If the customer really wants to talk to a representative to cancel the services, the cancellation must be effective immediately.
They don't transfer you to customer retention and you'll be off the phone in a few minutes.
Sure, you should be able to cancel on the phone with no hassle but that is a pipe dream. This is one instance where the old-school method still works best. I've done this with Verizon & Sprint when I lived in the States and was even able to cancel without penalty (they raised SMS a few cents each time) and not deal with their retentions people.
Now it is my preferred method for anything that takes over 10 minutes on the phone. Even if they are on the line, 10 minutes is a hard cutoff and I hang up, type a short letter, and mail it. It's low-tech but very effective.
And for anyone else with Comcast, here's the fine print that Ryan should have read to save all this aggravation. Scroll down to section 9 b (1): https://www.comcast.com/Corporate/Customers/Policies/Subscri...
"you may terminate this Agreement for any reason at any time by notifying Comcast in one of three ways: [...] (3) call our customer service line during normal business hours"
Here's a really simple guide to getting past customer retention:
1) Be courteous. There is no better way to get mired down in customer retention hell than to give the rep a reason to run you around.
2) Feel free to share your reasons (briefly), but be clear (politely!) that your mind won't be changed. "I need to see for myself" is always a good way to dismiss the rep's reasoning.
3) In the off chance that you get a rep like the one featured here, simply hang up and call back in a few minutes. There's absolutely no reason to invest this much frustration in a company like Comcast.
I've only had one or two cases where I simply hung up on an overzealous rep. In all other cases, the process consisted of answering two or three questions, then I was on to cancellation.
It's not my job to play along with their script and help them raise revenue. It's their job to cancel service, no questions asked.
* Who you are
* Where you are receiving service
* Your account number
* What date this cancellation is effective on
If you have any equipment to return add that too, and tell them you will be returning it to the store (you might even mail it if it's just a card).
A properly written letter is really effective, and makes great evidence in court if things go wrong and the company fails to honor their side of the bargain. Been there, done that, and won.
That would be an interesting write-up to read about.
I have to say I canceled Comcast for a few months between houses my experience was pretty painless, I called in and they in-fact even sent pre-paid shipping boxes to return my modem and cable box.
Heck considering the profile this call is getting I'm guessing their "retention specialists" are going to be pretty light touch for a while.
"I'd like to cancel my service."
"But why w-"
"Buy we co-"
It's not something I particularly like to trot out, but if I have to spend more than 5 minutes on the phone for something like this, it's what I tend to trot out, and I don't have to repeat myself (and interrupt them) more than two or three times for them to get the point.
"Can you cancel my service?"
"I won't be answering any of your questions, just cancel my service".
"Cancel my service or transfer me to someone who can"
The use of worlds like "Please" and "I'd like to" just tells them that you'll indulge their scripts and tactics. It's not rude to steamroll a system intentionally designed to make it hard to cancel.
I've found a hard stare and a subtle "no" gesture with my head generally does the trick with street solicitors.
The installation tech insisted that he needed to use my computer to complete the installation. My computer (running Debian, so using it was out of the question anyway) was sitting right in front of both of us. I told him that he didn't need to use it (which is true) and he insisted that he did. Then I told him that I did not have a computer. We could both see it, but only by insisting that I did not have a computer was I able to get him to complete the installation without using it (he made a short phonecall, and that was it).
I tried to do this once in Berlin to cancel a gym membership outside of the contractual limits. They required showing an official 'de-registration' from the city of Berlin. I was moving within the city at the time, so instead of telling the city I was moving, I instead told the city I was leaving and then a few weeks later reregistered with my new address.
Unfortunately I wasn't aware that this would reset the amount of uninterrupted time spent in Germany which is needed for getting a permanent residency. D'oh!
But yeah, if I didn't have proof that I moved, I would have been stuck in the contract forever.
I of course realized this around 2 weeks before the next billing cycle, so I would have been forced to pay for the whole year if I didn't show that I was leaving the city.
So I certainly have some blame to my name for not having read the contract more carefully... it just all seemed a bit crazy at the time for a gym membership.
I assume you're incorrectly referring to the Stolen Valor Act (of 2013, as the earlier one was struck down for violating the First Amendment). That law specifically handles cases in which someone claims they are a recipient of an award related to combat AND does so with the intent to receive money, property or a tangible benefit.
