The Water Cooler – The Worst Customer Service Experience on the Phone

July 15, 2014 12:00 pm · 76 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it! The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon!

Today’s question:

Recently, a man tried to cancel his service with Comcast, but the Comcast representative on the phone kept arguing with the man, telling him why he should stay with Comcast. It took over 8 minutes for the representative to finally agree to disconnect the account.

What’s the worst customer service experience you’ve ever had over the phone?

Talk about it….

What security July 15, 2014 at 12:06 PM

I had a real estate agent who had us sign a contract that we would not work with anybody else for 45 days after he worked with us. NEVER sign something like that. Our agent sucked we had to fire him.
tried to get us to buy a condo from his friend from his office for 230K, during the down period well we bought a condor for half of that…

just a concordian July 15, 2014 at 12:08 PM

I am the nightmare of all CS reps. Every time I call, all of them have bad experiences.

Justin July 15, 2014 at 12:13 PM

As a side note – I’m ditching Comcast for Astound today. I’m really excited, though after hearing that recording I’m wondering what’s in store for me.

TJ Jones July 15, 2014 at 12:18 PM

California DMV.

.. need I say more?

Kirkwood July 15, 2014 at 12:25 PM

I had a similar experience to the Comcast one when Astound came to town and I decided to switch from AOL. It was well known at the time that AOL made it difficult to cancel. When I called, they tried many offers and finally transferred me to a customer retention specialist. It took several more minutes of refusals to finally cancel my AOL service.
The C.C. Times is similar but at least when you are transferred back to the states you can negotiate.

tam July 15, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Comcast, Wells Fargo

Fumunda July 15, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Any customer service rep that doesn’t speak English , which now a days is everyone , yahoo is a perfect example .
Hello , my name is bob

BadExperiencesss July 15, 2014 at 12:37 PM

The worst customer experience:
1. Dealing with my bank. I called my bank to discuss some charges on my credit card. The customer service person started to lecture me about these charges and how I needed to meet with a credit counselor. I paid off and closed my credit card account and plan to find a new bank.
2. Dealing with the customer service line for computer issues. I called the customer service number provided by the makers of my computer. The customer service people had fake American names with heavy accents. They were not able to speak very good English and kept passing me around and around and for each time I was passed around, I was charged. I needed my PC to work. It was terrible. Sent an email to someone at the company to complain, but nothing happened with that. I will NEVER get another computer from this company and have since shut down this PC.

MamaP July 15, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Gomgast. Vilkom to Gomgast. My name is LEEEEEEEEza (said in a very husky voice). How may I pleasure you vit EGGSLANT custooomer serbice! (My right hand to God).

Diablo July 15, 2014 at 12:47 PM

DMV! I’ve never felt more need to shoot someone in the face with a bazooka than talking with them!

AT&T at&t PacBell July 15, 2014 at 1:01 PM

both old and new versions.

Anytime there is a monopoly run by a Union, the customers are doomed.

I yi yi July 15, 2014 at 1:03 PM

When they speak broken English with a Indian or filipino accent.

WCmom July 15, 2014 at 1:03 PM

My parents and inlaws, both–horrible experience with Comcast.

Me, had a raving beeotch from WF.

kax July 15, 2014 at 1:06 PM

ANY of the dozen or so times i’ve tried to resolve something over the phone with AT&T….hour and a half MINIMUM…..and trying to get a human that speaks recognizable English is next to impossible…

Anon July 15, 2014 at 1:08 PM

LOL @MamaP Same thing it doesn’t matter what company you call I think they all have the same person answer the phone.

Rob July 15, 2014 at 1:11 PM

I was on a Comcast account with a girlfriend and she was the primary. When the relationship ended and she moved out – we called Comcast together to have the account moved into my name only and it all sounded good on the call.

60 minutes after the call our internet, TV and phone went down.

Called Comcast – was told that they had cancelled the account and opened a new account and that it would take 2 WEEKS for the service to be established.

The first person was of no help what so ever – other then to say we shouldn’t have canceled the account we explained (again) that we just wanted the contract changed to be in my name only.

We hung up – called back – finally got someone who knew what they were doing and in 10 minutes it was all fixed – and the tech person who fixed it said that the original person who canceled the contract probably did it because by opening a new contract they would get credit for it…

Bean Counters July 15, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Amazing when the bean counters overwhelm sane sensible management.
Off shoring customer service may make sense to bean counters, but is long term a disaster.

While they may speak English, it does not mean they have mastered American concepts or values. Fastest way to keep a customer is to solve their problem efficiently, conversely best way to drive a customer away for life is to make their life more difficult.

