Comcast apologizes after renaming customer with expletive

Technically Incorrect: A customer who tries to cancel cable service receives a bill with a new first name.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

The headline on today's blog post from Comcast's head of customer service. Comcast screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Certain problems seem to crop up at Comcast either because it's such a big company or because its customer service is a little behind.

When I say "certain problems," I mean extraordinary spats with customers in which the customer feels like he or she has been treated like a particularly annoying hole in the ground.

The latest joy to emerge concerns Ricardo Brown, a Comcast customer from Spokane, Wash.

As Christopher Elliott at Elliott.org reported, Brown received a bill that slightly misspelled his first name. Indeed, the only two letters preserved from the original were the "a" and the "o."

For this bill claimed he was known as "A**hole Brown."

No one could imagine this was a typo. Many might imagine that this was an angry Comcast employee eking out frustrations.

It seems, sadly, that this invective stemmed from Brown and his wife trying to reduce their Comcast bill by canceling the cable segment of it.

Lisa Brown told Elliott.org that she was passed to a retention specialist. Surely you'll have heard of these people's special talents. One Comcast retention specialist became especially famous when he tried to prevent tech journalist Ryan Block from closing his account -- so famous that he was dubbed perhaps the worst customer service rep in the world.

In Lisa Brown's case, she claims she was never rude. However, the retention specialist was allegedly resistant to her request.

And then came the bottomlessly rude bill.

I asked Comcast whether someone at the company might have behaved badly here.

A Comcast rep told me: "We have spoken with our customer and apologized for this completely unacceptable and inappropriate name change. We have zero tolerance for this type of disrespectful behavior and are conducting a thorough investigation to determine what happened. We are working with our customer to make this right and will take appropriate steps to prevent this from happening again."

Moreover, this morning Charlie Herrin, Comcast's senior vice-president of customer service, declared himself on the company's blog.

In a post entitled "Respecting Our Customers," Herrin wrote: "Each and every customer deserves to be treated with respect, and in a recent situation with a customer in Spokane that clearly didn't happen."

He added: "We have apologized to our customer for this unacceptable situation and addressed it directly with the employee who will no longer be working on behalf of Comcast."

Herrin also said the company is looking for technical solutions to make sure this doesn't happen again. Perhaps one might be preventing expletives from ever appearing on Comcast's bills -- unless you happen to have ordered the famously pulsating movie "Bat S*** Crazy."

It's clear that Comcast knows its customer service isn't all it might be. Herrin acknowledged that he and his team are working hard to "transform the customer experience."

Perhaps he could hire all the people who are nice to each other on Twitter.