Simply lying about military service to a Comcast Support Technician is not a crime.
In the UK under Seamen’s and Soldiers’ False Characters Act 1906 Section 1, due to a technicality (excision of restricting terms) any [im]personation of HM Forces' seamen or soldiers is illegal.¹
It's been superseded by the Fraud Act 2006 which is more strict in needing a fraud to be committed viz "he false representation is made dishonestly and with the intention of making a gain".
1 - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Edw7/6/5#commentary-c578...
2 - http://lawcommission.justice.gov.uk/docs/lc308_Statute_Law_R... at page 39 (PDF page 43)
Seems I was wrong, though it is kind of hilarious that got 4 downvotes. It was an honest mistake.
I once had a Comcast agent claim that he needed my father's death certificate to cancel my service! (No it was not under his name, it was always under my name.)
Wtf, really? That is simply unconscionable. Are these even people on the end of the line? What kind of worthless piece of shit asks someone for their father's death certificate to cancel a cable service?
This is a privacy matter.
The operator acting is barely legal.
Still technically legal, bad faith business dealings? For better or worse (worse imo) this is just how businesses currently operate by default.
It's "just business" when you're perpetrating it, and the sky is falling when it happens to you. For a handful of reasons, the powerful (read: monied) are spared the brunt of the ugly end. Comcast is a regional monopoly that sells service to a lot of poor people. Welcome to the retention department.
Anyhow: I was actually moving, told Comcast so, and I was indeed off the phone in a few minutes. "I wonder what everyone's concern about Comcast is anyway," I wondered. Then, a few days later, the "follow-up" calls began. It got to the point that I had to block the Comcast number just to get some peace.
Systematically, they don't actually want to spend effort on people that don't want to talk to them and the 'courtesy do not call list' line says 'stop calling me' without inviting an argument.
It's probably more effective if you don't mind talking over their initial spiel.
Why can't we go there today? Is it simply the triumph of free-market orthodoxy and a tacit acceptance that to be a consumer today one must subject oneself to this sort of rapaciousness?
A company that presents only the choice of paying for service one doesn't want or being put into collections and having one's credit destroyed should be fined until it corrects its behavior or goes out of business.
The trouble is that "government intervention" is such a general term that the statement is useless. It's barely one step better than "doing things caused this problem in the first place, so doing things is not the solution to it."
There's good government intervention and bad government intervention. That bad government intervention caused the problem doesn't mean that good government intervention can't help.
People always say that, but I don't agree with it. Yes, the government caused the mess, but that doesn't mean they can't fix it. When I break someone's website with bad code, no one says "well, you caused this problem with code, more code is obviously not the answer so get the hell out." I iterate, fix the bugs and improve my solution. Why shouldn't government regulation get the same approach?
read the rest of your comment... we're arguing the same side. Sorry. I'll let my comment stand though.
There is no such thing as a free market: it is an idealistic theoretical construct.
And even if it were real, it would only be efficient if P=NP.
This is, obviously, not what most people have in mind by market efficiency, and simply means that the definition needs to be generalized to account for lags in pure inferential operations -- i.e. "all profit opportunities are exploited as soon as a real-world computation system could notice it". Still a strong claim, but not trivially refuted by turning exchanges into oracles by clever choice of exchange offers.
Note: no one thinks all markets are efficient in the "EMH sense", only highly-liquid ones like electronic securities exchanges in developed countries. Also, it's different from the sense of Pareto-efficient that most political advocates of markets mean when advocating them.
Because finding global optima is hard? I grant that, but:
1) things can be intractably hard even if P=NP - O(n^10000) is in P, and there are complexity classes strictly harder than P (e.g. EXPTIME)), and since there are innumerable moves anyone could take out into the future "optimal resource distribution" could plausibly fall in EXPTIME.
2) Regardless, any single entity determining optimal resource distribution also needs to solve the same problem.
If you were saying something else, please clarify.
Either markets are weak-form efficient and P=NP, or markets are not weak-form efficient and P≠NP.
The difference is that you can have a model that is not precise and which still makes useful predictions. You can't have a proof that's not precise and still proves P=NP.
