This Man Claims Comcast Got Him Fired After a Yearlong Customer Support Nightmare

This Man Claims Comcast Got Him Fired After a Yearlong Customer Support Nightmare
Source: AP
Source: AP

It might not surprise that Comcast would overcharge you and offer terrible service. Calling your employer and getting you fired, though, seems pretty excessive.

That's the accusation of a customer who told Consumerist he had been overcharged by the company for 11 months before taking his complaints higher up in the Comcast hierarchy. He said Comcast tracked down what company he worked for and contacted them, and he ended up fired as a result.

The accusations: The customer, a PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) partner named Conal O'Rourke, had a series of horror stories that might seem familiar to others who use Comcast. He said he was charged for set-top boxes that had never been activated, saw bills jump up $20 a month without warning and had some bills not even get delivered because the company misspelled his name.

He said the final straw was when Comcast sent him DVRs, cable boxes and other equipment he never asked for, eventually charging him $1,820 for it all. The company then allegedly sent his account to collections in February of this year, causing him to contact the office of the company's controller, Lawrence Salva. 

According to O'Rourke, his call rattled Comcast, and someone within Salva's office immediately began conducting Internet research and determined that he was a PWC employee. A letter written by O'Rourke's lawyer describes what allegedly happened next:

Because Comcast was a major consulting services client of PWC's, someone from the Controller's office contacted Mr. Joseph Atkinson, a partner in the Philadelphia office of PWC, and falsely told Mr. Atkinson that Mr. O'Rourke had invoked his employment with PWC in an attempt to somehow obtain leverage in his negotiations with Comcast. Mr. Atkinson informed Mr. O'Rourke that the client was very valuable, was the Philadelphia office's largest client with billings [REDACTED], that the client was very angry as a result of Mr. O'Rourke's complaints, and that Mr. O'Rourke was not to speak with anyone from Comcast. While all of this was happening, Comcast continued to communicate sporadically and ineffectively with Mr. O'Rourke, setting up two service appointments that they missed without explanation on February 7, 2014 and February 11, 2014.

O'Rourke says he was subsequently subjected to an internal PWC ethics investigation and terminated. His letter says that he was "shocked, humiliated and ashamed based on the unjustified loss of his job. He sought counseling and was prescribed medication to address his emotional distress."

"I was totally taken aback," O'Rourke told Ars Technica. "I was numb. I was absolutely numb."

The takeaway: If an employee is going around flaunting his firm as a reason he should be given preferential treatment, it makes sense the firm might be concerned. But if O'Rourke's accusations prove true, though, it's a pretty disturbing picture of Comcast not fixing any problems and tattling to someone's bosses when they eventually freak out.

Of course, you can always just pick another cable provider — oh wait, that's not right. Well, at least it's easy enough to cancel — no, that's not right, either. Good luck.

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Matt Connolly

Matt has written for Mother Jones, the Washington Examiner and Chicago Public Radio among many others. He's a resident of Washington, D.C., but much like Bruce Springsteen and pork roll he is a product of New Jersey.

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