The following, from a reader named Lisa, is the verbatim transcript of an online chat with Qualmcast customer service. It is hilarious, in a perverse Kafka-esque sort of way. Lisa is, in more ways than one, a cool customer. Anyway, her encounter with Vanessa the Qualmcast Automaton tells you everything about this organization you need to know:
Hello Lisa_, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Vanessa. Please give me one moment to review your information.
Vanessa>Hello, I am Vanessa and I'll be very glad to assist you during our interaction. I hope that you are having a very nice day. So please, tell me what can I do for you.
Lisa_>The last time I spoke with anyone at Comcast, I talked to Gene (ext 4162) about the problems with my service. He indicated that there would be a credit on my account, due to service outage of my cable television. However, when I received my statement, there is no credit.Vanessa>Sometimes the credits could take two billing cycles in appear at your bill, let me check if I can get an updated view Lisa.
Vanessa>Please give me a moment to check that for you.
Vanessa>In order to find your account information and provide you a better service, would you please give me your telephone number including area code or your complete address.
Lisa_>540-XXX-XXXX and 35 XXXX Drive, Stafford VA
Vanessa>Thank you, would you mind holding a little longer? Just a minute or two?
Lisa_>Not at all. Especially not if you can fix this for me
Vanessa>Ok, thanks. Vanessa>Lisa. Do you have your account number with you at this moment?
Lisa_>Yep. Its 15010776621-02-5
Vanessa>Thank you, I was having a hard time with it.
Vanessa>I´m checking the system, do you mind holding a little longer?
Lisa_>Nope. Take your time.
Vanessa>Thank you for waiting Lisa, I´m making the adjustment at your bill in this moment. Please hold on a moment.
Vanessa>I appreciate, could you please tell me how longer this issue affected you?
Lisa_>I don't remember exactly. That should be in my file, along with the amount of the credit. I believe the credit was in the $45 range. I'm sorry that I don't remember the exact amount.
Lisa_>Yes, approximately.Vanessa>Sorry, but I will need more information to process your request about the trouble call Lisa.
Lisa_>You know what Vanessa; I don't need you to process a request for a trouble call. Instead, I need you to look in my file and determine why the refund promised to me by Gene (tel # 703-730-2225 x 4162) was not credited on my latest billing statement.
Vanessa>I understand your frustration Lisa, Unforurtunatelly in order to made the adjustment I need some proximately days to know how to apply this for you.
Lisa_>Do you have access to my file?
Lisa_>What are the last 2 days that I called about issues with my cable?
Vanessa>I´m still checking for the time this was affecting you.
Lisa_>Checking with whom? Seriously, is it my responsibility to remember exact dates and times that I have issues? I call and report the problems. I wait at home for the repairmen that NEVER show up. I call back. I wait again. NO ONE show up. I call and complain. Someone shows up. In the meantime, someone promises me a refund for the trouble I've had and the service that I am paying for and not receiving. Now, not only do you not know HOW MUCH I'M SUPPOSED TO BE REFUNDED, but you want ME to tell YOU how much to refund me? Unbelievable.
Vanessa>Could you please confirm to me if this situation affected you the 24/10 and 25/10?
Lisa_>I've already told you that I don't have the dates. THAT IS WHY I CALLED WHEN I HAD THE PROBLEM. Jesus Christ. This is like "Who’s on First". Don't you have a consolidated system that tells you WHEN I CALLED, WHAT THE PROBLEM WAS, WHAT THE DATES OF SERVICE WERE, and WHEN IT WAS FIXED?!?!?!?!
Vanessa>Lisa, I´m really sorry for this, I´m working on the credit for this situation, I´m just trying to understand why my system have no notes about this credit.
Lisa_>You could always call the last rep I talked to, who promised me the credit. Like I said before, his name is "Gene" and his number is 1-703-730-2225 ext. 4162.
Vanessa>Unfourtunately we have no access to phone calls in this area. But I´ll let a note at the system in order you don't have to pass through all this again.
