Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

A California bill could be the one-click solution to cable customer service hell

"Hello, Comcast, how can I make you think you're going insane today?" (Photo: Getty Images)

Problems with customer service when calling a cable company have become so commonplace, it’s almost a better topic of small-talk conversation than the weather. (“Cold today, huh?” “I SPENT 90 MINUTES ON HOLD LAST NIGHT BEFORE BEING TOLD THAT MY INTERNET CAN’T BROKEN BECAUSE TIME IS AN ILLUSION AND I DON’T ACTUALLY EXIST!!!!” “Yup, been there.”) Ryan Block, a former editor-in-chief of technology site Engadget and current tech entrepreneur, gave a voice to this all-too-common headache last year, when he posted the last eight minutes of his maddening 18-minute attempt to cancel his Comcast service online:


Now, in a move reportedly inspired by Block’s call—he’s even quoted in the press release, according to Tech Crunch—California Assembly member Mike Gatto, who represents the state’s 43rd district, has introduced a bill, AB 2867, that would allow customers to cancel their cable, internet, or phone service online without having to talk to a customer-service person whose entire job is to wear customers down until they give up on canceling. “It just makes sense, that if you are able to sign up for a service online, you should also be able to cancel it the same way,” Gatto says.

And yeah, there are bigger problems in the world, but fixing this one might just help people be a little nicer to each other. Speaking of, as a former customer-service rep, let me get on my soapbox for a second: Just because calling customer service is a Kafkaesque nightmare is not an excuse to be an asshole to the entry-level worker on the other end of the phone. They have little to no control over corporate policy, and they probably hate Comcast (or Time Warner, or Charter, or AT&T) even more than you do. Be cool to them, and they will be cool to you. Their boss’s boss, though—that guy’s probably a jagoff.

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