Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hurricane Ike: Comcast

So, I saw the story below talking about how Comcast is giving us credit as we had no power, hence no cable, hence no Internet. But there is always a catch! The bastards wants us to call to get credit, when in the same story they said they could tell whether or not we were using the service or not.

The injustice!

Comcast counts lack of power

Customers to get credit for outages due to electricity

By BRAD HEM Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

Sept. 24, 2008, 10:32PM

Comcast will credit customers for the time they were unable to access their service, even if it was simply because they were without power, a spokesman said Wednesday.

"They were still without service," spokesman Ray Purser said. "We're going to credit them for that time."

It is a departure from its usual policy, which is not to credit customers if an outage is strictly caused by lack of electricity, Purser said.

The scope of problems caused by Hurricane Ike prompted the company to take a different approach.

AT&T spokesman Dan Feldstein said U-verse television customers also will be credited for time they lost service because of a power outage. Time Warner Cable, which serves areas east of Houston such as Beaumont, is giving customers a blanket credit from Sept. 12 until service is restored in those communities, spokesman Gary Underwood said.

Incorrect information

After announcing its credit offer Tuesday morning, Comcast received 50,000 calls during the day from customers, Purser said. The company has about 750,000 subscribers in the Houston area.

However, some reported they had problems getting through or were told incorrectly a credit wasn't forthcoming.

Spring resident Nancy Thornton said she was told she'd have to foot the whole bill even though she was without power for nine days.

Purser attributed any confusion to workers in the Comcast call center not knowing the policy by the time inquiries started coming in.

"It's probably just a symptom of miscommunication," he said. "We're working at a rapid pace. Maybe the call center was not ready to handle the calls."

Taking their word for it

To get the credit, customers must call 800-COMCAST and ask for it. For the most part, the company will take customers at their word for time without electricity, Purser said. However, the company can monitor when power becomes available at its nodes — vital boxes that serve whole neighborhoods — and Internet traffic by area, he said.

"More than likely, we believe the customer is going to be truthful," he said.

Credits would show up on the next 28-day billing cycle.

75 percent restored

By Wednesday afternoon, Comcast had restored service to 75 percent of its customers, though some of them may not know it because they are still without power, Purser said.

"We still have a number of nodes that are down," Purser said. "That is still an issue for us."

Comcast has posted maps of its nodes through its Web site,, to let customers see where the outages are near their homes. But the maps are fairly small, and customers have complained on some online comment threads that they can't tell which node applies to them.

Spokesman Michael Bybee said Comcast wants to provide as much information to customers as possible and is considering adding detail to the maps.

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