NeoBytes :) This excruciating conversation shows how much Comcast values its customers

NeoBytes :) is an occasional feature that takes a step back from the big headlines, to take a look at what else is happening in the vast, scary expanse of the tech world - often with a cynical eye, always with a dose of humour.


All sorts of terrible things are going in the world around us, but somewhere near the top of the list of first-world problems - pretty close to the utter horror of a Starbucks barista getting your coffee order wrong - is surely the scourge of poor customer service from wireless and cable companies. 

With very few exceptions, telcos are almost universally rubbish when it comes to customer service. It's bad enough that you have to deal with their restrictive terms and policies, or that your service keeps going down, or that you're paying a small fortune for the whole experience every month - but it simply adds insult to injury when on top of all of that, you get service from someone representing the company who obviously thinks that they're doing you a favor. 

Not all companies are quite this bad, of course, and let's not be too harsh - there are a great many service reps out there that do a fantastic job for their companies, bending over backwards to do whatever it takes to make the customer happy. But these are the rare gems, the exceptions to the rule, and far from the norm of dreadful customer service that so many of us have to deal with from our carriers, and broadband and TV providers. 

In the United States, communications giant Comcast has earned itself a reputation for appalling customer service, even earning it the title of 'Worst Company in America'. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts attempted to confront this reality head-on just a few weeks ago, when he said that the company was trying to do better, adding: "We don't wake up every day and go to work and say 'we want to be hated'."

Not everyone at Comcast feels the same way, apparently, as a recording of a conversation between a customer and a Comcast service center demonstrates. The call was recorded by AOL's Ryan Block, who was attempting to get his service disconnected so that he and his wife, Veronica Belmont, could switch providers, and get their service from Astound instead. 

At the point at which the recording begins, the call has already been going for ten minutes. It was Belmont that had called Comcast in the first place to request the disconnection, but after ten minutes of getting nowhere with the repeated aggressive questions of the service agent, Block said that she had become "so visibly upset she handed me the phone". 

Listen to the call, and it's not hard to understand why. At times, the agent clearly isn't listening to what his customer is saying and requesting, and is singularly focused on demanding a response to the question of why Block and his wife would even be thinking of leaving Comcast, despite both of them offering explanations in the minutes before Block decided to begin recording the call. 

The agent's persistent demands that they explain themselves are, of course, not genuine concern that the customer should get the best possible service, but rather a bullying tactic designed to steer the customer back towards renewing their subscription with Comcast. 

Even after agreeing to disconnect them, the agent persists in repeating his enquiries before finally giving in and quickly wrapping up the call, apparently believing that he has provided the kind of service that a paying customer expects to receive. 

Sadly, these days, it seems that this is, in fact, exactly the kind of service that Comcast's customers expect to receive. But while this kind of thing is obviously bad for the customer, it's great for Comcast, as it seems they're well on their way to winning the coveted 'Worst Company in America' award again. 

Source: @ryan | image edited from an original via Evening Standard

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Over here in Canada, I've dropped Bell a few years ago and went with TekSavvy. The service rep transferred me to the customer retention department (as expected), and I simply explained that they (Bell) couldn't match the price I was going to pay with their competitor. Indeed, the best they could give me was still over $20/month more than what I'm still paying to this day--all the rep could do was hum and haw and had nowhere to go.

They also had (at the time) a 200GB/month cap, and the ISP I was going with had the cap set at 300GB/month. Unlike "Ryan", who keeps providing a non-answer for his reason to want to leave Comcast, it was pretty easy for me to give the rep valid reasons to want to leave, and he had no counteroffer to make. I'm not taking the rep's side; he was a real jackass--just sayin' the customer in his case made it more difficult for himself.

I've had pretty similar conversations with support at 3 (UK mobile phone provider).

To get a former girlfriends account closed i had to resort to recording the phone call and playing back to someone more senior. Same also happened with Vodafone UK, both companies have terrible customer service to the point where i make recording the call a priority.

Always make sure to slip in that you are doing so, just to cover your arse. I tend to wait for them to do the whole "You're call may be recorded for training purposes" line and then just say "yes, same on my side".

Its likely that this guy is targeted for retentions which is why he is being persistant. However there is a fine line between overcoming objections and understanding how you are not meeting your customers needs and harassment. This agent is so far over it he needs binoculars.

This agent clearly has not been trained properly combined with his attitude has caused to be a blunt a complete clusterf***k.

Totally unacceptable.

