Comcast Charges Me $40 For The Pleasure Of Letting It Fix Its Own Screw-Up

It’s bad enough that a Comcast tech futzed with the exterior connection to Consumerist reader Grant’s cable line, resulting in weak and dropped connections. But the folks at Kabletown never seem satisfied to stop at bad enough.

Until recently, Grant’s cable line went through a splitter, with one branch going to the DVR and the other to the cable modem. This had been working fine up through early last week, when he noticed that the modem would lose its connection to the Internet if the splitter was in place.

He did some troubleshooting of his own, found that switching splitters didn’t help. But if the modem was plugged directly into the line coming from outside, it worked okay. Thing is, this meant that Grant would have to choose between TV and Internet.

“I put in a call to tech support,” writes Grant, who was pleasantly surprised at not having to wait too long to reach a human being. “The first rep I spoke with mumbled something about a technician visiting our apartment recently to investigate ‘leakage,’ which seemed odd.” The rep and Grant put the modem through a battery of tests and it eventually seemed to start working. But shortly after the call ended, his Internet connection was gone again.

“I isolated the Tivo, changed splitters and cables again, but the modem just wouldn’t sync,” he tells Consumerist.

And so Grant contacted Comcast again the next day. The rep managed to schedule a tech visit for the following day.

When the tech arrived, Grant says the problem was readily apparent.

“He propped his ladder against the building, and immediately identified the problem,” recalls Grant. “He confirmed that someone had installed a trap/filter or whatever to curtail signal leakage from my apartment. Unfortunately, this also made the signal too weak for my modem to operate behind yet another splitter.”

At the time, Grant says he would have given Comcast a B+. Sure, the cable company screwed up and left him with a weak signal, but it had been reasonably responsive in getting someone out there to fix his problem.

And then…

“My Comcast bill arrived today with a fun, $40 ‘Customer Trouble Call’ charge added to it,” writes Grant. “Never mind that the issue was caused by whatever device they temporarily installed outside to prevent ‘signal leakage.’ The tech did absolutely nothing to my Tivo or modem, and I had attempted to resolve it myself replacing a half dozen coaxial splitters before the tech showed up. The issue was outside. On their end. And I get charged for a trouble call?”

And let’s not forget that Grant says there was no mention of any fee for the tech visit when he spoke to Comcast about his problems.

He says he called Comcast to dispute the charge, but the rep he spoke to said she could not take it off his bill; he’d need to speak to a supervisor. But of course there were no supervisors available so he’d have to try again the next day.

For all the worries about signal leakage, Grant says “They need to find a way to prevent CUSTOMER leakage.”