Lisa_>Does that mean that you can, or cannot, take care of my credit?
Vanessa>Yes, I can.
Lisa_>So, what now?
Vanessa>Please give me a moment.
Vanessa>Lisa, this same issue occurs in your High Speed Internet?
Lisa_>The high speed internet is another issue altogether. I've had horrible service, multiple repairmen telling me multiple stories, etc.
Vanessa>I´m still here,
Vanessa>Sorry for the delay
Lisa_>Ok, like you've figured out how much my credit was supposed to be, and you'll let me know???
Vanessa>The amount of credit for this two days is for $8.05, I´m trying to check why the rep offers you an amount of $45.00
Vanessa>That´s the reason this is taking so long.
Vanessa>I could apply the credit for this two days.
Lisa_>UN-FREAKING-BELIEVEABLE. You don't seriously mean that you're going to credit me $8? Do you know what the issue was? Do you know whether it was more than 2 days (I have to assume it was, since I called about it, someone tried to fix it via the phone unsuccessfully, then scheduled an appt, then the technician never showed up, then I called back and talked to Gene, who scheduled yet ANOTHER appt, the technician showed up and had to swap my cable box out, because the one I had no longer worked). I AM *NOT*, I repeat, *NOT* okay with a simple 2 day credit. Shit, I've spent more than 2 full days on the phone with the incompetent service reps at Comcast over the last 6months!!! I want the credit that was promised me. The issue that you don't have the information in your system, not my problem. The issue that you have no phone access, again, not my problem. I suggest you elevate this issue up the chain to someone who has telephone privileges, and can actually FIX THIS SITUATION!!!!
Vanessa>I´m really sorry for the inconvenience Lisa, and I understand your feeling, I really apologize.
Lisa_>I don't need you to apologize; I need an ADEQUATE CREDIT, AS PROMISED, on my bill!!!-- Approximately 5 minutes goes by with no response ---
Lisa_>I hope that your silence is an indicator that you are actually taking care of this issue.
Vanessa>I´m still working on this. Please hold on a moment.
Vanessa>Ms, sorry for the delay, could you please confirm to me that you made a trouble call for the HSI October the 10th?
Lisa_>Seriously. I don't keep track of the dates I call. In hindsight though, I suppose I should since it is apparent that Comcast expects its customers to PROVE that they have issues (apparently, calling to report problems isn't sufficient proof of service problems.)In hindsight, I promise to do your job for you, and document EVERY instance of EVERY problem that I have, including who I talk to, when I talk to them, how long I talk to them... oh, and should I record the calls... "just to be safe"?
Lisa_>BTW, would it make it easier on you if I just said "YES" that I *did* call on the 10th of October? You have the files. You know when I called. But, if it makes it easier for you for me just to agree, I can do that.
Vanessa>Ms, I understand the frustration and the inconvenient this is causing to you. And once more I apologize for this situation, this is just in order to verify the information.
Lisa_>Are you suggesting that in order to receive any credits promised by any service representatives via the telephone, that I should document exactly when I called, the dates of service problems, who I spoke to, and what was promised so that I can "VERIFY" the information to a different rep at a later date when I don't receive what was promised?
Vanessa>No Ms certainly not necessary.
Lisa_>If it's not necessary, then why do you keep asking me to "Verify" calls or trouble/outages with my service?
Vanessa>unfortunately, ma'am what happens here is that I don't have the notes Lisa was supposed to place in your account to valid the credit, that's why I'm asking you to wait for me and verify what happened
Lisa_>Who's "Lisa"? Do you mean ME "Lisa"? Or do you actually mean "Gene" the rep that I last spoke to?
Vanessa>oh, sorry, I meant Gene
Vanessa>she didn't left me any notes to work with in the account
Lisa_>Um, just FYI, Gene was a man.
Vanessa>that's why I have to verify and unfortunately we only have the system and the notes the other representives provide in order to make requests
Lisa_>So, where does that leave me? Without the promised credit? Do I somehow have to PROVE that Gene promised me the credit? Would it be easier if I hired someone to go find Gene, and get him to put adequate notes in the system?
