Comcast accused of running manipulative 'push poll' in response to Philly customer service study

Consumer activist publication The Consumerist has once again taken aim at Comcast, reporting that the cable giant conducted a manipulative "push poll" in response to a negative customer satisfaction survey published by the City of Philadelphia in April.

According to The Consumerist, Comcast representatives (NASDAQ: CMCSA) called Philadelphia residents and asked them loaded questions, designed to cast the conglomerate in a favorable light. 

One example: Philly residents were asked to rate, on a scale of one to four, their opinion of Internet Essentials, Comcast's widely derided program for providing broadband to the economically disadvantaged. 

As The Consumerist claims, selecting the lowest rating implies the respondent is against subsidized broadband for the poor, no matter how inefficient they view the program.

For sourcing, the publication spoke with Eric Rosso, political director for the Pennsylvania Working Families, who himself was surveyed by the cable company. 

Comcast, he said, is "trying to garner results that favored them as a corporate citizen."

Of course, some might argue that that's what for-profit enterprises are supposed to do. 

In any event, Comcast--which is in the middle of a $300 million campaign to improve its admittedly troubled public image--responded to the allegations.

A company rep told The Consumerist that "a reputable third party, independent company is fielding a survey for us in Philadelphia," but did not reveal who the firm is. 

"Our commitment to Philadelphia is important to us, as are our customers here, and this survey gives us an opportunity to find out more about what's important to them," the rep added. 

In April, a report the city commissioned from consulting firm CBG found that 26 percent of Comcast subscribers are dissatisfied with their service and that satisfaction levels ranged from 1 to 11 percent lower than Comcast franchise areas in other selected markets.

For more:
- read this Consumerist story
- read this Philadelphia Inquirer story

Related articles:
Comcast redesigns customer support forums, continues charm campaign
Report: Comcast is in Washington's 'penalty box' regarding new mergers
Comcast: Networks have 'stacked' 550 series on Xfinity On Demand
Comcast performance dissed in City of Philadelphia report