By Joe Rector

Everyone is wary of monopolies. They set the rules by which we must play, and if we don’t like it, that’s tough. The larger the bite from the consumer pie a corporation takes, the less power customers have to combat poor service or outrageous pricing. I had another run in with one of those businesses the week before Christmas.

Amy and I had decided to have an Internet connection installed in our condo in Gallatin. I contacted customer service to set up an appointment. As soon as the phone call went through, troubles began. I spoke with an individual who lived in another country. The woman struggled with the English language, and that caused the entire situation to last twice as long.

I explained to the woman that we would not be at the condo until the following Saturday. She replied that she’d checked the address already and that it was pre—wired and the signal was strong there. She further told me that I could purchase my own modem and install it myself, thereby avoiding an installation fee.

I thought that all was settled until the next day when I received notice from UPS that a package was to be delivered at the condo by Thursday. Immediately, I called Comcast to have them stop the shipment since no one would be there to accept it until Saturday. Another representative who also spoke only broken English argued with me about the delivery until I told her that that I wanted to speak with a supervisor. She told me that I would have to wait up to an hour, so I hung up.

Upon arrival at our place in Gallatin, I discovered that our neighbor had taken the UPS package in because it was left leaning on a locked gate on the patio. I began the process of installation and followed the instructions given. Then, I called Comcast and gave the confirmation number that would have the Internet connected. After several tries, a third person from customer service, yes yet another individual who struggled with the English language, told me that a problem existed and that I would need to schedule a service technician’s call. He then told me that not only was the first available appointment on December 31 but that Comcast also would charge me $60.00. I asked what the charge was for, and he told me that it was for a “failed self-installation.”

That angered me, especially since I relied on the information from the company that the signal was up and running and ready for installation. After more arguing, I told the individual on the other end of the phone to cancel the appointment and order. He informed me that a charge would be placed for doing that. I exploded,

“You are charging me for cancelling service on an order where no service was provided!”

I eventually spoke with supervisor who was polite but offered no relief. So, we spent the holidays with no Internet nor cable. Oh, we survived, but that’s not the point. I placed an order with a company and expected to receive the services for which I’d contracted. Instead, I received no services, no assistance, and no remedy. Comcast will try to charge me for something; I’m sure of that much. However, I will not pay that bill. What is even sadder to me is the fact that I’ve been a Comcast customer for more than 20 years.

I would drop Comcast and the services it provides right now except that changing my email address will be an impossible task. I am waiting for Verizon to complete its fiber optics installation, and then I will tell Comcast that they can forever kiss my…foot! Until then, I’ll take books to Gallatin or find some restaurant that airs games. Still, I’m so disgusted with dealing with companies that don’t care and customer service reps who can’t provide help because they don’t speak the language well enough.