Comcast Gets Angry Customer Fired?

A man claims Comcast got him fired after he complained about their service.

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Claim:   Comcast complained to the employer of a disgruntled customer and caused the man to lose his job.


Example:   [Collected via Twitter, October 2014]

In more bad PR for Comcast, the company allegedly got an unhappy customer fired from his job.


Origins:   On 6 October 2014, consumer advocacy blog Consumerist

published an article in which former PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) employee Conal O’Rourke alleged cable provider Comcast retaliated against him professionally over a business dispute. According to the blog and O’Rourke, Comcast’s interference led to the man’s termination from the firm.

O’Rourke gave a detailed timeline of his dealings with Comcast during the course of the post, explaining that he became a reluctant customer of the cable provider in early 2013. O’Rourke admitted that his relationship with Comcast quickly degraded, leading to a series of adversarial interactions and a billing dispute with the provider.

Consumerist quoted O’Rourke’s description of a “bizarre” call with a person he believed to be a Comcast rep. Shortly thereafter, O’Rourke was fired from his job as described by the blog:

At some point shortly after that call, someone from Comcast contacted a partner at the firm to discuss Conal. This led to an ethics investigation and Conal’s subsequent dismissal from his job; a job where he says he’d only received positive feedback and reviews for his work.

Comcast maintained that Conal used the name of his employer in an attempt to get leverage. Conal insists that he never mentioned his employer by name, but believes that someone in the Comcast Controller’s office looked him up online and figured out where he worked.

When he was fired, Conal’s employer explained that the reason for the dismissal was an e-mail from Comcast that summarized conversations between Conal and Comcast employees.

Ars Technica reached out to PwC for comment on the situation involving Comcast and Conal O’Rourke, and PwC spokeswoman Caroline Nolan replied with a statement via e-mail that acknowledged O’Rourke had been terminated over an ethics issue but provided no other details:

Mr. O’Rourke was employed in one of our internal firm services offices. The firm terminated his employment after an internal investigation concluded that Mr. O’Rourke violated PwC’s ethical standards and practices, applicable to all of our people. The firm has explicit policies regarding employee conduct, we train our people in those policies, and we enforce them. Mr. O’Rourke’s violation of these policies was the sole reason for his termination.

On 8 October 2014, Charlie Herrin, Senior Vice President of Customer Experience at Comcast Cable, issued a public apology to O’Rourke in a post to Comcast Voices. In that statement, Herrin admitted to a lapse in customer service in the overall handling of O’Rourke’s issues but denied that anyone representing Comcast requested he be terminated from PwC. Herrin did resolve to investigate precisely how the entire situation escalated so severely:

What happened with Mr. O’Rourke’s service is completely unacceptable. Despite our attempts to address Mr. O’Rourke’s issues, we simply dropped the ball and did not make things right. Mr. O’Rourke deserves another apology from us and we’re making this one publicly. We also want to clarify that nobody at Comcast asked for him to be fired.

We’re also determined to get to the bottom of exactly what happened with his service, figure out what went wrong at every point along the way, and fix any underlying issues. I’m a few weeks into a new role at Comcast which is entirely focused on what we can do to make the customer experience better. We need to make sure that every interaction is excellent from the moment a customer orders a new service, to the installation, to the way we communicate with them, to how we respond to any issues.

We’re holding ourselves accountable and we are working hard to make real improvements across the board. While it will take us some time, we can and will do better than this.

What is clear from statements given by Comcast, PwC, and O’Rourke is that O’Rourke was indeed terminated from his position at PricewaterhouseCoopers on 18 February 2014. However, the precise reason for his termination and an accounting of just what transpired between Comcast and O’Rourke’s former employer have not been disclosed by anyone privy to that information.

Last updated:   9 October 2014


    Farivar, Cyrus.   “Comcast Got Me Fired After Billing Dispute, Says California Man.”

    Ars Technica.   7 October 2014.

    Moran, Chris.   “Unhappy Customer: Comcast Told My Employer About Complaint, Got Me Fired.”

    Consumerist.   6 October 2014.