Comcast Disconnected My Verizon, What Should I Do?

Here’s an odd situation: Reader Stephen says that Comcast (his old cable company) disconnected his new Verizon cable. He’s not sure what exactly he should do about it and would like your advice.

August 8th. 3pm. My Verizon cable service is disconnected. Both set top boxes are non-responsive, but my internet service is booming along. I reboot the Verizon equipment a few times over the next 3 hours, but it never comes back on. I call Verizon’s “Fibre Solutions Center” and deal with some rather incompetent customer service. They blame me for rewiring my apartment. They say that they don’t see any issues. They deactivate and reactive my cable boxes. They tell me there is no problem. They tell me that the cable boxes are broken. None of what they do works. Every call is ended with the representative telling me that my service “will be back within the hour”. It never is. They send me 2 new cable boxes. They don’t work. I called ever day from Friday to Monday. They refused to send out a technician because they didn’t see the issue on their end. Finally after going up the chain I am told they can have someone out by Wednesday evening. This was not really that acceptable considering all of the Olympics I missed, but if they were sending someone out I should be happy.

In speaking with comcast today I am told that I shouldn’t have received a bill for the month of September since my Comcast service was physically disconnected the evening of Aug 8. The rep gives me a little background and says that until they physically sever the connection, my service with Comcast continues. At that point I was no longer receiving Comcast signals over my coax. I was 100% Verizon.

On Wednesday, August 13th a Verizon technician arrives at my apartment. He is happy to say that he already found the problem. Someone with access to the LOCKED network closet disconnected me from the Verizon lines. That someone was not from Verizon I was told. That someone severed the lines without permission. Now I find out that that somone was a Comcast technician.

Where do I stand on this? What can I do? How do I get anything from Comcast on this? What should I do with Verizon. I am still going through executive customer service within both companies but I’m not sure what the exact implications of this happen to be.

We think you should call your local government and find out which department regulates cable in your area. File an official complaint against Comcast for disconnecting your cable and continuing to bill you after you had already switched to Verizon.

As far as getting compensation from your old cable company, we’re not sure that you’ll have much luck since you’ve severed your business relationship with Comcast. We’re sure they’d love for you to switch back, but we suspect that you’re not going to want to do that.

We’d concentrate on asking Verizon for a credit to compensate you for the service interruption rather than get into a bunch of “he said, she said” nonsense with the cable companies.

Has this happened to any of you? How did you handle it?

(Photo: Tyler Durden’s Imaginary Friend )

UPDATE: Comcast says they’re sending someone out to Stephen’s house to investigate.


Edit Your Comment

  1. VeeKaChu says:


  2. Kos says:

    Can he go after Comcast in small claims court for interference (whether negligent or tortious) with contracts? Might work.

  3. allquckedup says:

    Firstly, how did the person find out that it was a Comcast Tech. If it came from the Verizon side, it may not be true. Just a thought before spending time and energy going after the wrong group.

  4. JeffMc says:

    Could this be a vandalism complaint to the police?

    If it was ME that went and cut his cable that’d be legit, how is it different if a Comcast employee does it?

  5. Reeve says:

    I agree with the consumerists comments on what you should do. There is not much you can get from Comcast. You should file a complaint with the appropriate agency in your city. You could go to small claims but I would think the recovery would be negligible and not worth your time.

  6. BrianDaBrain says:

    This is obviously Comcast’s fault (isn’t everything nowadays?). Definitely file a complaint against Comcast, but as for a credit, you’ll be lucky to get anything. Comcast won’t give you squat, because you’re no longer a customer and are unlikely to ever be one again… and they suck in general.

    Verizon may credit you back for the interruption of services if you are speaking with somebody on the executive escalation team. Coming from a guy who worked on such a team, I would often give credits in this kind of situation, because it makes a happy customer out of a pissed off one, and it makes the other company (read: competition) look really bad.

