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Stupid Usability #74

Comcast: The Stupid Usability Connoisseurs

Written By: High Monkey
Posted: 10/20/2014

From the mind of Erik Bredesen, Sales Advisor at High Monkey:

I know I just recently wrote a stupid usability post using Comcast as the subject, but, I’m sorry, their stupidity knows no bounds, another post was absolutely necessary.


I recently received our cable bill transferred in my name, so I went online to their website to pay the bill. I figured this would be the easiest way, and I wouldn’t have to go through the automated system that makes you want to throw your phone through the wall. I quickly realized I did not know the password associated with my username. I figured it was like everything else…when you forget your password you click the “forgot password” link and it sends it to your email once you confirm your identity, usually by answering some questions about yourself or giving some personal information.

Well, it COULD be that easy, but it just wouldn’t be Comcast if they didn’t make a simple process into the most complex, time consuming endeavor. The online system would not send me a password, so I was forced to call my favorite automated system, which got me in a great mood right off the bat. After literally 30 min of talking to robots and 3 different people (who I gave the EXACT same information too only to be transferred to someone else, as this problem “was in a different department”, like it isn’t the most common problem ever!!!) I was finally given a solution. These were my 2 options, to get my password so I could pay my bill online:

  1. I could drive to a store where I could physically confirm my identity, they would then give me my password and I could pay my bill. Mind you, I could just pay the damn bill at the store anyway, and I’m paying it online so I don’t have to drive 20 minutes to the nearest store.
  2. They could call my Comcast Digital Voice home phone and certify that I was the owner of the account.

The stupid usability is obvious in the first option. Having to drive to a store to change an account password is the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard. The second seems easy enough except for one problem. They had assigned us a home phone number even though we did not have a home phone. So essentially they would be calling a number to a phone that didn’t exist, and yes, this was the only other option.

In conclusion, the only two options to CHANGING MY ONLINE PASSWORD were to drive to a store far far away, or go to a best buy and purchase a home phone so they could call it and in turn I could change my password. If this isn’t the absolute definition of stupid usability I don’t know what is. It’s okay though it only took me 60 extremely frustrating minutes for their highly trained customer service agent to come to this conclusion.

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More About Virgil

Virgil Carroll is the owner and president of High Monkey – based in Minneapolis Minnesota. Virgil also wears the multiple ‘hats’ of Principle Human Solutions Architect and SharePoint Architect.

Virgil is one of those rare individuals who can dive deep into technical topics while speaking clearly to the business owners of a project and never forgetting that the end user experience has the highest priority. He calls it using both sides of his brain. Virgil is passionate about leveraging technologies ‘out of the box’ as much as possible with a focus on the strategic use of content to create websites that deliver the right content to the right audience on the right device at the right time. Virgil brings high energy, an ironic wit, and a sense of grounded perspective whenever he speaks to an audience. Virgil regularly speaks at conferences and user groups throughout the United States and occasionally in Europe.

Posted: 10/20/2014 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments