It didn’t take much research to make me glad that I’ve never had to use Comcast for my internet service. There are whole websites set up for unhappy customers to vent their frustration. The FCC and the Better Business Bureau, along with congressional subcommittees, have been flooded with complaints from unhappy consumers. Although the list seems to be endless, I’ve tried to condense it into ten major concerns.
- Poor customer service – Naturally, the most prevalent problem is the horrible, if not total lack of, customer service. The litany of complaints include, but are not limited to, rudeness, incompetence, conflicting information, calls not returned, misinformation and general lack of problems being resolved. Repeated calls to customer service rarely result in any significant satisfaction to the customer.
- Incompetent technicians – Complaints usually result in Comcast sending out a technician to try to solve the problem. This often ends up with more complaints and no problems solved. The service techs rarely show up on time, and then leave without really fixing anything. One was reported to have left without letting the customer know. And then left the garage door open, compromising her security.
- Overcharging – One of the biggest complaints by customers is overcharging on their monthly bills. Many times they were quoted one thing and charged another. Several calls and many months are involved before any problems are resolved, if ever.
- Surprise fees – Part of the overcharging is the various fees that show up on their billing statements that the customers are not told about ahead of time. Service fees and modem rentals are just a couple of the unpleasant surprises on the bill.
- Delayed hook up – Many customers make arrangements far ahead of time to make sure that they get their service connected by the time they need it and are sorely disappointed. For business owners, this is particularly infuriating. Appointments are cancelled last minute, then rescheduled with the same result causing countless hours of lost time and revenue.
- No choice – Most people feel that one of the biggest reasons for Comcast’s poor service is that they have a monopoly for internet service in many areas. People are very frustrated that they don’t have the choice to use a different company. There’s nothing like healthy competition to keep prices down and service up.
- Defective equipment – Another major complaint is getting defective equipment that never works right from the start. Since many people get their cable TV and telephone bundled together, one piece of faulty equipment can affect everything else.
- Consistently bad – These complaints are not isolated cases in certain areas, but seem to be fairly consistent nationwide. Some customers have had Comcast off and on and in various locations with the same bad experience.
- Arrogance – Many customers complain about the blatant arrogance they are subjected to by the Comcast staff. From technicians, to customer service, to supervisors and executives, they experience an attitude of uncaring superiority.
- Fraudulent advertising – People have been duped into switching to Comcast by the promise of money savings that never materialize. The prices they’ve been told over the phone or otherwise advertised aren’t the same as what shows up on their billing statements.
The overwhelming complaints registered on various websites and elsewhere may be finally getting some results. Although far from perfect, Comcast seems to be making a better effort to resolve their customer service problems and improve their image. Having their customer service personnel at least deal with complaints in a more caring and understanding way, goes a long way for consumers who just want their problems resolved.
Qwest, the long distance telephone company, has also been providing DSL internet service for several years now. Current phone and dial up customers were enticed to sign up for the high speed internet service by a low lifetime rate. Problems with this offer, among other things, have prompted consumers to file a litany of complaints.
- Price for life – Customers that were offered a special low “Price for Life” deal when they signed up for the new Qwest DSL service lead to many complaints. People who tried to pin down the exact definitions of the lifetime service got many conflicting answers and the offer didn’t live up to their expectations.
- Termination fee – There have been many instances of customers complaining about a $200 termination fee. Some were charged for canceling the service even though they never got connected in the first place. Others felt they had fulfilled the 2 year contract, but were charged anyway.
- Billing errors – Many times Qwest customers would call about errors on their billing statement and thought they had the problem resolved only to find the same charges on the next statement. Others signed up for a low monthly fee and were billed hundreds of dollars on their first statement.
- Slow internet speeds – Savvy internet users who were promised lightning fast high speed were very disappointed in the slower than promised speeds. Others were offered higher speeds than were available in their area.
- Modem problems – The complaints about the new modems required for the service cover a wide range of areas. Wrong modems delivered and not able to be returned, faulty ones having to be replaced several times and monthly charges for cheap modems that could be purchased outright for far less money.
- Customer service – A general incompetence of the Qwest customer service staff is the theme of most complaints in this area. A lack of follow up for promises made, plus refusal to honor pricing agreements or credit customers for overcharges are prevalent.
- Misleading advertising – Customers have been disappointed with both prices and service not living up to what was advertised. Slower internet speeds and additional fees and monthly charges are the biggest complaints.
