Comcast makes it as difficult as possible for users to cancel their cable service, a policy so aggressive it was recently documented in a widely circulated video. Now, for just $5, you can outsource the arduous process to startup Airpaper.
The idea came to Airpaper cofounder Earl St Sauver after he spent an inordinate amount of time on the phone trying to cancel his Comcast service before a big move.
"It took half an hour for what should have been a five minute phone call," he said. He and cofounder Eli Pollak created an easy interface that solicits the user's name, address, phone number, and Comcast account number, and then automatically sends a request to end service to the nearest Comcast branch.
In the future, the company wants to streamline a variety of other menial tasks, including applications for San Francisco parking permits in the coming weeks.
"We chose to roll out the Comcast service first because it is so emblematic of a process that takes up so much time and energy for people but doesn't have to," Pollak said. "But there are so many other processes that have effects on people's lives that we will roll out in the future."
Pollak said the co-founders think the Airpaper interface could have applications in many areas, especially government processes, and the ultimate goal is for Airpaper to work with organizations to create a better user experience.
"Oftentimes bureaucracy gets in the way of people being happy with their government, which is too bad since the government can have a really positive impact," he said. "We think we can be the user experience layer a lot of these orgs should have and help bring them into the 21st century."