Dorothy July 15, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Trying just to get to a live person on the phone with Comcast! Then you get the run around until the last time they transfer you it’s to someone who will help for a fee – unless they just disconnect you entirely.

I am so waiting for Astound to be able to come into my area but Comcast has a lock on it with my city. Don’t want AT&T either.

Next on the list, any time I have to push more than 2 buttons to get anywhere. Automated systems are not customer service, more like customer torture.

LostBoysMom July 15, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Comcast and ATT are the worst! Over the past year we have switched to Astound and Verizon and have had excellent customer service.

anon July 15, 2014 at 1:32 PM

AAA to cancel auto insurance.
AOL to cancel service.

MusicLovr July 15, 2014 at 1:44 PM

AT&T was a nightmare and I’ve dropped them forever. Literatlly transferred around to 7 different people who gave 7 completely different responses to my situation. Ultimately, a service tech was scheduled for the equipment that didn’t work. No tech showed up. Last straw – I cancelled. A week and a half later, an AT&T tech showed up, confused about this service call as it seems I’m not currently an active customer. I couldn’t blame the guy, it’s not his fault, but really?? This was not the first time I experienced such “customer services” from AT&T, but I made sure it was the last time.

Blink July 15, 2014 at 1:48 PM

So happy when we moved to concord for astound…high pressure of comcast not my choice ever…dumped att for virgin mobile….love it!


It is easy to file a case there are even company that will file your paperwork and serve who you are suing for you the cost is around $120 and you will get it back if you win!

Look up Small Claims help or use.



If ASTOUND is in your area make the switch you will be glad you did!

Anonymous July 15, 2014 at 2:01 PM

ANY of the cable companies, but Comcast certainly stands out as horrendous at customer service. For the most part, have been happy with DirecTV, though the last time I called to complain about the most recent jump in my charges the Rep wanted to remind me that “…at one time, you had those nice, introductory rates (about 1/3 of what I pay now), too.” WTF?! So after being a loyal customer for 6 years, I should be happy to take it up the a** because I “once” had low rates??! Lookin’ forward to the end of our contract with them.

green July 15, 2014 at 2:02 PM

just tell him you are moving to a relative’s house which already has cable or that you are going to be homeless whenbthe sheriff comes to evict you tomorrow. works for at&t and directv too.


If you sue them and you get a judgment against them it goes on the court record and every time they get sued you can use these cases to support your case!

The real question is HOW MUCH ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE!

ClayDen July 15, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Comcast is probably the worst, but Sears appliance service isn’t far behind. I got fed up with Comcast over 3 years ago and switched to DirectTV. I have never had an outage since I switched and am never going back to Comcast. I have had pretty good service with my AT&T cell phones, and even my AT&T internet DSL. However the wait times with AT&T DSL tend to be very long, but once I get to a human they usually resolve my problem.

LostBoysMom July 15, 2014 at 2:22 PM

I forgot to mentioned tat when I had comcast, they flaked on not one but two scheduled service visits When I tried to call to find out what was going on I could not get a live person. I got $30 off my bill for two missed days of work!!!


Why are you people paying to be treated this way?

That's All Folks! July 15, 2014 at 2:33 PM

I canceled Comcast in person at their office in Concord, no problem.
I switched to Dish, now I’m a happy camper.

bad CU July 15, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Comast and ATT are the worst companies ever, for service and customer support, I switched my internet and have never looked back.

Me July 15, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Condescending DMV and MPD. Paid my registration but needed smog to get tags. Car is a diesel. MPD towed my car due to expired registration but the registration was paid for and counting down until next year. the MPD and top DMV official could not explain why the car was towed since the registration was paid and pending only smog. The lack of competence and corruption at play here cost me 650.00 to get my registered but pending smog car out of the tow yard. we live in a state where personal property means nothing, and your belongings can be confiscated from your property.

foonman July 15, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Astound is better, however, they can get their head up their butt also. I pay about 130.00 a month(for years now) and rec’d a double bill (two months). I called and asked if there was a mistake. I was informed they didn’t rec payment for the previous month. As luck would have it, I had the bank statement in front of me. I had the cancelled check that they had deposited with all their bank info on the back. She said I would have to make copies and send them to her so they could investigate……I told her to look out in the parking lot and see if the office mgr had purchased a new Mercedes……she had no humor…..I wondered if I really had to be on the defensive and took the copies to the local astound office and was told “whats their problem”? He just made an entry and it was done. The local office was very nice and accommodating. I still have Astound and had no other problems………………

CalmCrapst July 15, 2014 at 3:22 PM

My man has had the worst customer service from ComCast. They accused him of “stealing service”…how does one “steal” service. He had had comcast for years and when they found out he had channels that he shouldn’t have had, they accused him of stealing those channels. Have heard nothing but complaints from most people about comcast.