Note that it is not "the existence of free markets" that is assumed and breaks things, but the existence of free markets with a particular formulation of a particular property. As strictly defined there, weak-form efficiency also allows seems to allow FTL communication.
In some cases, even a nebulously defined "sufficiently" free market is impossible.
The theoretical limits on efficiency also apply to regulated markets. The question worth asking is, which one is more efficient?
Unless the only thing that can be bought is Bitcoin. With Bitcoin. In which case, yes. You're right. It is a free market. And completely pointless.
Why not meet the demand to cut off internet services?
One idea: create a phone service where I call a third-party (you, the entrepreneur) that connects me to the best number to cancel my service. The third party determines if recording the call is legal and records if so, posting the recording online, along with metadata: date, duration, agent name, locale, etc. If recording call is not legal, still post metadata, or also get all parties' permission to record.
Possibly create script through trial and error to counter their script. Can compile data on agents and supervisors names, can follow up with complaints for agents or supervisors to customer service, etc. Can file complaints with elected representatives, FCC, etc... stuff individuals don't have time for but want to.
Another idea: create a web site that takes subscriber information and mails effective letter, registered if necessary, to best address for service provider, using language to set up legal case if necessary.
In both cases, the company could, over time, compile statistics on each service provider's difficulties, giving some accountability. It could also discover their weaknesses and overcome what individuals might not be able to.
You can probably think of many other ways to attack the problem and satisfy the unmet need.
Might not make huge money, but could create great visibility for the entrepreneur. Then again, it might make huge money too, since so many companies play hardball retaining customers.
You don't actually need their permission to cancel your service with them at all. You shouldn't be ASKING to cancel your service, you should be TELLING them it's cancelled. If they continue to ask questions, that is their business, hang up on them.
How would that result in this endeavor making money?
In any case, this is not actually a problem that is difficult to solve. Yes, a phone call like that is utterly infuriating, but you can still cancel your service at the end of it.
Maybe people would pay money to avoid dealing with that. Maybe. But you do it, what, once a year at most?
It's like win-win-win!
That particular rep left me alone after that. I've received two phone calls since, to which I said, "I live in a yert in manitoba now" and the second call I just hung up. I still 9 months later receive occasion break up letters from comcast, asking me to come back.
It has already worked for me more than once (unfortunately, nobody ever tried to offer me free service).
If it even occured to them it might be sleezy, they'd rationalize that they do it to please their boss and keep their job, and that it's more important to them than being decent to a random stranger :/
Servicenuke.com is available...
* HOW TO: Remove yourself from ALL background check websites. Thanks to LawyerCT. : technology || http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/j1mit/how_to_rem...
After a month of no service I called to cancel, and after 45 minutes on hold I gave up. I tried again. And again. Eventually I got through to someone who processed the cancellation. I got an email saying "To confirm your intended cancellation, send an email to cancellation-confirmation@..."
That address didn't exist. The next month they started to charge me for a service I wasn't getting. I had a different ISP by this point. I called and got the money back. They took it again the next month. I called and got the money back. The third month I got a letter saying I hadn't paid for three months, so they took three months money from my card. This time I called and got the money back and demanded they remove me from their systems. Eventually someone said OK.
Six months later I got a demand for 9 months service charges. I called and told them to stuff it. Another six months later they started demanding even more money and making threats. That's when I started the official (UK) complaints procedure. You start by writing a long email setting out your demands, end it by saying "This will also be sent by registered mail, and you have 30 days to resolve this until I report you to the communications ombudsman"
The first response I got to that was a letter saying "We understand you'd like to cancel your service?" So I sent another letter, stating my demands and that no, there had never been a service to cancel, and by the way this is being sent by registered post and you have 18 days before I contact the ombudsman.
I think by the third letter it had been resolved, almost 18 months since I first tried to cancel the account. I had to move house shortly after that though, and I've worried since then that one day they're going to turn around and say "hold on, this guy owes us for ten years of broadband! Let's ruin his credit rating!"
If more people did this, instead of waiting on hold for hours to fight with customer service for your own money back, the ISP would likely lose their merchant account for their fraudulent activity.