Hello,

I got cable Internet service with Comcast a couple of years ago for a family vacation home. Basically, I bought a Motorola cable modem at Fry's Electronics and did a self-install.

Last year, Comcast unilaterally decided I needed TV service, and shipped a set top box to the house (which no one may be at for months at a time) and started billing us for TV service.

We have no televisions in the house.

I got this straightened out around the March-April time-frame, and even returned their set top box, which had been covered with a nice dusting of snow.

I just found out a couple of weeks ago they started billing me $8/month for leasing a modem with them.

Except that I don't lease a modem from them, I purchased my own.

I've just gotten that straightened out, and I am looking forward to seeing what sort of predatory billing practice they engage in next with me.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

goretsky said,
Hello,

I got cable Internet service with Comcast a couple of years ago for a family vacation home. Basically, I bought a Motorola cable modem at Fry's Electronics and did a self-install.

Last year, Comcast unilaterally decided I needed TV service, and shipped a set top box to the house (which no one may be at for months at a time) and started billing us for TV service.

We have no televisions in the house.

I got this straightened out around the March-April time-frame, and even returned their set top box, which had been covered with a nice dusting of snow.

I just found out a couple of weeks ago they started billing me $8/month for leasing a modem with them.

Except that I don't lease a modem from them, I purchased my own.

I've just gotten that straightened out, and I am looking forward to seeing what sort of predatory billing practice they engage in next with me.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

Comcast added a nice extra "wireless Internet" charge on one of my bills when I used to have them. Considering I use my own equipment, I was less than pleased.

This sounds like the old video of the guy trying to cancel his AOL. What good is the 105 when you rarely stay at those speeds? There are times when I drop down to 0.

"The call was recorded by AOL's Ryan Block,"

Wait, is there perhaps a chance the Comcast rep knew that Block worked for AOL? If so, that could change things. You know, payback from some years ago... Not likely I know, but it makes one think.

Holly craptastic call Batman I would hung up the phone after 1 min of this guy prattling on trying to upsell onsell or any other type of sell I probably also wouldn't have been as polite as the guy wanting to be disconnected either

Yep,
I had about the same issue with Charter a few years ago when I switched to Frontier DSL, which was a short lived switch!

After about 5 minutes of that rep trying to sell me something I did not want, I REALLY lit into them. Conversation did not last much longer and my service was disconnected.

Sometimes you just have to be a down right prick with these people.

I will be disconnecting my service from Comcast very soon too. I hope they will not give me such problem.

That conversation sounds about right. I've had some issues with them recently as well, including them just mysteriously cancelling a service to bury an outside line without warning, and then wanting to delay the new ticket to bury the line by a month -- after sod and irrigation would already have been put down. Luckily there are some people at Comcast who really do "care" since after I tweeted my anger, someone from their executive customer service department called me up to confirm a proper appointment, and followed up a couple of times after that to make sure it was done to my satisfaction. But their front line folks are TERRIBLE.

DirecTV, on the other hand, has ROCKING customer service agents. Top notch, every call.

He's not just a customer service rep, he's an aggressive salesman. This conversation was cringe-worthy.

Edit: I have to admit that most of the customer-reps I've dealt with on the phone have actually been very nice and I can't think of an issue.

The Broadband Future
Comcast and Time Warner Cable control the pipes that get the internet to your house. In five years or so, which do you think will be more important cable or internet?

Broadband is already the most profitable segment of both Time Warner Cable and Comcast's businesses. Even if everyone abandons their 400-channel cable subscriptions, they'll still be paying for that streaming video goodness. And that's a much harder business to disrupt than television is; there's no reliable DirecTV, DishNetwork, AT&T or Google for that matter for internet.

By owning both cable and internet connections for the near-majority of American households, TWComcast would give customers nowhere to run. It's hard to escape a sinking ship if the same company also owns the ocean.

Edited by UltraKill, Jul 15 2014, 6:00pm :

I had Comcast for 5 years, but while my initial experience was just as aggravating, I had the last laugh... still laughing... maybe you can laugh with me:

Moved into an apartment and there wasn't an option for cable service: Comcast was it. I called to connect service and was told they were behind schedule and it'd take a week. No big deal, I waited the week, but on the day they were suppose to arrive, they were a no-show.

I called Comcast and spent 2 hours on the phone with customer service arguing that no one came to connect my service. The technician claimed that I wasn't home (probably wrong apartment), but eventually they agreed to send another tech out. Finally, after waiting about 3 hours for the second tech, my service was connected. I was blazing fast at a guaranteed 12 mbps (not "up to").

