Comcast Cut My DSL Line

Comcast cut Ian’s Speakeasy DSL line while installing a fiber optic cable for his live-in landlord. Ian couldn’t convince Comcast that cutting another company’s line was a problem:

All calls to Comcast have been met with cynicism, contempt, and out-right lies. Among the things i was told was: there was no independent line, the line belonged to Comcast, my landlord was the problem, the house was wired improperly when built (you know, back in the ’70s when DSL was all the rage, right?), and then was eventually hung up on.

Fed up with Comcast’s lies, Ian hopped in his car and drove to the nearest Comcast office. Ian writes:

I share a house with my landlord. He lives in the basement, I and my two roommates live on the first floor. We share water and electric utilities, as well as the cable TV bill. You see, the landlord has full Comcast service (cable tv, phone, Internet), but since we only use the TV, we (the upstairs tenants) only pay for that portion of that bill.

Being a long-standing “hater” of Comcast’s shenanigans, I decided when I moved in to get my own ISP. I subscribe to Speakeasy. We can discuss the merits of their service/price later, but suffice it to say that I’ve been extremely satisfied with Speakeasy’s service and customer service to this day.

Today, my landlord had scheduled a service call for his Comcast telephone. He only uses it for a fax machine. Comcast told him he should upgrade to some fiber optic nonsense since he’d have to do it sooner or later in the near future. Well, while the technician from Comcast was here, he was told by both my landlord, and a roommate who was present, that we had an outside line running into the top floor of the house that was independent from Comcast’s. Specifically, that independent line was strung by Qwest/Covad when I subscribed- it is not, nor has ever been, the property of Comcast.

The technician told my landlord and roommate that he had to disconnect our line to do what he had to do, but that he would reconnect it when he was done. He did not. In fact, he physically clipped the line. After being asked if he had reconnected the line when he descended the pole, the technician muttered something and hastily left.

All calls to Comcast have been met with cynicism, contempt, and out-right lies. Among the things i was told was: there was no independent line, the line belonged to Comcast, my landlord was the problem, the house was wired improperly when built (you know, back in the ’70s when DSL was all the rage, right?), and then was eventually hung up on.

All attempts to reach the technician have been fruitless- it just goes to a voicemail. All attempts to reach the tech’s supervisor have also been an exercise in futility. I plan on contacting the FCC tomorrow morning.

We are currently awaiting a response from Covad about when they can come physically remedy the problem.

I have copies of the work orders, logs of the calls to Comcast’s customer service, and i’m sick of waiting on hold. The added frustration of having all this occur after comcast’s normal service hours is driving me nuts. I’m afraid that Covad will bill us for the repair (which involves god knows what since whatever comcast did in the first place), when Comcast should pay for their mistakes.

I’m not sure there’s anything you can do to help me, but i figured at the very least, this would be another PR blow for Comcast.

Just in case anyone is curious, my call to Speakeasy was met with polite service, and a measurable response time (4 hours from when I called, i’ll have my answer). Calls to Comcast was met with cynicism, spite, and insulting behavior.

Down with Comcast!

When calls to Comcast failed to produce results, Ian decided to pay them a visit.

At the end of yesterday’s efforts to get Comcast to fix their mistake, we were told to expect a technician between 1-3pm today. At 3:30, with out a tech having shown up, we called back. We had to explain all over again what the problem was, and deciding i was too frustrated to deal with these people again, I handed off the phone to my roommate. As he was talking to them, I called a friend and had him look up Comcast offices in Denver. Turns out I drive by one everyday.

I grabbed copies of the work orders, jumped in my car, and headed to the nearest Comcast office. Turns out the building i went to was the Customer Service Call Center for the area. Having gotten nowhere with the woman at the front desk (not her fault, she was a security guard, not a receptionist), I stepped outside for a moment to think when I saw two men in Comcast shirts talking to each other. I approached and said hello. Turns out they were sales reps for Comcast commercial services. I asked if they could point me in the right direction. They did one better.

One man, Randy, went inside while the other (his name was Jason i think, he wasnt wearing ID) stayed with me. Using PTT on their cell phones, they relayed information from me to what I was lead to believe was the Technician Supervisor.

After a short while, Randy returned. He told me there would be a technician at my house in about 30 minutes to see what he could do. I was not sure how to take it, this was not the first time i was told to go wait for a tech.

Randy came through. 35 minutes later a tech pulled up, said he was sent by his supervisor and a sales rep named Randy Hughes. This tech, Yoseph, was very polite, entertained all our questions with convincing, competent answers- even threw the ball for my dog a few times.

http://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/comcastfix-thumb.jpg?w=175&h=233Yoseph spliced the wires back together, told us it would last until our own ISP guys could put it right for good (Covad is scheduled for friday morning).

