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So, this post has not one iota’s worth of gardening content. This is a story that will be recounted in a series of email threads that I have recently been engaged in with Comcast Cable (xfinity cable). I am sure that anyone who uses their service may be able to relate portions of the story to their own experiences (if Yelp! reviews are any indication). Please allow me to set the stage with a bit of the back story first:

December 2010: I am moving from cohabitation with the ex-girlfriend to my current place in Oakland, CA. I call Comcast to have the cable service moved to the new address. The customer service rep tells me that if I sign-up for a 2-year contract that they will give me a $100.00 Visa gift card. As Comcast is kind of a monopoly in the Bay Area, and I would likely be using their service for as long as I plan on watching TV, it seemed like a great idea, so I said sure, sign me up.

February 2011: Having still not received my gift card, I begin the process of contacting Comcast about when I should expect the gift card.

April 2011: Still no card; however, I have had a couple of reps advise that the card should be its way. I was even given a website for the card issuer to track my cards status.

May 2011: Still no card. I call Comcast again, and now the story has changed. Now, I am being told that my service does not qualify for the card and that I will no longer receive the promised gift card. Needless to say, this was troubling news. So, for the next 15-months, I begin to gather all of my notes and saved email communications, names, dates, times, etc.

The first email

The following information was submitted from the Comcast Web site:
Re: Web Form Submission: General Inquiry/Other

Name: Noah F.
City: Oakland
State: CA

Problem: General Inquiry/Other

Comments:
I was advised that a promise that was made to me by your organization,
and conditional to my signing up for the service I currently have, will
not be honored.

I am sorry, but this is not acceptable. This email needs to go to
someone who can actually make decisions at Comcast.

Here is what you owe me:
1. $100.00 for sign-up of service
2. Time and Frustration dealing with your organization

Total Cost: The amount due on my account.

Period.

Noah Froio

—————————————————————————————
From: “Comcast Ecare Central California” <vidsupport_ccal@cable.comcast.com>
To: “Noah F” <email@comcast.net>
Sent: Monday, May 23, 2011 9:05:52 AM
Subject: Re: Web Form Submission: General Inquiry/Other  (KMM6244609V66720L0KM)

Dear Mr. Froio,

Thank you for being a valued Comcast Customer! I appreciate your
response and thank you for getting back to us.

We regret that the quality of service you received recently did not
reflect the quality we strive for and appreciate your taking the time to
let us know of your experience. I apologize for any distress that this
may have caused. Please be assured that customer satisfaction is very
important to us.

Your feedback is appreciated. Information such as this is relayed to the
appropriate department to determine how this matter could have been
handled differently.

Online Customer Care Specialists communicate solely through electronic
communications. If you would like to speak with a supervisor who can
directly assist you with the matter, please contact our customer service
center at 1-800 Xfinity (934-6489) and ask to speak with a supervisor.

We appreciate you sharing your concerns as we continue to strive for
complete customer satisfaction. We value your business and have a great
day, Mr. Froio.

Thank you for choosing Comcast.

Sincerely,

Raymond G
Comcast Customer Care Specialist
**************************************************
The response contained in this message is intended for the addressee
only and may vary from other responses depending on geography,
promotional campaigns or other factors. If you are not the intended
recipient of this response, please delete this message. Any unauthorized
use or dissemination of the information contained in this message is
prohibited.
**************************************************
Then, nothing….. roll the clock forward to August 2012:

The 2nd, slightly more demanding email

The following information was submitted from the Comcast Web site

Two Issues:
1. I have still never received the $100 gift card I was promised when I
setup my account almost 2-years – which I have kept meticulous records
of my contacts with your company. Please advise how you are going to
resolve this (As I do have a written statement taken from a screen
capture of our online help desk service verifying that I am entitled as
well as a letter from your company to this effects.

