An Attempt to Disconnect From Comcast / OK, Let’s Talk to Hell: A Transcript

The following transcript was made from audio discovered at “Sympathy for the Comcast Rep from Hell” by John Herman:

Above is eight solid minutes of empathic pain. It is a recording of a calm, polite caller, Ryan Block, attempting to cancel his Comcast service. The representative, by the time the recording starts, already sounds angry: He demands, again and again and again, to know why Block is leaving Comcast for a smaller provider, to know what it is that he—that Comcast—can’t supply that this other company, this obviously objectively inferior company, this loser company, can. Just tell him what he did wrong, he says. Just explain to him. Just make him understand this stupid mistake.

COMCAST REP
-eight hundred and five megabits per second internet, Astound will not give you that speed.

RYAN BLOCK
Okay, we’d like to disconnect. We’d like to disconnect. Please.

C.R.
So, why do you think you don’t want the faster speed? Help me understand why you don’t want faster internet.

R.B.
Help me understand why you can’t just disconnect us.

C.R.
Because my job is to have a conversation with you. About having- About dis- About keeping your service. About finding out why it is you’re looking to cancel the service.

R.B.
I don’t understand. Is this for-

C.R.
Okay, if you don’t want to talk to me, you can definitely go into the Comcast store, and disconnect your service there.

R.B.
We’re just asking to-

C.R.
-and kill two birds with one stone. You gotta return that cable card to the store anyways.

R.B.
We’re actually just going to mail the cable card in. But if you can just please cancel our service. That would be great. That’s all-

C.R.
We actually can’t-

R.B.
That’s all we want.

C.R.
We’re actually not able to return…a cable card by mail.

R.B.
Then I will send someone like, a taskrabbit, to go return the cable card for us. I don’t personally intend to go return the cable card. That’s why we’re probably not going to be canceling in store, that’s why I need you to cancel, by phone. So, can you cancel us by phone? The answer is yes, correct?

C.R.
It sounds like you don’t want to go over this information with me, I mean, if you don’t want to go over this information, okay, then that’s the easiest way to get your account disconnected.

R.B.
Uh, I am declining to state why we are leaving Comcast, because I don’t owe you an explanation…so, if you can please just go to-

C.R.
-the number one-

R.B.
Proceed to the next question. If you have to fill out your form, that’s fine. Please proceed to the next question. And we’ll attempt to answer that, if possible.

C.R.
Alright. So. I mean, being that we’re the number one provider of internet and TV service in the entire country…why is it that you’re not wanting to have the number one rated internet service? Number one rated TV service, available?

R.B.
I’m declining to state. We’re switching providers. Can you please go to the next question?

C.R.
Okay. So, what is it about Astound that’s making you want to change to them?

R.B.
I’m declining to state. Can you please go to the next question? So we can cancel our service?

C.R.
Okay. So. Okay. I mean. I’m just trying to figure out here what it is about Comcast services that you’re not liking? That you’re not wanting to keep? Why is it that you don’t want-

R.B.
This-

C.R.
-to keep our service?

R.B.
This phone call, actually, is a really amazing representative example of why I don’t want to stay with Comcast. So, can you please cancel our service?

C.R.
So, from- Okay. But, I’m trying to help you. K. Don’t worry.

R.B.
The way that you can help me, right now-

C.R.
-by declining answer, by doing all this.

R.B.
The way that you can help me is by disconnecting our service. That’s how you can help-

C.R.
But how is that helping you, though? How is that-

R.B.
Because that’s what I want.

C.R.
Remind me how that’s helping you.

R.B.
That’s what I want.

C.R.
Okay, so why is that what you want?

R.B.
Because that’s what I want.

C.R.
Okay, so, I mean, there has to be some sortof reason behind it. That’s what we’re trying to find out. We just want to find out what it is, that’s causing a customer, that’s been with us for a long time, to leave.

R.B.
Because that’s what we want.

C.R.
Okay. I mean, you’ve been with us since…October 2005. Nine years. You’ve been a Comcast customer, k, after a decade, okay? Clearly, the service is working great for you. You weren’t having any problems. But now all of a sudden you’re moving, k, you’ve kept this service at multiple addresses…all of a sudden you’re moving, and it’s making you want to change. What is it that’s making you want to change that?

R.B.
Because that’s what we want to do.

C.R.
K, why is that what you want to do?

R.B.
That’s none of your business. Your business is to disconnect us-

C.R.
As a company that is a cable internet provider. Primarily. K? It is our business. To know why our customers are leaving. Okay? If we don’t know why our customers are leaving, how are we supposed to make it a better experience for you next time? K? When Astound turns out not to-

R.B.
That’s a fantastic question, and something you can hire a firm to go figure out. For right now, I’m just a customer. Calling in. Attempting to disconnect service. That is something you can do, right?

C.R.
Yeah.

R.B.
You said that you can disconnect service…yes?

C.R.
Okay.

R.B.
Yes?

C.R.
I just don’t want to lose you as a customer!

R.B.
Is that something that you can do?

C.R.
-greatly, from transferring your service to your new address-

R.B.
Is that something that you can do?

C.R.
-offers-

R.B.
Can you disconnect us? By phone?

C.R.
-so-

R.B.
Can you disconnect our service? Yes or no?

C.R.
K. What I’m trying to find out-

R.B.
Yes or no?

C.R.
-same offer, or brand new-

R.B.
Can you disconnect our service?

C.R.
-faster internet than anyone can provide you. K? Why don’t you want services?

R.B.
Because I’m not interested in your services any longer. Can you-

C.R.
Okay. So you’re not interested in the fastest internet in the country?

R.B.
Nope. Not interested.

