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I ran across this article on NPR.

A Comcast customer Ryan Block called Comcast to simply cancel his service. This should be a very short, simple phone call! He found cancelling service almost impossible and very infuriating. In addition, Mr. Block recorded his conversation with the customer service rep. Please listen to it!  This is a customer service call from hell and very infuriating!

Have you ever tried to cancel or downgrade your internet, phone, or other service?  Have you ever tried to cancel a credit card or a magazine subscription over the phone? I have and Mr. Block's experience is not all that uncommon.

I once called Comcast to downgrade my cable service. I found it very difficult to simply downgrade to the basic cable package. I explained during an election year, I do watch it but during non-election years I don't. That didn't fly - the customer service rep continued to ask me all sorts of questions. I finally became very upset and wouldn't let her talk and she eventually gave up.

When I got home from work that night, I found a note on my door. Believe it or not, a Comcast sales person or manager or someone stopped by to try and talk me out of it!

The result of this experience is I never upgraded my cable package during an election year again. The phone call to downgrade service again was so aggravating it was simply not worth it.

I once talked to someone who worked for Comcast. That person told me their customer service reps are micromanaged down to the second. I feel sorry for the employees who are overworked, overstressed. micromanaged, and probably underpaid. This isn't their fault. They are doing what they have to do to keep their job.

In my experience, it isn't just Comcast who gives customers a hard time in cancelling. Yes, it has become very difficult to cancel something!

I once tried to close my Discover card account. Why?  I had more credit cards than I used. The customer service rep wouldn't let me cancel. I got infuriated with all the questions. He finally closed my account because I refused to give up. In the next 2-3 hours, I received 4 telephone calls from Discover Card trying to talk me out of it. I couldn't believe it.

But I learned something from my experience with Discover card. I learned these customer service reps are trained to have a comeback for every conceivable reason a customer wants to cancel. That meant I needed a reason they couldn't possibly have a comeback for!

Guess what?  The next time I wanted to cancel something I told the customer service rep that I had 3 months to live. That's what I told Qwest years ago when I cancelled my LAN line and decided to only have a cell phone. That's what I've told other companies. And it works. They cancelled my service promptly no argument.

I didn't use that when I downgraded my cable package years ago because I didn't want to cancel the service. I just wanted to downgrade it. Looking back, if I wanted I could have cancelled it and if I truly wanted it called back and ordered just the services I wanted a couple weeks later. Or I could have gone with someone else.

Also, I will never pay for anything that renews by credit card. I won't pay for a magazine subscription by credit card. Why?  Then it will auto renew and I will have to call them up if I want to cancel it. I mail a check or money order. That way, if I told want to renew I just don't respond to their renewal notices.

Anyway, that's how I've gone about solving this problem for myself. Others are free to make their own choices.

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