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Another Comcast call recorded, another Comcast apology

A Comcast service rep tells a customer that he will get a refund on questionable charges because he has recorded the call.

Is recording the only answer? Ash Semvalavich/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

This call is being recorded to improve customer service. It's being recorded by the customer.

Perhaps this is the message that every Comcast customer should prepare after another unhappy man decides to record a call with the company's service staff.

In this case, Tim Davis offered 14-minutes of epic annoyance (complete with NSFW language) after he'd moved house and installed his Comcast equipment himself.

He posted it to Reddit with the charming headline: Comcast charges me $182 for stuff that didn't happen; Comcast agent, technician and supervisor all lie, then call it "negotiating."

In essence, Davis said that Comcast had told him the connectivity problems he was having after the self-install were its fault. So it sent out a technician. He was assured there'd be no charge.

He says, though, that when he got his bill he was charged as if it had all been his fault. He called a supervisor.

To prove his side of the story, he played her a recording of the initial call. Oh.

Davis says he wasn't breaking the law, as Comcast records every customer service call and makes that clear in its terms of service.

At first on his call to complain about the additional charges, the supervisor still insisted that his self-install was a fail. Davis countered that this wasn't the case. This rep was firm that she wouldn't credit him for the charges, while telling him that Comcast "valued him as a customer."

Then he plays her a recording of his initial call in which he was told there would be no charge for the technician coming out to fix a problem that seemed to have been caused by Comcast.

The supervisor told him he would get a call back. He did.

Miraculously, the $82 he had been charged as part of the tech's visit had been expunged. The supervisor told him that her initial stance had been "we try to negotiate." This seems an odd thing to do if you're clearly in the wrong.

However, she added that she advised her manager that there was a recording of Davis' initial call.

"You're telling me that if I didn't have a recording of that call, you wouldn't have been able to do it?" Davis asked.

"That is correct," the supervisor replied.

I contacted Comcast to ask if it was, indeed, the policy that if a call has been recorded, then more favorable compensation can be secured. I was told there was no such policy.

The company offered this statement: "This is not the type of experience we want our customers to have, and we will reach out to Mr. Davis to apologize to him. Our policy is not to charge for service visits that are related to problems with our equipment or network. We are looking into this to understand what happened and why it happened."

Clearly Comcast isn't the only company to experience such issues. However, it's now become something of a symbol for complacent customer service.

This was stimulated by a service call recorded by tech journalist Ryan Block, in which a so-called retention rep rudely tried to do everything but not fulfill his cancellation request.

Can it be that the only way to secure real customer service on the phone is to record everything? How very modern that would be.