Edit: one other note when cancelling, make sure to take down the date, time and operator name & number during your interactions and note what was said. When I've had trouble with managing accounts, referencing that information strengthened my case dramatically.
I have a Google Doc that I keep for all these notes. While I'm on hold, I open up the doc and get it ready. Be clear that you're taking notes and they'll take the conversation more seriously too.
After that they just sent demands, as they had no card to charge.
But yes, should have just called HSBC and told them the charges were fraudulent, I know better now!
This is why merchant acquirers charge a flat rate of a few pence for debit card transactions, and an extortionate percentage for credit card transactions - chargeback risk. Cannae do with a debit card without bumping into Dante and his buddy in their digs first.
Only if it's a card-present debit transaction (i.e., you entered a PIN). If you use your debit card and don't enter a PIN, it's automatically run as a credit card, and you have the same protections.
Is that the case in England? In the States, there are many debit card protections, they're just not as extensive as credit card protections.
In this case debt is good :)
Chargebacks only work the way they do in the U.S. due to regulatory requirements that the card companies allowed to go into law because they'd figured out how to profit any time a chargeback was filed.
I don't know about the rest of Europe but here in the UK it's just as easy as the US and just as black and white.
He ignores the notice and every couple of weeks, he starts getting threatening letters from the company. When he finally got the shut off service warning letter, he figured he'd better do something.
He sent the company a check for $0.00 and within a week got a notice back thanking him for his payment. He not only brought all the notices, he brought the canceled check and the final thank you letter.
Automated billing systems can be unreal sometimes.
I went down a completely different route to you, ultimately - I took them to small claims court on the basis that they'd charged me illegally and therefore owed me £600 or so, they failed to show to either mediation or court, I got a default judgment in my favour, they didn't pay it, but they did stop contacting and invoicing me, and my credit score wasn't dented.
Now, British Gas and the electricity meter that ticked over from 99999 to 00000 and resulted in a £15k power bill is another story entirely...
I'd like to hear the electric meter story, too.
I had internet from our national monopoly for couple of years. Cancelled it in one of their brick and mortar rep centers no problem.
One month passes and new bill shows up, its like they didnt notice me cancelling. Called them, rep confirmed bug in system, said he resolved it and gave me confirmation number. Next month same thing. This time my first words were 'im recording this, state your name again' followed by 'I am holding you personally responsible if your company tries to extort money from me ever again, your name will be on court papers'. Worked like magic, no more phantom bills.
I dont care its just some some poor sob working for the man in call center. Company tried to steal my money and they were part of that system.
I tried both Speakeasy (now MegaPath) DSL and ClearWire WiMax. They sucked. The 10mbps DSLs downstream sometimes reached up to 200kbps. The TCP/IP behind the WiMax would regularly disappear for hours.
For each, I called to get the RMA (to send their gear back), cancel service, and then I immediately canceled the credit card on file.
Both then sent me to collections. I tried contesting the bills. "Sorry, we don't have any record of you canceling." (You'd think possession of the modems would be a clue.)
Neither have sent these bills to a credit rating agency (e.g. Transunion, Experian), so I've ignored them.
So what did I do? I called 3 other times in a row, got 3 different people, asked to speak to a supervisor. Each said I would have a call back within 24 - 48 business hours.
I did. They called.
I explained all about the paperwork and supervisor out of town and it was literally all made up. All of it.
EDIT: My better side is resisting not calling out the guy who gave me the hassle by posting his name and e-mail.
EDIT 2: I forgot to mention that the rep tried to tell me that the "Terms Of Service" I signed the contract with wasn't valid anymore because it was to old. I asked well I didn't get any new paperwork to agree to the new Terms Of Service. His reply was that paying my bill every month was agreement enough, I didn't need to be told about changes. Doesn't make any sense.
2. They raised the cost of statics, from 5 for $9.99 to 5 $19.99.
3. They sent me a letter saying that there has been a billing mistake for the last 6 years, I have been being under billed for my service.
4. They raised the monthly modem cost to $9.95/mo and you have to use their modem as a business customer.
So I went down to a residential 50/10, no contract, provided my own modem for $44.95 a month.
T-mobile found themselves suddenly completely on the defensive in various TV-shows. They apologized profusely. It was very funny, things really got better.