So, the tubes are no longer clogged with horses and poker-chips. We’re back up and running like before. Its just sad when a couple of random sales guys did more in 5 minutes than half a dozen CSRs did in hours on the phone.

Cutting another company’s lines is illegal. Beyond complaining to Comcast, Ian should also file a formal complaint with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. 2Legit2Quit says:

    As happy as I have been with my comcast service since the beginning, that’s still inexcusable. Action needs to be taken against such a blatant violation of the law. Good luck with any action you take.

  2. harleymcc says:

    My CSRs are sales people with clients that they work with on an exclusive basis.

    I can guarantee when you get one of them, problem solved.

    I’ve monitored calls where they call tech support with the client on the line, and champion their cause.

    That’s what I expect my CSRs to do

  3. kingofmars says:

    When did Comcast start offering fiber optic to residences?

    As much as I hate comcast it doesn’t surprise me that they got confused. Whenever there are multiple tenants in a single house it’s easy to get confused as to who has what service. A similar to my friend with Verizon. She had comcast so she could work from home, but verizon disconnected it when they installed her live-in landlord’s Fios. Full disclosure: I work in a Verizon central office with Fios.

  4. homerjay says:

    MY FAVORITE PART:

    “I’m not sure there’s anything you can do to help me, but i figured at the very least, this would be another PR blow for Comcast.”

    Is it possible that Comcast can possibly be affected by “ANOTHER PR blow?” Not likely. They’re a virtual monopoly. They can do whatever the hell they want.

  5. JohnMc says:

    Ian should also CC the FCC on his complaint to the local regulatory agency as well.

  6. ThyGuy says:

    On January first, Comcast will have a monopoly in Illinois for high speed cable that isn’t stupidly expensive. I am being forced to switch to them from insight communications (Fantastic company). I pray my service won’t turn to shit.

    I’m actually quite excited about the fiber-optic lines being installed. FAST, FAST, FAST! Insight-comcast is promising speeds of 100megs down and 15megs up.

  7. TPK says:

    I think I would have called the police, and at a minimum filed a vandalism report. If you clearly instructed them to not do something, and they did it anyway and even beyond by actually destroying your private property, how is that not vandalism?

  8. SkyeBlue says:

    Comcast is the cable company that I wrote about in a post yesterday that deliberately cut our Satellite wires after I called them and told them I wanted our cable service disconnected.

  9. davidaegger says:

    Way to go sales guys!

  10. loueloui says:

    This is typical of Comcast, but more of an indication of a much larger problem. Yes this technician was incompetent, he should have identified those pairs before working on them. He just got lazy, and didn’t bother.

    There is a transition among phone and internet companies that will ultimately affect everyone. The old days of the good old ‘phone guy’ are coming to an end. As more and more digital and wireless services compete with copper, and idiot CEOs try to squeeze every last penny from their service staff there are less and less experienced people maintaining older, and older plant.

    Why pay to fix something correctly when you can just put a band-aid on it and keep going? Why hire a full time employee when you can just hire some joe off the street, and give them a t-shirt, and a magnetic sign?

    Experienced capable linemen do not come cheap, and more often companies are just putting off or ignoring necessary repairs just to pad their bottom line.

  11. tedyc03 says:

    LAW SUIT.

    Particularly the small claims kind.

    If Comcast broke the line then it’s their fault. End of story. If you can prove it beyond a preponderance of the evidence, then you win. Not that Comcasat would probably show up anyway…

    FYI, since you’re not a Comacast customer (you pay part of the bill but don’t have the bill in your name) you can be certain their arbitration bullshit DOES NOT apply.

    Comcast fucked up. It cost you money. Thus they are liable for negligence (if not gross negligence) under the law. End of story.

    (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. This just seems pretty clear cut to me.)

  12. calvinneal says:

    It is a violation of federal law to cut telecommunication wires belonging to another company. In Michigan, it is a felony. Those are clearly phone company drop wires which were cut. That makes it a criminal offense. If this happens to anyone else a. call the cops and b. file with your state public service or utility commission.

  13. mantari says:

    A somewhat similar incident with Cox:

    I was living in an apartment. I had DirecTV. I’m sure everyone else had Cox. One day, I find that my DirecTV was out. After much work trying to figure out the problem, I finally found it. The Cox tech who was doing some work on the other apartments had decided to CUT the coax that goes to my DirecTV antenna.

    I call Cox to complain. They sent someone out the next morning. Guess who it was? It was some local head of their FRAUD division. Yeah, Cox cuts my satellite cable and then sicks the head of their fraud division on me in order to brow-beat and accuse me of stealing their service!

    I stood my ground. In fact, I informed them that I didn’t even WANT their service if they gave it to me for free. Cox wasn’t anything that I wanted. Period.

