Is Comcast a Bully?

Comcast HQ Philadelphia

The Company People Love to Hate

Comcast consistently ranks as one of the most hated companies in the US. Just do a search for “Comcast hated” or “Comcast Sucks.” There are actually quite a few websites with variations on the words “Comcast” and “sucks.” You must really dislike a company to go to the trouble of creating a website about it. There are also Facebook, Reddit and other social media pages reflecting consumer disgust with the company. We are not going to link to all of them here as it would make the article too long.

"Comcast got me fired"

Comcast doesn’t like it when you cross them. Ask Conal O’Rourke. Mr. O’Rourke was a customer of Comcast. He complained about his poor service. When nothing happened he compained again. Then he complained again. It all went downhill from there. It's not like Mr. O’Rourke was alone in his criticism.

Here is an excerpt from Mr. O’Rourke’s suit against Comcast:

“Mr. O’Rourke’s story is both simple and chilling. After being overcharged by Comcast for months on end, receiving a shipment of almost $2,000 worth of equipment that he had never ordered, and failing to get any help from Comcast’s notoriously poor customer service, Mr. O’Rourke contacted the office of Comcast’s top accountant, Controller Lawrence Salva. Mr. Salva’s office had yet another customer service representative call him, who simply berated Mr. O’Rourke instead of helping him. Mr. O’Rourke called Mr. Salva’s office back and complained about the “customer service” representative and the fact that Comcast had repeatedly failed to correct Mr. O’Rourke’s billing issues. Mr. O’Rourke told Comcast that he was concerned that Comcast was suffering from accounting failures, and that Comcast should perhaps be investigated by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).
Within an hour after this second call, Mr. Salva personally called Joe Atkinson, a principal at Mr. O’Rourke’s employer, PWC. Because Comcast pays more than $30 million a year to PWC for consulting services, Mr. Atkinson took the call. Salva demanded that Mr. O’Rourke be fired from PWC, falsely claiming that Mr. O’Rourke had violated accounting ethics standards by using PWC’s name as “leverage” in his “negotiations” with Comcast. At no point had Salva himself even spoken to Mr. O’Rourke, and at no point had Mr. O’Rourke mentioned his employment with PWC. Mr. O’Rourke believes that the Controller’s office performed an online search after Mr. O’Rourke stated that Comcast should be investigated by the PCAOB, and learned that Mr. O’Rourke worked for PWC. Mr. O’Rourke was immediately subjected to an ethics investigation by his employer PWC. He was interviewed only once for about twenty minutes over the phone, and although he asked PWC repeatedly to obtain the recordings of his calls with Comcast, PWC did not. Instead, PWC fired him at the conclusion of the “investigation” and was not even permitted to read the internal Comcast email that contained the “proof” of his alleged ethics violation. Comcast destroyed Mr. O’Rourke’s professional life.”

Here is a news interview with Mr. O'Rouke documenting his experience with Comcast.

Here is the link to the entire complaint against Comcast.

Suit Escalated, Then Dropped

In early 2015, the suit was amended and refiled and the amount requested raised from $1 million to $5 million. At that point, O’Rourke’s attorney said the case would probably go on for years. Then, inexplicably, the case was withdrawn and no one would talk about it anymore. Seems like it was settled out of court but no one is saying. It has been speculated by some journalists that it could mean that the settlement includes a confidentiality agreement, and that's why they can't talk about it. However, Comcast did apologize to O’Rourke, which is available to view on their website here.

Comcast puts Mom and Pop ISP Out of Business

Then there is Telecom Cable in Weston Lakes and Corrigan Texas. Owner Anthony Luna claims Comcast first offered to buy out the company. Shortly after Luna refused, Comcast claimed that they needed to repair their cables in his area. Luna had even gone out and marked all of his cables with orange spray paint and flags and had sent the Comcast contractor an infrastructure map to prevent them from being cut, yet somehow contractors working for Comcast started severing Telecom Cable’s underground cables that serviced all 229 of the small company’s customers. Luna, who had been servicing the area for ten years was shortly put out of business  as customer after customer abandoned him for Comcast serrvice rather than wait for the lines to be repaired. Here is a copy of Luna’s petition against Comcast.

Washington State is Also Suing Comcast

The State of Washington sued Comcast for illegal and deceptive practices in 2016. They expanded the suit last year when they found that Comcast had discarded evidence the state had requested, and Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson claims is evidence of the company's alleged deceptive sales practices. The original suit alleges almost 2 million violations of the state’s Consumer Protection Act and is asking for $100 million in damages. At issue is a service plan that Comcast was charging customers $5.99 a month for. "We've now uncovered evidence that many Washingtonians are paying for it without their consent," Ferguson said.

A Slow Protest

One creative group of protesters that wanted to call attention to the slow service of Comcast staged a slow walk from a Comcast office to the city hall in Seattle to demand city officials build an affordable municipal broadband and/or get faster service from Comcast.

Pro-actively Trying to Silence Net Neutrality Activists

As another example of Comcast silencing anyone who disagrees with them, last year after the FCC net neutrality comment fiasco, Fight for the Future created a website at to let people find out if their identity had been used for a comment on the FCC website without their permission. As soon as the website was registered, Comcast had one of their minions send Fight for the Future a cease and desist order. This was before they had even posted any content on the domain!
Click here for copy of Comcast letter.

Oh, and here is an embarrassing and surreal recording of journalist Ryan Block trying to cancel service with Comcast a few years ago. Note that the recording only starts after he had already been on the phone with Comcast “customer service” for ten minutes.

Comcast Working to Buy Fox Out From Under Disney

Comcast has already been turned down by Fox once. And this was despite the fact that their bid was higher than Disney’s.  But 21st Century Fox Chairman, Lachlan Murdoch, has said, “We are committed to our agreement with Disney.” Even the American Cable Association released a statement saying that if Comcast owned Fox, the country’s largest cable company would be “even more harmful.” That is pretty bad when Fox doesn’t want to do business with you.

Comcast Routers a Security Nightmare

Security researchers Karan Saini and Ryan Stevenson discovered if someone has a Comcast account number and even part of an address they could download personal data about Comcast customers including their router SSID and their password. Comcast customers that didn’t have routers supplied by Comcast weren’t in danger of getting hacked as other routers weren’t as insecure. Comcast assured customers  “we have no reason to believe that any account information was accessed.” Isn’t your home router’s SSID personal information?

And speaking of routers, Comcast was recently sued for using routers they leased to unwitting customers that also provided Wi-Fi hotspots for other customers. According to the complaint, Comcast didn’t inform their customers that their router was being used by others, and that open Wi-Fi on the router slowed connection speeds and increased electric bills. Comcast says users can turn off the “feature” but customers said trying to turn it off was confusing and often didn’t work.

How Do They Get Away With It?

If at this point you're wondering how a company could get away with such poor service and unfair tactics, look no further than their political donations list, available here. They are an equal party sponsor, donating pretty much equally to Democrats and Republicans. Their biggest recipient in the 2016 election was none other than Hillary Clinton.

Do you have your own horror story about Comcast? You can post it here