    My best advice to you is to remain polite at all times. Verizon would be crediting you as a favor, and I can almost guarantee that you won’t get squat if you lose your temper.

    Best of luck with that! :)

  7. Reeve says:

    @Kos: That is possible but the amount of recovery would probably be small. If you were able to prove tortious interference you have a better chance of having the recovery be worth the time.

  8. Check you router. Your cable boxes should appear on your router list.

  9. jimv2000 says:

    I doubt you’ll get anything from either Comcast or Verizon. Cocmast will deny responsibility, and Verizon will blame Comcast.

  10. pigbearpug says:

    Yeah, that sucks. Unfortunately you might just have to eat those days of lost cable. It wasn’t verison’s fault some goon unhooked your cable, but they SHOULD give you soem sort of credit since they couldn’t fix it.

    Also, I move for a re-vote on the worst company in America.

  11. pigbearpug says:

    @pigbearpug: Wasn’t VeriZon’s fault.

  12. Tux the Penguin says:

    I don’t know how it would hold up in court, but it would make a good threat.

    There’s a very good chance that Verizon’s corporate headquarters are not in your state (49 out of 50). As such, Comcast, by locking your box, is interfering in interstate commerce. That becomes a federal crime.

    You could also claim involuntary conversion since they have wrongfully seized property of yours.

    That might loosen up something.

  13. bravo369 says:

    you say it’s an apartment. Can you be sure that it wasn’t a cable tech from another apt that disconnected it? either way, hopefully verizon doesn’t charge you for the time you didn’t have service. and honestly, missing the olympics isn’t really a big hardship in my book. at most, i would push verizon to credit your account for the missed service and if they do that then be happy.

  14. shorty63136 says:

    I sure hope he wrote down the date, time, and the name of the rep he spoke with at Comcast who CONFIRMED that his service was physically disconnected BY COMCAST on that evening.

    That is going to be much of his ammo. Then I would recommend that he fire off an EECB to Comcast requesting the prorated amount of his Verizon service that he missed due to Comcast’s unsolicited action be returned to him in the form of a check.

    I’d also find out if that LOCKED box is accessible to all cable operators or (if he lives in an apartment complex) if someone in the leasing office has to give the technician access to it. If that’s the case, he also has a bone to pick with his leasing office ($$ off the rent wouldn’t be a bad compromise.)

    I say blame everybody (including Verizon since they wouldn’t send somebody out to have this remedied quicker) until somebody caves since it IS such an odd thing that happened.

  15. arras says:

    Comcast did the exact same thing after I signed up for FIOS and canceled my Comcast account. About two weeks after I closed my account, I suddenly didn’t get cable TV anymore, but internet was fine. Verizon tech came out and said he found my cable laying on the floor, hooked me back up and was good to go in 20 minutes. Only people that have access to that room are from my apartment building or comcast/verizon/direct tv. He said it’s a pretty common occurrence when people switch services

    Though, I didn’t get billed by Comcast during that time, which was really surprising

  16. Nighthawke says:

    @Tux the Penguin: FCC, FTC, the local PUC’s not to mention the FBI, yikes!

    Comcast better straighten up and fly right, or the feds MIGHT get VERY interested in their business practices.

  17. tedyc03 says:

    problem is the small claims judge is going to say “well we’re sorry but you didn’t suffer any actual harm so…”

    I think that he should ask Verizon for a credit. But aside from incompetent techs they didn’t do anything wrong – they didn’t disconnect the cable. So if they refuse the OP should just chalk it up to a bad experience, learn to use the Olympics portal, and not ever sign up for Comcast ever again.

    • Charging Mooses says:

      @tedyc03: but what if he was physically/mentally addicted to television, and so suffered psychological harm/ started cutting his wrists?
      that would be extreme…

  18. anonymousfsctech says:

    demarcation point of service for verizon is the ont (big white box on side of house), they also make sure verizon set top boxes are working properly…so since both criteria were met, you are very unlikely to get any credit from verizon. you can definetly request it, if any customer satisfaction credit is given, you can be sure it wont be given in the future if requested. so you may want to pick your battles. also, thanks for slamming the fsc, when they were doing their job completely correct and told you exactly what the issue was(which is not a verizon issue).

