Comcast call leaves cable co. 'embarrassed' by customer service

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Comcast is apologizing after a San Francisco customer posted online 8 minutes of a rude telephone conversation with a customer service rep.

Cable and Internet giant Comcast is apologizing after a tech-savvy California customer posted eight minutes of telephone conversation online in which he tried repeatedly to get a customer service representative to disconnect his service.

The customer, Ryan Block, succeeds in getting the unidentified Comcast rep to agree to disconnect his service, but only after the rep repeatedly asks Block for a reason. At one point, Block says, "I can guarantee right now that you are doing an incredibly good job of helping your company be worse."

Philadelphia-based Comcast said Tuesday the employee's behavior is unacceptable and the company is "embarrassed" by it. Comcast said it would contact Block to apologize.

Block, who says he is a vice president for AOL, said he expects to talk to Comcast personnel.

Block recorded his telephone conversation with Comcast and posted it online. On Tuesday, it went viral.

Block: "The way you can help me is by disconnecting our service. That's how you can help me."
Service Rep: "But how is that helping you though?"
Block: "Because that's what I want."
Service Rep: "Explain to me how that is helping you."
Block: "That's what I want."
Service Rep: "Why is that what you want?"
Block: "Because that's what I want."
Service Rep: "I'm just trying to figure out here what it is about Comcast service that you're not liking."
Block: "This phone call is a really... actually amazing representative example of why I don't want to stay with Comcast."

As the conversation continued, Block even asked, "Is this a joke? Are you punking us right now?" The experience resonated with consumers.

"No matter if it is Internet, phone, cable, whatever, I've actually dealt with the same problems too," San Francisco resident Seema Bhatia said.

Golden Gate University consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow called the conversation abusive.

"There's this really toxic dynamic between a lot of people in customer service and a lot of customers, to be honest. And I think rudeness has been ramped up to new levels," she said.

Comcast's senior vice president of customer experience publicly apologized saying, "We are very embarrassed by the way our employee spoke with Mr. Block and are contacting him to personally apologize. The way in which our representative communicated with him is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives. We are investigating this situation and will take quick action. While the overwhelming majority of our employees work very hard to do the right thing every day, we are using this very unfortunate experience to reinforce how important it is to always treat our customers with the utmost respect."

To listen to the conversation, click here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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