Someone Swiped My House’s Comcast Connection; Comcast Wants $40 To Come Look At It

The black cable comes up from the ground and is supposed to go into the house. Instead, it's been pulled out of the conduit and connected to the orange underground-grade cable, which runs down the side yard to a neighboring property (see photo below).

The black cable comes up from the ground and is supposed to go into the house. Instead, it’s been pulled out of the conduit and connected to the orange underground-grade cable, which runs down the side yard to a neighboring property (see photo below).

All Consumerist reader Dan wants is to get Internet access to the house he just purchased. Shouldn’t be a big deal since Comcast says the building was previously wired for its service. Problem is, the cable running to his house no longer connects with his house, but instead now snakes off across his yard — on top of the ground — to a neighbor; and Comcast wants Dan to pay up just to come out and fix the mess.

See, the cable in Dan’s town doesn’t run on utility poles, but underground. There’s a piece of conduit on the outside of his house where the cable comes up from underground and is supposed to enter the building.

The orange cable isn't even buried. It runs  through the yard to a neighboring property.

The orange cable isn’t even buried. It runs
through the yard to a neighboring property.

But as you can see from the above photo, at some point someone pulled the cable out of that conduit and attached the orange cable that runs across his side yard and onto a neighbor’s property. Thus, the cable that should be feeding the Internet to his home is instead providing access to someone else.

Dan says the connectors and the grade of cable used appear to be professional, though he can’t say for sure whether or not this botch-job was done by a Comcast installer who inexplicably thought it was okay to not bury the orange cable, but leave it sitting in the grass.

“I do not want to touch the cable going into the neighbor’s yard because it looks shady,” writes Dan. “I have no idea if Comcast did it or someone else did.”

The big pain in the rear is that Comcast won’t come out and fix the problem without charging Dan.

Before discovering there was an issue, Dan says he contacted Comcast to see if he’d need to get service installed. The person he spoke to confirmed that this house previously had service so Dan should be able to do the free self-install kit for new Internet customers. That certainly sounds better than the $40-60 he’d need to pay for installation.

But when he told them about the mysterious orange cable, he was suddenly told that he would have to pay the installation fee, even though his house already had — before someone swiped the service — a Comcast connection.

“I have never heard of Comcast charging to fix outside cabling issues,” says Dan. “It’s like the electric company charging you to fix a downed electrical line.”

He says he mentioned the problem on Twitter, which resulted in a call from the Comcast executive customer service, but even that went nowhere.

“The person told me there was nothing they could do since I do not have a physical cable going inside my house,” he tells Consumerist. “They needed to send someone out to set it up and that was a charge on my part.”

He says he had planned on just sucking up the charge, but feels like this is not how Comcast should treat customers, let alone someone who is new to their service.

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  1. schwartzster says:

    That’s bogus. Either someone is stealing cable or Comcast re-purposed the line, either way this is Comcast’s issue and I can’t believe that executive customer service wouldn’t fix it. Maybe they didn’t understand the problem (I bet it’d be hard to explain on the phone. Hopefully this story gets their attention and they fix it.

  2. Naskarrkid says:

    Uncalled for on Comcast’s part to charge to come look at it. I think they should have this on file, if they did it and should explain to the customer what happened.
    If it was me, I’d unhook it, hook mine back up, and cut the cable up in segments up to my property line.

    • mongo says:

      Yep. Let the other guy complain about his outage and get Comcast to fix it for free.
      See my story above.

      It’s amazing that the WCIA can have such lousy cable records that they don’t know what gets fed from where.

    • Grey says:

      I agree. Comcast already confirmed your house was legally wired. Just plug the cable back into the house. Get the orange one off of your lawn and be done with it.

  3. mongo says:

    Comcast had no problem coming out to my place….to disconnect my legit service.

    I watched out my front window as a Comcast truck stopped and the techs went to the junction where my service was connected. Then – just coincidently – my Comcast TV service went out and never came back. This was on a Thursday.

    I called for service only to get a recording announcing there was an outage in the area so they didn’t; want to hear from me and please pound sand and it disconnected.

    24 hours later I call again and there is no announcement. I talk to a human and tell them that my service has been out since the truck came by – in other words I watched Comcast disconnect my cable.

    At this point I was informed that it was the weekend and they’ll provide service on Monday.
    What was I thinking?

    On Monday when the tech came out he said that crew and so thoroughly destroyed my cable run that he’d have to run a new cable and have a bury crew come out later.

