Comcast is closed. Oh, and How to install Comcast Internet without Internet Explorer!

I'm going to keep this relatively short, since just about everyone has a similar story.

Before we get started, here's the tip in case you came here for that reason and want to move on without reading my complaints. If you don't want to run their "wizard" that comes with the self-install kit, you don't have to. This is a good thing, since many of us would like to configure the computer's network settings on our own thank you very much, and we wouldn't even think of installing IE, which the wizard requires, even on a Mac. So, how do you get around this? It's actually pretty easy; just follow the following five steps.

1. Call Comast and get to tech support.
2. Tell the technician that you won't use the wizard. Say you're having problems with it or your dog/significant other ate the CD if you have to.
3. Ask the tech if you can just provide the modem's model number and MAC address. This info should be on a label somewhere on the modem.
4. The tech should be able to connect the MAC address to your account, registering you as the "owner" of the modem. Try to get online while you're still on the phone (renew your DHCP lease if you have to) and you should be all set.
5. Pass this info along to any friends who get new Comcast service.

Now time for the complaint:
I don't really have any problems with Comcast's cable and Internet services, but their customer service, as any customer is probably aware, sucks. So far I have confirmed this in Pennsylvania (bad installation experience), Maryland (being billed for service I didn't have, and not even being able to cancel that), and now, California.

I called their 24/7 1-800-COMCAST number tonight to cancel the basic cable TV service that I had only signed up for so I could order the Internet service at Circuit City. When I first called, I was placed on hold for probably about 20 minutes before I gave up and ended the call. A few minutes later I tried again, and after going through a few menus was told that the offices were closed. What happened to 24/7? The funny part was at the end when I was randomly selected for a survey about my experience with the non-existant representative.

Of course my initial installation didn't go so well either. I was first told (by the apartment complex, not Comcast) that I didn't need to be present for the installation, so I made an appointment while I was at work, only to have Comcast call me that day with the "Hey, idiot, you missed your appointment" message. After the TV service was installed the next weekend, I got started on the self-installation Internet kit, which in the year 2006, in the middle of "Silicon Valley," should take a maximum of five minutes, including time spent searching for scissors to cut those plastic thingies off of the cables. Instead, it took over an hour. First, the installation "wizard," which I was forced to use, required me to install Internet Explorer in order to run. After that, it wanted to mess with my network settings, and asked me to authenticate with my administrator name and password, which I was then told was incorrect, even though the OS X authentication window cleared just fine. So I called Comcast, only to be told that I had to call a different number because I was in California (and this was at the end of a 14 minute call), when I was finally connected to a tech who was able to activate my service just by getting the MAC address of the modem, which means that I never had to run that stupid "wizard" in the first place. At least I know that for next time. Oh, and a week later, they called me at 6:30 AM and asked me if I was ready to schedule my installation.

Posted: Saturday - September 02, 2006 at 11:33 PM