After 2 months, my guaranteed 12 mbps took a nose dive to at best 5 mbps, but I was still paying the same price for the higher tier. So, I called Comcast tech support. I went round for round with them, took multiple days and multiple techs, but eventually a network tech "resolved" the issue on their end and I was back, surfing at a blazing guaranteed 12 mbps.

2 months later the guaranteed 12 mbps took another nose dive. I didn't waste time, I quickly requested the same network tech that fixed my issue previously, but I was just as quickly informed that they no longer worked for Comcast.So, I had to repeat the multi-day tech issue again... only this time they couldn't resolve it.

Finally, after a solid week of dead ends, the techs and customer reps were convinced that If I canceled my internet subscription and re-sign anew, they could resolve the issue. I didn't understand how that would help, seeing as I was a new customer about 4 months ago, but eventually I gave in and I was told a tech would disconnect the internet within 24 hours... only I never lost internet service.

2 days went by, 5, 10, a full month, two months. The bill never came, but the service never stopped and I never re-signed.

For 4 years and 6 months I had free internet service, and some how it was completely unrestricted at "up to" 50 mbps... the most the cable modem could handle at the time. It wasn't all rosie, the service would drop frequently for 6-8 hours at a time, but it always came back... and when its free... you just don't care ;-)

Yeah, you may not be laughing if they ever do an audit and realize what happened. You admit you used their service without paying for it. If Comcast wanted to take you to court, they'd have an open and shut case.

He who laughs last...

Everyone who is with Comcast should call and cancel their service. They will likely cut your bill in half to keep you. Take the Chicken Challenge, and save big bucks on your bill!

IF they wanted to know why he was leaving why didn't he just say "because your company's customer service sucks, which is clearly demonstrated by your unhelpful, rude, aggressive badgering". The guy would have to record that as the reason.

Odd how there's a "guaranteed" service of 105Mbps but it takes three weeks to move a piece of paper from their offices to his home. Perhaps they could email it.

Why is this news? I've always used this to my advantage...

I've been on "promotional pricing" ever since I signed up for Comcast... mainly because every time the promotion ends I call up to "cancel" they go through their spiel about how great they are I let them, say I'm not convinced because it costs too much they sent me to retention, retention gives me some "great" deal with channels I don't watch I tell them I don't watch those channels, they give me another "great" deal with a lower price, bingo done back to promotional pricing for another year with usually more channels or faster internet for less then I paid last time... right now I have 105 Mbit internet and every single channel and premium channel and telephone for $170 a month... normal price is over $300

"right now I have 105 Mbit internet and every single channel and premium channel and telephone for $170 a month... normal price is over $300"

This made me twitch. We have a monopoly where I am at, the boroughs, locked in a cable provider for five years. If you don't like it, you have to deal with it, get dish, or OTA.

Same thing with Telephone, and internet. Get internet through the cable company, or telephone and get 2MB.

Cable internet is $67 a month for 15 down and 2up. It's a joke.

$190 for cable and internet.

I am debating on going to dish. Even after the first year it's still cheaper

Tell him to shut up and threaten to file a complaint with the FCC if he does not cancel the service in the next 60 seconds.

I'm thinking this call is totally staged. First of all the "Comcast" rep I'm sure has not been trained to stay on the phone with someone asking the same question and getting nowhere for, I'm sure he doesn't care personally this much why the guy is cancelling. So this whole thing sounds like a red flag and that this is totally fake. Unless of course the guy on the other end is the CEO then he has a genuine interest in the personal reason for cancelling.

I had to close my account a few months back but in my situation I was moving to a house that already had Comcast so they didn't ask any more questions after that. However, after canceling they called me 3 times to ask me why I had closed the account. It was really annoying!

Whenever you talk to ANYONE at Comcast, ask for the r operator ID and department number. The operator ID is a 3 alpha-numeric-symbol code, such as "4R_". This will personally identify them if you need to peruse any matter.

Brian Miller said,
I wish I recorded all of my calls with them. All of them are lairs and are 100% unprofessional.

That's what everyone should do. Take names, employee ID's, and record the calls, if the support rep starts being an ass, send the recording and details to the CEO, the rude staff member'll likely get sacked. If I contact a helpdesk, the rep's details are the first thing I obtain as well as letting them know I'm recording them, then they know they're being watched for good behaviour and will get reported if they don't, they seem to behave.

That is so weird. I just had to cancel and reactivate with our only Internet provider choice.. Comcast.