    So now there are literally 4 coax cables buried in my front yard,.

    And I have since happily cancelled Comcast for AT&T Uverse.

  4. nomdeweb says:

    Has anyone ever told Dan about this little thing called FACE TO FACE COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR NEIGHBOR.

    It’s easy, here are the steps:

    1) Knock on neighbor’s door
    2) Tell him “There’s a strange cable coming from my cable to your property, I’m going to disconnect it”
    3) Disconnect the cable
    4) Connect his house instead

    And done? If the neighbor loses TV, screw it, invite him over until Comcast shows up to fix his stuff and have a party. Most likely, the neighbor knows he’s stealing cable and will just be like “oh well, guess that’s the end of that”.

    Is there something wrong with the newer generations nowadays where they shirk away from face to face communications? I’ve been seeing it more and more. Texting and emails to solve everything. OH NO I’LL HAVE TO TALK TO A HUMAN? *run away*!

    • ResNullum says:

      You’re missing the point of the complaint. This is about Comcast’s responsibility, not whether the neighbour was complicit in the act. It doesn’t matter what the neighbour says about the cable, because it would have no bearing on whether it could legally be disconnected and who would do it.

    • furiousd says:

      I agree with [ResNullum], he’s paying Comcast for service so they should ensure that he gets service. He was even nice enough to report potential cable theft and was rewarded for it by getting charged for the privilege.

      At the same time, I’m one of the whippersnappers that doesn’t like to talk to people. Friends/family face-to-face, no problem. I don’t like talking on the phone to pretty much anyone if I can avoid it. Most of all I hate unscheduled interactions, such as when I’m home and not expecting someone and the doorbell rings, I just ignore it. If it was someone I know and wanted to talk to, they’d call me. After a long day at work, I go home to avoid human interaction like the introvert I am.

  5. Mokona512 says:

    The neighbor may have done it in order to get free cable TV and internet. It would not be the first time an issue like this happened. A really long time ago when our family lived in a 2 family home (one of those single family that was pretty much converted to a 2 family home), the other family living in the structure, pretty much busted through their wall and tapped into one of the power lines so that they would essentially have an outlet with free electricity.

    Found out when they were vacuuming and our lights dimmed, and when the circuit breaker was shut off which should only impact us, it shut their vacuum cleaner off. We were unable to get anything out of it because they denied doing that, and the owner of the property also denied it.

    Some neighbors are simply more sneaky about stealing than others. If you need after reporting the issue, you can probably also call your local police station directly to report the issue and document the whole thing and take lots of pictures and videos, then chop that wire to bits and then reconnect your home.

    • mongo says:

      I think it’s more likely that a Comcast tech ran the cable to get a ticket closed.

      The service could only be stolen if A) the house had valid service, and B) the neighbor had Comcast set top box(es) that were on valid accounts.

      A) Comcast will physically disconnect the cable at the house that stop service so the cable that was tapped should have been dead.
      B) With digital cable the set top box has be authorized to work, No account. No work.

  6. webalias says:

    Dan’s story raises more questions than it answers, and I’m not sure he’s in the right here. Comcast charges $40-$60 to send somebody out to install cable if one’s home is not already wired for service; that seems reasonable. The fact is, his house is not wired for cable — there is no cable going to the inside of his house — there might have been once, but that’s not the case now. So why shouldn’t he have to pay for installation?

    It’s not Dan’s fault that apparently someone “swiped the service,” but it’s not clear that it’s Comcast’s fault, either. Dan just bought the house recently — did the seller represent that it was wired for cable? Has Dan contacted the former homeowner? Has he discussed the situation with his next door neighbor, who may be receiving cable services through a line in Dan’s yard?

    Dan may have a case — this could be Comcast’s fault. Comcast routinely hires third-party installers and doesn’t pay them much, so they have an incentive to do whatever is fast and cheap. So I suppose it’s possible that whoever lived in Dan’s home previously had cable at one time, but cancelled. Then, when a next door neighbor ordered cable some time later, the third-party installer figured he could use the line on Dan’s property, rather than do the job right. I’ve dealt in the past with third-party installers for both Comcast and Dish. There are some good ones. But there are also some shady characters who will try to talk you into paying them cash on the side to do something they shouldn’t. Or perhaps, the former homeowner and his next door neighbor cooked up a scheme to defraud Comcast.

    It would be nice if Comcast would waive the fee to install cable for Dan, but does anyone expect Comcast to be nice?