That said, I guess if I were recording it to share on the Internet later, I might've been able to control myself slightly more than usual.
The operator pushes it a lot but consider this: he is probably paid like shit and he probably get commission on how many customers he can retain. Maybe if he loses too many he can even lose his job. Knowing this and knowing that their job is extremely horrible(getting called names all day) what I see here is not the operator's fault at all. I see a person crushed by a job that he might be losing taking the blame for problems that he didn't cause(maybe in this instance but they often do). The only thing I have for someone like this is a kind word instead of rage. If you are unsatisfied at the end of the call, send a complaint letter about the service, do not take it on the operator.
(Obviously there are exceptions where the operators are just assholes)
I don't really care much for the commissions, or the livelihoods, of people who knowingly take jobs that make other people's lives worse. I know in some locales call-centre jobs are the best (in terms of compensation) they can get, and I'm sorry that that's the state of affairs the world is in, but if they're willing to make my life miserable to make theirs a bit better, they can put up with being shouted at from time to time.
They know what kind of job it is. They do it anyway.
Yes, their job is shitty, but when your job is to bully people (by phone or otherwise), don't expect rainbows and unicorns.
Part of accepting capitalism to such an extent as HN is a brutal lack of empathy.
Still, getting a job where you are paid with my money to harass me is not the way to get on my good side.
Either way, I never take those calls, and never take anonymous calls either, unless I'm looking for a job.
Beside, that kind of behavior from a company here (in France at least, and probably most of Europe) is probably illegal.
Raising his voice and getting audibly angry would have likely shut down her incessant line of questioning pretty quickly.
It doesn't even have to be a genuine anger...I've done this quite a bit. If I am in a hurry and a service rep ever starts to pry questions into the conversation I just make a little huff and puff and they will generally decide to move the conversation along by just doing as I asked in the first place.
You don't have to be abusive to get your point across...just let them know you aren't listening to their bullshit.
That said, I've never dealt with anyone quite as tenacious as the guy in that recording.
Which is, of course, his right. And maybe it would turn out that the rep would refuse to recognize his answer. And there is some social value in there occasionally being a crank who refuses to play by the rules just to expose them for the silliness there is.
But realize he wasn't trying to get through this call easily. He was trying to make a point.
Also, the caller was not a "crank who refuses to play by the rules." There is no rule that says customers have to fill out a survey upon canceling service. It was clear to me that the Comcast agent was also not asking those questions honestly. He was using them as a rhetorical trick to get the customer to eventually say, "Fine, don't cancel my service."
This is obvious: by answering the question. I'll repeat that he was under no obligation to answer that question.
My mother-in-law does the same thing this guy does: stands her ground and refuses to answer any questions. It's completely her right to engage in that manner, but she neither asks for nor gets any sympathy for how long she has to stay on the phone with people.
Maximally demanding all your rights all the time is usually not coincident with smooth interactions with other human beings.
"I've had horrible customer support from a Comcast rep, and I don't want to continue to patronize a company that would hire someone who acts that way."
(The next logical step is to ask for the offending rep's name, to which he could respond "what was your name again?")
What's the retention angle from that point? Is it "I promise if you stay with us, I'll go right to my boss and have him fire me"?
This is a great example for how setting goals can do more harm than good. If you start measuring people, they'll optimize for what you are measuring.
If the official way (according to the contract) to cancel a contract is a phone call, what difference does it make if the remote party accepts this cancellation? Just state that you are cancelling the contract, make sure to get a recording (if legal in your jurisdiction) and chargeback all unauthorized future credit card charges.
Something similar happened to me with AT&T (now Comcast, I believe) in Chicago. I was moving away so I canceled service, returned my equipment in person and even got a receipt! But someone forgot to log something somewhere, so they kept sending me bills. For months, I kept calling and (foolishly) believed them when they said it would be straightened out soon... until they threatened to send my account to collections.
In the end, it took a letter to the office of the CEO with the whole story and a copy of my receipt to fix things (and if it hadn't I'd already started researching my legal options).
Collections tend to be more likely to play hardball, but they often also tend to contain smarter humans. Sometimes this helps.
Unfortunately, billing responded to the collections agency by yanking the debt back from that collections agency and referring it to another, meaning I had to start all over again. I don't know if that's against the rules, but it didn't seem fair and certainly wasn't nice.
