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Comcast drops F-bomb on customer

Will West Chester man and his kids get a face-to-face with Comcast CEO Brian Roberts to make things right?

A Comcast truck works in Pittsburgh.
A Comcast truck works in Pittsburgh.Read moreGene J. Puskar / AP File

Robert Corcoran has owned his home in West Chester since 2005, but it wasn't until last week that he learned his bedroom was known as the "F- Palace."

That's not what Corcoran calls his bedroom, one of three rooms in his two-story Colonial with a television. It's what Comcast calls the bedroom on Corcoran's computer online account. That repulsive fact was discovered by Corcoran's 10-year-old son, who was embarrassed, "and he thought he was going to be punished," says Corcoran, who also has a 12-year-old son.

The 10-year-old, whose name Corcoran declined to divulge for understandable privacy reasons, had been asked by his mother to check the Comcast account after experiencing some internet issues.

Two weeks earlier, a Comcast technician had been at their home to install new cable boxes and remotes. "I thought that was the end of the story," says Corcoran, an account executive for a global software company.

It was — until his son found that someone had given the bedroom a lascivious nickname. The two other TVs were described on the account as being in the "living room" and the "media room."

The "F- Palace" discovery was less than Comcastic. Corcoran believed that the culprit was the technician, because no one in his household, he says, knows how to do the naming.

"It's deplorable," says Corcoran, 53, "that someone can come into my home and do that." Corcoran sat his two sons down and explained "that somebody made a bad decision, and apologized to them for being exposed to this from Comcast," the Philadelphia-based communications Goliath.

He called Comcast customer service, left a message, and didn't hear back.

He then called the office of Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, "with a simple request," he says.

The simple request? He wants to bring his two sons to Roberts' office for five or 10 minutes so Roberts can "explain to them that what happened was wrong and that Comcast is going to ensure that normal naming conventions will be put in place so that this does not happen to another child."

We'll get back to that in a minute, but first let's find out how the "F- Palace" got on Corcoran's account.

Jenni Moyer, Comcast senior director of corporate communications, in an emailed statement to me apologized for "an offensive nickname given to a set top box by a previous customer" that was not properly wiped clean before being recycled to a new customer.

It turned out to be a housekeeping problem, rather than a prank by a technician.

In the last few days, Corcoran spoke to almost a half-dozen Comcast employees. He was impressed by only one: "Regional security investigator Stephen Baily follows through, does what he says he is going to do, and came across as a thorough and very caring individual," says Corcoran.

Corcoran says Baily, a retired law enforcement officer, actually interviewed the previous owners of the cable box, an engaged couple, who said they playfully had named their bedroom the "F- Palace."

Comcast's Moyer says, "Our engineers are already taking steps to ensure this can never happen again."

During the course of the adventure, Corcoran was offered a $25 voucher and two months of free cable service as compensation for the embarrassment he suffered.

Nope, he wants his sons to have face time with Roberts, and was miffed when he was told that Roberts "doesn't meet with clients."

I ask Corcoran if demanding such a meeting is reasonable.

"Do you think it reasonable for Comcast to expose my child to that level of profanity in something as sacred and safe as my home?" he asks in response. "They violated my home environment."

Other home environments have been violated in the past.

In 2015, Comcast got a black eye when the company reportedly used offensive names on bills to customers. Ricardo Brown's name was changed to "A-hole Brown," Julie Swano reported her bill was addressed to "Whore Julie Swano," and Mary Bauer's bill came in addressed to "Super B- Bauer." Comcast apologized, saying it would follow up with each customer and "do whatever it takes to make things right."

Moyer says that Roberts is traveling and that, anyway, Dave Watson is the CEO of Comcast Cable. Will Corcoran accept a meeting with Watson instead of Roberts? Corcoran agrees. A face-to-face meeting will be arranged.