    Eventually, Mr. Fraud relented and had them fix the damage that they’ve done. In one of those, “Yeah, likely story” kind of ways, not “We’re really sorry for what we did” kind of ways.

    The field tech who made the cut was doing some major covering his own ass and maintained that my apartment was illegally wired into the cable network. But it was so incredibly obvious to trace the cable going out from my apartment and to see it led… to a satellite dish! (If you discount the cut wire.)

    So, thanks, Cox, for adding insut to injury by cutting of my satellite service, and then accusing me of stealing their services.

  14. calvinneal says:

    another thought: Comcast wire plant is coaxial cable, they do not and have never used TELCO drop wire. The technician could not have possibly confused Telco drop wire with anything he works on. Basically, he unilaterally disconnected a competing service. Contact the Colorado Public Service Commission immediately. Comcast responded so quickly because someone with brains realized the potential legal sanctions involved. Complain to the state: the Technician will be unemployed by the by the end of the week.

  15. skapunk84 says:

    @calvinneal: The feed that was cut was copper into the customer’s residence, not the facilities from the street. Since Comcast offers digital voice, they would likely utilize copper into the residence from the demarcation point for their phone lines. If he’d cut the copper telco facilities from the street…different story. =X

    In this case it sounds like it was a mixture of an incompetent tech, confusion over who lived in the residence and was receiving what from which carrier, and just plain rude customer service.

    And by all means, as everyone else has suggested, complain to your local state regulatory committee.

  16. Amelie says:

    @calvinneal:
    Basically, he unilaterally disconnected a competing service. …..Complain to the state: the Technician will be unemployed by the by the end of the week.

    Why would he disconnect a competing service unless he was instructed to do so? Seems to me that punishing the unskilled technician that Comcast hired, doesn’t stop Comcast from perpetrating future b.s.

  17. LAGirl says:

    “The technician told my landlord and roommate that he had to disconnect our line to do what he had to do, but that he would reconnect it when he was done. He did not. In fact, he physically clipped the line.”

    the technician didn’t cut it accidentally. he knew EXACTLY what he was doing: cutting the competition’s lines.

  18. dbeahn says:

    @zouxou: “Seems to me that punishing the unskilled technician that Comcast hired, doesn’t stop Comcast from perpetrating future b.s.”

    The point here is that the problem wasn’t Comcast. The problem was an incompetent tech that cut lines he shouldn’t have. Or are you telling me you really believe that Comcast, as common practice, instructs it’s tech to cut other company’s lines? If so, please let me know where to send the kit, including helmet, drool cup and Velcro tennis shoes. ;)

    What likely happened is that the tech cut the line, knew he wasn’t supposed to, and wrote something on the work order (when he turned it in) to try and cover his butt.

    The tech needs to be fired. I think that Comcast’s CSRs did a poor job trying to resolve this, but then again this guy isn’t a comcast customer. His landlord is.

    There’s also info we don’t have – depending on which wires, and where, were cut, they may have been HOUSE wiring, which don’t belong to another company. If this is the case, then it’s not illegal for the tech to cut them, it’s just an example of incompetence on the part of the tech. Judging from the picture, the line that’s cut is on the house side of the service box, so I think you’d have a very hard time proving anything illegal was done. But it’s not a very good pic, so who knows.

  19. m.ravian says:

    you know, every time i’m in philadelphia and standing at the bus stop at 18th and JFK, i look up at the brand new shiny Comcast building and think “some corner of that building exists because i overpaid for cable for five years”.

    i will never give another dime to Comcast. if that means i don’t have TV, rock on.

  20. Katchoo says:

    I agree with the suggestions for Ian to call the police. When confronted about wether he reconnected the line or not, the technician left/ran. Call it vandalism or snip-and-run, but whatever it is, it reeks.

  21. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @dbeahn:
    If the incompetent tech cut house wiring it’s just as illegal an act as cutting a competing company’s wires.
    In Illinois it’s called “Criminal Damage To Property” & is either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the value of the damaged property..
    Next time, call the cops & have the tech arrested.
    There’s nothing like an arrest report to get a jerk like this fired.
    And I still don’t get why he would have to disconnect anyone else’s service to install his company’s!