I have had no problems with Astound except for the time one of their installers took my heavy duty cable and then denied it. At least when I call Astound, someone who speaks fluent English answers the phone. They have great phone etiquiette and are very helpful as well. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Comcast, Intel, and many many others should take customer service lessons from Astound.

PhilthyPHRESH July 15, 2014 at 3:33 PM

That guy was a passive liberal not trying to pay his bills.

skrab July 15, 2014 at 3:36 PM

B of A is the worst. When doing online bill pay, I inadvertently paid $8750 for my Verizon bill instead of $87.50. Verizon was able to reverse the payment immediately. I had just started a new job and had not been paid yet, so I had less than $8750 in my checking account. As a result, the account went into overdraft. It took B of A well over 4 months to take the account out of overdraft. During that time, I could not deposit any money into the account because it all went towards the overdraft, even though the account wasn’t really overdrafted. (I had no choice but to use credit cards during that time.) I also had a B of A visa card at that time. Each month, the card was billed crazy overdraft fees because overdraft protection automatically kicked in every time the bank account was in overdraft status. I spent many hours on the phone during that four months. The people at the branch couldn’t help me because they have nothing to do with online bill pay. Customer service couldn’t do anything for me because they lacked authority to take my account out of overdraft status. The B of A credit card people are not really part of the banking division, so they couldn’t help me either. Finally, after about 4 months B or A manager called and apologized and unfroze my account. She also gave me $500. At the point it was too late, I ended up opening an account with the credit union and cancelling the B of A account once it was unfrozen.

Incognito July 15, 2014 at 3:41 PM

I switched from Comcast to Astound as soon as Astound came into my neighborhood. I have been 100% satisfied. Always get a live person on the phone very quickly, they are very helpful in walking through instructions, if needed, on the phone, and their service at my home has always been top notch. I have a bundle package with them for internet, cable, and my land line. AT & T recently tried to convince me to switch to them (they are mobile carrier) and they said they could save me $30 a month, I declined.

Incognito July 15, 2014 at 3:43 PM

As far as my worst customer service experience, I’d have to say anytime I have to speak to someone who clearly is from another country (and may actually be in that country) it ends up not being a good customer service experience.

AT&T is the Worst July 15, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Comcast actually has the best customer service ever.

AT&T charge you for services that you did not even order and it is impossible for them to correct. They will leave you on hold forever or not even answer. I gave up trying to get them to forgive the bill.

Just paid $180.00 for nothing just because I did not want to damage my credit score.

I Hate AT&T I will never deal with them again.

AT&T Sucks! July 15, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Don’t even deal with them, They are the Worst Scam artist.

Free Credit July 15, 2014 at 4:05 PM

They will charge you month after month after month. It took me four months calling them over and over to tell them Quit putting charges on my credit card.

They would say everything is OK, we took care of it. Then next month there it is again, another charge. Call them again same thing. After 4 months the idiots got it right and quit charging me.

$180 charges for 4 months for something I did not want.

Fam July 15, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Comcast! !

Comcastic disconnection July 15, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Audio (unbelievable!): (found online)

Lulu1949 July 15, 2014 at 4:45 PM

FYI folks…..I found out from an AT&T rep that if you reach a person with a foreign accent and you can’t understand him/her, you can request an agent “stateside.” They will be more than happy to connect you to a rep in the good old United States!

Patricia July 15, 2014 at 4:45 PM

ATT hands down. You would think that the telephone company could at least train their people to transfer a call without hanging up on you. But, a normal call to them involves 5 transfers, 3 hang ups and 0 resolutions. And in between, while you are waiting for someone to answer, they play a recording saying that you can resolve your issue on line at their website. If I could, why in hell would I be sitting on hold at their phone center. I just moved out of Concord and have a choice of ATT or Comcast where I am. I chose ATT, but don’t think I would have done better with Comcast. I miss Astound!

dilligafman July 15, 2014 at 4:47 PM

The I.R.S.- I’ve been fighting with them for 4 months. The refund for my deceaced father. 4 months of talking to IDIOTS!!! They think I’ll give up but I will not!!!

happy July 15, 2014 at 4:47 PM

comcast and At&t

Isabeau July 15, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Computer support line for a new computer. I must have called three different times (after following the “troubleshooting” steps they gave me) and each time, the person would NOT deviate from his script. If I interrupted to tell him I already tried that, he would insist on continuing to read the script.