Big business (and especially the collections agencies they usually send this kind of supposed "debt" to) love to say a lot of things, but that doesn't make it legal.
So they claim some account is "in collections", implying you have some sort of debt to them. If they say that publicly and that hurts some future opportunity due to the "bad reputation", then a libel (or slander, as appropriate) lawsuit should be filed. While each case would be different, you create a lot of the mess by acknowledging their incorrect claims.
Business walk away from stuff all the time, and so can you. If any restrictions were desired, they should have been written into a proper contract beforehand.
incidentally; this is also why "identify theft" is a stupid term - nobody stole your identity, which is immutable. What someone did was defraud a bank to get money. You were not a party to that transaction (or crime). The fact that banks wan to be lazy ad not do proper background checks on people they loan money to does not give them the right to recover that money from a 3rd party, not does it put any amount of fault on that 3rd part). Calling such a situation "identify theft" instead of "lazy bank loses money and blame it on an innocent 3rd part" is a modern version of "they were asking for it" style victim blaming.
 I include Experian/Equifax/TransUnion/etc in this - despite. Saying something incorrect - with the purpose of advising another business that that you are probably an expensive risk - is the very definition of libel.
 As always, check local laws and ask a lawyer
When I was on the phone with the collections agent, I was very polite and told her I knew she was just doing her job. I then got her to admit that this sort of thing happens all the time with AT&T, and that a lot of her phone calls go the same way.
Since then I've suspected that AT&T's practices go beyond mere incompetence and into abusive territory.
If you're willing to go through it, good for you as it's a good form of protest (they'll get charged a lot for each chargeback). But if it ever gets to the stage where this it is now, it's totally broken.
The continuation of provided service, followed by a bill in the mail.
make sure to get a recording (if legal in your jurisdiction)
And how exactly do you prove that it is a recording of a conversation with Comcast if their lawyers decide to dispute it?
So yeah, maybe he's a bit needlessly overdramatic about this, but personally I'm thankful for the entertainment.
Their entire job as retention agents is to waste enough of your time, and try to press enough buttons, that you give up.
The whole "I am waiting for the system to complete the process, so listen to my arguments while we wait" nonsense, for instance. Credit card companies do the same thing for activations, using the "waiting for the system to finish" to pitch insurance and other unwanted products.
This is a problem. This is a major problem. This is why so many services allow you to sign up in seconds online, but require long, drawn out waste-of-time phone calls to cancel. To force you through this gauntlet, making most just forget about it.
Cynically claiming that this guy manufactured this situation betrays logic of this situation. He dealt with what is a profound problem that most customers deal with.
And that is why businesses should push for legislation making it illegal. It is rare for me to sign up for a service using my credit card, and I'm not the only one. The bottom feeders make it hard for legitimate companies to get customers.
Are you saying that if he had hung up, and called again, he would have faced an equally long phone call?
My point is that he did not have to put up with this. Obviously there are going to be some bad apples amongst the thousands of comcast customer service employees. He could have hung up on this guy, called back, and gotten a much more reasonable employee to cancel his account.
- the entire hourly-equivalent salary of a new high school teacher (average, US) or
- enough to pay for my entire Starbucks consumption for over a week or
- enough to pay for almost two of my family's "luxuries" (netflix and one other service) or
- enough to pay for the entire quantity of gas I use every month or
- almost certainly double (or more) of the Comcast Rep's wage
This isn't meant to brag but to put in perspective what twenty minutes is worth via a common valuation (money). The lower the socioeconomic class, the more twenty minutes is actually worth, because they tend to have to work more hours to make ends meet, and thus their free time, unit for unit, ought to be valued more highly than mine.
Besides, the ~18 minutes is still faster than the parent poster's claim.
It's hilarious how you say that like it's a good thing. Hint: No it's not.
Secondly, realize that this guy's entire job is to do exactly what he did: This is what Comcast trains him to do; It's what they pay him to do; His rewards are based upon him doing exactly what he did. His role is not to fulfill your cancellation request, but to do everything possible to stop you from cancelling.
Bad apple? He is probably the star of Comcast's retention department. Comcast will probably play this tape as training material.