  22. marsneedsrabbits says:

    I feel for Ian.
    Comcast in Colorado has been an unmitigated disaster. When they took over Adelphia, I had cable and internet with them. When they took over, prices went up, service went down, and they could not possibly care less. They lie when they tell you they service technician will be there – they either never show up, or show up hours later than they say they will.
    The first thing to go was our cable – after about a year of the cable going out intermittently, we went to satellite, and were thrilled. We kept the service for internet, though, because we had VOIP & needed the higher speed. Then in March, they sent us a notice that said that effective the first of the month (i.e., retroactively) they would be raising the rates from around 40 to more than 50 dollars a month for service that goes out in the heat and which you could not get repaired inside of a week for love or money.
    I did what I should have done months earlier and had Comcast disconnect the cable for internet that day, found another way to get phone calls, knocked about 50 dollars a month off my bill between the cable bill & the phone, and could not be happier.
    Comcast, on the other hand, has gone from getting $120.00 a month from me to getting nothing. And of the 6 people in my little neighborhood, only one still has Comcast, and she’s just about had it.
    In the couple of years since Comcast took over, the little dishes have sprouted like flowers.
    Comcadt does send plenty of expensive glossy ads every week advertising their “service”, though – too bad “customer retention” isn’t in the budget.
    We will go without before we go back to Comcast.

  23. dbeahn says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik: “If the incompetent tech cut house wiring it’s just as illegal an act as cutting a competing company’s wires.
    In Illinois it’s called “Criminal Damage To Property” & is either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the value of the damaged property..”

    Again, this depends on information the person “left out” of the original story. Did anyone sign off on the workorder? If the customer signed off, guess what? Then the customer certified that the work was completed in a satisfactory manner. Where was the line cut? If it’s on the house side of the box, you *might* be able to call it vandalism, but it wouldn’t be the competing company’s lines. Is it at the pole? Then yeah, it’s cutting their lines.

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik: “And I still don’t get why he would have to disconnect anyone else’s service to install his company’s!”

    That’s because you don’t know anything about cable – be it coax, phone or fiber. Likely the house has ONE set of phone wires. Depending on how the speakeasy tech installed, that wiring may have to be split to install a seperate service. Want 2 lines in your house? No problem. In the old days, the one company that CAN provide phone service just split those wires and put in 2 lines using the existing wire. You want one company in the basement and another on the first floor, but only have one set of wire in the house? Now 2 companies have to share that same set of wire. Same goes if you want to have Direct TV and Cable – 2 companies have to share the coax in the house, or one company has to install a separate set of cable into the house.

    In this case, there’s one set of phone lines, so to get the landlord’s jacks working on the new service, the tech may have needed to splice into that existing wiring. I’m not saying this IS what happened, but it would make sense.

    The fact that he had copies of the work orders tells me that it’s extremely likely someone there – the room mate or the landlord – signed off that the work was complete. Why would they do that without checking the DSL service? Lazy? Stupid? Who knows. I also love how this guy testifies to what the tech said when he “climbed down off the pole”. Apparently the person telling this story wasn’t even there, and on top of that, if the line that was cut was at the house, why ask him “when he climbed down off the pole”? See, when you’re doing work at a home, you go up the pole ONCE – when you first arrive. You check to make sure the line running to the house is active, or you make it active. After that, the work is all on the ground and in the home.

    Secondly, if he WAS coming off the pole, it’s a bit unlikely he “muttered something and left hastily”. It takes some TIME to pack up the ladder, gather the tools, take off the safety harness, etc etc etc. when you come down from a pole. To suggest that the tech was able to get down, quickly get the customer to sign off on the work order while muttering, pack up his crap, and leave all too fast for anyone to CHECK the service is a bit far fetched. But then, we’ve also already established that the joker writing this story has neglected to mention that he wasn’t THERE when this happened.

    Don’t get me wrong, Sprint and other company’s techs have done some shoddy work for me over the years, but there are a LOT of things about this guy’s story that just don’t add up.

    How about some follow up Carey? Where was the guy that sent this story in when the work was done? Who signed off on the work order? Why did they sign the work order if the work wasn’t done? (i.e. the DSL line wasn’t working.) Why is this guy that sent the story in so stupid as to not realize that the house COULD have been wired wrong back in the 70′s (because TELEPHONE service WAS all the rage back then, and it’s the PHONE lines that DSL uses…)? Why does this story start with the wire being cut “at the pole” but show a picture of a cut wire at the house?

    Shoddy reporting for sure, even for a blog…

  24. mind says:

    i like the vandalism idea. it may also be a good idea to sue comcast for malicious destruction of property. the only thing that a company knows is money (which isn’t a knock, it’s just reality), and i would hope a judge would award punitive damages for blatant vandalism.

  25. SovMish says:

    Comcast is the pits from what I hear. From monitoring your every torrent to bad service, I’ve been hearing about Comcast a lot lately… in a bad way.

    It’s good, because when I move in a couple of weeks, I sure as hell won’t be using their services.

  26. BenMitchell says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik:
    The cable guy was there working on the digital phone for comcast – that means he probably did some changes in the NID (Network Interface Device – ie the little grey box on the side of the house) to either add or repair the service. Since the DSL would also come through this junction as well – that might help clear things up.