2. I would like someone to look into the deceptive business practices of
your online bill payment’s account of when a payment is due and the
statement date of when the same amount is due – again, I have meticulous
copies of these discrepancies and find it hard to believe that the
online says a bill is due on 8/7/2012, when the printed bill clearly
states the amount is due on 8/29/12. I would like a sufficient answer on
this, or I will let the California State Attorney General’s Office of
Business Standards and Practices review my records.

Please respond in writing, I have no desire to speak to any of your
staff. Thank you.

The response (obviously an automated response):

From: “Comcast ECARE” <ecare@comcast.com>
To: “Noah F.” <email@comcast.net>
Sent: Friday, August 24, 2012 7:06:30 AM
Subject: Re: Comments for Rick Germano  (KMM15581656V17172L0KM)

Dear Mr. Froio,

I would like to thank you for contacting the Office of Rick Germano  
where our customers come first.  My name is Susan .  I want you to know
that we are committed to providing you with excellent customer service.
I am genuinely sorry for the issue with  your not receiving the rebate
card and the online billing statements.  I  regret the inconvenience and
disappointment this experience has caused you. I can understand your
frustrations.  You have reached the right person in the right
department. I can definitely address your concern with our Comcast
customer service using every resource available to me, to get this issue
resolved.

I understand you have not  received your  $100 gift card. that you were
promised when you  set up the account 2 years ago. You have  records of
contact with us and would  like to get a resolution as you have a  
written statement from the online help desk confirming he is entitled to
it and also a letter verifying this.  I am more than happy to escalate
this matter for further research.  Since is was from Early 2011,
research is required to make sure you have met the requirements such as
signing an agreement and not being past due on your account.  This
process usually takes 24-72 hours. Once we get an answer we will contact
you by phone.  If we are unable to reach you by phone, we will send you
an email reply.

I would like to also thank you for your feedback about the  online
billing statements. I understand you would like  someone to look into
business practices of the online bill pay accounts of when a payment is
due and the statement date of when the same amount is due . The online
bill says the payment is due on 8/7 and the printed statement says  
8/29.

I have reviewed your account:
 
 8/07/12 – was the day the statement printed.-listed as billing date on
the statement  8/29/12 is the day the current balance is due.

This statement has a past due balance on $213.01 that was due on  
7/29/12.   This would mean that that statements print on the 7th of the
month and the balance is due on the 29th of the month.

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to call us
at 1-800-Comcast (1-800-266-2278), or you may contact us again via
e-mail.  Our team is always at your service here at the Office of Rick
Germano. You also have the option to select live chat at
https://www.comcastsupport.com/chatentry.Our Comcast Customer Guarantee provides these contact points any time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your convenience.   I know that your time is valuable, so, thank you
again for contacting me here at Comcast. I am truly sorry for any
inconvenience you may have experienced with our customer service when
inquiring about your gift card and online billing statement.   I want to thank you for allowing me to examine your concern with our Comcast customer service and I want to assure you that your Comcast Executive Support Line will contact you with a resolution to all your concerns addressed in your email.   Our Comcast Customer Guarantee is the promise to provide a superior customer experience every day. This is a reflection of my confidence in our products and services, our network and especially my fellow employees. Your taking the time to send this email  helps me keep my commitment to quality customer care.

Sincerely,

Susan
Office of Rick Germano

The escalation of the issue

From: , Leilani mafi
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2012 8:48 AM
To: ’email@comcast.net’
Subject: COMCAST ESL00690730

Dear Ms. Froio,

Thank you for contacting our Executive office with your questions and concerns. We have reviewed your acct and we would like the opportunity to speak with you to resolve your concern as soon as we can.  Please contact us at 1-800-884-3642 at your earliest convenience.

Kind Regards,

Leilani

Executive Customer Relations

California Regional Office

1-800-884-xxxx ext 240845

————————————————————————————————–

From: “Leilani mafi ” <Leilanimafi_@cable.comcast.com>
To: email@comcast.net
Sent: Thursday, September 6, 2012 9:26:59 AM
Subject: RE: COMCAST ESL00690730

Dear Mr. Froio,

I apologize we missed your call.  According to our findings, you did not meet our agreement acceptance eligibility which is our customers must accept the terms and agreement for the $100 rebate card within 30 days from date of install 1/11/2011.  In the agreement portal it show that the agreement was not accepted or completed until 06/03/11.

