Comcast suffers another viral meltdown: Refuses to cancel 86-year-old stroke victim's service

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Despite sizable investments into customer service the last few years, and some improvement in customer satisfaction surveys, Comcast is still experiencing embarrassing service lapses that then get virally distributed on the internet. 

The latest incident is a rather heartbreaking one. Salon journalist Erik Lundegaard details his 86-year-old mother’s stroke, and how he and his sister deal with her finances and elderly care. Once again, Comcast is portrayed as the bad guy, unwilling to let the son cancel the mother’s $126-a-month cable service without power of attorney. 

Comcast didn’t immediately respond to FierceCable’s inquiry for comment. 

RELATED: Comcast to hire 5,500 new workers, spend $300M to bolster customer service

“It took about five minutes of press-1, press-2 hoops before I finally got a rep on the line,” Lundegaard said. “Initially she told me I couldn’t cancel my mother’s account because I wasn’t on the account. When I explained the situation -- stroke, unable to speak -- she expressed sympathy, then asked a series of questions. Then she asked: “Do you have power of attorney?”

RELATED: Comcast, TWC drive major overall pay-TV improvements in ASCI customer satisfaction survey

Lundegaard described how both he and his sister were taken aback by they inquiry, noting that his mother’s other service providers did not require such a document.

“To cancel my mother’s account, I was told, I needed to take the cable box and remote to the nearest Xfinity office, along with proof of power of attorney, and then they’d be happy to do it,” he said.

Lundegaard then detailed how he visited the Comcast facility and was once again told he needed power of attorney. 

“‘Yes,’ I said, 'but we don’t have it and my mother can’t give it.’ I got a blank look,” he said. “Over the weekend we’ve canceled my mother’s cell phone, her newspaper. 'No other company is asking for power of attorney.' Still blank. 'Surely, Comcast isn’t going to keep billing my mother in perpetuity for a service she can’t use.' Nada.”

Lundegaard didn’t describe the rep as being cooperative when he tried to escalate the situation to a customer service manager. After several more follow-ups, he said was able to get a more sympathetic company rep to cancel the service.

“All in all, during a week in which I had no time to spare, it had taken Comcast almost two hours of my time to perform this very simple task of customer service,” Lundegaard added. 

In 2014, Comcast endured a series of embarrassing customer service interactions that were recorded and went viral. The company has since invested $300 million in improving customer service systems and hiring new staff. But as this latest incident proves, the MSO still has a ways to go. 

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