  27. Trojan69 says:

    About a week after I had cancelled Time-Warner cable and broadband, a TW tech came out to my building and cut the coax cable that ran to my apartment. In so doing, he cut off my DirecTV service. The ostensible reason for this being they wanted to ensure I wasn’t going to steal any TW services.

    In talking with the DirecTV tech who came out to restore my service, I learned this is a common practice. He pointed to adjacent buildings where they pulled this same stunt.

    Of course I can’t prove it, but I’d bet anything that the Comcast cable tech in question above was performing SOP.

    In my case, I also learned that the precise location of the junction box in relation to the building gave TW a plausible case that all of the cabling was proprietary (belonging to TW) thereby giving TW the right to snip my service. However, in the vast majority of the TW perfidy related to me by the DirecTV tech, TW acts contrary to the law. If you have this experience, check with the regulatory agency(ies).

    Bottom line – believe the worst of the cable companies and act/respond accordingly. Please do not give them any breaks or benefits of any doubt.

  28. dbeahn says:

    @Trojan69: “In talking with the DirecTV tech who came out to restore my service, I learned this is a common practice. He pointed to adjacent buildings where they pulled this same stunt.”

    So let me get this straight – Direct TV comes out and (possibly illegally) uses the coax that TW installed rather than installing their own cable. When the tech comes out to disconnect your cable service, he cuts the TW cable.

    The bastards.

  29. Philosopher says:

    I agree it was illegal for Comcast to cut a competitors lines. Still wouldn’t it be easier and less frustrating to just go to the local radio shack or electronics store and get a crimper, jacks and just put the two ends together yourself? Come on now, even my seventy year old grand ma can do that.

  30. Trojan69 says:

    Glad to set you straight, DBEAHN. The law is murky in my instance. It would be a very close call. In the other instances, the box is located in such a manner that it is regarded as any other utility equipment – fair game for other entities to piggyback upon.

    There is an uneasy “truce” between TW and DirecTV about the public utility designations and fair use of such out here in SoCal. For now, DTV chooses to just come out and reconnect the customer and let it go at that.

    TW could have chosen to block my service with a simple disconnection of the cable, or with a filter on the coax. They chose to slice it.

    Of course, they also could have chosen to leave things lay and monitored my (nonexistent) usage from their HQ and not bother with the time and expense of sending out a tech to destroy my legal DTV reception. So yeah, they are bastards.

  31. loueloui says:

    While not knowign the full story behind the cable thing, I am pretty sure what happened, and if so not only is it not illegal, but I would certainly do the same.

    If you are a competing utility (e.g. Time-Warner vs. Directv or Comcrap vs. Covad) and you are replacing existing service with one of your own if the tech is in a hurry, or just plain lazy, you can sometimes utilize existing wiring without replacing it. This is especially true of Directv with their vagabond installers.

    Most of the time, nobody will realize what happened until much further down the line. Say, when someone else moves in or when the service is changed back to the original provider. However let a competing technician see their wiring being used, and it’s lights out.

    Although you technically own the wiring in your home past the demarcation point, that’s it. Any utility removing service from the premisies can do whatever they want to their own wiring, including destroying it to prevent it from being re-used.

  32. MrNerf says:

    You have to love Comcast. Then again maybe you don’t. THYGUY, I am sorry for you and for Illinois. I will give you an example of what to expect. @Home provided me with cable broadband paid in advance on a one year contract. This gets you an extra month free and a discounted rate as compaired to the monthly billing option. Comcast aquires the service, assuring everyone it is merely a name change, and everything will continue as before. I paid little attention as I figured the bumps would get ironed out before my contract was up. I come home to a blinking light on the modem. Hmmm. Called the cable company, no outage in my area. Still nothing the next day. Loooong story short- In the following weeks, after going in person and OVER 24 HOURS on the phone (totaled up, documented with names and times for each call) After being passed off and bumped up the ladder to each successive level, I get the following. Bear in mind that this is after providing proof in the form of paperwork, credit card statement showing biller and amount paid, my actual 1 yr contract, and other items.

    1. you don’t have an account

    2. yes you do have a paid contract for service

    3. yes it is valid (!)

    4. we don’t do yearly contracts

    5. we will not honor your contract

    5. you have been using our service

    6. here is a bill for the service you used

    7. we will extend your account (that I don’t have – see #1) and re-activate your service (that is already paid for another 8 months) if you pay the bill (from #6) and continue to pay the regular monthly fee.

    8. you are pretty much out $600. Tough luck

    All services, including cable tv, were then canceled by me. This was a bit tricky as I didn’t have an account. I most certianly did not pay the bill from #6. (They can’t attempt to collect without admitting I actually had an account.) At this point I decide that no more of my time or money will be wasted with this company.