  19. dragonvpm says:

    I think he should pursue Verizon for a credit for the simple fact that they refused to send someone out there for some time. They may not have caused the problem (just like they wouldn’t be responsible for it if a tree branch damaged a line, etc…) but they chose to ignore the request for a service call.

    They made the decision based on their desire to save some money and now it should be up to them to pay for the outcome of that decision.

    I suppose the moral for anyone else is that if your service ever dies when (or soon after) switching from one provider to another it might be good to call the former provider to make sure nothing got disconnected.

  20. yurkinator says:

    So many questions about this…

    Since when does verizon offer “cable”?

    Where is the proof that comcast disconnected you? Did Comcast leave a business in card in the LOCKED network closer? You rather ambiguously come to the conclusion that it was comcast without specifying how you got that information.

    It you were truly disconnected how is it that you “internet service is booming along”?

  21. harlock_JDS says:

    @yurkinator: verizon offers cable in many areas and it’s connected differently than the tv service so one could be cut and the other working fine.

  22. Grabraham says:

    @yurkinator: Several years now. In a typical FIOS installation the Fiber comes into an ONT box and then the signal is carried to the Set tops and internet router via the existing internal COAX.

  23. macleod0072 says:

    I have almost the same experience with Comcast when I switched to AT&T U-Verse cable and internet. I recently cancelled Comcast because the tech for them never showed up for a scheduled appointment. I had AT&T service working fine for two days until a Comcast van was at my apartment building when both cable and internet quit working.

    The AT&T tech came out later in the week to find that the coax going to the now locked box on the side of the building was severed. Many calls to Comcast and even the apartment manager meeting with the Comcast rep would not make the Comcast rep unlock the cable box to the apartment’s own wiring so I could get service back.

    The weird thing is that at the other buildings, they have unlocked coax boxes and have tenants with U-Verse connected just fine.

    The manager of the apartments said that I could run my own coax in the meantime until the owner of the apartments hooks one up. I’m glad I have a rather long run of coax.

  24. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    Me, I’d wait on my roof with a crossbow, but I’m known to over react.

    @pigbearpug: No revote, Comcast is just posturing for next year.

  25. frari489 says:

    If I were you I’d just let it go.

    Seriously, everything is working now isn’t it?

    It really sucks what happened but I’m sure your time is worth a lot more that wasting it on these stupid companies.

  26. rbf2000 says:

    The same thing happened to me not once, but twice.

    The first time I was able to gain access to the locked telephone room and reconnect my service (Comcast was even nice enough to put a cap on the end of my coax cable!).

    The second time they somehow disconnected me from a telephone room on another floor. I’m not sure how that worked out, but I happened to have a very nice Verizon tech out the next day (already scheduled for another problem) and he was able to find where it was disconnected and plug it back in.

    I do have to admit, it was extremely frustrating dealing with Verizon’s customer service. They kept trying to reset my CableCARDs, despite the fact that they couldn’t even see them on the network (almost as if they are physically disconnected!).

  27. dragonfire81 says:

    Won’t verizon just say too bad, so sad, it wasn’t our fault?

    I mean I think they reconnected you (and hopefully charged you nothing). Your target here should be Comcast.

  28. juniper says:

    How does the OP know that it was Comcast who severed his line? Is there a security camera installed? If not, it’s just an educated (though probably accurate) guess. If the landlord is corporate, there well may be a security camera, in which case you’ve got evidence of vandalism. If not… I think the OP may be SOL.

