Rich Warren: Local connection brings much satisfaction

Rich Warren: Local connection brings much satisfaction

Everyone pile on Comcast!

Face it, Comcast is the business you love to hate, sort of like combining the old phone company monopoly, the power company and throw in computer tech support for seasoning.

If Lily Tomlin revised her Ernestine skit today, she would be working for Comcast.

Unlike the old Bell system or the power company, Comcast is not a monopoly.

You can choose AT&T (the successor to Ma Bell), and if you're fortunate, Volo or Big Broadband. If you simply watch TV, you can view DirecTV or DISH.

At this point, let me state that I have no connection whatsoever with Comcast. I am outside its service area.

A Comcast representative has bought me lunch and given me a coffee mug. I'll let you decide if I can be bought for a coffee mug.

This Comcast representative really, truly cares about your service and the reputation of his company.

While his job description has nothing to do with customer service, he tells me that if anyone at Comcast fails to address customer problems, they won't go far in the company.

That brings us to a recent reader email.

I'm sure my connection at Comcast will cringe that I'm printing this, but I'm also printing the outcome.

"I could write a book on my recent lack of Internet and Comcast's lack of response. In the last 10 days, I have had five technician appointments, and three of those were no-shows.

"I did have confirmation numbers for the no-shows, but apparently they are worthless.

"The two technician visits resolved our problem for just a few hours.

"I have spent hours on the phone to India and days waiting for no one to show up.

"I have been promised return phone calls. I have been promised a lowered rate of $100/month, but these have not happened.

"I don't feel there is any equivalent alternative in the Champaign area, so I feel held hostage to this company.

"I have another technician visit scheduled for Sunday, but I am losing hope in their ability to fix this problem.

"Thanks for letting me vent."

Within 30 minutes of my forwarding the above to Comcast, the reader received a reply.

Within a couple of days, she emailed us: "I had two men here this morning, and I believe we have resolved my Internet issues. ... I did learn one thing: Deal locally with Comcast. Calling their 800 number was frustrating and futile in my case.

"Next time I have a problem, I will show up personally at their Urbana office. It's the personal and local contact that gets things done."

Then the next day, she copied us on the following emailed to Comcast: "This was not an easy fix as it turned out (squirrels had chewed away at the main line), but my reason for contacting you (Comcast) again was to compliment two of your outstanding employees.

"The local supervisor, Tom Overbey, returned my phone call immediately. When another call was needed, he had a technician there within the hour. He personally came to my house to work on the problem.

"Matt Howard, the technician who came on Saturday, was brilliant. He diagnosed the main problem and had it resolved that day.

"But more than that, he spent hours correcting other problems. He called himself 'picky,' but I saw a detail guy that would not rest until he knew everything was to his satisfaction.

"He was polite and kept me informed and educated on what he was doing to correct my problems.

"Those two, especially, should be commended for their efforts. Please pass along my compliments. Although all the technicians were unfailingly polite and helpful, these two stood out.

"I have gone from a frustrated customer to a satisfied one."

My contact at Comcast pledges that over 99 percent of problems are settled by calling the 800 telephone number and recommends that you do that prior to visiting the local office in Urbana.

Rich Warren, who lives in the Champaign area, is a longtime reviewer of consumer electronics. He can be emailed at

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