Friday, February 2, 2007

Feb. 1, 2007

My wife's conversation with Sarah, head of Comcast's escalation dept. about 10 am.

Me- Hello
S- I'm looking for Frank or Elizabeth
Me- I'm Elizabeth
S- This is Sarah from Comcast ...
Me- Oh yes you called last night and I tried to call you back and left you a message.
S- I know, I had to leave early yesterday.
Me- Ok, So what's going on?
S- Well we aren't able to give you residential or business acct., but we can give you a commercial acct.
Me- What is that?
S- It would be a direct line for your own use connected to your house.
Me- Wow, how much would that be?
S- About $1700 to install and then about $1000 a month service fee.
Me- What the? Are you kidding me, we can't afford that!!
S- Well that is your only option.
Me- Why not the business account?
S- You use to much to be eligible for those accounts and since you have a business that uses so much broadband, you need to have your own direct line.
Me- We have a very! Small business and have had it for 3 + years and never had this kind of usage as has been the last few months. That is a ridiculous thing to suggest and doesn't make any sense. We have 6 children and a budget. This is outrageous and I can't believe you would even consider suggesting such a thing. Would you do it?
S- No, I don't need it and you have a business that apparently does use that much.
Me- Haven't you heard anything that we have been saying as to our ideas of why the usage was so high. Like the spyware that my husband found on his machine that was piggy backing and downloading through our line. Also it isn't a coincidence that the same month our modem was switched that the usage went through the roof. That would cause it if it wasn't capped.
S- We have never had that happen before. It was checked and it doesn't seem to be the problem and as to spyware you should be using an application to detect such things so you don't have those problems.
Me- He does have those and it still can happen and did, and as to the modem I don't believe you could have checked it, since it isn't running right now and it is too much of a coincidence to ignore.
S- What is done is done, we can't reverse it, but you can get the commercial line.
Me- No we aren't going to do that. There is no way we could afford that. You are basically leaving us without any real options and that is unacceptable. We don't have any other ways to get high speed internet and DSL isn't in our area. But that doesn't matter to you.
S- I understand how you feel but we can't do anything about it.
Me- I don't think you really do understand or you wouldn't be doing this to begin with.
S- I am sorry you are having this problem, but you ignored the warning.
Me- Are we back to that again. As far as I am concerned you all are responsible for our loosing the internet acct. If the customer service had actually confirmed to us that there was a problem we would have looked into it and tried to resolve it last month. We wouldn't have ignored it. We rely on internet a great deal. My husband needs it for work and we wouldn't have wanted to jeopardize that.
S- We are sorry that the customer service didn't deal with you properly and we are dealing with that. All the same you were called and you were given a direct number to call the abuse team directly.
Me- We tried with what we had and just got messages and so we tried to call customer service to help us. They told us it was probably a hoax and to ignore it. They should have had some kind of note logged in our acct. to confirm a problem. Based on what they told us, what were we to seriously think. Want to talk about confusing.
S- I can understand how you feel and they shouldn't have said that.
Me- It seems to me that you all should take responsibility for your part in this mess. Your customer service should have given correct information to us. As a result you should be dealing with the result and be apologizing and trying to rectify the problem.
S- I understand how you feel, but we can't do anything about it.
Me- You know thinking about it, when I did talk to the abuse team that they even had suggested a business acct. upgrade and based on what you are saying we wouldn't have been able to do that either.
S- They shouldn't have suggested that. Based on your usage the business acct. would have been to light for your use.
Me- So they gave us the wrong information too. So how can we be blamed for something you all are telling us. How are we supposed to know what to do?
S- Well you should have limited your usage for starters.
Me- We don't normally use that much. We have been with Comcast for about 4 years and have always been doing the same thing, nothing has changed and now we have excessive usage. I just don't see how that is possible. We need a residential or business acct. We will make sure we don't go over our limits, whatever those may be.
S- I understand your dilemma. But based on recent history, you would be back to square one and we can't take that chance of reversing the acct. and letting you back on to do the same thing again. You will have to wait til Jan 2008 to get reconnected.
Me- I don't think you are getting it. Aren't you caring at all about the predicament you have put us into? There is no way we can wait a year and you know it. That is nuts.
S- We apologize for your inconvenience, but you should have dealt with it.
Me- It seems to me we are just running this around in circles, not getting anywhere. So it doesn't matter our reasons and no matter what I say nothing will change your mind. Is that where we are at?
S- That is right, we can't help you at this time.
Me- (Looooooonnnnnnngggggg pause, trying to keep from crying). I finally say, well I guess there isn't anything left.
S- I'm sorry.
Me- I'm sure you will be. Bye
S- Thank you and have a nice day.
Me- (mumbling and rolling my eyes) yeah right.