C.R.
K, why is that?

R.B.
Can you disconnect us? By phone? Are you capable, in your system, of disconnecting our service? Yes or no?

C.R.
Well, I’m just trying to get some information to find out why-

R.B.
Please answer my question. Are you capable, by phone, of disconnecting our service?

C.R.
It’s something we can do, I mean– Whether we do it-

R.B.
That’s something you can do, I would appreciate you now doing that.

C.R.
K. So.

R.B.
Please proceed in disconnecting our service.

C.R.
So, what is it about this other internet provider, this other TV provider? That’s making it sound so much better than the number one TV service available?

R.B.
I don’t know. It’s a totally arbitrary decision.

C.R.
K. So why not keep what you know works? When you’ve got a good service?

R.B.
Because. We’re not doing that. So, please proceed-

C.R.
Okay.

R.B.
-to disconnect-

C.R.
So, you’re saying you don’t want this service? You don’t want something that works?

R.B.
No. I guess I don’t want something that works.

C.R.
So, why don’t you want something that’s good service, and something that works?

R.B.
I mean, is this like a joke? Did we call- Is this- Are you punking us right now?

C.R.
I’m trying to get information. Okay? I’m trying to help our company be better. That’s my job.

R.B.
I can guarantee you, right now, you’re doing an incredibly good job at helping your company be worse.

C.R.
Okay. Well, you know what, I’m terribly sorry that it feels like I’m being- It sounds to you like it feels like I’m trying to argue, I’m just trying to help you out and get some information. We’ll just bypass all this information, I’ll go ahead and disconnect this service, okay-

R.B.
Fantastic. Thank you.

C.R.
It’s really a shame to see you go to something that can’t give you what we can.

R.B.
Okay, well if that winds up being the case-

C.R.
-that’s what I’m trying-

R.B.
-then we’ll call you guys back up, and reconnect.

C.R.
I mean, you’re not going to get the hundred thousand free on-demand titles. You’re not going to get hundred and five megabits per second for your internet. Guaranteed. Speed at a hundred and five. Okay. I mean, no one else can guarantee their speed like we can. Okay? So, I mean, we can definitely transfer this over to your new address, get you a lower rate, I can save you almost a hundred, actually, more than a hundred dollars per month. Over a hundred dollars per month. K? Doing that transfer. K? Get you internet that’s…five, six, times faster than anything any other company can provide you.

R.B.
Are you done?

C.R.
Get you the number one T.V. service available, okay? And, I mean, so…what about those savings? Those services, are you not wanting?

R.B.
Are you done?

C.R.
What makes you-

R.B.
-because-

C.R.
-not want that service?

R.B.
You literally, just a moment ago, said that you would go ahead and disconnect our service? And that’s what-

C.R.
Okay.

R.B.
-we’re gonna need to do. Can you go ahead and do that?

C.R.
I’m working on that process!

R.B.
Okay. Great. How much longer is that process going to take?

C.R.
I’m just asking some questions-

R.B.
Can you tell me how much longer-

C.R.
That’s all I’m doing.

R.B.
Can you tell me how much longer it’s gonna take?

C.R.
K, I’m just asking some questions. To do this process.

R.B.
I understand. Can you tell me how much longer-

C.R.
Okay? If you gave me a few more minutes-

R.B.
Can you tell me how much longer-

C.R.
A couple more minutes, here. Okay?

R.B.
Okay. A couple more minutes. K.

C.R.
Okay. So. I mean, what about the service is it, that is causing you to want to change? What is it about-

R.B.
I’m-

C.R.
-the offers that we have available to you-

R.B.
I’m good. I’m just going to wait until you can confirm that we’ve cancelled service. So, I’m just going to hang up here-

C.R.
Okay, you’re all set. You know, it’s disconnected. I’m really sorry to see you go to something that can’t give you what we can, but I’d like to thank you very much, for being a great part of Comcast, have a wonderful day.

R.B.
Uh- Can you give me a confirmation number for the cancellation of service?

C.R.
I- I don’t have a confirmation number.

R.B.
Well, how do I- How do I have confirmation that we-

C.R.
Okay. You’ll receive a final statement in about three weeks.

R.B.
A final statement in three weeks?

C.R.
Yes.

R.B.
Okay.

C.R.
Alright. Again, I want to thank you very much for…being a great part of Comcast, have a wonderful day.

R.B.
Okay, just so I can confirm, you said your name is [REDACTED FROM TAPE]?

C.R.
Correct.

R.B.
Okay. Cool. Thank you.

C.R.
Okay.

R.B.
Alright.

C.R.
You’re very welcome. Have a great day.

R.B.
You too.

A comment from “John Wantland@facebook”, at the original post (link):

Display common sense, lose your job. Try to keep your job, get hated on the Internet, and get punished anyway. Oh, and let’s not forget, not only do you lose your current job by displaying common sense, but hey, for getting fired, that makes you less desirable for any other company to hire you, on top of that. What do you want? What do you expect? Are you so willing to throw your career away because you’d rather be a polite homeless beggar than slightly annoy people and get to keep your house? I’m not saying it’s right, but the world we live in doesn’t allow for that kind of attitude, not really. If you have a job, you’re damn lucky to keep it. Look, I don’t like it any more than you, but I’ll put up with being slightly annoyed by a phone rep if the alternative is he loses his job. It’s not a defense of the system, but you do what you gotta do to survive, and until the day comes when all jobs are about cleaning up rainbow spills and unicorn poops, you just gotta suck it up and deal with the fact that no matter what you’re doing, once in a while you have to do something unpleasant, and maybe something you don’t agree with on a personal level, because it’s far better than sleeping in the gutter with your principles to keep you warm.

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