When I got a supervisor on the line, he was reading from HIS script. I had finally figured out the problem (bad memory DIMM) but could not get anyone to acknowledge it. I’m very patient/accommodating and this was the first time I ever yelled at a stranger in sheer anger and frustration. Oh and I never did get satisfaction – I just removed the DIMM to stop the crashing.

I’ve since gone with another manufacturer and will refuse to buy again from that first vendor.

Teacher Wannabe July 15, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Comcast gets the #1 rating for WORST customer service every year by every rating service. I can attes to that. I’ve never had a problem w AT&T. Best CS around.

Killjoy July 15, 2014 at 5:18 PM

Yeah, it was Comcast. I made the fateful decision to “bundle” for a better deal. I looked at all the channels they were going to give us, and decided there was nothing I wanted. So I tried to lower the deal and get rid of all the channels. They said it was a package deal, so I told them to stop the upgrade, and don’t bundle anything but to leave my service alone the way it was.
No. They cut all our channels back to basic service. When I called and complained, they insisted everything was fine, but there was a service outage in my area.
Three calls later, I got the same stories from all the lousy techs. Yet all my neighbors had no issues with their service.
I asked for a supervisor, who told me the same story of an outage in my area. I informed him of my neighbors service being fine. I had to ask for his boss.
That person again told me of an outage, but at least listened to reason that no others were having issues.
He sent a reset signal to all my cable boxes, and lo and behold, my cable was back.
I then asked him “Okay, now that we know for a fact that there wasn’t a service outage, because if there was, I still wouldn’t have cable, what are you going to do for me for lousy service and being outright lied to by the previous four technicians I spoke to?” I also had names, dates and times.

I don’t know what happened on their end, but they compensated me for my troubles.

LostBoysMom July 15, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Its interesting nobody has mentioned working with ANY bank on trying to get a loan modification. Months and months of submitting the same paperwork over and over and then they call you and tell you they need it yet again! Then on the phone they say everything looks good and then you get a letter saying they need more, Absolute nightmare.

I have to also mention after we dropped Comcast for Astound, Comcast has been begging for us to come back. Letters, emails, etc. Sorry, they already blew it and we had been customers for over 20 years.

SpankyFortuna July 15, 2014 at 6:07 PM

I must add that Astound HAD great service. Lately I have spoken to several Einsteins.

SpankyFortuna July 15, 2014 at 6:09 PM

P.S. @#12 I couldn’t agree more. I always ask them to speak more slowly and enunciate. Clearer, not louder.

Wilma July 15, 2014 at 6:17 PM

I have to say comcast is the worst around.

Isaac July 15, 2014 at 6:17 PM

I have been a Comcast customer for nearly 10 years at 5 homes in 3 states and have been completely satisfied. I have had options to switch to Verizon, AT&T, Astound, and others. Have never even considered it.

No, I don’t work for Comcast nor have I ever.

Also, as a former customer service rep and current salesperson, I am compelled to ask you all to not be so abusive to people like us. All we are trying to do is our jobs. Maybe there’s better ways that certain individuals could handle specific situations, but please don’t demonize all of us.

We’re your neighbor, your friend, your family, someone with stuff going on in our lives. We understand that you have complaints, questions, concerns, whatever. Just treat us like humans.


Michelle July 15, 2014 at 6:17 PM

By far, comcast!

anon July 15, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Astound is the best.

itsme July 15, 2014 at 6:39 PM

Without a doubt…..ATT!!!!!!!

ccat July 15, 2014 at 6:53 PM

@Skrab Thank you for your post. I was considering Billpay and now I’m going to stay out of it. What a nightmare.

Cowellian July 15, 2014 at 6:54 PM

My name is Peggy.

Cautiously Informed July 15, 2014 at 7:07 PM

AT&T. They are the absolute worst, in so many ways. They are immoral thieves who have payed-off the government and big lawyers to get away with what they do. And, they try to come across with their ads as an honest, forthright, and caring corporation.

Chevrolet girl July 15, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Funny thing …we cancelled AT&T when Astound came to our neighborhood. The AT&T tech came out to disconnect the wire to the pole, looked up at the pole, looked over to the house, and back up to the pole. My husband walked out with the wire in hand and said, here ya go, I’m never going back to AT&T. The tech laughed and said that’s all I’m doing today, disconnect calls.

Skippy July 15, 2014 at 7:51 PM

LOL, I heard he wanted to leave Comcast to go to Astound. I love Astound and have nothing but great service from them for 10 years or so. He’ll get a completely different experience from them, and save some $$ in the process.

nono July 15, 2014 at 8:29 PM

Astound sucks. Comcast sucks. AT&T sucks. Contra Costa Times sucks. Everyone that’s outsourced their call centers sucks.

