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An Alternative View

By Diana Diamond

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About this blog: So much is right — and wrong — about what is happening in Palo Alto. In this blog I want to discuss all that with you. I know many residents care about this town, and I want to explore our collective interests to help ...  (More)

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Comcast, what are you doing to us?

Uploaded: Jun 23, 2022
The problems started a week ago – it was a Tuesday. I was sitting in front of my computer when I suddenly could not connect to any internet site. And across the screen the ominous black box appeared “No internet connection.”

Okay, I said. I’ll be able to connect in a couple of minutes – this often happens. I’ll call Jean in the interim. I picked up the phone and got that fast busy signal – no connection. And then I turned on my TV only to see the “no internet” message across my screen.

Comcast was out – again.

A half-hour later, my husband, who was working in his office upstairs, said he just received a notice from Comcast that they will be doing maintenance work in the area and we should expect some interruptions the next few days. They were right about that. Twice more that afternoon, three times Wednesday, four on Thursday and two on Friday – all during working hours.

Well, maintenance is understandable and needed, but couldn’t they have given a forewarning on Monday, as a courtesy to customers?

Why my complaint? Because one of Comcast’s unannounced interruptions came five minutes before I had a scheduled virtual meeting with my physician, which can take weeks to get. When I didn’t appear, the appointment was scrubbed. And on Thursday I was trying to make an appointment with my dermatologist whose assistant told me that the office was now booking for September. She paused, and suddenly said, “Oh t here’s a cancellation for this Thursday at 4 p.m. Can you make it? “Yes, I quickly said.” “

“I can’t hear you. Are you still there? Can you make it? Guess not. Sorry,” and she hung up.

The very next day, I had a different video meeting with two physicians at a Stanford clinic that disappeared midway. Comcast disconnect again.

This intermittent lack of service problem has continued for the past ten days.

In another matter, I tried to contact Comcast about a minor problem I had the past two weeks in reaching a friend: My call to her cell phone doesn’t ring, but goes immediately to voice mail. She told me I’m the only one who has this problem.

Enter the Comcast online robot: The voice wrote, “Which of these best describes your problem?” a) billing, b) my phone doesn’t work c) call blocking or d) call forwarding.

None of the above. So I write “agent” to the robot – and I get the same four options once again. And the third time I press (b) hoping to talk to someone. After 15 minutes with a useless back-and-forth semi-dialogue with the robot, I write in caps, “I WANT TO TALK TO A LIVE AGENT!”

Soon I am in a “live” written chat with a person named Erin who can’t seem to understand my problem. In frustration, I again ask in writing to talk to a live agent, this message in caps, bold faced and underlined, and Erin replied she will work on it. Late Friday afternoon I got I get a phone call from Susan: “How can I help you today?”

Can you read the conversation I had with the robot and Erin? No, Susan said, but added she would call me back. And now it is Thursday and no call back.

Back to go, I guess. The problem is still not resolved.

But a couple of days earlier, one of the Comcast reps did call and said in that because of my difficulties, they would give us faster service for only $3 more a month. Very nice gesture, I thought. I thanked the rep.

When the new Comcast gateway package arrived, along with the agreement, at the bottom of the page, in fine print, it said by accepting this, I have agreeds to a two-year automatic extension of Comcast services! That was NEVER indicated in the phone conversation.

My husband tried to install the new software they sent, but ran into problems so he contacted their help team.

This time their PR team got ahead of the help response. They sent him this message:

“Thank you so much for the verification !
From Agent,
Comcast appreciates your business and values you as a customer. Our goal is to provide you with excellent service.
From Agent,
It is a pleasure to chat with a customer like you. You have been amazing and very patient with me, probably the best customer I had today.

It was a pleasure chatting with a customer like you! You have shown utmost cooperation and it was heartwarming. Thank you for your time. You be careful and take care of your family, you make a difference in the world !!”

Yesterday, I was into the first 15 minutes of a 1-1/2 hour Zoom meeting when my screen disappeared. Comcast was down for the next 75 minutes. I missed the entire meeting

I started screaming at the phone, with a few loud dammits delivered to Comcast in the process. How can they do this to a faithful customer!!!!!

The problem is they can – and they did.

I am writing this because I know I am not the only one who is going through these “communication” problems with telephone trees, robots, inevitable long telephone waits. They are in control, not me.