They were more than happy to disconnect the service having quoted us something much cheaper initially. The guy just said your service will last through tonight and will be disconnected tomorrow.

rippleman said,
sounds like a new person in training.

If he was in training someone else would have pickup the call/told him to let it go after a while, unless it's the policy to be that agressive.

LeGourmand said,

If he was in training someone else would have pickup the call/told him to let it go after a while, unless it's the policy to be that agressive.


I only felt this because its like that "new kid that tires too hard" that i have seen so many times. Trying to make an impression and make the sale no matter what. And also couldn't recognize that No meant No and it wasn't going anywhere, an experienced rep would have clearly seen it as sign that it was hopeless and a lost customer.

How he kept his cool is beyond me. Fair play to him. The company is beyond a joke badgering him like that. I'm just stunned that the conversation went like that.

Once upon a time I heard almost same type of conversation regarding AOL it was somewhere around 2000-2001 (I think) really it was horrible the guy said no I will not do that I am doing you a favor to the customer I was like wuuuuut.

When I did an AOL trial once a loonnggg time ago I thought for sure I had an easy way out of it. I told them my computer died and I couldn't afford a replacement (not true but figured no possible way they could argue to keep service if I don't even have a computer). Nope... "how about we extend your trial for free for 90 days in case you get a new one?" -.-

I've worked in a department for a cable company that deals with things like this and yes we did want to find out why they were leaving, but if they didn't want to tell us, we wouldn't try to force it out of them.
Perhaps he was new and didn't want to give up on the call, but either way talking over the customer is rude in and of itself. Also just because a company is number 1 in number of customers doesn't make it a great company for customers. Many people have no choice but to use Comcast because of how cable is setup.

Listening to this conversation as a Brit it would seem EE are the British equivalent of ComCast.
Their customer service reps must go through the exact same training!

I left T-Mobile when they were in the process of turning into EE. It wasn't easy. I even had good reasons: crap coverage, high prices and the fact they tried to grandfather my included-in-contract 3GB a month down to 512MB while claiming they could breach contract law in doing so.

This is quite scary as I had a similarly excruciating conversation, trying to extricate myself from being on Three (a mobile carrier here in the UK) when I wanted to switch networks. It was almost exactly like this.

I've been a mobile phone user for.. well.. I guess at least 15 years and have no network loyalty. I just change every year or two if I think service is getting sketchy or I can get a better deal. Every time I've ever moved in the past I've just asked for a PAC code, got it, and moved networks. Three however had different ideas and it was exactly along the line of interrogation, from the conversation above - I had to explain / justify why I was disconnecting from them. Problem is, every time I explained why I was disconnecting it was like my answer was not good enough.

So for example I said where I lived I got dismal mobile signal - this was true, but it was true for every other carrier - it was just a total blackspot. They advised me that they offered a mobile base station that plugged into broadband. For various reasons I didn't want this, but that was somehow not acceptable to them. This back and forth went on for some time with me getting increasingly agitated. I've worked in customer facing roles for years and am always polite to people in call centres even if they're wrong, or giving me a hard time, but I started to get rather blunt and rude with the guy.

He, eventually, and very begrudgingly gave me my code. I'll never go back to Three. Utterly ridiculous.

It seems to be a thing that modern companies are doing to almost blackmail people into staying with them. Top tip - it just PISSES customers off, and you're more likely to make enemies for life if you try this sort of BS.

ChuckFinley said,
I had exactly the same problem with Three. They could not deviate from the script. The guy kept repeating if you disconnect you will have no service from Three. Repeatedly I said I know this.

The CEO is very helpful .... http://www.ceoemail.com

Glad I'm not alone on that one. It was one of the worst experiences with a mobile carrier I've ever had - I swear it'll be a cold day in hell before I ever deal with them again!

I would have raged in the first minute of that call. Customer service is going away all around us, grocery store we have to bag and scan our own groceries, gas stations pump our own gas and wash our own windows etc...and then when you go to pay, prices that are much higher than when these tasks were performed for the customer, they have the nerve to ask you stupid survey questions, your phone number, zip code etc..

Sonne said,
I would have raged in the first minute of that call. Customer service is going away all around us, grocery store we have to bag and scan our own groceries, gas stations pump our own gas and wash our own windows etc...and then when you go to pay, prices that are much higher than when these tasks were performed for the customer, they have the nerve to ask you stupid survey questions, your phone number, zip code etc..

sounds like life in the UK.........our customer service has always been terrible. It's like they are doing us a favour. Don't get me started on the public sector. Prices go up, service goes down.

