Monday, July 20, 2009

Adventures with Comcast

Several years ago, I purchased a domain name for my personal use. The reasoning behind this was fairly simple. My husband is the type of guy who likes technology and when we first got Internet service at home, he was always looking for a better deal or faster service. Hence, we changed our email addresses on a fairly frequent basis. I decided if I owned my own domain name, I would never have to change my email address again. I have it set up so that when some sends an email to my personal domain (PD), it is automatically forwarded to the address I have set up with my Internet provider (IP). 97% of the time, this works flawlessly. 2 to 3 times a year, however, my IP stops delivering the messages that are being forwarded from my personal domain. No reason, no explanation and no error messages. It always happens over a weekend and I have to call up and get them to “unblock” those messages. The big issue is that they always deny that they have done anything and it makes it hard to get it fixed. We did change Internet providers one time because of this but found the other provider didn’t work as well as a television provider and we switched back.

Anyway, late Saturday evening, I noticed that I had not received many email messages for a couple of days. When I checked the messages I had received, they had all been directed to my email address with the IP and I wasn’t receiving any emails that were on auto forward and addressed to my PD. This is an issue because about 90% of the emails I receive are addressed to my PD address. I checked the IP’s website and noticed that they had “live help” 24/7 and filled out the live help form. My complaint was too long and it got kicked out. Undaunted, I completed the form again to notice that I suddenly had no “submit” button to submit my complaint. Hmmm. I went back to the start and tried again. Still no “submit” button. They obviously didn’t want to hear from me! Ha. I wasn’t going to take that and after digging thru layers of their website, I found a toll free number for assistance. I called and got a real person!!!! She indicated that she would be “able to solve my problem” and then proceeded to show me that she had no idea in the least what the problem was. I explained it a second time (“I am not receiving any messages that are being forwarded from my personal domain address.”) I thought I made it pretty clear but apparently I was wrong as she had me check the settings for my IP mail. I explained (very nicely, I might add) for a third time and she told me that I needed to be transferred to another department. Before she transferred me, she asked if there was anything else she could help me with. I restrained myself from answering that there wasn’t because she hadn’t helped me with the first item. When I was transferred, I got an answering machine indicating that this department was closed until Monday. Now, don’t you think, she should have warned me that she was sending me to someone who wasn’t there and who wouldn’t be there for several days?!? Strike one. I hung up the phone and pondered my next move.

I decided to try the live help avenue again. This time, I was actually able to submit my complaint! I got a new person in Indonesia who, once again, assured me that they would be happy to fix my problem immediately. Once again, I explained my problem. The person then summarized my problem back to me. Imagine my dismay when she had the issue 100% wrong. I explained it again and suggested that perhaps the IP had put a “Spam block” on the forwarded emails because I was receiving so many from that one address. She then asked me if the address from my PD was my IP address. I bit my tongue and didn’t ask her if she noticed that the address after the @ was not the same as the IP. I do have some restraint, after all! She provided a link to a form that I could submit for removing a “Spam block”. When I looked at the form, it had 2 mandatory fields that I was unable to complete. It was pretty clear to me that the form was for someone sending out emails that were blocked. This was not my issue. In addition, when I asked for help completing the form, it was obvious that this help person didn’t really understand my issue or even the issue that the form was supposed to rectify. Strike two. I disconnected and tried to decide what to do next.

At this point, I was getting irritated. I simply wanted to get my email. Every time I checked my emails, I would get the “No New Messages” notice. I knew there were messages waiting for me. I was being mocked by technology.

