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[News] Comcast's Customer Service
Aug. 17, 2005, 07:03 PM
Post: #1
[News] Comcast's Customer Service

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Quote:And the customer service award does NOT go to ...
When LaChania Govan's Comcast service wasn't working, she called for help. And called. And called. It was a frustrating process, and then she got the bill.

By Scott Goldstein
Tribune staff reporter
Published August 17, 2005

Until recently, LaChania Govan's complaints about Comcast's service seemed relatively tame. The 25-year-old Elgin mother of two said she was put on hold, disconnected, even transferred to the Spanish language line.

But after persistent problems with her digital recording system forced her to make dozens of calls to the cable company in July, her August bill came with a change really worth complaining about: In place of her name were the words "* Dog."

"I could not believe it," said Govan, who works in customer service for a credit card company.

She said she immediately called Comcast to cancel her service and was sent to an operator.

"She asked me for my name. I said, `You really don't want me to go there,'" Govan said.

Recounting her problems on Tuesday, she said she was transferred to a supervisor who assured her he would find out what happened and get back to her soon.

In the meantime, she said, he offered her two months of free cable, which she declined.

A Comcast official said Tuesday the company was aware of the incident and that the bogus name change was authentic but said she couldn't discuss the specifics until the company discovered how it occurred.

"If this is not that customer's name, it shouldn't be on that bill," said Patricia Andrews-Keenan, vice president of communications for the company. "But we don't know why that happened. It's obvious that that's inappropriate to have a name like that on that account."

The name on Govan's account has been changed back, said Andrews-Keenan, who is based in Chicago.

The company should be able to track who made the change, she said.

"Generally, it's much like any other billing services. You should be able to look and see who made different notations on that account," she said. "And that's where we are now; we're looking to see if we can find that out."

Martin Cohen is executive director of the Citizens Utility Board of Illinois, which handles complaints about utility and other service providers. Although Govan's troubles aren't all that common, the organization learned this week about a similar case involving a Peoples Energy customer, he said.

In that case, Jefferoy Barnes, 44, of Maywood received four pieces of mail from the company that included the words "* bag" in the line with his name.

Unlike Govan, Barnes said he couldn't recall any interaction with company employees that could have prompted the slur. One of the company mailings, a July 23 letter, concerned an overdue payment on a gas bill.

"I was shocked," he said. "I showed my friends and a couple of relatives. I can't believe they did that, and I couldn't even understand why."

After a reporter inquired about the problem Tuesday, a company spokeswoman said the employee responsible was being fired.

"We have identified the representative who is responsible for this change, and this person is being fired immediately," Elizabeth Castro said.

"Additionally, we are now checking all records that this person had contact with to ensure that no other similar changes have been made. And finally, we have called the customer and have spoken with him directly to apologize for this. This is not how we treat our customers."

Barnes said he received an apologetic call Tuesday evening from a company executive.

But more than a week after receiving her bill, Govan has not heard back from Comcast, she said.

Her August bill for $77.50 came after a month in which she estimates she called Comcast 40 times because of repeated problems with a new digital recording box.

Govan, who does not speak Spanish, said she didn't appreciate being transferred to the company's Spanish-language line.

But receiving the bill with the obscene name topped it all, she said.

"That hurts my feelings, and I feel that is just beyond the bottomless pit," Govan said. "You don't do a customer like that in any business that you're in."

Govan said she was never abusive to Comcast employees.

"I did express my dissatisfaction with their customer service," she said.

She said the company did eventually replace her digital recording system--twice, because the first replacement didn't work either.

Now, with her cancellation request pending, she is simply waiting for the company to show up and disconnect her.


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