  29. rreimund says:

    Playing devil’s advocate here.. but if Comcasts’ standard operating procedure (besides being scummy) is to ensure you’re physically disconnected from their cable service then they obviously need to disconnect SOMETHING… the issue is that if you’re switching to another provider (in this case Verizon) that provider has already physically disconnected Comcast’s link… (in order to connect their own).. The issue is that when the Comcast guy comes in to make sure you’re not getting free cable, he sees you’re connected, and disconnects you.. May not be a malicious thing (for once) since technically he may not have any way of knowing if the connection you’re linked to now is theirs or Verizons unless Verizon clearly labels theirs “Verizon FIOS” – in which case this may still not work because then every clown stealing cable could put a tag on there so the Comcast guys don’t disconnect them.

  30. BrianDaBrain says:

    @rreimund: This is true, but it is the job of Comcast’s technician to verify that the line he is disconnecting is Comcast’s and not somebody else’s. It is VERY common practice to have another company installed before a technician from the previous provider can come out to disconnect. This is because the time for installation, depending on where you are and your provider, is 2-5 days. The average time for a disconnect is often 1 week or more.

    And yes, the lines are often marked in some way to designate one provider’s lines from everybody else’s. If your apartment complex is worth anything, they lock the room that has all the cable connections, so you don’t have to worry about people adding/removing markings.

  31. cigsm says:

    Well, before blaming Comcast, I’m very familiar with how they operate, & if they disconnected your CABLE, your INTERNET wouldn’t work either. They run on the same lines.

    And in terms of them billing you after disco date is set, since they bill you a month in advance, you do get a bill after your disconnected, but then the next month you get a bill saying “Our Bad – we see you’ve discon last month, but the bill was already generated, you owe us nothign!” And if you looked at the dates on your bill, you would have realized it anyway.

  32. baristabrawl says:

    Call it a loss and move on.

  33. loueloui says:

    If you really want to kick them in their incompetent nuts, call your local county ombudsman, and file a complaint with whoever controls the local cable franchise.

    This is the person who technically decides which cable franchisees are allowed to operate within the county, and under what restrictions -kinda like the PSC for the cable companies. In reality, the chances that Comcast, or any other incumbent carrier, will be kicked out of an area is close to nill, they DO NOT want trouble with these people.

    I have used this tactic against the famously incompetent Brighthouse Networks, and received a call back within hours. Best of luck.

  34. Reeve says:

    @Tux the Penguin:
    Just because it is interstate commerce does not make it a federal crime – there would have to be a federal statute that makes this illegal. Either way the Feds are not prosecuting this.

    As for a civil suit – as discussed above, damages are probably negligible if any.

  35. anonymousfsctech says:

    verizon fsc reps would give an option to dispatch out a tech in this instance but will advise of possible charges because the issue is obviously internal wiring. in this case the field tech at the prem has the option to charge the customer for the dispatch because verizon DOES NOT MAINTAIN THE INSIDE WIRING IN THE HOME. many times the field techs dont charge for these things, but it is their option because there was no negligence on the verizon side that caused the service to go out. thus the ‘possible charges’ disclaimer. so maybe you should be happy you arent being charged, instead of asking for credit. might sound cold, but whether you changed the wiring or comcast or even aliens – we no verizon didnt. find the culpable party and go after them.

  36. midwestkel says:

    I didnt know Verizon provided TV service.

  37. BrianDaBrain says:

    @midwestkel: They provide FiOS TV out east.

  38. SegamanXero says:

    Sounds like the EX (Comcast) got jealous of the new girlfriend (Verizon).
    Im quite sure this is illegal for Comcast to do…
    And I think if you are polite to Verizon CSRs someone in Verizon will credit you.

  39. slungsolow says:

    I’m the sorry sack that fired this off earlier this afternoon. I went off the internet for a few hours and came back to this!

    Anyway, to answer a few questions:

    1) Verizon has credited me for 7 days of cable and internet service due to the outage.

