Dealing with customer service representatives over the phone can be a hassle — for both the customer and the company employee. But when tempers flared a little too much at Comcast, one billing customer got a surprise when she received her monthly statement.
Ricardo and Lisa Brown of Spokane, Washington, had to call their cable and internet provider over a billing matter. When they received their statement in the mail, they noticed that Ricardo’s name had been changed — to “Asshole Brown.”
When Lisa Brown called Comcast to get the name changed back, employees were reluctant to help. She reached out to Christopher Elliott, a consumer advocacy writer for the Washington Post, USA Today and other publications. After hearing the Browns’ story, Elliot featured a full report of the Comcast debacle on his website, Elliot.org.
“You know employees talk about customers behind their back and say things like this,” Elliott said, noting that he hadn’t seen language like that in writing before. “This falls into the category of ‘What were they thinking?'”
Brown told Elliott that she hadn’t even been rude on the call in the first place. Her family was having financial difficulties, and she needed to cancel the cable service on her account — a steep $60 fee.
On the phone with Comcast, she had been transferred to a retention specialist who had tried to get her to keep the cable service and sign a new two-year contract on top of that.
“I am shocked,” Brown had said to Elliott. “I was never rude. It could have been that person was upset because I didn’t take the offer.”
It turned out that the Browns weren’t the only ones having issues with Comcast.
Other customers reported changes with their names and other information: one woman’s billing name was changed to “Whore Julia”; another had her online greeting displayed as “Hello, dummy.” One family reported that their name was changed to something close to the F-word on their bill.
Comcast is the largest cable provider in the country, but they seem to have far more problems with their customer service than other billing and statement processing companies.
Last year one customer was put on hold for three hours while trying to cancel service, and another customer got into an argument with a very irate employee — and recorded the call for all to hear.
Elliott reached out to Steve Kipp, Comcast’s vice president of communications for the Washington region, who gave this statement:
“We have spoken with our customer and apologized for this completely unacceptable and inappropriate name change. We have zero tolerance for this type of disrespectful behavior and are conducting a thorough investigation to determine what happened. We are working with our customer to make this right and will take appropriate steps to prevent this from happening again.”
Another Comcast representative said the company would investigate who had made the name change and would terminate that employee.
The company reached out to the Browns to offer a refund of their past two years of service, and Lisa Brown reports that they are satisfied with the company’s attempt to make good on the incident.