Comcast has been getting some electronic publicity for the wrong reasons, of late. First there was the recording of the latter half of a 20-odd-minute phone conversation between a Comcast customer and a “Retention Professional”—one of those guys whose job it is to beg, badger, and cajole you into not cancelling your service. Unfortunately for Comcast, the customer in this instance was Ryan Block, a tech journalist, VP of Product for AOL, and founder of gdgt—a website offering reviews of electronics and tech products that was recently sold to AOL. In short, Comcast poked a guy who knows what he’s doing when it comes to this internet thing, and he posted the recording on Soundcloud.
If you haven’t heard the recording, here’s a link. Warning: it’s a finger-nails-on-a-chalkboard-painful listen. Comcast’s rep becomes steadily shriller and more hysterical as he demands that Block explain why he would want to cancel “the number-one rated internet service.” But eventually he caved. When Block’s recording went viral, Comcast’s COO, Dave Watson, responded with an internal memo—leaked to the Consumerist—that makes clear that what happened to Block was wrong. Oh, and it was also, pretty much what Comcast trains its reps to do.
But at least Comcast respects its reps, even if it’s willing to put its customers through hell, right? After all, Watson didn’t just blame the employee for that root-canal-meets-colonoscopy of a phone call. He pointed the blamethrower at the company, too, and that shows a healthy respect for the spot in which Comcast puts its workers, right? Maybe not so much, according to a new lawsuit filed in New Jersey by a former Comcast door-to-door sales rep, Terry Hurley.
Hurley’s lawsuit says that Comcast refused to get licenses from various New Jersey cities that would allow him to solicit door-to-door. (Incidentally, Hurley alleges he worked for Comcast as a “Win Back representative,” which is apparently the next guy they sic on you after the “Retention professional” fails.) So after a customer has just had to fight like crazy with Mr. Retention to get his service dropped, Mr. Win Back shows up without the proper documentation. What could possibly go wrong? Well, in Texas, we’d probably shoot him, but in New Jersey they just called the police who warned Hurley that he was soliciting without a license and he needed to knock it off. To his credit, he did. And then Comcast fired him for failing to meet his sales quota.
Now, truth be told, Hurley’s lawsuit doesn’t sound terribly strong to me. Sales quotas aren’t necessarily tied to sales territories, and the worst thing Comcast did by failing to obtain the needed licenses was reduce the size of Hurley’s potential sales territory. But it shows a real callousness toward employees, customers, and . . . well, pretty much everyone, if Hurley’s underlying allegations have any truth to them. Comcast’s reps already get trained to violate basic etiquette. It would be nice if they didn’t get told to violate the law, too.
H/T to Courthouse News Service.