    2) The representative from Comcast’s billing department was insistent that Comcast physically disconnected my service on August 8 (a full 26 days after I had Verizon installed and activated, 20 days since I canceled my Comcast, and 15 days after I returned my Comcast equipment)

    3) It is an apartment installation. The network closet has equipment owned by the building and equipment that is owned by Comcast/Verizon respectively. The issue was the cable leading to my apartment (cable with is owned by the building) was disconnected from Verizon leads on August 8.

    4) Said network closet is locked and only accessible by technicians from the two companies that offer cable service in the building – Comcast and Verizon. I am told that it is even off limits to the building maintenance team to keep them from hooking people up with free cable.

  40. mayrc87 says:

    It happened to me once about a year ago, but it was Verizon who disconnected my RCN. I called customer service and they fixed right away. Now every time I see a Verizon van parked next to my house I keep on the look out for disconnections.

  41. scerwup says:

    Time Warner cable did this to me when I switched from them to Verizon FIOS. The came out and physically cut the fiber optic drop to my house, when they were there to disconnect our old cable. Then when I called them to have them pay for the repair they tried to give me the run around. Oddly enough when I told them I was calling the police, and I would also call the police any time I saw one of their trucks in my neighborhood, they sent their Senior tech over within 10 minutes to look at it, and cut a check the exact same day.

  42. 2719 says:

    The locked box is called ‘MDU’ and is a property of the cable company. When a tech shows up he will disconnect the drop and I am guessing the tech never checked if the line was connected to something else. Also if any other company runs the line into the MDU they can cut it and they do not have to unlock the MDU upon request.

    So when you’re getting a new service it’s best to run separate wiring but in an apt building that’s not always (most of the time) possible.

  43. yurkinator says:

    If you were truly disconnected in the network closet then how does your verizon internet still function?

  44. dragonpup says:

    As someone said, if Comcast disconnected your line, you would not have had internet or phone working.

    Plus, how would a Comcast tech have a key to the locked Verizon box in the cable room?

  45. aboulhosnc says:

    Something similar happened to me. Two months ago My family switched from comcast to verizon fios.

    Two weeks after that my cable stopped working we tried everything and finally we called Verizon to have a technician to come out. They finally figured out the problem.

    Turns that after you switch cable services comcast has to come back and make sure its disconnected physically, at least at our home the verizon connection was right next to the old comcast one and the verizon connection was unscrewed enough to interrupt our TV.

    The technician told me that its been happening a lot with former comcast customers

  46. manus manum lavat says:

    @cigsm: As far as Verizon Fios services go, this need not be true. Internet on fios can either be set up on the existing inside coax, or it can be set up separately on ethernet. If it’s on ethernet, then the coax could be unplugged and the internet would continue on unmolested.

  47. manus manum lavat says:

    @dragonpup: To further add to my above statement, fios phone is on RJ11, not coax. Remember, this is fiber-optic service we’re talking about, not “cable” per se. Phone, tv, and data services each have their own circuit. The only caveat to that is when installs for internet are done on moca, then the coax would connect both internet and tv, but phone is on RJ11.

    Mind you, if someone cuts the FIBER, then all three services go down. But that doesn’t appear to be what happened here… the Comcast tech disconnected “inside wiring” coax. Thus the reason Verizon was reluctant to dispatch… we actually DON’T dispatch for inside wiring, it’s not Verizon’s responsibility if your in-home/in-apartment coax gets unplugged, any more than it is Verizon’s responsibility if your phone becomes unplugged from the RJ11.

  48. dottat1 says:

    IF it’s a “locked” network box then only Verizon should have the keys right???

    IF NOT then how secure is verizon?? I’m always lookin for another place to plug my cat5 into….

  49. tgifsf says:

    Same thing happened to my 83 year old mother in pittsburgh. She was without TV service for 48 hours, and was very upset about it. Finally a verizon tech was dispatched. He made a point of showing us that Comcast had put a metal blocker thingy on the cable line.
    How pathetic is Comcast!