Vanessa>no, of course not, what we are trying to do here is verify that the period when the issue happened is the time that you had no service . I'm going to go a little bit back on the trouble call order to understand each other, ok?
Lisa_>Sure. Whatever you have to do.
Vanessa>I'm going to review the trouble calls that were placed since October, is that ok with you?
Vanessa>ok, the first trouble call we got on october was on the 15th and it was for internet service
Vanessa>the next day, October 16th, the order wasn't completed as you said
Vanessa>after that, we didn't got any other contact to inform us that the service was not working until October the 23rd
Vanessa>and, when we got notice of the service malfunction it was for cable only
Lisa_>My issue wasn't about the high speed internet. It was about my cable television service.
Vanessa>the report of no cable was made on 10/23
Lisa_>Seriously though, perhaps the credit that Gene was referring to considered BOTH the cable television AND the High Speed Internet (or, as we like to call it, the Outernet, since service doesn't work as often as it does work!)
Vanessa>ok, at this time is your service (cable-internet) is currently working?
Lisa_>Both are currently working.
Vanessa>perfect, I'm glad to hear it
Vanessa>lets finish the review of the trouble calls to clear any doubt of why the credit is not what Gene said, if we request a credit that we cannot show proof of the credit system is going to reject it
Vanessa>going on with the last trouble call on October 23rd, it didn't complete until Ocotber the 25th
Lisa_>Wrong. It didn't complete until that Saturday. I had an appt scheduled for the 24th. No one showed up. I called again on the 25th. Someone finally showed up on Saturday. So I guess it was completed on the 27th. But, remember, the issue started on the 22nd. Also, like the notes should say, there is a pre-recorded message when I call COMCAST to report problems with my service that says that there is a known outage in the area, and therefore no reason to speak to a representative. It's taken me a while, but I've finally realized that the pre-recorded message is simply there to keep people from reporting outages in time to get credit for their interruption in service -- since there is never actually an outage in my area when I finally get in touch with a representative.
Vanessa>ok, thank you for filling the blanks for me to better understand what is going on. Now, did the service started to working on the 27th?
Lisa_>Yes, on that Saturday, a technician fixed my Cable Television service.
Vanessa>perfect, and the internet was fixed that same day or it didn't show up any issue?
Vanessa>Ms. Lisa are you with me?
Lisa_>The internet was out most of last month. I lost TONS of productivity time (we own a home based business). I spent LOTS of time on the phone with Comcast, and have 3+ different technicians come to 'fix' our service. Your records should show all of the issues that I had with the high speed internet service.
Vanessa>the incongruency is that for the internet service repair we only got one call on Oct 15th, and after that nothing else was mention about the internet issue
Vanessa>that's why, by going through the trouble calls dates we can give credit for $21.07 Dls after reviewing this
Vanessa>and I know you don't want me to apologize for this whole situation but I really understand how frustrating is to be unable to fill in a load of work, my dad used to have a store
Lisa_>Wait a minute. First $8 for 2 days, now that we've agreed that my service was out for 6 days, its $21? Somebody's math is off.
Lisa_>Also, I don't want to hear when something was or wasn't in your system. I don't have access to your notes, therefore I cannot ensure that adequate annotations are made every time I call. That's absurd to assume. If the employee's of COMCAST are not appropriate trained to ensure that they annotate the files for each customer call/complaint, are you insinuating that it is fair that the customer then be held accountable for the lack of training/annotation on the company's part? Because that is what is happening.
Vanessa>what happen is that for the cable service, and that's for the plan, you pay $100.70 dls each month, if you were to pay daily for the service, you'd be paying $3.35 dls each day and if we already agreed that you didn't had cable service from 10/23 to 10/27 it give me a total of $16.78 + $4.29 of no internet 2 days (from 10/15 to 10/16)
Lisa_>Actually, the service went out on the 22nd. I called COMCAST. There was a pre-recorded message of service trouble in my area, and no need to speak to a representative. The next day, the service was not fixed. That's when I called. That should all be in your notes.