Other than that, have fun with it. I got a manipulative rep when I canceled Sirius and told her I already threw away the radio when she tried to extend the contract. She was not prepared for that. :)
Step two: send the letter via certified mail to the company whose service you're cancelling, cc'd to your state attorney general's office.
Step three: there is no step 3.
How can you achieve the same with a letter?
I can obviously just write the same letter twice and send it to two different places, but neither will know the other was also sent the same thing.
It doesn't prove anything, but it does provide notice.
> How can you achieve the same with a letter?
On a letter, you can acheive the same thing that cc: <email address> does on an email by putting cc: <recipient name> on the bottom of the letter, after the signature line, and then making identical copies of the letter and setting to both the addressee and the other recipient named in the cc: notation.
Which is the practice that inspired the use in email.
I just stopped paying (removed my credit card from the system), and after calling me multiple times about the outstanding charges, they eventually figured out that I wanted to cancel.
They still tried to bill me for the time between when I attempted to cancel and when the service was actually disconnected, even though I explained I was unwilling to pay this amount. Ultimately, they transferred the bill to a debt collection agency, and unfortunately I failed to dispute within 30 days (was traveling), so I ended up having to pay it.
"I'm moving to (insert name of city owned by competitor)"
I usually use some variation on "I'm moving in with my girlfriend, and she already has <type of service I'm cancelling>"
Of course, usually these numbers are paid, so you pay a small fortune just to get to call someone that will do his job.
Unfortunately, that's becoming harder and harder to do...
- I don't owe you an explanation.
- I'm in a hurry. Cancel my service now.
- I have your name. I will call back to complain about you.
- If another bill comes, I will not pay. If you send a collection agency and it affects my credit rating, I'll take you to court.
- You have 30 seconds to comply.
I learned this the hard way with a car moving company; from that point on, my account was tagged with a "transfer to legal" and I couldn't even talk to a rep.
YMMV, but mentioning legal action is one way to get yourself into limbo.
This is why I hate to pick up the phone to talk to companies and instead want automated systems where I can fill out forms and get my job done under 3 minutes, no questions asked.
One example link to a new story covering the result: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-12-17/proof-that-i...
If you have the sense to know you are being strung along, become the questioner and outflank the rep every time.
Them: "I'm just trying to understand..."
You: "I find Comcast's customer service to be poor. Let's see if you can help with that. Can you tell me if you are empowered to quickly cancel my service without probing any further?"
Them: doesn't matter if they do anything but answer your question
You if "yes": "Let's cancel and ask no more questions then."
You if anything else: "I need to talk to someone who is able to execute my request. I'd like to talk to your supervisor."
You will be put on hold and forced to wait.
You do not ratchet down the intensity of your demands unless you know that your request is in motion. You mostly continue to treat the call as being with one entity (it is). If the next person makes any inquiries/reasons, etc.
You: "I am not answering any further questions. I am cancelling the service. Are YOU empowered to execute this process without further probing?"
Leave them only with yes/no answers directly related to them executing the action you want. Any words you provide other than repetition of the action or requests to escalate will be used against you.
If not, keep asking for supervisors. Poor level 1 is just doing their soul-crushing job. Every middle manager is desperately trying to not do that any more.
Until they have so many people trying to jump over level 1 will you ever need to waste time in level 2. I've only once had to go to level 3.
Does Comcast hire from the list of people with restraining orders on them? Sounds like some guy trying to not get dumped.
Seems similar to the anti-callcentre flowchart: http://egbg.home.xs4all.nl/counterscript.html
I've yet to use it, but it's bookmarked for some fun day...
The goal is to cancel/get service/refund/etc with as little wasted time and energy as possible. They have scripts and procedures.
My strategy is equivalent to punching 0 to get to the human. in the phone tree maze. Putting a human shield on the other end is not stopping me from cancelling and they will not cry their tear ducts raw about my cancellation or my intolerance for their bullshit. I'm not being abusive, just terse.
Corporate service reps don't reward style points.
That said, as funny as this is, this to me is more of a failing on a personal level than by Comcast as a whole. He seems more angry at the caller because he's losing the argument and not getting any concessions and just wants some sort of response or willingness to hear what he's saying. I sincerely believe that by the midpoint of that recording he was no longer interested in keeping the customer, he just wanted to win a point in the argument to protect his ego.