Being a glutton for punishment, I decided to try the toll free number to get a real person. I called and got someone to talk to. Once again, I was assured that she would solve my problem in mere moments. Ha. I wasn’t falling for that again. I explained my problem to her. After a few questions and a few more times explaining the issue, I got the impression that a miracle was happening. She UNDERSTOOD. Perhaps her promise of help was not a false promise. Could it be? Alas, I was too optimistic. She did understand what I was saying but told me that it wasn’t an issue by the IP. She claimed it was a problem on the end of the host of my personal domain. Now, I had been thru this the past three or four times this problem has occurred and the IP always said that. I was able to tell them that we had confirmed that the host of the personal domain wasn’t the issue as emails could be forwarded to other addresses. Anyway, she refused to even consider that it was an issue with the IP. I asked if I could take this problem to the next level and she indicated that she would fill out the paperwork to do this and that someone would call me within 2 hours. At that point, it was after midnight and I indicated that I wasn’t interested in a call within 2 hours, as I would be sleeping. She said OK. Two minutes later, she told me that I would be receiving a follow up call “within 2 hours”. I pointed out (very nicely) again that it was late and I did not want a follow up call until Sunday. She said she understood but, once again, a few minutes later referenced that I would be receiving a follow up call “within 2 hours”. At that point, I strongly said, “It is after midnight here. I do NOT want a call back tonight as I will be asleep at 2:00 am.” She did indicate that she understood after the third time. Strike three. I am supposed to receive a follow up call from them sometime today. So far, no calls. While I was talking to this third person, I attempted to send the IP an email from the help section of their website. Once again, I did not get a submit button to send the complaint. I am getting paranoid. No one wants to help me!

In the meantime, I set up a new gmail email account. I went into the host of my personal domain and changed the forwarding address to my gmail address. We went into the gmail account and had that account forward mail to my IP address. Lo and behold, I am now getting my mail again. However, all of the emails that were sent to me from Friday to after midnight on Saturday are sitting somewhere in email limbo at the IP. Assuming I don’t get a call tonight, I will be on the telephone tomorrow desperately seeking assistance. If you read in the paper about a woman’s head exploding in Southern Maine, you will be able to say, “I read her blog and know what caused it.”

UPDATE: I called them on Monday afternoon. Once again, I got the "It is nothing we are doing." answer. The customer service agent put in a repair "ticket". I asked about the previous two repair tickets that had been put in. Both of those had been closed without action. No explanation why. She also told me that no one would be calling to confirm that any solution had been found but that I could call back and check. Interesting method of customer service. However, when I returned home later last evening, lo and behold, I had all of my messages from over the weekend. Someone had done something! I had set up a work around Saturday night and I plan on keeping that in place to see if, perhaps, we can avoid this situation happening again in another few months.

Here's to solving problems and keeping your sanity.


  1. Maybe all of the "limbo" emails are bad and someone is just trying to protect you.

    Aren't I helpful???

    Hallie :)

  2. Isn't technology grand?
    Then slip in a little touch of 'human' into the mix...
    I am so sorry to hear of your woes. Truly, it sucks to be so dependent on a 'thing'.
    Hopefully, today is a better day for you!

  3. Wow. I've been there with the offshore internet "assistance." Ugh. Not only is English not their first (2nd? 3rd?) language, they don't understand TECH either. It took us DAYS to get it resolved. They kept saying the problem was elsewhere. Finally, we got our tech guy to talk them STEP by STEP through what they needed to do to fix it (which still took over an hour with him on the phone), and they got it solved. That was India, though, instead of Indonesia. I'm sure that's very different (insert sarcasm here).

  4. I just hope those lost emails don't contain anything vitally important. If it were my email, there would be several letters from a Nigerian prince waiting for me.

  5. Those "so not here in the states" tech help people are reading a script when they talk to you! I hate that! I can hear the voices now. "I am sorry maam, I can help you with that" (Only sometimes they say sir and I correct voice is a little deep on the phone) You are so nice! I usually blast them from the first stupid move on their part. (Hoping maybe, just maybe they will send me to someone stateside.)
    I can't count how many times I have been through this run-through with "tech desk".
    Don't even get me started with Comcast. I am waging my own personal battle with them over the TV issues. I. WILL. WIN.
    So sorry you are having to deal with them, but it is kind of good to know I am not alone.
    I hope you get this straightened out soon!

  6. You are a braver person than I am. I refuse to deal with Comcast. I had horrible problems with them years ago. I'll go Internet-less and tv-less if they are the only option.

  7. my hubby would tell you to wrap your head in duct-tape before you call them again......that way when it explodes from dealing with their stupidity you'll be able to find all the pieces!


  8. I would hate it if your head exploded. Plus, think of the mess.

    I had to deal with a tech issue a few years ago, and got connected to somebody in India. They had to call me back (within 24 hours) and didn't quite make the deadline. When they did call back, it was about 26 hours later, and at 2:30 in the morning. I was so pleased.