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Comcast Customer Service Controversies refers to the online backlash surrounding a recorded telephone conversation in which tech blogger Ryan Block repeatedly tries to request a Comcast customer service representative to cancel his cable service subscription over the course of an 18 minute-long call. The recording instantly went viral after Block uploaded a portion of the conversation to Soundcloud in July 2014, which ultimately prompted the American cable company to issue a personal apology.
Comcast Doesn't Give a F*ck
The consumers' dissatisfaction with Comcast's customer service department has been previously discussed online, most notably in a parody Comcast commercial by Funny or Die titled "Comcast Doesn't Give a Fuck."
Ryan Block's Audio Recording
On July 15th, 2014, Ryan Block uploaded a recording of his attempt to have his Comcast cable service discontinued to the audio-sharing website Soundcloud (shown below). During the call, Block repeatedly pleads with the representative to cancel his service and is aggressively met with questions about the decision (shown below).
The same day, Block's spouse Veronica Belmont tweeted a link to the Soundcloud file, receiving over 1,300 retweets and 900 favorites in the first 72 hours.
Shortly after, several posts about the recording reached the front page of Reddit, many of which which mocked Comcast's customer service. In the comments section of a post on the /r/television subreddit, Redditor txmadision claimed to be a former Comcast data analyst and explained the financial incentives that may have caused the representative's extreme behavior. The comment was subsequently featured on the /r/bestof subreddit.
Also on July 15th, Comcast released a statement apologizing for the representative's behavior, claiming it was "not consistent" with how they train employees.
"We are very embarrassed by the way our employee spoke with Mr. Block and are contacting him to personally apologize. The way in which our representative communicated with him is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives. We are investigating this situation and will take quick action. While the overwhelming majority of our employees work very hard to do the right thing every day, we are using this very unfortunate experience to reinforce how important it is to always treat our customers with the utmost respect."
News Media Coverage
In the coming days, several news sites published articles about the incident and Redditor txmadison's subsequent revelations, including NPR, Business Insider, CNET, The Washington Post, Mashable, Slate, BoingBoing and The Verge.
Comcast Billing Name Prank
On January 28th, 2015, consumer advocacy blogger Christopher Elliot published a story on his blog about one of his readers' ordeal with Comcast after noticing that the name on her cable bill had been changed from her husband's name, Ricardo Brown, to "Asshole Brown" (shown below). According to Lisa Brown, a volunteer worker based in Spokane, Washington, she initially tried to correct the name herself by visiting the company's local office and speaking on the phone with the management, albeit without any success.
Elliot then contacted Comcast's customer service and inquired the company's records on the account, ultimately verifying that the name on the bill had been deliberately changed by a customer service agent. While the identity or motive of the prankster remains unclear, Brown speculated that it could have been a result of an unpleasant exchange over the phone she once had with the company's retention specialist who tried to persuade her to keep her plan and sign a new two-year contract.
She explained that her family was having financial difficulties and needed to reduce their cable bill. She’d called Comcast to cancel the cable portion of her account, for which she had to pay a $60 fee. Instead of complying immediately, a representative escalated her call to a retention specialist, who.
A few minutes after confirming the incident with a customer representative, Elliott received a phone call from Comcast's vice president of communications Steve Kipp, who apologized for the name change and said he will work with the Browns to rectify their mistake. Throughout the day, several news sites published articles about the incident, including Gizmodo, Wired and BoingBoing. On the following day, Elliot updated the post to note that Comcast had given a two-year refund to the Browns. Also on January 29th, Comcast released a statement regarding the incident, noting that the employee who changed the name had been terminated.
"We have apologized to our customer for this unacceptable situation and addressed it directly with the employee who will no longer be working on behalf of Comcast. We're also looking at a number of technical solutions that would prevent it from happening moving forward."
 The Washington Post – A long days journey into canceling Comcast service