What’s up with all the “Astound is great” commercials? Have Astound employees flooded I personally tried several times to get Astound to fix our internet service and they kept telling me it wasn’t anything on their end. I switched to Comcast and haven’t had problems. Astound came to the door a year later and said squirrels had eaten the covering on the wires coming into the house. The person said he could fix it, and would we come back to Astound? I said Hell no, I’m not going back until Comcast fails, and then I’ll think about it! LOL

ChampagneKitty July 15, 2014 at 9:00 PM

Now this is a topic that I know a lot about. I can tell you that there is a good chance that the Comcast employee was trained to behave the way he did and the company is only embarrassed because it is being made so public.

Anger at Home July 15, 2014 at 10:00 PM

The absolute worst that I have had to deal with is Fidelity Home Warranty. They are a complete nightmare to deal with. They will use every trick in the book to deny your claims when you try to use the product that you were sold. Plus, their customer service people are very difficult to deal with as it is quite obvious that they do not have an education higher than 8th grade. They are rude and accusatory. It is very annoying.

Comcast is a close second.

Antler July 15, 2014 at 10:23 PM

ChanpagneKitty at #66 …… And didn’t you once tell us that customer service employees are under pressure to spend no more than 90 seconds “handling” each customer? So perhaps THAT is the reason they speak so rapidly?

ChampagneKitty July 15, 2014 at 11:05 PM

Antler #68–Yes I did. That’s how it was at my former job which was a different employer than Comcast, but in the same industry. All of our calls were timed and we were continually threatened with disciplinary action if we took “too long” talking to customers. I have been told that I provided too much customer service. Some of my co-workers talked really fast to shave the seconds down. Like this Comcast employee, it was also part of my job responsibility to try to talk customers into not disconnecting their service. I hated it. I knew the poor people just wanted to cancel their service and get off the phone. But I couldn’t do that. I had to beg and cajole and reason and throw promotions at them and their were managers listening in on my calls to make damn sure I was doing that, and doing it as fast as possible.

ChampagneKitty July 15, 2014 at 11:33 PM


The Mamba July 16, 2014 at 7:15 AM

I’ve had it with any phone service where you have to listen to recorded options and then make selections before you can even talk to a human being. And then, once you finally break through, you are often routed to an outsourced person from a third world country that doesn’t understand the issue. It makes me rage quit.

Marissa July 16, 2014 at 7:28 AM

The customers service from comcast was probably one of my worst experiences.

old guy. July 16, 2014 at 9:22 AM

Comcast on the phone was a bunch of damn idiots. Finally went to the Concord office on Salvio St and was treated in a courteous and competent manner by the staff.

Went round and round with ATT on the phone. When the tech came to my home, he gave me his work cell phone number, and his supervisor’s
number, and told me to call him directly and bypass the call center when I had a problem. He was very aware of the issues at the customer service center.

macawlady July 16, 2014 at 9:34 AM

It’s sad, but basically we have Comcast internet because we have no other choices. Our buried phone lines are extremely old, was told the mobile home park owner owns them now. He won’t replace them, therefore our landline and DSL was extremely unreliable. After years of dealing with on again, off again DSL and phone, we switched to Comcast. (Astound isn’t available here.) What other choices do we have? I don’t really blame AT&T for this; I blame the mobile home park owner who refuses to replace the old buried cable. It would also help if there were more choices available for Internet service around here, but there aren’t!

ConcordMike July 16, 2014 at 12:59 PM

The best customer service I have ever had in my life has to be Comcast. They even notified me that my internet speeds seem to be a little slow, so they sent a rep out to check it. He found a splitter that was unnecessary and it sped up my connection even faster than what it already was.
AT&T has the worse customer service. We have them for cellular because we get a discount for being retired AT&T.
I had T-Mobile prior to ATT and their CS was phenomenally great.

unknown July 18, 2014 at 5:42 PM

I used to work for Comcast and it was really sad. I love helping people but they are only in it for the money. After working there for a year from home. They outsourced our jobs to people in Manilla to save $$$. I had customers who would call with issues and be so grateful to speak to an American ! I wanted to tell them that in a week us Americans would no longer be here to help. It was unbelievable what they get away with ! I am unknown because I had to sign a contract stating that I would be silent. Comcast does not care about the customers only in the money they can get from anyone who they prey apon ! I now work for a great company who cares about Americans ! Enterprise Rent A Car ! They do have integrity and make sure all of the employees have it too !

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