We’ve heard plenty of complaints about Comcast ever since we launched our campaign to stop the company’s proposed merger with Time Warner Cable.  But an audio tape of a customer’s attempt to cancel his Internet service captures a particularly egregious encounter with a surly Comcast representative.

For nearly ten minutes, the Comcast representative argues with the customer and demands to know why he’s leaving the company even though the customer has already explained that he has signed up with a new provider.  He’s not interested in hearing a sales pitch but the Comcast rep refuses to give up.  We’ve all experienced frustrating customer service calls but this one took things to a new level of torture.

Of course, Comcast has apologized for the incident and insists that the customer service rep’s abusive behavior is not consistent with how it trains its employees.  Let’s hope so.  However, the truth remains that Comcast has earned a lousy reputation when it comes to customer service.

Consumer Reports’ recent customer satisfaction survey found that Comcast earned particularly poor marks for both phone and online customer support.  And to make matters worse, Time Warner Cable got poor ratings for customer service too.

It’s no wonder that most consumers believe that customer service will suffer if the merger between these two companies is allowed to go through.  Sixty-six percent of consumers believe that Comcast will have little incentive to improve customer service because of the lack of competition, according to a recent Consumer Reports public opinion poll.   Fifty-four percent of consumers said they thought that customer satisfaction will get worse if the merger is approved.

As the FCC reviews the merger proposal, it must consider whether the deal is in the public’s interest.  If Comcast is allowed to dominate the cable TV and high speed Internet markets, there’s every reason to believe that customer service will get even worse.  On top of the higher prices and fewer choices this mega merger will likely bring, that’s a good reason to say “no” to Comcast.