    Best of luck to you. You will need it.

  33. Trojan69 says:

    My bad for not pointing out the justification for a DTV to piggyback the cable companies’ wiring.

    It was explained to me that as a condition of gaining all the necessary right of ways and use of private properties, the cable companies had to forfeit ownership of much/most, if not all, wiring past the actual primary/initial cable junction box (demarcation point per LOUELOUI) in apartment complexes such as mine. The box in question in my example is downstream from the “demarcation point.”

    DTV created their own box to descramble and then send out their signal from their dish via DTV coax to each apartment, via existing boxes specific to each building.

    I am not a lawyer, but my sister is. Her specialty is telcom law (She helped beat Microsoft in a landmark case!). She assured me that the explanation I was given was certainly true in most jurisdictions. The reasoning is precisely the same as that which makes homeowners responsible for the telephone wiring inside their house – it is owned by the homeowner/customer and not the telco. So, too, is any cable that was installed on/within, your home/apartment.

  34. dbeahn says:

    @Trojan69: It also depends if your apartment has a NID on it, and if so who’s name is on it. Any cable AFTER the NID is yours, any cable before it belongs to whichever company installed it.

    I find it nighly unlikely that Direct TV would continue to incur the additional cost of sending techs out a second time, all the time, if TWC was doing something illegal in cutting those cables. There would be a lawsuit already filed if that were the case. *shrugs*

  35. dbeahn says:

    @Trojan69: Sorry, I should have clarified. The “demarcation point” LOUELOUI refers to is not the “initial/primary cable junction box”. It is the final, network interface device (little grey box) right outside of the house/apartment itself. In the case of a house, the company that installed the cable to the home owns everything up to and including that NID.

  36. Peach422 says:

    With regard to the long waits on hold when calling Comcast- two techs came to our house to set up a wireless network. At various times they had to call the home office (once because the router they gave us had a duplicate MAC address, I can’t remember the other reasons). They had to call the SAME phone number that the customers use (1-800-COMCAST)and wait on hold just as long as we do. They walked around with their phones on speakerphone so they’d know when someone picked up, THEN they’d get to say that they worked for Comcast. I heard this for at least 30 minutes straight at times: “All of our customer service representatives are busy assisting other customers…” How appalling! I thought it was ridiculous that they didn’t have a dedicated phone number for the technicians.

  37. cryrevolution says:

    @dbeahn: @loueloui: Okay this is what it says in the post. The line IS NOT COMCASTS. NEVER BEEN, NEVER WILL BE. It is a Speakeasy DSL line and the commentor is not and never has been a Comcast customer. Therefore, cutting a DSL line to a NON CUSTOMER is illegal. He is not replacing service for the poster, he is replacing service for his landlord, who is a Comcast employee. This is an independent line that was strung by Qwest/Covad, and had nothing to do with Comcast. So, putting one and one together, that line is the sole property of the account holder, the poster, and if you cut it, for any reason, it is illegal. Destruction of property.

  38. cryrevolution says:

    And, whether you sign off on the work order or not (which I seriously doubt a non account holder can do, but I digress…), cutting any line not belonging to Comcast in any way is not what the order was to do. He did not agree to the cutting of the line and it would not have been on the work order (since it was so obviously shadily done) so he did not agree to anything.

  39. dbeahn says:

    @cryrevolution: Again, no matter WHAT it says in the post, the PICTURE that is allegedly of the cut line, shows that the line is cut at the NID, not “at the pole”, not “a seperate line coming into the first floor”. I’m NOT saying that the tech shouldn’t have cut the line, I’m saying that this post is FULL of bullshit and inconsistencies.

    Any adult 18 or over can sign the work order. I never said that he “agreed” to the cutting of the line, just that whoever signed the work order was either stupid, lazy or both for signing it without checking that the line that they AGREED TO LET THE TECH DISCONNECT had been reconnected.

    The workorder also contains a statement that says that the person signing it says that the repair installation or other work provided was completed satisfactorily. Obviously if there was a line cut, they SHOULD NOT HAVE SIGNED that they were satisfied with the work the tech did.

    What’s so hard about this? The tech did crappy work, and the idiots at the house at the time let him get away with it. Then a person that wasn’t even there sends the consumerist a “first person” account as if he HAD been there the whole time. He says that “Well, while the technician from Comcast was here, he was told by both my landlord, and a roommate who was present, that we had an outside line running into the top floor of the house that was independent from Comcast’s.”. Then he sends a picture of a line that is not “running into the top floor”, but instead is at ground level. What the tech did may have been shady, but this guy’s story is also shady.