What’s the solution? I simply don’t know.

I do know I am now at the point that when another no service thing happens, I immediately get angry remembering all my previous problems.

What is wrong? This never used to happen? Does Comcast even care about us?
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Mondoman, a resident of Green Acres,
on Jun 23, 2022 at 12:08 pm

Mondoman is a registered user.

One option is to have multiple Internet sources so all your eggs are not in one basket. We've got ATT for internet, TV and landline, but have an additional cheapo Comcast network hookup, and T Mobile cell phones. T Mobile has also recently been pushing a wireless to the house "fixed" internet connection.

Posted by Justin Taylor, a resident of Stanford,
on Jun 23, 2022 at 1:51 pm

Justin Taylor is a registered user.

Geeze...doesn't the older generation have a clue?

In the event your home wi-fi goes down, just use 'data' on your smartphone to connect to the internet, Zoom, Netflix etc.

There is a screen on your iPhone (or Android device) with dual cameras along with a pair of speakers for audio.

Or you could simply take your laptop or cellphone to a cafe, coffee shop, grocery store, or the library to access the internet via their complimentary/free wi-fi.

When a router or the internet goes down, there is no need for panic. Trying to get resolution from internet provider customer service reps is an exercise in futility.

Posted by Bob+Ohlmann, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on Jun 23, 2022 at 2:35 pm

Bob+Ohlmann is a registered user.

I happen to use AT&T for Internet and mobile and landline phones and never had an occasion that you describe, Diana. Perhaps the problem is picking a poor service provider, Comcast.


Posted by WilliamR, a resident of another community,
on Jun 23, 2022 at 8:45 pm

WilliamR is a registered user.

Some years ago, Comcast used the advertising slogan, "It's Comcastic", until unhappy customers turned the line into a term of derision, and the company stopped using it.

Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Jun 24, 2022 at 9:10 am

Online Name is a registered user.

A long time ago when I cancelled Comcast cable and returned the equipment to the nearest Fedex as instructed, I kept my shipping receipts. Good thing, too, since they kept calling me, trying to charge me hundreds of dollars for the equipment I'd already returned. Did they leave a call-back number? Of course not.

Finally after numerous dunning calls, I called NEW ACCOUNTS or ADD Services and got a human very quickly. I told them the situation and asked in what order they wanted the numbers on the receipt: time of day of shipping? number of pieces shipped back to them? etc.

I did get numerous follow-up calls from them with special offers but oddly they never wanted to know why I cancelled.

Posted by Mark Goren, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jun 25, 2022 at 11:20 am

Mark Goren is a registered user.

Spectrum TV/internet is the only way to go and they also offer 5g cellphone service.

Verizon, AT&T, Comcast etc. are less than stellar providers of these services.

Posted by Kait Marcus, a resident of another community,
on Jun 25, 2022 at 11:22 am

Kait Marcus is a registered user.

I live in RW Shores and use Comcast for TV and Internet, Verizon for my phone. When Comcast goes down occasionally, Verizon always comes through.

Posted by MyFeelz, a resident of another community,
on Jun 26, 2022 at 6:29 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Justin, not every phone has tethering capabilities. And it's not about being "clueless" to know how to find that or know how to set it up. It's not a "push a button and boom you are tethering". As for going to a public wi-fi hotspot, I hardly think that affords the kind of privacy a person wants and needs for a medical appointment. Lastly, we are paying for home internet service. Not paying to subsidize them while they rebuild the network (that's what I was told, "We're rebuilding the network") at my expense while they drill baby, drill.

Posted by CC, a resident of University South,
on Jun 27, 2022 at 11:50 am

CC is a registered user.

The Comcast ‘down' issues the past 6 months has been atrocious. I have used Comcast since the 90's with few issues.

But boy has that changed! My bill keeps going up and my internet keeps failing.

Looking at new providers stat!!!!

Posted by CC, a resident of University South,
on Jun 27, 2022 at 11:50 am

CC is a registered user.

The Comcast ‘down' issues the past 6 months has been atrocious. I have used Comcast since the 90's with few issues.

But boy has that changed! My bill keeps going up and my internet keeps failing.

Looking at new providers stat!!!!

Posted by Old Person, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 27, 2022 at 1:50 pm

Old Person is a registered user.