Both hang up.

At this point my wife calls my cell and gives me the run down.

We decide it's time to get the word out and tell everyone what Comcast is doing. Neighbors are shocked to hear what's going on and express concern. I called Bill Gephart, spoke with Matt at the news desk and will be working with him to setup a time to be interviewed. He said “I'm not blowing you off but we have the next few days booked. Give me your Comcast account number so I can call them and start investigating this”.

Gave the number ... “Ok. I'll call them and find out what's going on”. What would like like them to do?

I said “turn on the service as I'll be watching it and throttling anything that would cause problems. I also promise once their competition visits West Jordan I'll be jumping ship. This has left a bad taste in my mouth”.

Matt. “I understand... I'll get right on it and thanks!”

So now it's time to bring competition to West Jordan Utah and time to get even more involved with my cities politics. It's time to bring UTOPIANET.ORG to West Jordan.

11 comments:

Jason said...

Wow, simply amazing. We had a similar problem with Sprint wireless, we basically just jumped ship, cut our losses and went with someone else. I guess it just goes to show that the big businesses really don't care about the client / customer any more. Whatever it takes to pull as much money out of you, that's what we'll do.

I too live in West Jordan, I'd be happy to help voice Utopia in the city (we spoke over email). Thanks for blog, I hope KUTV does a number on Comcast.

KJohn said...

You are using bittorent which provides your bandwidth to the general Internet community to upload massive amounts of shared content 7x24. To hit any "abuse limits" you must have massive libraries of content.

THIS IS CALLED RUNNING A SERVER.

This is also a clear violation of most broadband providers ToS

u235sentinel said...

John, You presume a great deal in that comment.

First, I ran Azeurus bit torrent client. Second, I tweaked it so I'm downloading and not uploading content (you knew you could do that right?). Third, I'm running the speedscheduler module which allows me to offline and move files to a new drive after the download is complete.

While I appreciate your comment, your argument is without substance.

u235sentinel said...

One final comment in bittorrent. It should be noted that the debate is over and bittorrent is frequently used these days for distributing content including patches for games such as World of Warcraft and ISO's for Linux and OSS software.

I'll even provide a link for those interested in learning more about this rather than leaning on my own words:

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070201-8750.html

Oh and don't forget, Hollywood movies are soon to be available from the studios via bittorrent. So if Comcast doesn't allow this then they will be very lonely as Customers find (or build) an infrastructure to handle the demands of the 21st Century (read http://utopianet.org)

Thanks for the comment.

Gremlin said...

"Second, I tweaked it so I'm downloading and not uploading content (you knew you could do that right?). Third, I'm running the speedscheduler module which allows me to offline and move files to a new drive after the download is complete."

So your not an asset to the bittorrent community then, but a leecher? :( I'm glad to see more clients are automatically rejecting those who do not share packets.

"which allows me to offline and move files to a new drive after the download is complete."

I'm curious, what files are you downloading that require another drive to hold them? Surely it's not all public domain material?

I do alot of spyware removal at work, and we don't actually see many spyware samples (live ones) present that would chew a large amount of bandwidth... So I'm thinking, spyware isn't what got ya.

Kjohn is right, most cable modem providers don't like customers running servers. I got DSL at home for this very reason, as I do run an ftp/email server network; and I didn't want to be in violation.

I wish you the best of luck, but please be honest with the rest of us in what your doing... Torrent has many legal uses, but you've got to be kidding me if you think the majority of torrents are legal.

u235sentinel said...

So your not an asset to the bittorrent community then, but a leecher? :( I'm glad to see more clients are automatically rejecting those who do not share packets.

It isn't by choice. As Kjohn mentioned, it's against the TOS so I have no say in the matter.

I'm curious, what files are you downloading that require another drive to hold them? Surely it's not all public domain material?

Not a requirement. It's a measure I implemented to ensure I'm not sharing files out.