- Conflicting stories – People who call Qwest customer service or tech support multiple times report getting different information from each person they talk to. Each one claiming the last person was wrong and didn’t know what they were talking about.
- Intermittent service – Defective modems, inadequate phone lines and weak signal have all been blamed for the on and off again internet service customers have had to deal with. This does not promote consumer confidence that expect reliable uninterrupted internet.
- Time consuming – One of the most frustrating problems for Qwest DSL customers is the amount of time it takes to resolve problems. Hours making repeated phone calls and waiting for technicians to show up add up, plus the internet down time adds to the frustration.
Consumers soon learn to be skeptical of low introductory offers that don’t live up to expectations. People want to get high speed internet for the lowest price possible, but also want good customer service. Qwest DSL would be wise to make sure their valuable customers are being treated fairly and consistently.
Many people have access to the internet from their computers at work. The internet can easily tempt workers to waste time online during work hours. Different individuals may be drawn to different activities online. Here is a list of ten different ways that people waste time online while they’re at work.
- Social Networks – Facebook and MySpace can be quite addicting. It’s easy for someone to logon just to see what new postings are there and end up reading for several minutes without realizing it. Those who use the game apps on the networks having an even bigger draw to keep up with the competition.
- Personal Email – Most people can check their personal email online. Checking email often turns into reading email and then responding to email. Time can pass much quicker than you realize.
- Youtube – This has become a popular site to go to for a little stress relief. You can look for your favorite music, nature videos or all sorts of humorous videos that have been posted.
- Blogs – People have their favorite blogs that they subscribe to. A quick login can lead to clicking on a link that leads to another blog, and another, and another…
- Forums – There are forums online for almost every interest you can imagine. They are great connecting point with others who share similar interests. Checking in on your forum posts is another online habit that workers can be drawn into.
- News – News reports by national news groups are being updated throughout the day. You can login throughout the day to keep up with what is going on around the world. Others read the local newspaper online.
- Pornography – Although many of these other activities can be deemed inappropriate use of your work computer, viewing pornography via the internet is something that many employers take very seriously. Unfortunately, it still remains a temptation for many online users.
- Shopping – It is very easy to shop online for any number of things. When a birthday is getting close, or you’re running short on time for your holiday shopping, it could be tempting to do some shopping during work hours while sitting at your desk.
- Travel planning – Most people doing their travel and vacation planning online. They research destinations, lodging and ticket prices. Another way to spend more time than you realize on a non-work related activity.
- Chatrooms – Many people frequent chatrooms for entertainment. People may find that certain people they’ve chatted with are often online during work hours. This can tempt them to logon to the chat sites from the work computers.
Many employers are setting up policies limiting the use of work computers for personal browsing and email which include their right to monitor your online activities performed on employer owned computers. These types of policies can be affective in decrease these types of time wasters, when they are enforced.
There are a variety internet service providers to choose from. Each provider also has different features available to enhance your internet experience. It is important to understand the difference between the different types of ISP’s and those extra features.
- Annual contracts are not generally required from cable internet providers.
- Broadband means faster internet speeds than dialup.
- Cable companies provide some of the fastest internet services available.
- Dialup internet service is the slowest type of internet service, and requires a dedicated phone line during use.
- Email accounts are often provided free of charge by most ISP’s.
- Free virus protection is offered by some internet service providers.
- Gaming online requires high speed broadband with a very reliable connection.
- Highspeed internet is available through most phone and cable companies.
- Internet service is available in some form in most any place you can imagine.
- Joining several computers together in your home is referred to as a home network.
- Kilobytes is the measuring term used to state the speed of data downloads through dialup service.
- Lower your monthly costs by bundling services together, such as phone and internet, or cable and internet.
- Modems should be approved through your internet provider to assure compatibility.
- Numbers that identify your host service on a network are called your DNS or IP number.
- Options vary with each provider and each level of their different service packages.
- Pay-as-you-go internet services are a good option for internet access when traveling.
- Quality of support should be considered in choosing a provider.
- Reliability can be an issue with some internet service providers.
- Satellite television providers, often provide internet connection services as well.
- T-1 lines are often used by businesses for their internet access.
- Upload speeds with most internet providers will be slower than download speeds.
- Virtual ISPs are internet service providers that resell internet service provided by wholesale providers.
- Wifi connections are easy to access for free in many restaurants, coffee shops and hotels.