Interestingly, these are the last people you want handling sales/customer retention calls because they don't empathize with the customer or see the situation from their point of view at all. They're more worried about their appearance than the ultimate business goal, which is increasing sales.
I'm pretty certain that he would be reprimanded for this behavior.
I could not disagree more.
That makes the huge assumption that the retention department is measured and paid by metrics like "increasing sales". I am almost 100% certain that would not be the case.
The longer you keep a quitting customer on the phone the less likely they are to leave, the more likely they are to give up hope and keep paying. Awesome job.
The company pays the retention rep to read arguments from a script to a quitting customer, and the rep read all of them, awesome.
Lets say we get $150/month from this customer and it costs us $8/hr for this customer's monthly hour long call to argue and lie to the customer. The company is not seeing a financial problem here. At $5/day revenue even if all the rep does is slow down the customer by one pro-rated day, as long as the rep spends less than 30 minutes per call the company is still making a "profit". More typically if you just lie to the customer and get on average half a billing period out of them, thats an awesome profit.
You get what you measure and select for.
"because they don't empathize with the customer"
Why would a monopoly provider want to do that? It doesn't even make sense. Like hiring a police chief based on how well he empathizes with the crooks, or promoting a military officer based on how sympathetic he is to the other side, or appointing a religious leader based on how strongly he believes in the opposition's point of view.
Why would a monopoly provider want to do that?
But Comcast isn't a monopoly in most major markets, and I'm guessing if this guy worked as a tech blogger he probably lives in a market where he can choose from Fios, Uverse, Comcast, etc. Increasingly people have more choice in which service provider they use, and even in the markets where Comcast is a monopoly, it is seldom good business to piss off your customers. There's a difference between putting up barriers between somebody who is upset and is threatening to cancel service and somebody who clearly has made the decision to leave and wants the service to be disconnected, which clearly this guy was.
When I worked in a major telecom we used to review customer service calls and I can tell you that this guy would not be applauded for that behavior. Probably given a stern warning and possibly terminated. Telecoms may be ruthless business people, but nobody is stupid enough to believe that this kind of behavior is good business. The guy was frustrated and did his job poorly. That's pretty much what this boils down to.
Could be just an individual, too. Or something in between. I just doubt that.
I reckon he'd retain more people and thus get better bonuses, and not reprimands.
I was pleasantly surprised.
A decade or so ago, I came within days of needing one merely to disconnect a DSL line.
Once the cost of fighting the collections agency and the cost of the hit to your credit record exceed the minimal cost of hiring the lawyer, its a pretty obvious move.
Not kidding around at all, although its probably a better topic for a law blog than HN.
The main problem they're likely to have is authentication. Helping people is fun. Helping people who like having fun by disconnecting other people (-ex's, etc) is a problem and you need to authenticate them cheaply.
-Hi, I'd like to cancel.
-Cool, we are upgrading your account so you don't need to.
-Umm, just cancel it please.
-Today only, you get 5GB for free
-I don't care, I want to cancel.
-Because I don't need your service anymore.
-But what about the free data!?
-I don't need you, I am moving country.
-What country and when? Do you want another month before you leave?
-I am leaving tomorrow.
-But what about the free 5gb?
-If I say yes to the free 5gb, then what happens?
-Well we can't make more than 1 change to your account in a day, so you can't cancel if you accept our upgrade.
-Then just cancel.
-Ok putting your through to the right department
line goes dead
Next attempt, they take my number in case line goes dead, it does, they ring back, after one ring, line goes dead.
Third attempt, they cancel it.
In Australia, if you threaten to go to an ombudsman, companies tend to listen. Ombudsman cases are very expensive.
With Comcast you can usually just hang up and call again if you get an employee with an attitude. This method works with tech support too, hang up and try again if you get someone who just wants to keep reseting your router or doesn't have any idea.
I'm guessing that this tactic might actually make the nice employees look bad. The employees with an attitude will have better customer retention metrics; then the nice customer service reps risk losing their jobs or also developing an attitude.
I can't believe I got interrogated when I signed up for service. Worst customer service ever.