following morning.

    So then they came out and finished hte install, actually bringing the modem with them this time, and then they forgot to bring a cable card for the Tivo.

    So I had to schedule again.

    This time, the guy apparently “got into an accident” on the way to my place and could not install the card.

    When he did finally show up at the next appointment, he didn’t even bother to tack down the cabling to the baseboard, just left it strewn across my floor and left after hooking it up.

    I was a FIOS user for 4 years and moved to a building that only has Comcast and I have to say they are the damn crappiest shit I have ever laid my monopolized, vicimized eyes upon.

    RIP COMCAST 1980-2011

  • R0bespierre

    Key principle of the post above mine: Mmmmmm SSRI’s

  • fettman24

    That sounds horrible, that is not what I consider customer service. As a DISH employee I am aware that DISH has beaten Comcast for 10 straight years in customer satisfaction. When technicians are scheduled they call before they leave to double check the work order and make sure all of the equipment is with them. All of this on top of having the lowest every day all digital price in America.

  • Philip

    comcast sucks. haven’t had a month go by that I don’t have a problem.

  • Jake

    Wish I could have voted in the poll – Comcast is the single worst company I have ever dealt with. HORRIBLE

  • What time does that public hearing start – between 9 AM and 5 PM?

  • mariana

    I’ve had beef with Comcast for a long, long time. My parents had it in California and it didn’t work properly, so mom had to call a few times and they told her she was stupid. Literally. Don’t speak to my mom that way.

    A close friend’s boyfriend worked there as well as attested to the fact that, at least at the time, service calls were paid out by call regardless of whether the problem had been solved. This creates incentive not to solve the problem and get more calls, which was exactly the scam he said they were running.

    I now live in DC and Comcast has a monopoly here. I REFUSE to get tv service because I don’t want to support that terrible company with inflated prices. Its been 3 years and my boycott is still going strong. I’d get Direct TV but my HOA is obtuse. That’s a whole other beef.

    Comcast should review its customer service record and renew its commitment to the people who pay a pretty penny to keep it in business.

  • Richard Thompson

    Met with Comcast sales rep to explore
    switching from AT&T. (they have their
    own set service horrors). Meeting went
    well enough. I received the information
    that I wanted and sent the rep away with
    clear understanding that I was inclined
    to switch but would contact her after
    considering other optoons if I wanted
    Comcast. Around 4 that same afternoon,
    I received a call from someone explaining
    there was a problem completing the switch
    by the promised date. It appears that the
    Comcast rep tried to enroll me into their
    plan without my knowledge or permission.
    Is this a fluke rogue salesperson or is this
    a c— practice?

  • Richard Thompson

    Oops. Last sentence should read: Is this a common practice? The delete key on Ipod is next to the M key!

  • Richard Thompson

    I want to add that after this post, I
    was immediately contacted by a national
    Comcast rep and assured that the practice
    that I described is absolutely not sanctioned.
    I offer my comment to see if others have
    had similar experiences.

    I want to believe that this will be taken very
    seriously by Comcast as has been indicated.

    is COMCAST’s customer service.


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