Lisa_>Also, I need you to explain to me why the previous representative I spoke with had a far larger credit amount than what you are offering.
Lisa_>Actually, there was no outage in my area. When I called on the 23rd, the recording said the same thing. The representative told me that there was no outage in my area.
Lisa_>Besides, an outage in my area wasn't the final issue. The issue was that the digital cable boxes that I had were outdated and stopped working. THAT would have NOTHING to do with an outage in my area.
Vanessa>I agree with you on that aspect, but with all do respect there are no more trouble calls or calls to report issues after the last note I have here is for Oct 25th. Now, going back to your question of why the previous representative offered you a different credit adjustment (that he didn't even did) I cannot know what did he use to support his information
Vanessa>but, after reviewing the dates from the trouble calls, I can assure you that a credit of $21.07 Dls can be issued to your account
Vanessa>without the system rejecting it
Lisa_>Then, should I tell you other dates that my service was out (I can make them up if you prefer). I was told that I'd receive a credit in the approximate amount of $45. You're offering me less than half of that.
Vanessa>I offer you what my system shows me, I work with that information. I strongly recommend you that since you have Gene number and extension you talk to him about the credit he offered you; or you can go to a Comcast service center with the technician's work order to dispute the time-frame
Lisa_>What Work Order?? When the technician comes, he leaves nothing behind (never has). I again am left trying to PROVE that I deserve what I was promised. This is ridiculous. I cannot believe that I've wasted 2 HOURS in this chat with you, only to find that COMCAST EXPECTS ITS CUSTOMERS TO PROVE THAT THEY ARE ENTITLED TO WHAT COMCAST INDICATES IT WILL DELIVER. www.comcastmustdie will *love* this thread!!
Vanessa>the work order is a paper you sign when the technician finish his order, and he leaves a copy to you (either yellow or pink). I do not deny that you deserve a credit, but the credit must be consistent with what we have
Lisa_>Again, I'll tell you that NO TECHNICIAN HAS EVER LEFT A WORK ORDER upon completion of a job at my house. I guess I'll have to PROVE that too!Oh, and with regard to Gene's telephone number, I cannot get past the automated system to input his extension number, so I cannot get to talk to him. Beleive me. I tried that first.
Vanessa>I see, I do agree with you that you deserve the credit. Unfortunately the maximum credit amount according to the dates I reviewed with you goes from 10/15 to 10/16 and from 10/23 to 10/27 is for $21.07 Dls.
Lisa_>This is a total waste of time.
Vanessa>I do feel sorry that you have had such a horrible experience, and that you are still going through it. The way I can help you, without lying to you, is give you the $21.07 Dls credit in which I can base my proof on
Lisa_>I have no choice but to accept the credit that you offer, since although you purport that Comcast does NOT make it's customers PROVE service outages/issues, without further proof (which you don't have due to your incompetent, untrained staff who neglect to properly annotate files - and which I did not keep track of, incorrectly assuming that COMCAST could keep track of its promises to it's customers), I've wasted more than 2 hours with you. You have the same files you had at the beginning of our chat, wherein you offered me $8. Now it's $21. If I had the stamina to keep this going, I suppose I could eventually get to the ~$45 that I was promised. But I'm tired of this. You win.
Vanessa>I feel as frustrated as you, Ms. Lisa. I have applied a credit to your account in the amount of $21.07 Dls. You will see this credit on your billing statement within one or two billing cycles. Is there anything else I can assist you with?Is there anything else I can help you with?
Lisa_>Are you serious? Anything else you can assist me with? Yes, of course there is. You can 'find' the rest of the refund that I was promised and you can credit that to my account as well. After all, that's why I initiated this chat in the first place.
Vanessa>I do apologize that you have been misinformated, Ms. Lisa. I do apologize I can only offer you so little
Lisa_>Yep, that about sums it up. Minsinformated. So, it seems that I've been misinformated. That too, must be my fault.