You know, you should just phone up and say I want to cancel......THE END...but no, you have to spend an hour going over and over the same thing. Then get transferred to the cancellations department lol so you can repeat the entire conversation.

glen8 said,

sounds like life in the UK.........our customer service has always been terrible. It's like they are doing us a favour. Don't get me started on the public sector. Prices go up, service goes down.

You know, you should just phone up and say I want to cancel......THE END...but no, you have to spend an hour going over and over the same thing. Then get transferred to the cancellations department lol so you can repeat the entire conversation.

Its definitely tough man, to know the right time to get angry or aggressive because on one hand I know that whoever I am dealing with is probably making a crap wage and is not happy about what he/she is doing but on the other hand the clock is ticking and my time is money lol

Sonne said,

Its definitely tough man, to know the right time to get angry or aggressive because on one hand I know that whoever I am dealing with is probably making a crap wage and is not happy about what he/she is doing but on the other hand the clock is ticking and my time is money lol

The best companies are the ones who let you cancel online!

timster said,
easiest way to cancel cable/internet/telephone service .. tell them you're moving out of the country.

You'd think so, right? But not so much with Sky TV in the UK. They wanted to know the location, the duration, if there was anybody that could take over the contract (it was within the minimum trial period).

They just kept on and on, repeating the same questions, putting us on hold, then coming back with the same crap, trying to find some way to keep us.

I was telling my gf to tell them to #### off and mind their own business, but she's a bit too polite/shy for that, she wouldn't even politely decline to answer those questions.

They gave up eventually, but it really wound me up that they were pressuring her with personal questions like that.

timster said,
easiest way to cancel cable/internet/telephone service .. tell them you're moving out of the country.

The easiest way is to just show up at a retail outlet, with the hardware in hand for return. If you are willing to unhook it and take it to the store, then they know there is no chance of retaining you.

D. FiB3R said,

You'd think so, right? But not so much with Sky TV in the UK. They wanted to know the location, the duration, if there was anybody that could take over the contract (it was within the minimum trial period).

They just kept on and on, repeating the same questions, putting us on hold, then coming back with the same crap, trying to find some way to keep us.

I was telling my gf to tell them to #### off and mind their own business, but she's a bit too polite/shy for that, she wouldn't even politely decline to answer those questions.

They gave up eventually, but it really wound me up that they were pressuring her with personal questions like that.

Had the same experience when I tried to both sign up for and close our Sky account (moving house).

[gun to CS rep's head]
You better find out why they want to cancel or you and your family are DEAD!
[/gun to CS rep's head]

He was serious about finding out why someone would want to leave Comcast, that's for sure.

Roger H. said,
[gun to CS rep's head]
You better find out why they want to cancel or you and your family are DEAD!
[/gun to CS rep's head]

He was serious about finding out why someone would want to leave Comcast, that's for sure.

To be honest, and this isn't a pass for "those people"... I know that those jobs are held accountable to numbers. Let your percentage numbers fall, and you risk losing your job.

While not a "gun" per-say, there is a little justification for someone who is deathly afraid of losing their job (and the proverbial gun to the head) due to bad numbers.

This is definitely taken to the extreme though, and made me cringe through the whole thing.

The bullying tactics the employee is using, whether that is his personal way to go about things or the company's personal way of doing things is wrong. Either way, this customer is owed an apology at the very least. Under no circumstances should you have to repeat that you want to end the service as many times as the customer did. Utterly shameful tactics from Comcast though I bet its like this at other companies too.

timster said,
the call sounds like it was recorded in a large empty room.

Ryan was attempting to setup speakers in an empty room, if you read the description. ;)

Listened to this last night after Ms. Belmont posted it to her Twitter. Mr. Block deserves all the kudos for being able to keep his cool. That was the most uncomfortable thing to listen to.

No company should strong arm and bully people around like that. This is great evidence as to why our cable service in the States stinks to high heaven. And to think, these are the people who are attempting to buy Time Warner.

Dot Matrix said,
And to think, these are the people who are attempting to buy Time Warner.

As a Time Warner customer I'm rather concern about this!

If he'd just said "the other company is cheaper/faster" whatever he could have avoided this entire conversation. Every time I've left a company they've always asked why, I always give the reason in the hopes that it helps benefit other people.

however you have the right to NOT state your reasons and hammering you 5 minutes long when you clearly don't want to give reasons or opinions is absurd

morden said,
however you have the right to NOT state your reasons and hammering you 5 minutes long when you clearly don't want to give reasons or opinions is absurd

Indeed, although as the article states, they had both already given reasons for why they wanted to leave before Ryan Block began to record the call.