As far as your concern about your statement due date.  Can you please reply back with the screen shot of your website statement regarding this matter if possible, so I can further help you.  Meantime, our record implemented that we send out your bill on the 7th of every month and its due date is on the 29th of each month.

Thank you,

Leilani

 OK, So, here is where I have had just about enough of their BS

From: email@comcast.net
Sent: Thursday, September 06, 2012 4:33 PM
To: , Leilani mafi
Cc: email1@yahoo.com
Subject: Re: COMCAST ESL00690730

Hello Leilani,

For your first point; whether or not I met the eligibility for the offer is absolutely irrelevant when a member of your company promised that should I sign up for a 2-year contract that I would receive a $100.00 gift card. Your company’s lack of training in no way invalidates the fact that a representative from your company made an offer in exchange for contract signing that I would have NEVER agreed to without the BAIT offered.

Your company, Comcast Cable (regardless of the representative), made me a verbal contract and have reiterated in writing that the contract was made, the fact that your employee was improperly trained has no bearing on the validity of the verbal contract. I am willing to bet that a court of law would uphold this contract and be willing to add punitive damages and compensatory damages for the time and energy expended in seeking what is owed to me.

If I should file a lawsuit, please do let me know.

For your second point; please find the attached screen shot of the differing dates listed on your website and on your physical bill. Note that the dollar amount is exactly the same and they both CLEARLY state DUE not Bill Date.

Both of these facts together are enough to show a court of law that your company’s business practices are suspect at best. All that I ask is that I get what is promised to me, if you cannot do that much, within 30-business days, please understand that I will have to take this to court for remedy.

I am also hereby requesting an investigation into my billing to ensure accurate billing has been done by Comcast. I will hold payment until Comcast can satisfactorily establish beyond a reasonable doubt that I have not been overcharged or cheated.

I have in the past found 3- discrepancies (each valued at $75.00).

Thank you,

Noah F.

——————————————————————————-

Here is where Comcast bumped it up to their Legal Dept.


From: “Cynthia ” <Cynthia_@cable.comcast.com>
To: email@comcast.net
Cc: “Leilani mafi ” <Leilanimafi_@cable.comcast.com>
Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:13:33 PM
Subject: RE: JUST FOR YOU..PLEASE HELP -COMCAST ESL00690730
Mr. Forio,

Your issue has been brought to my attention by your case manager.  With regards to your first point as a customer first gesture I will credit the $100 to your account. If this is agreeable please respond to this email.  With regards to your second point – due to the nature of your account the dates although accurate take time to update online as opposed to in our internal billing data base.  I am sure that the account reflects a different due date above the amount due after your payment for $xxx.xx cleared online. Can you send me a screen print of what it reflects today?  If there is a problem then I’m happy to investigate if further but we do not have access to your online account details just our internal billing database.  With regards to your third and final point I would like to assure you there are not discrepancies we have been made aware of to my knowledge.  If you can elaborate on the details of the 3 discrepancies totaling $75.00; I’d be happy to research.  In the meantime I am recommending you make all of your payments to avoid any interruptions.  Call me if you have any questions.

Respectfully,

Cynthia

Executive Customer Relations

Legal Analyst

California Regional Office

(800) 884-xxxx Ext 322325 Office

(925) 206-xxxx Mobile

(925) 424-xxxx Fax


Final Resolution:

From: “Cynthia ” <Cynthia_@cable.comcast.com>
To: email@comcast.net
Cc: email1@yahoo.com, “Leilani mafi ” <Leilanimafi_@cable.comcast.com>
Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 4:06:33 PM
Subject: RE: JUST FOR YOU..PLEASE HELP -COMCAST ESL00690730

Mr. Froio,

My sincere apologies for spelling your last name incorrectly.  I have answered in <<bold>> below to the specifics.