    The tech also, as we’ve already established, didn’t “leave hastily” enough to forget to get the work order signed, and give them their copies. Usually “left hastily” means “in a hurry” rather than “stopped to talk to someone, get them to sign what the poster says are “work orders” (plural) and he’d also have needed to load his ladder on his truck. Hastily indeed.

    I just love that people are wanting to blast Comcast so badly that they’re willing to accept such obvious bullshit, and say it’s OK for the consumer to sign off that everything was OK when the tech left.

    Bad Comcast Tech for not reconnecting the line and even worse consumer for not bothering to check that the work was done right before it was signed off on. Even worse Consumerist for not following up on the many holes in this guy’s story before posting it.

  40. Phantom_Photon says:

    I’m a sales rep, and I really do suggest that if you buy something from
    em, you keep my email address and phone number handy. I live and die by
    my repeat business, and if Customer Service is jacking you around, I’m
    more than happy to throw my weight around, fire off an email to the
    president, etc. Because I bring in the revenue for the company, my
    complains usually carry a bit more weight.

    Just don’t call me first, give Tech Support or Customer Service a crack
    at it first. I have quotas to hit, so cut me some slack… :-)

  41. notluf says:

    Though this site really strives to stick it to a company, in this case we are talking about two to four wires being cut. If these geeks complaining about their Internet are really geeks, they would at least know how to make an ethernet cable. If you can make an ethernet cable, that is four more wires than a simple telephone line needs.

    Telephone lines only require two wires for a single line, four wires for a two line. Colors are all that is important as there are only four; red, green, yellow, black. Not sure if you have a one or two line phone? Simply patch all four of them.

    Problem solved. Takes five to ten minutes, a little tape (or solder if you want better, just don’t melt the 24AGW wire as it is thin.)

    This isn’t ethernet, it is just POTS (plain old telephone service), nothing complicated. Connect the colors, twist some copper together and tape it up. Covad, Bellsouth, AT&T, whomever comes out to repair the line isn’t going to do anything better.

    It’s four little wires (maybe two if a single line.) Twist, tape, forget.

  42. asherchang says:

    wow that’s just plain wrong. i really wonder what’s gonna come outa this.

  43. Shivah says:

    Verizon does the same thing, we wanted to upgrade to fiber optic in the new house we just moved into. LO and Behold we were told we had to get rid of the old copper lines before we could get fiber. Well, the day came when the techs were supposed to be out – 12 hours later – 5 techs show up to the house – we offered them drinks (sodas) and chit chat w. them as they prepare to cut our old copper lines then nicely ask (with a tip) to leave our lines alone and just install the fiber. Heres the kicker, IT WORKS. Techs leave our old lines alone. Pays to be nice to the techs coming to your home guys!

  44. theblackdog says:

    I’ve noticed that Comcast likes to contract out their service workers, so it may be that the complaint is not only against Comcast, but against the company the technicial worked for.

  45. MalichiDemonos says:

    Didn’t you know… Sales guys are always smarter then the techs.

    … At least they like to think so…

    I would contact the company whose line got cut to come out and repair it properly. Then i would send the bill to Comcast.

  46. ncarey says:

    Who’s responsible for the damage Who’s the injured party? Those are the questions.

    Just for reference, there are several parties involved.

    1. Qwest. In the language of the ATT breakup agreement, Qwest is the ILEC (incumbent local exchange carrier). The phone line upstream of the house’s network interface belongs to them.

    2. Covad. Again is the CLEC (competitive local exchange carrier). The’ve got nothing to do the the physical phone line. Qwest (the ILEC) is mandated by the terms of the ATT breakup agreement to rent rack space in the switch the to ILEC.

    3. Comcast. They are the cable television franchisee.

    Now…

    Covad isn’t a player in this. Their equipment wasn’t touched (it’s sitting in a rack at the switch (probably several thousand feet from the house).

    Obviously, Comcast is at fault. They don’t deal with phone lines. Who the injured party is is dependent on where the wire was cut.

    If the Comcast cut the DSL line on the downstream side of the network interface, the householder is the damaged party: all telephone network downstream of the network interface is the property and responsibility of the householder (Qwest’s probably perfectly happy to send a technician out to fix it for $75/hour, though).

    If however, Comcast cut the DSL line upstream of the network interface, the damaged party is Qwest: just call Qwest. They’ll fix the line. Make sure you tell Qwst that it was Comcast that damged their property, though. I’m sure they’ll want to be recouped for the costs involved.

    I’d still go after Comcast in small claims court for damages, though: inconvenience, lost wages if you use the DSL line for work, etc.

  47. dbeahn says:

    I give up. “TheConsumerist” obviously has an axe to grind, and don’t give a shit about things like “journalistic integrity” or “objectivity” or for that matter even “regular old integrity”.

