Another nightmare Comcast customer service call surfaces

And it is painful to listen to

Published August 11, 2014 6:11PM (EDT)

A sign outside the Comcast Center in Philadelphia.             (AP/Matt Rourke)
A sign outside the Comcast Center in Philadelphia. (AP/Matt Rourke)

Updated with response from Comcast:

Yet another painful snippet of audio between Comcast and a customer has surfaced on the Internet.

Nearly one month ago, audio of Ryan Block, an AOL product manager, locked in a painful attempt to shut off his Comcast service, went viral, spurring Comcast internal memos, and even in-depth reporting from the Verge into Comcast's seemingly flawed customer service.

YouTuber Tim Davis, who according to his account vlogs about technology, security and religion, recently diverted from these topics to rant about Comcast. The video, which he posted on Reddit, contains what appear to be recordings made of his dealings with Comcast along with commentary. (He maintains on his YouTube page that the calls were recorded legally.)

The story, as told by Davis and reported by Consumerist, details Davis' move to a new apartment and self-installation of his Internet in the existing jack. Davis alleges that a few weeks post-move-in he had sporadic Internet failure and called Comcast to remedy the issue. Comcast, according to Davis, told him the issue was not of his making, but rather the line into his apartment that was faulty.

He was also reassured that he would not be charged for fixing it, according to the recording.

However, when Davis received his bill, that was allegedly not the case. The bill, according to a screenshot in the video, charges $99.99 for “Failed Self Install,” $32 for “Failed Video SIK" and $49.95 for “Wireless Network SET Up.”

It only gets juicier, according to Davis. Consumerist reports:

"But, insists Davis, the problem wasn’t that he failed to do the self-install correctly or that there was a failed self-install kit, since the problem involved cables entering his property that he never touched. Similarly, the tech never set up or did anything with Davis’s WiFi system, so the set-up charge is bogus.

During his first call to Comcast customer service, a rep tells Davis that the tech installed a new coaxial cable jack. Davis not only claims this didn’t happen, but that the tech would have been required to get the landlord’s permission to do that install.

The CSR also asserts that the tech did indeed set up Davis’s wireless system, in spite of Davis’s insistence that nothing had been set up during the tech’s visit."

Eventually after being put on hold, calling back and then speaking to a supervisor Comcast tells him they cannot refund him the $82 he claims to be owed, because it is a "valid charge."

“Every time we send out a technician there’s a $50 charge for that,” the woman in the recording says.

“Well, I have a call recorded where the agent tells me in no uncertain terms that there will be no charge,” Davis replies. “You can not bill me for something that I did not authorize. You can not tell me that it’s free, then bill me anyway and then tell me that you can not un-bill me or credit me for the bill.”

The Comcast representative then listens to the call, and states that she'll look into the issue and call Davis back.

Eventually the Comcast representative calls back, and refunds the $82. According to the recording, the call unfolded in this manner:

Davis: Why were you not able to do that before?

Comcast: Because we tried to negotiate and again that is a valid charge, but since I advised that manager that there is a recording and you were misinformed, then she's the one who could approve that $82.

Davis: No. 1, as I explained to you, it was not a valid charge. And No. 2, you're telling me that if I did not have a recording of that call then you wouldn't be able to do it? Is that right?

Comcast: Yes, that is correct.

Salon has reached out to Comcast for a comment and confirmation, and will update accordingly.

Update: A spokesperson from Comcast responded stating:

“This is not the type of experience we want our customers to have, and we will reach out to Mr. Davis to apologize to him.   Our policy is not to charge for service visits that are related to problems with our equipment or network.  We are looking into this to understand what happened and why it happened.”

The video contains commentary from Davis, listen below:

By Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email

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