The agent's persistence wasn't because he wanted an answer to the question; it was just intended to wear them down so he could offer them a package to renew their subscription, hence why he keeps repeating stuff like "100,000 instant videos", "105Mbps guaranteed speed" and "best broadband service in the country" etc.

Then the customer ret. rep. would still ask you why you want to leave the better company without saying why the company is better or saying they have better coverage or whateve other scripted ###### they have not yet crossed out on their CRM software flowchart thingy.

morden said,
however you have the right to NOT state your reasons and hammering you 5 minutes long when you clearly don't want to give reasons or opinions is absurd

I know he has the right Im just saying he could have avoided a near 20 minute conversation if he'd just given the rep an answer.

LauRoman said,
Then the customer ret. rep. would still ask you why you want to leave the better company without saying why the company is better or saying they have better coverage or whateve other scripted ###### they have not yet crossed out on their CRM software flowchart thingy.

Not if he'd said "I'm leaving because X company is cheaper/faster" whatever. Companies always want to know why. And that guy was being especially aggressive about it.

McKay said,

I know he has the right Im just saying he could have avoided a near 20 minute conversation if he'd just given the rep an answer.

you're right, but a customer should not have to do things to avoid idiot reps

morden said,

you're right, but a customer should not have to do things to avoid idiot reps

Actually he's not right. The sales person is following a script. The minute the customer says I'm leaving for X, the salesperson then will match or beat the better offer. So then the next step will be the salesperson asking relentlessly why the customer doesn't want the better deal. The salesperson actually said in the conversation that he was determining what he could offer him and why he was asking the question.

So no, it would not have saved 20 minutes. In fact it might have prolonged the conversation further. It's best to not let the salesperson know to try to stop the conversation immediately.

McKay said,
If he'd just said "the other company is cheaper/faster" whatever he could have avoided this entire conversation. Every time I've left a company they've always asked why, I always give the reason in the hopes that it helps benefit other people.

Oh hell! The customer service rep came here! EVERYONE, RUN!!

McKay said,
If he'd just said "the other company is cheaper/faster" whatever he could have avoided this entire conversation. Every time I've left a company they've always asked why, I always give the reason in the hopes that it helps benefit other people.

That does not always work, I had a very similar conversation trying to disconnect service with Comcast when my office was moving to a new building. I very clearly explained that we tried to have the service moved but their own engineers told us they could not service the new building. Still got the same kind of circular questioning, getting nowhere.

They ended up charging me for 2 months of service after the requested disconnect date because "it takes our system about 60 days to process a disconnect." No contractual reason at all, they just decided they could get an extra 2 months of payments out of us as existing customers. He even told me they could wave the delay if we had another active account. I told him we are a fortune 500 company and started listing the over 2 dozen other active accounts we have. "Those are not in my service area so I still cannot wave the 60 days disconnect time."

DRock said,

Actually he's not right. The sales person is following a script. The minute the customer says I'm leaving for X, the salesperson then will match or beat the better offer. So then the next step will be the salesperson asking relentlessly why the customer doesn't want the better deal. The salesperson actually said in the conversation that he was determining what he could offer him and why he was asking the question.

So no, it would not have saved 20 minutes. In fact it might have prolonged the conversation further. It's best to not let the salesperson know to try to stop the conversation immediately.

Not always, I left my mobile phone provider after being with them for 6 years and after saying a different company offered a better deal I got "Ok bye"

McKay said,

Not always, I left my mobile phone provider after being with them for 6 years and after saying a different company offered a better deal I got "Ok bye"

Sure, but this guy was on script and was not taking "no" for an answer so giving the salesperson what he wanted wouldn't have helped and would have drawn it out.

Typically it's better to give the salesperson nothing so they don't have a reason to continue on the sales script. The goal for them is to keep you talking so anything you say is better for them and worse for you.

morden said,
however you have the right to NOT state your reasons and hammering you 5 minutes long when you clearly don't want to give reasons or opinions is absurd

Good point. Not to discredit McKay, though. I also tend to explain my satisfaction in hopes that the company I am leaving will 'get a grip' but you are right to say that one should be ale to leave 'just because'.

Interesting that now in Brazil they passed on a law saying that ISPs, TV providers and other sort of service providers MUST give customers a clear option to cancel their service without having to speak with a customer service advisor (i.e. no questions asked). The option must be clear in a phone menu, and the companies must also provide this option on their website for customers logged into the site.