It seems like every couple of weeks, another viral story about Comcast’s dismal customer service makes its rounds on the net. This time, a customer who called to cancel his Comcast service found himself referred to as “Asshole Brown” when he received his next bill, according to Vox. Comcast has apologized, but stories like these have come to exemplify everything wrong, not just with the nation’s largest cable provider, but with most cable providers.
Most areas are served by only a single cable provider. Whether it’s Comcast, Time Warner, or another company, the same problems exist. When there’s only one company that provides a given service, consumers have no choice. If they’re dissatisfied with the price or service they receive, it’s not as if they can ditch the company and sign up with another. While competition has the beneficial effect of bringing down prices and improving service, as companies compete to win over customers, monopolies have the opposite effect, allowing companies like Comcast to overcharge, under deliver, and more or less get away with murder.
In no other industry would calling a customer an asshole, much less putting it into a computer or printing it on a bill, be imaginable. Yet from Comcast, while it’s spurred outrage for good reason, nobody seems particularly surprised. When customers contact their cable company, increasingly what they expect is to be hassled, inconvenienced, lied to, and mistreated. It’s why so many people have started recording their calls to Comcast, and why more and more people are ditching these increasingly abusive cable companies entirely.