Regards,

Cynthia Garcia

Executive Customer Relations

California Region

From: email@comcast.net [mailto:email@comcast.net]
Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 3:18 PM
To: , Cynthia
Cc: email1@yahoo.com
Subject: Re: JUST FOR YOU..PLEASE HELP -COMCAST ESL00690730

Hello Cynthia,

Thank you for your email and thank you for being the first person at Comcast who actually seems to have an iotas worth of customer service sense left in them. Yes, I am wholly agreeable to considering the matter of the promised gift card closed with the $100.00 credit to my account.

Credit applied in the amount of $100.00 in lieu of the gift card offer.

For the 2nd item, I usually pay by the date that the hard copy paper statement shows; however, as I have not been receiving them consistently (I have advised your CSR’s of this fact on at least 3 occasions), I am not always prompted into paying until I get a call from one of the CSR’s. The reason I never switched to eBilling is that I need the paper to remind me. As long as Comcast can ensure that I am mailed a paper statement each month with time to review / audit the statement and work the payment into my monthly budget, we can drop this issue.

I am unable to promise mailing since we have no control over the USP and unexpected delays due to holidays etc which I’m sure you understand. What I can do is make myself available to provide you a pdf statement upon request via email at anytime you request.
For the 3rd item, the discrepancies were early on in my new two-year agreement (when I moved to my current residence of 301 Jayne Ave) – I noticed (thanks to the paper statement that I audit monthly) that I was being charged for non-return of merchandise that I was still using – at a rate of $75.00/month. It took me a long time to prove that I was right and that Comcast was errant in their charges, so, you may understand why I like paper statements and why I also feel the need for an occasional audit is called for.

This has been resolved correct?

Lastly, for the current amount due on account, my balance as of today is reflecting $xxx.xx (less the $100.00 you will be crediting to my account today?), the actual balance should be $xxx.xx. I would prefer to wait until I can verify the credit, but will pay the $xxx.xx regardless on my next payday, which is September 20. The current amount is 5-days past due; however, I would ask that as a gesture of customer service for the over a year and half that I spent on the above issues to get them resolved, that Comcast extend the due date to September 20.

Added promise to pay on or before 9/24/12. Let me know if you need more time.  Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. Cynthia J

Thank you Cynthia for you response and your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Noah A. F.

PS: My last name is spelled FXXXX – the devil is in the details, but, a big part to customer service is getting the customers name correct. 🙂 Thanks.

———————————————————————————

So, friends, the moral of the story?

Never give up!!

Even though you may be just one person against a monopoly, as long as you stick to your guns, demand what is yours, and are persistent, you can make things happen.

This works across the boards; from Corporations to Governments – remember – you don’t have to settle, be strong, be fair, and be persistent – the end may just surprise you.

Will be back with more gardening news later…
~Noah

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The week has proven to have been one of the most hectic weeks ever! I forget how absolutely time destroying moving is, especially when you move with nothing, and have to re-purchase everything you need.

I moved last Sunday, January 8, 2011, the only possessions I had at the time were 5-boxes of miscellaneous clothes, cookware, etc., and one television. It was daunting; however, Craigslist to the rescue, now, myself, and my lovely little Avocado plants are settling in nicely.

This is the larger of the Avo's sunny perch

 

The little seed that could, if making remarkable growth progress. I guess he really likes the new spot. He is still suspended over the jar of water, but has grown to 9″ above the seed. I am going to be planting him tomorrow into a nice pot of his own. He will join the larger on the table, and enjoy the cool feel of soil, and the warmth of the Oakland winter sun.

The top is just busting at the seam to start setting leaves

His root system is just about filling the jar

 

– Definitely, time to plant him in soil!

I am so happy to settled into my new, and I can see myself being here for a long, long time. It is really close to work, in a lovely neighborhood, and as the plants grow, and strengthen, there is a nice sized patio which I can transfer them to.

I look forward to 2011 watching my Avo’s grow, as I grow, it’s a great new start on life for both of us.


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