How Many Comcast Techs Does It Take To Hook Up A TiVo?

Riddle me this, Batman. How many Comcast cable techs does it take to install a TiVo? We’d love to give you an answer, but we can’t because reader Lynn still hasn’t got a working TiVo after 3 appointments. Whoooops.

Here’s Lynn’s story. She cc’d us on an email to Comcast’s executive service team:

On Saturday, 4/3, I attempted to get a cable card from Comcast in order to run my new Tivo Premiere. I have so far had three appointments that have been unsuccessful in one way or another.

The installer showed up for the appointment around 10:30 on 4/3. I let him into the building and into my apartment. I had the Tivo hooked up to the TV but sitting on my coffee table for easy access. I said that I had already chosen settings and hooked up my Netflix, so it was ready to go and showed him the slot for the Multi Stream cable card.

He looked at me, dumbfounded. He asked, “What am I supposed to be installing?”

I reiterated that it was a cable card for a Tivo, the thing that gives Tivo its channels. He told me he had never installed a cable card before and did not have one with him.

I’m not sure why he was so proud of his ignorance, but he mentioned several times that he had no experience with cable cards. It was also clear that he hadn’t made even a cursory glance at the work order or he would have known what to bring.

Standing in my apartment for another 10-15 minutes, he called a dispatcher and located cards at the North Ave. location, and he then said he would go get one.

An hour and half later, he returned (by the way, North Ave. is about four miles away, no clue why it would take 90 minutes) with a cable card that seemed correct. It said M (for Multi) on it and it fit in the slot.

He called Comcast and relayed some numbers from the card to them. Then I flipped back to the Tivo and attempted to load channels. It searched for a while, then gave an error message saying to check the cable connection. It did this about three times while the installer was still in my apartment. But his dispatch told him that the Tivo just needed time to load these channels and that he should leave.

I reluctantly signed the work order despite not having channels when he left. Since the card is supposed to deliver all of my channels, he also took the cable box I was formerly using.

An hour later, I called Comcast because I was sure that the installation had been unsuccessful. No channels had loaded and I was getting the same error message. They attempted to send signals to the card to no end result. It became clear that another card would need to be tried.

They first offered to send the same installer back, but I asked for someone different in the hopes that the new installer might have some idea what they were doing. The reps at Comcast told me they would work on finding someone to come out later the same day (still 4/3).

A rep at Comcast called me around 3:30 and told me an installer had been found and he would be out shortly. Nothing happened for a while. I called Comcast at 5:30 and they confirmed that someone was on his way, after his other appointments.

Again, nothing happened for a while. I called Comcast again at 7:30, and in that interaction, I was told that there was no sign of a second appointment ever being made. In fact, their records showed that the first appointment was successful. It should be noted that during all of this, I was stuck at home waiting since I live alone. I couldn’t even shower for fear that I would miss someone arriving. For nine hours.

While on the call with Comcast, I got another call (presumably this was directly from the local installers, acting independently of the Comcast office). I spoke to Junior. He told me that they were out of cards and installation times for the day, but we would make a new appointment.

They said that they really wanted me to get my card as soon as possible, but then proceeded to offer me a weekday, daytime appointment. I work and attend school, so that was not an option. We ultimately agreed on four days later, Wednesday at 6pm, after work on a day that I don’t have school.

Yesterday, Wednesday (4/7), I rushed home from work and was in my apartment by about 5:50. I waited for my phone to ring. At 6:05, I decided to call Junior’s direct line (the one he called me with on Saturday) and check on the status of the appointment. He told me that he regretted to inform me that they were out of working M cable cards and would not be installing one for me tonight. How they could be out of cards when we had this appointment scheduled since Saturday, I don’t know. How I was supposed to figure out the appointment was canceled without any notification, I don’t know.

I am traveling out of state this weekend. Perhaps I shouldn’t have planned a trip only one week after my installation appointment, but I actually thought Comcast might be able to do this correctly, since it is literally just putting a card into a Tivo and activating it.

I guess I thought that Comcast would have known, like the rest of the planet (or at least those in the cable television industry) that Tivo was coming out with a new box and to make sure they had cable card inventory and that said inventory was compatible.

I guess that was overly optimistic and asking too much of Comcast. So now, I have yet another rescheduled appointment after my trip, on Monday, 4/12 at 6pm. Junior assured me that there would be working M cable cards to install. It remains to be seen whether the appointment will happen, whether anyone will contact me if it doesn’t, and whether cable will finally be reinstated in my apartment.

To summarize, my complaints are as follows:
· The first installer was incompetent, slow, and unhelpful, leaving without correctly installing the card.

· The Comcast office was, as usual, terrible in its customer service and communication. Both with me and with other branches of Comcast.

· The second installation appointment was lost and no one showed up.

· The third group of installers canceled my appointment without telling me.

· I still have no cable! Right now I’m paying for cable and Tivo service, which I can’t use because I have no channels to record.

Lynn sent her EECB (Executive Email Carpet Bomb) to the team at We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com (along with everyone else at Comcast,) so maybe between the 50 or so names on the email someone at the company can locate a working cable card in Chicago.

Have you been having similar problems getting your new TiVo Premiere to work with your cable company? Tell us about it.