  50. bwcbwc says:

    @cambiata: If it’s a locked cabinet that the consumer and the apartment maintenance people can’t get to, how can it be considered “inside wiring”. I can see how it would look like inside wiring to the remote monitoring tools since it’s after the conversion from fiber to wire, but it sounds like the CSR scripts need to be updated a bit so that they ask if the customer lives in an apartment building, and if they do, then either send a truck out or ask for the phone number of the apartment manager so they can verify who has access to to the wiring cabinet.

  51. bwcbwc says:

    @dottat1: These shared/locked facilities are common in telecoms. Lots of phone substations will contain equipment from multiple LECs and LD providers. Many apartments were originally built assuming only one cable provider would be allowed in the complex, but when the FCC ruled that apartments could not limit access competing cable services they had to let multiple companies into the wiring cabinet/room.

  52. MSUHitman says:

    This happened all the time when I worked at Charter (don’t work there anymore.) Someone would subscribe for just internet access and Charter’s “special” contractors would see the DirecTV/DN connection and cut it.

    Those were ALWAYS Sup Callback calls, and I can’t say I blame them. I hear a lot of stories about Comcast, but can they REALLY be worse than Charter?

  53. 2719 says:

    I think people saying this was done on purpose are overreacting.

  54. vastrightwing says:

    I think Comcast isn’t taking this very seriously. Comcast is getting my vote in 2009. They are trying harder!

  55. slungsolow says:

    @2719: Even Comcast themselves can’t say for sure if it was done on purpose. I’m sure it isn’t a company directive, but an employee or contractor who thinks he’ll score brownie points by severing competitors lines is not out of the question. Nor is plain and simple incompetence or poor training. It really comes down to how clearly the wires were labeled or if the technician traced the wires prior to cutting and securing them.

  56. Dave! says:

    “UPDATE: Comcast says they’re sending someone out to Stephen’s house to investigate.”

    READ: Disconnect it again…

  57. MalcolmAnya says:

    According to what you said, Comcast certainly made unauthorized access
    to a locked cabinet in order to do the disconnection. This is
    trespass; you ought to (a) file criminal charges against them for
    that trespass; and (b) include the tresspass in a civil suit against

    A RICO lawsuit *would* be a little over the top, I think…

    Carlie J. Coats, Jr.,Ph.D.

    6502 Glen Forrest Dr. home: (919) 493-7695
    Chapel Hill, NC 27517

    Chief Systems Architect
    Environmental Modeling Center
    Baron Advanced Meteorological Systems, LLC.

    920 Main Campus Drive, Suite 101
    Raleigh, NC 27606 phone: (919)424-4444 / fax: (919)424-4401

    “My opinions are my own, and I’ve got *lots* of them!”

  58. nintendude says:


    Sure the **** out of Comcast. Enough of their BS.

  59. Guges says:

    Since Verizon FiOS runs it’s signal over coax for the video service (See wikipedia FiOS article if you want proof) and you live in an MDU (Multi Dwelling Unit) Comcast may have the right to disconnect any feed coming into the lock box that is not part of their service. This depends on the contract with the MDU’s owner and who actually owns the cables in the building. Yes, in some situations cable companies may have ownership of the actual cable lines inside an MDU all the way to either an outlet or to a junction panel inside each unit. Thus legally preventing other services (Satellite, other cable co., fiber to premise) from using the cables. In these cases the “authorized cable company” is well within their rights to disconnect any feed trying to use the buildings internal distribution network since they own it.

    I have ideas as to why contracts are setup like this but I’m not well versed in the legal side of it. From my experience it has always depended on the apartment complex, sometimes I’d be told to leave it, other times I’d be told to disconnect and removed the offending wire and write an unauthorized access report.

    What you should really do, and all of us for that matter is ask the FCC why they said exclusive contracts for service inside MDU complexes would be considered illegal but never stated a date when this law was to be active by.

    Yes, once upon a time I did work for Comcast.