- X-rated websites can be blocked by parental control software.
- Your location can limit which internet services are available for you to choose from.
- Zip files are often used to condense large program files so that they can be downloaded faster.
Do your kids know more about computers than you do? Don’t feel alone. Kids these days have taken to the computer age like fish to water. Why is it that they have developed superior computer skills in such a short period of time when it’s taken the rest of us so long?
- Start at an early age – While many of us weren’t introduced to computers until we were adults, kids have been around them since the day they were born. Children start learning about computers as they develop all their other skills.
- Grow up with it – Although we may have trouble keeping up with the pace of new technology, kids don’t seem to have a problem with it. This is probably because children are developing their learning skills at the same pace.
- Learn faster – Let’s face it, kids catch on to new things much faster than we do. Instead of relearning old skills, they quickly master one computer skill and move on to the next.
- Keeping up with friends – Kids don’t want their pals to be more computer literate than they are so they are constantly trying to best each other. They love to be the first one of their friends to show off.
- Sharing the latest – This means their constantly sharing the latest gizmos and techno-savvy stuff with each other. Learning a new computer program or application is no challenge for them.
- More time – Kids don’t have jobs, family and a home to take care of, so they have much more time to spend on the computer than we do. They can spend hours surfing the web and checking out the coolest new stuff.
- School – Although many of us use computers at work, kids are using computers at school as a learning tool. They’re bound to pick up more computer knowledge while they’re in an academic environment.
- Use them for everything – While we use computers when we have to, kids use them all the time. Whether it’s games, social networking, homework or just getting information, they will use a computer before they’ll open a book. They even use computers to read books.
- Gadgets – Kids are fascinated with all the latest gadgets and use them to hone their computer skills. If you’re having trouble with your new smart phone, find a child to help you out.
- They’re smarter – I know it’s hard to admit, but these kids are just plain smarter than we are. They can’t help it we’re so dumb. While we’re stuck scratching our heads, they’re figuring out how to develop a new computer game.
So don’t feel bad if your 12 year old seems to be more computer literate than you are. To them it just comes naturally, like learning how to walk and talk. If you don’t have any kids of your own you may want to find one in the neighborhood that can help you out next time you have a problem with your computer.
Skype has been downloaded onto many home computers. People are using it to stay connected over long distances with family and friends. Businesses are using Skype too, in the office and on the road. We’ve put together a list of ten ways that business travelers can use Skype.
- International calls – Business travelers who travel abroad can save the company a lot of expense by making their phone calls back to the home office through Skype, rather than over a cell phone or land lines. It also allows the business traveler to communicate with their other clients, regardless of location.
- Virtual meetings – With Skype, a businessman can have a virtual meeting with clients, co-workers or other business related entities, regardless of where he is at the time. He can be in a client’s office and use Skype to call another person to participate in the meeting.
- Family connection – Business travelers can use Skype to maintain their daily connections with their family. This can be especially important when there are young children involved who find it easier to connect with their parents face on a screen than just a voice over a telephone.
- Home surveillance – Some travelers are using Skype as a home surveillance tool. By setting their home Skype to automatically answer incoming calls with video, they can actually see whatever the webcam is pointed at. Some people are using this as a means of visually checking on their pets, while they’re away.
- Tech Support – Besides being able to speak to another person visually through Skype, you can also turn on screen sharing. This can be a great way to give or receive tech support, such as software instruction.
- Recording phone calls – There are many different add-on features you can use with Skype. Several of them provide a recording feature, which allows you to record your Skype calls. This saves the businessman from having to keep notes during a Skype meeting. He can play it back at his leisure, to make sure he has all the details correct.
- Forwarding to cell – Skype calls can be forwarded to a person’s cell phone. This allows a person to freely give out his Skype contact information without concern for missed connections with clients.
- Visual customer service – A visual contact with a customer always makes a greater impact than a simple voice over the phone. With Skype, customers can have that same sense of personal connection as they would if the businessman were talking to them face to face.
- Group video calls – Skype has features available for group calling that allows the screen to be split between all the participants. This way team members from various locations can still work together in a fashion similar to sitting in the same room.
- Group chat – This is part of the instant messaging portion of Skype. This allows several different people, at different locations, to be involved in a text conversation. The conversation’s dialogue from all participants is contained in one spot so that someone can easily join in at any point and still be able to scroll back through previous input.
Skype is being used in so many ways by business today, that its name is being recognized all over the world.