I do alot of spyware removal at work, and we don't actually see many spyware samples (live ones) present that would chew a large amount of bandwidth... So I'm thinking, spyware isn't what got ya.

Then it must simply be Comcast's unwillingness to come forth and tell their customers what the limits really are. I've spoken to people who have downloaded as little at 70Gigs and been disconnected.

Kjohn is right, most cable modem providers don't like customers running servers. I got DSL at home for this very reason, as I do run an ftp/email server network; and I didn't want to be in violation.

I wish it was an option in my area. We've been discussing moving to a business account but of course it won't be with Comcast as we're planning on terminating all services if this isn't resolved quickly. Also, we've learned Sprint is now servicing our area. Strong possibility we'll move there.

I wish you the best of luck, but please be honest with the rest of us in what your doing... Torrent has many legal uses, but you've got to be kidding me if you think the majority of torrents are legal.

I have documentation which proves everything I said includnig a phone bill which shows multiple calls to Comcast CS on the days Comcast says their records don't show us trying to contact them. I wonder who is being dishonest. Once I figure out how to upload jpeg's here I'll post them for you all to view.

BTW, I didn't say I thought the majority of torrents are legal. I said the torrent services I've been using for years I believe are without question.

Speaking of which, did you know today Wal-Mart announced they are offering Hollywood movies to download to your computer?

http://news.com.com/
2061-11199_3-6156545
.html?tag=newsmap

Thanks for the note :-)

Richard said...

...downloaded as little as 70GB?

If you were my neighbor I'd be thrilled you were bumped off my node.
Maybe I'd be getting more than 300kbps off my 8mbps connection if there were less bandwidth hogs like you around.

You're in denial.

u235sentinel said...

So rather than comment on the issue you comment on my use of the service I paid for?

How about this. Drive the speed limit lately? Why? Shouldn't you be driving slower like 10-20 below it? After all, in perfect conditions you are contributing to the "problem" (doesn't matter what the problem is, we're talking about your abusing the speed limit by driving it).

Or even better, why not take the bus or ride your bicycle? Consider walking instead...

The problem here is your comment is purely ad hominem. I used the service I was paying for AND I was willing to reduce it to whatever Comcast said was acceptable.

Speaking of which, what would YOU consider "acceptable"?

Thanks for playing.

u235sentinel said...

Just one more thought.

I've found a couple of poorly supported wireless broadband solutions for my area. Even the worst case solution for light usage allows up to a 7 Meg burstable session and some are "unlimited use for a flat monthly fee" like Comcast (whatever that means today).

What's interesting is Why would ANYONE need Comcast if all they are doing is email and browsing the internet? These wireless solutions are far cheaper and just as good.

You are basically wasting your money going with Comcast as you aren't supposed to use the service you paid for.

aef123 said...

> ...downloaded as little as 70GB?

> If you were my neighbor I'd be thrilled you were bumped off my node.

Even if you aren't using bit torrent it's easy to legally use massive amounts of bandwidth without hosting any kind of server.

Here is a list of completely legal services I use that require lots of bandwidth. These are all legal and for nearly all of them I pay a monthly subscription fee:

Netflix - They have streaming movies now.

MSDN Downloads - Microsoft's download site for developers who pay a yearly subscription.

Microsoft Zune Pass Subscription - Paid music subscription service

XBox Live - Games, Movies, TV Shows

Steam - Valve's software store

Gametap - Monthly game subscription service

NBC/ABC/CBS/FOX - They often put HD TV shows up a few days after airing for free viewing.

Skype

These are all legal and use large amounts of bandwidth. When I bought Bioshock on Steam it was several Gigabytes to download.

u235sentinel said...

aef123 said...

> ...downloaded as little as 70GB?

> If you were my neighbor I'd be thrilled you were bumped off my node.


What interests me is these people won't (or can't) say how much is acceptable. And how does anyone know if the are impacting their neighbors Internet experience?

Hell... I even upgraded to a business account. How about that :D

Even if you aren't using bit torrent it's easy to legally use massive amounts of bandwidth without hosting any kind of server.

Here is a list of completely legal services I use that require lots of bandwidth. These are all legal and for nearly all of them I pay a monthly subscription fee:


There are several services we pay for regularly which use the Internet heavily. It's amazing that with all the money going on, we're expected not to use the service. Hell, why not just setup a direct deposit to Comcast and cut the coax cable :D

Makes you wonder.