The only Comcast service center in Carroll County is set to close Oct. 19, forcing local customers to adjust how — and where — they get support and services.
With the service center leaving Carroll, the closest service centers for locals would be in either Owings Mills or Frederick. Comcast is the default provider for cable in Carroll but not internet, according to Carol Shawver, cable administrator with the Carroll Cable Regulatory Commission.
According to Sandra Arnette, senior manager of public relations for Comcast, the company began notifying customers via bill messages in mid-August.
“I think it’s going to impact them [residents] greatly. They like to pay their bills, they like to swap equipment. I think it’s going to be a little bit more difficult with them having to either mail it or wait for a technician or, perhaps, go to Owings Mills or Frederick. I think it’s going to impact our population pretty severely,” said Shawver.
In a letter to Shawver, Joshua Bokee, director of government and regulatory affairs with Comcast, said the company is trying to create different service options for customers.
“Comcast has been making investments to create many new self-help service options for customers to access and manage their accounts, as well as pay for our products and services," Bokee said in his letter. "These include self-install kits and the ability to order equipment through the mail as well as drop-off equipment at The UPS Store locations. Customers today are choosing to utilize convenient digital self-help options to manage their accounts and access and pay for our products and service.”
It still isn’t clear why the service center located at 265 Clifton Blvd. in Westminster is closing, but Shawver said it seems like it’s going to be gone for good.
“The way Comcast has made it seem, that it’s going to be permanent, we’re not pleased about that, of course; it gets a lot of traffic, it serves a lot of residents,” Shawver said. “We’re waiting to hear back from Comcast on the reasoning and if this is temporary.”
Local resident Ned Cueman is upset about the expected inconvenience and a lack of communication from Comcast.
“I just think it’s a terrible inconvenience to be telling everybody in Carroll County, ‘Just go to Owings Mills or Frederick if you have a problem with your TV or your modem or whatever you’re having a problem with — your phones,” Cueman said. “This is the thing that really ticks me off about big outfits like this, they get so big that they don’t really customer service. When it comes to dealing with customers and they want to make a move like this, they’re pulling up the rear on real good public relations. A lot of people in the communication business leave a lot to be desired when it comes to communicating, information gets wrong, or distorted or it isn’t conveyed.”
According to the letter from Bokee, customers can manage almost all aspect of their account by using the Xfinity My Account app and web portal, customers can utilize Western Union locations to pay a bill, and equipment can be returned to their nearest UPS Store location. There are three UPS Store locations in Carroll: at 9 Westminster Shopping Center in Westminster, at 1213 Liberty Road in Eldersburg and at 327 E. Ridgeville Road in Mount Airy.
The Carroll Cable Regulatory Commission will hold a meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Carroll County Office Building, Room 003, at 225 N. Center St. in Westminster. The meeting will be open to public comment, and Bokee will be in attendance.