An Oakland, California company is offering to help customers cancel their Comcast service for $5, a not-so-subtle counterpoint to customer service horror stories at the hands of the cable giant.
Airpaper takes your information through a form on the Internet. Then, it does the work of canceling the service for you.
The company helps customers avoid what corporations have called the retention department, where customer service workers are often empowered to offer discounts to people thinking of cutting the cord.
“It’s difficult and time consuming because Comcast wants to make it difficult and time consuming,” said Eli Pollak, a founder of AirPaper.
The idea came to the company after the other co-founder Earl St Sauver tried to cancel his service because he was leaving the country.
He was on the phone for a half hour, Pollak said.
But St Sauver isn’t the only one who has had difficulty. The cable giant was forced to apologize last year after a tech journalist posted a phone call with a Comcast retention specialist who kept him on the phone for 20 minutes, asking him to explain why he wanted to cancel.
The big question: How does the company do it? If ending your love-hate relationship with your cable company takes 20 or 30 minutes on the phone, how does the company make money at $5? Overseas calls centers, perhaps?
The answer: they don’t use phones. They mail requests to the company using automated software and the U.S. Postal Service.
AirPaper bills itself as a aimed at making bureaucracy more pleasant, and until now they’ve tried to tackle problems closer to home — like getting parking permits and registering businesses in San Francisco.
“We understand why they do retention,” Pollak said, "but if customers are doing that angry and pissed off, maybe their doing that wrong.”
Comcast did not return a request for comment, but in May the firm pledged to hire 5,500 new customer service reps and gave a key executive wide ranging authority to fix the company’s relationship with customers.