Geeze, Justin, no need to bring ageism into this. There's nothing wrong with wanting something you're paying for and expecting decent customer service. Getting internet access from a grocery store is less than ideal for some people. Do you know about unsecured networks?

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Fairmeadow,
on Jun 27, 2022 at 2:06 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

The same thing happened to my neighborhood in October last year. (I live in the 3600 block of South Court.). I even wrote a letter to the editor of Palo Alto Weekly, though they did not use my letter. I now include the letter below.


Like many residents of Palo Alto, I use Comcast Xfinity for my internet connection from home. On October 5 I experienced a very long internet outage, starting from about 8am and ending at about 3pm. I did not receive any advance warning about the outage from Comcast. A similarly long outage also occurred on September 28, from about 7am to 12:30pm. I did receive an advance notice about that outage, but the notice gave no hint about how long the outage would last or precisely when it would start. Judging from my email correspondences with my neighbors, many of them also experienced the same problem.

With most people still working home, I believe this kind of unprofessional behavior on the part of Comcast is unacceptable and should not be encouraged. So I went to the Comcast store at 2825 El Camino Real to demand a refund for the loss of internet connection for the two days. I was told they would give me the refund. I was also offered a $30/month reduction of my Xfinity bill for the next two years. (The offer does have the catch of extending my Xfinity contract by one year, which I consider acceptable because (so far as I know) there is no real alternative to Xfinity for high-speed internet connection in our neighborhood as AT&T Fibre is still not available in Palo Alto.)

I think my experience deserves to be better known in the Palo Alto community. In particular, anyone who has suffered from prolonged Comcast internet outage should go and get a refund and a similar fee reduction from Comcast. A company like Comcast is more likely to change its behavior for the better if its bad behavior has real financial consequences.

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Fairmeadow,
on Jun 27, 2022 at 2:12 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

Another thing you should do is to complain to the FCC:

Web Link

That will get Comcast's attention. They may even offer you more discounts. The most important point is not taking this lying down and to hold Comcast responsible. A corporation like Comcast does not change its behavior until its bad behavior has real financial consequences.

Posted by MyFeelz, a resident of another community,
on Jun 27, 2022 at 3:26 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Here's a bit of irony. Just yesterday I wrote about Comcast making us "subsidize them while they rebuild the network". Today I got an email from CPAU asking me to submit a $50 deposit so they can use it to "show interest" in a City-run ISP. No guarantee of ever getting it back if not enough interest is shown. They want us to finance the build out. I laughed out loud.

Posted by TLM, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jun 27, 2022 at 3:54 pm

TLM is a registered user.

We just this week switched to AT&T Fiber. The biggest difficulty of the switch was the amount of time it took to tell the Comcast chat help 15 different ways that I do NOT want a better deal, I just want to cancel and return my equipment. The Fiber is 5-10x faster than the Comcast/Xfinity internet was, and less than half the price we were paying for internet + landline. Sonic also installs AT&T Fiber.

Posted by Virginia Smedberg, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Jun 28, 2022 at 3:10 am

Virginia Smedberg is a registered user.

Justin - as another writer said - don't bring "ageism" into this. Lots of us were born on the other side of the digital divide. We deserve to be given the service we are paying for. If it's as easy as you say, you should make your services available for free to help those of us who aren't as tech-savvy as you.

Posted by PhilB, a resident of St. Claire Gardens,
on Jul 20, 2022 at 11:40 am

PhilB is a registered user.

Comcast used to be reliable. REecently, the email server stopped working properly. It got so bad that I documented everything I could (with screen shots, etc) and wrote a six page letter to the office of the CEO.

I did get a call back, but the agent was completely defensive and blamed everything on my desktop Outlook, even though I had documented that some of the issues originated on their web email server. He refused to take any further action, after saying that I would need to talk with the email server team. Then he REFUSED to set up a meeting for me. It seemed that my technical knowledge of the issues was better than his.

At this point, I feel like spittng hi-caliber bullets. I've actually looked Verizon and AT&T, but I really don't like their service plans. I use my own WiFi router, (better than ISP routers), and I don't want to be forced back into an ISP router. I also looked into Comcast business service, which is much more expensive and also very restrictive.

So I'm not sure what to do next. I can't spend all my time fighting Comcast. I have other things to do.

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