Internet providers are notorious not only for their less-than-stellar customer service, but also their tendencies to charge users too much for the service they really deliver or charge customers for speeds that, in practice, they won’t actually get. In short, consumers have plenty of good reasons to complain about, and to, their internet service providers.
If you’re currently battling slow speeds, a bloated bill, or annoying outages thanks to your internet provider, you’re probably wondering about the best ways to complain. While there are certainly some intelligent ways to approach the problem and try to ensure that you get what you want, sometimes it’s just as cathartic to register an inventive complaint with the company (and the internet). Read on for five of the most creative ways that dissatisfied customers have complained to their internet providers.
1. Track (and share) the speeds you’re actually getting
Jon Brodkin reports for Ars Technica that an angry Comcast customer set up a Raspberry Pi to automatically tweet at the company each time speeds dipped significantly lower than advertised. “I pay for 150Mbps down and 10Mbps up,” Reddit user AlekseyP explained of the setup. “The Raspberry Pi runs a series of speed tests every hour and stores the data. Whenever the down[load] speed is below 50Mbps the Pi uses a Twitter API to send an automatic tweet to Comcast listing the speeds. I know some people might say I should not be complaining about 50Mbps down, but when they advertise 150 and I get 10-30 I am unsatisfied.”
AlekseyP made the code for the Twitter bot available on Pastebin, and the Twitter account controlled by the bot has tweeted speed results numerous times, often getting replies from Comcast’s customer service. However, AlekseyP writes that “I have chosen not to provide them my account or address because I do not want to singled out as a customer; all their customers deserve the speeds they advertise, not just the ones who are able to call them out on their BS.”
2. Complain to the CEO’s mom
Ronnie Polaneczky reported for Philly.com that she called the mother of Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts to complain about Comcast’s treatment of its customers, citing the specific example of a couple who had recently moved to Philadelphia, and despite living in a Comcast-only building, tried unsuccessfully for months to get the company to hook up their apartment. Comcast missed or botched 14 appointments with the couple, and between them, they missed 13 days of work to wait for technicians who never showed up.
The call to Roberts’s mom, whose private number Polaneczky “wrangled from an insider,” led to a quick solution, one that countless previous calls with Comcast’s customer service representatives had been unable to bring about. Multiple technicians and a supervisor arrived to connect the couple’s apartment, demonstrating that tattling to someone’s mom can still be an effective way to resolve a conflict.
3. Post the exchange online
Just about anyone who’s tried to cancel his cable or internet service has figured out how difficult it is to do so over the phone, thanks to customer service representatives who waste everyone’s time trying to find out why you want to cancel or trying to convince you to change your mind. One way to retaliate? Post the entire ridiculous exchange online.
Dan Seifert reports for The Verge that tech entrepreneur Ryan Block did just that when he called Comcast to cancel his service and the representative on the line insisted on “taking him through a circular argument to find out the reason why he was canceling service.” Block captured 8 minutes of the call and posted the audio to his SoundCloud account. As Seifert explains, the exchange is painful to listen to, and while it sounds like something out of a hidden camera TV show, Block was assured by the rep that the exchange wasn’t a prank.
4. Make a video
Creating a humorous, shareable video has proven time and time again to be a great way to get people to discuss an issue. So if you really dislike your internet provider and think that there are other consumers out there who will commiserate, then creating a funny video about it can be a good strategy. The Independent Journal applied the strategy to the widespread dissatisfaction with Comcast, and created a video imagining what Comcast would be like as somebody’s boyfriend.
The video highlighted some of Comcast’s most often-cited flaws, including its technicians’ persistent issues with showing up on time, its insistence on charging more money for faster internet, and its choice to push packages that bundle in services that consumers don’t need. Comcast’s duopoly with Time Warner, its terrible track record of customer service exchanges, and its resistance to customers ending their service are also touched on in the video.
5. Write a poem
Another creative approach to airing your dissatisfaction with your internet provider — and one that costs a little bit less to produce — is to write “an ode to Comcast” like angry customer Joel Walden. The 20-stanza poem, which made its rounds online, was “composed while waiting for the cable guy,” and recounts a frustrating experience with the internet provider, concluding with a resigned attitude toward its inefficiency:
So let us not dwell endlessly
On how much Comcast sucks…
Their neglect and lazy service,
And their non-arriving trucks.
Their apathy’s intentional,
So don’t get mad or nervous.
Just go on and grab those ankles,
It’s all part of that Comcast service!