Um, Comcast, Could You Maybe Not Randomly Dig Up My Property Without Asking?

Reader Kyle, like so many of us, would rather Comcast not dig up his property without asking, especially when they are a) running cable for his neighbor b) mysteriously avoiding an area near the curb where they could have run the cable without disturbing his yard. To add insult to (landscaping) injury, when he asked the Comcast workers to stop digging they refused, and when he called Comcast to ask them to tell the workers to stop, they also refused, then hung up on him.

Kyle says:

I’m in the basement playing video games and my wife calls down to me, telling me that there are two guys digging in our front yard. I run up stairs to check it out, and they tell me that they’re running cable to my neighbor’s house. I would have no problem with this, except that they were running the line through my yard, and not through the other patch of grass near the curb where they should have been running it. I spoke to one of them and asked why they didn’t ask me if they could dig on my property, and he gave me some noise about needing to run it over here because of the line signal. I told him to stop digging for a few minutes while I spoke with someone at Comcast.

I call the local number, navigate the tree and finally get in touch with a human being. For the first time in probably 3 years, I did not confirm the woman’s name before continuing. I explained the situation and she tells me that she can’t do anything about it. I ask to be put in touch with someone who can do something about it. She asks me for either my phone number or my account number, both of which I decline to provide. She continues saying that she’s trying to help me, I inform her that she does not need my phone number to transfer me to someone who can help me. She asks if I’m a Comcast customer, I say yes, but also tell her that it doesn’t matter; if I was a Dish customer, they still wouldn’t be able to dig in my yard.

At this point she starts trying to talk over me, and I raise my voice to drown her attempts to talk over me. Then she hangs up on me. I’m researching DirecTV and Dish as we speak.

We asked Comcast for their official lawn digging policy, but our email went unanswered at the time of this post. Kyle says that the Comcast workers did a good job covering up where they were digging, but he’s “just irritated that two Comcast techs took it upon themselves to start digging on private property when there is an area near the curb that they could have used that isn’t my property.” He also adds: “The real test will come in next several days, seeing if any of that grass ends up dying.”

Since we don’t know Comcast’s official policy about digging up your lawn, we’ll just refer our readers to their official coffee making policy. It is totally irrelevant, but quite comprehensive.

Kyle sends an update:

Comcast has an easement on the property on the other side of the sidewalk, a strip of grass roughly 3 feet wide directly next to the curb. This same strip of grass is where the box is located, in front of my other neighbor’s house.

Had they used this area (and this area only) I would have had no problem. Instead, they also used a part of my yard, which is not fenced. There is no easement on my property, aside from that “communal” strip of grass.

Comcast has written us back and will be investigating the issue further, but in the meantime, Frank, Comcast’s Twitter-jockey, says:

“The rules and policies regarding utility easements vary by municipality guidelines. It is always our goal to do any type of digging in the least intrusive manner possible. “

Frank from Comcast sends another update. He says that Comcast was within its legal rights to dig up Kyle’s lawn, but admits that it could have been handled better. (Like, by not hanging up on him.)

As a quick follow up regarding this situation. The place where work was being done was in the utility easement for [redacted], which is 12 feet from the curb. We are working with the Customer to learn more of his experience and improve it for others. But ultimately we could have done a better job of explaining what we were doing and what an easement is.

Yay, communication.

(Photo: u2acro )

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