-- Whatever happened to the old saying, "the customer is always right"?
Comcast issued an apology today after one of its representatives kept a customer captive on the phone for about 18 minutes, demanding to know why the household was choosing another cable provider.
The customer happened to be Ryan Block, co-founder of tech site Engadget. He and his wife said they wanted to cancel their Comcast account over the phone after they switched to another provider, Astound. But when Block's wife was transferred to Comcast's customer retention agent, the employee wouldn't accept that for an answer and repeatedly demanded that they explain further why they would want to switch providers.
"I started the call by (very nicely) saying that we were moving, and that we needed to cancel our service," Block's wife, Veronica Belmont, wrote in the description of the recording on SoundCloud.com. "He asked if we wanted to move our current service. I said no, thank you, but we've already signed up for Astound."
"The representative continued aggressively repeating his questions, despite the answers given, to the point where my wife became so visibly upset she handed me the phone," Block wrote in the audio description. "Overhearing the conversation, I knew this would not be very fun."
A Comcast spokeswoman provided the following statement to ABC News today about the recording: "We are very embarrassed by the way our employee spoke with Mr. Block and are contacting him to personally apologize. The way in which our representative communicated with him is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives. We are investigating this situation and will take quick action. While the overwhelming majority of our employees work very hard to do the right thing every day, we are using this very unfortunate experience to reinforce how important it is to always treat our customers with the utmost respect."
Block could not be reached for comment by ABC News.
Block noted that the recording starts 10 minutes into the conversation. Here's a transcript early on of the 8-minute recording:
Block: Ok, we'd like to disconnect. We'd like to disconnect please.
Comcast: Ok, so why don't you want the faster speed? Help me understand why you don't want faster Internet.
Block: Help me understand why you can't just disconnect us.
Comcast: Because my job is to have a conversation with you about keeping your service, about finding out why it is you're looking to cancel the service.
Block: I don't understand. Is this for...?
Comcast: If you don't want to talk to me, you can definitely go into the Comcast store and disconnect your service there. You can kill two birds with one stone. You've got to return that cable card to the store anyway.
Block: We're actually going to just mail the cable card in, but if you can just please cancel our service, that would be great. That is all we want.
Comcast: We are actually not able to return a cable card by mail.
Block: Then I will send someone, like a TaskRabbit, to go return the cable card for us. I don't personally intend to go return the cable card. That's why we're probably not going to be canceling in-store. So that's why I need you to cancel by phone. So can you cancel us by phone? The answer is yes, correct?
Comcast: It sounds like you don't want to go over this information with me. I mean, if you don't want to go over that information, ok, then that's the easiest way to get your account disconnected.
Block: I am declining to state why we are leaving Comcast, because I don't owe you an explanation. So if you can just please proceed to the next question...if you have to fill out your form, that's fine. Please proceed to the next question, and we will attempt to answer that if possible.
Comcast: So, I mean, being that we are the number one provider of Internet and TV service in the entire country, ok, why is it that you're not wanting to have the number one Internet rated service, number one-rated TV service available?
Block: I'm declining to state. We're switching providers. Can you please go to the next question?
Comcast: Ok, so what is about Astound that's making you want to change to them?
Block: I'm declining to state. Can you please go to the next question so we can cancel our service?
Comcast: Ok, so, I mean, I'm just trying to figure here what it is about Comcast service that you're not liking, that you're not wanting to keep. I mean, why is it that you don't want to keep that service?
Block: This phone call is a really actually amazing representative example of why I don't want to stay with Comcast. So can you please cancel our service?
Comcast: Ok, but I'm trying to help you. Ok, you are not letting me help you by declining answers by doing all this. I'm trying to hear you.