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Comcast Profit Up but Its Customers Still Lose

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How does a company with such a poor service track record sign up so many new subscribers? Easy.

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Comcast (CMCSA) reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results this morning, posting fourth-quarter earnings of $0.33 a share, up from $0.14 a year ago. Analysts had predicted earnings of $0.27 a share.

Comcast's revenue also beat expectations. Fourth-quarter revenue was $9.07 billion, up 3% year-over-year and significantly above the Street's $8.96 billion estimate. The country's largest cable company signed up 410,000 new digital video subscribers during the period, 247,000 high-speed Internet subscribers, and 2430,000 new phone subscribers.

Why?

Simple. Despite an endless deluge of customer complaints, Comcast still has a virtual stranglehold on the markets it's in.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution explains:

Limited competition has allowed shoddy customer service, a lack of innovation, and rising prices. Average charges nationally for expanded basic cable services jumped 122% between 1995 and 2008, a period when consumer prices overall increased by just 38%, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Comcast, which has been in the Atlanta market since 2002, now charges $55.75 for its standard cable package, up from $39.91 in 2002.


In an act of outrage, one Comcast subscriber launched the website ComcastMustDie.com in 1997.

Who was this anonymous crusader? Oh, just some nobody named Bob Garfield, a columnist at AdAge, advertising analyst for ABC News (DIS), co-host of NPR's "On the Media", columnist for USA Today (GCI), and contributing editor at Civilization and Washington Post Magazine.

When a public personality in the media business himself is outraged to the point where he has no choice but to publicly shame a company that's wronged him, it's obvious that something is… wrong.



The response from the general public on ConsumerAffairs.com following Comcast's earnings report was immediate -- and vitriolic:

Profits vs. Service

Their finances may be soaring but their service still sucks. The latest Consumer Reports ratings show them still lagging far behind their competition. 23rd out of 27 for Internet service; 19th out of 23 for phone service; 14th out of 16 for television service. As long as their profits are up, they'll continue to give their customers the single-finger salute.

Posted by: StageRt Posted on: 02/03/10



Followed by this:

Good Point

StageRt is right. I am a Comcast customer and I would rate them near the bottom on TV and ISP. I refuse to use their phone service b/c of their proven poor service. I would buy into their competition: Satellite, Dish, or Phone, but their customers hi-light issues as well. Cable needs real competition!

Posted by: Hal_9001 Posted on: 02/03/10
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