    I’ve pointed out numerous obvious holes (i.e. blatant lies) in this story, asked for follow up. Nothing. Whoever the editor at Gawker is didn’t even catch the fact that the picture shows a cut line on the ground and the story says they told the tech not to cut some (fictional?) line that was “an outside line running into the top floor of the house that was independent from Comcast’s.”. If it was an independent, outside line separate from Comcast’s, why does the picture show this “independent line” running through Comcast’s NID?

    Oh, right. This is The Consumerist. We don’t ask questions here. Far better to just accept what we’re told and report it as fact.

  48. WTFmate says:

    Anyone else starting to think Dbeahn works for/represents Comcast?

  49. dbeahn says:

    @WTFmate: Oh yeah. Obviously because I don’t like when a story that is full of holes is posted without any followup, I must work for/represent Comcast.

    Anyone starting to think the guy that sent in this story full of bullshit must work for/represent Gawker, and is just trying to get free services from Comcast by posting bad PR?

  50. WTFmate says:

    LoL talking about holes? where in that posting did he demand/ask/indicate he was after free Comcrap services?

    Why are all your posts so negative? I’d say ‘no offense’ but it appears you’re incapable of that. Checking your other posts on here you say nothing but negative remarks. “Oh noes! Consumerist has teh grind for axes!” It sounds like you have an axe to grind with this blog.

  51. dbeahn says:

    @WTFmate: Couple points:

    1) Nice ad hominem argument.

    2) It doesn’t say that. But where does it say I “work for/represent Comcast”? The same place it says they’re looking for free Comcast stuff.

    3) None of your points change the fact that this is shoddy reporting, and that the original story teller has some large holes in his story.

    4) Of course it sounds like I have an axe to grind with this blog. I stated very clearly that this was crap reporting. Given that the bloggers take everyone they post about to task for unethical incidents, I see no reason NOT to expect ethical behavior from the bloggers here. In this case, and all to often in other posts as well recently, they aren’t doing that.

    5) If you read my comments (as you claim to have done) you’ll see that I’ve posted for and against the bloggers here depending on the issue. Normally people with an axe to grind don’t do that.

  52. WTFmate says:

    Alright, Slick… that was a bit more constructive. So i’ll play along.

    You say you see a bunch of holes in the story. You’ve asked for follow-up.
    Now, CLEARLY state 5 questions you’d like answers to specifically about this story. You wanted follow-up? Give ‘em a direction to start this time instead of being a jerk.

  53. DJFelix says:

    I want everyone to remember this magic phrase when dealing with anything to do with a public utility:

    “What is the name and telephone number of your liaison to the Public Utilities Commission.”

    That single phrase has saved me more grief than you can imagine. I have had service repaired in hours, over $1000 in bogus fees removed, all just by using that magic little phrase. That phrase will strike the fear of God in a public utility. They will do anything to avoid having to deal with a PUC problem.

    Every large public utility provider has their own liaison at the PUC. That person’s entire job is to make sure that company is not violating tariff or violating the law. If you call that person and complain, they are required by law to investigate. If your claim is baseless, nothing happens. If it turns out they violated tariff or another law, it could mean a fine. If the PUC finds something unrelated, it could mean another investigation, a bigger fine … you get the point.

    All you need to remember is this … “What is the name and telephone number of your liaison to the Public Utilities Commission?” That’s your trump card. Use it wisely.

  54. “Ian should also file a formal complaint with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission…”

    And the BBB, and the FCC.

  55. ten-seven says:

    I’m a resident of Northern Anne Arundel County, MD, where we have two cable franchises. I was a subscriber to Millenium Digital Media, a smaller, friendlier company than Comcast. But, Millenium is shutting down operations, dropping us all back to one cable company. I took up a door-to-door Comcast rep’s offer to switch over at a great monthly rate (which runs for a year). Install would be delayed until an “underground crew” gets utilities marked and can run coax under the sidewalk and up to my home. Scheduled it for 8/25/07. Crew shows up early to work at a neighbor’s house, and does mine in a two-fer while I’m at work. In the process, slices the other coax (Millenium). I couldn’t pitch a big fit, since I was switching over, but I didn’t have any cable boxes or the cable modem either.

    I got the original rep to bring boxes out, but had problems with the cable modem. CSR’s at the call center couldn’t help (hung up on the first one, because she kept repeating my questions back to me as though it was all over her head), so it was escalated to second-tier support. Turned out the modem was pre-configured to work in a Virginia-based domain, but somebody fixed it by noon the following day.

    I saved a few bucks a month by taking the basic cable modem. I have a great firewall/router I wanted to use, but had to take it out of the network and connect one computer directly to the cable modem to run their installation/provisioning software. After that was done and all was working, was able to put my Buffalo router/firewall back.