Comcast nightmare: Six months with out Web regardless of $5,000 cost

Comcast nightmare: Six months with out Web regardless of $5,000 cost

Aurich Lawson | Getty Photographs

When Edward Koll and his girlfriend, Jo Narkon, purchased and moved into a brand new home in Draper, Virginia in late September 2020, they’d each purpose to suppose that Comcast Web could be available.

They’d carried out their due diligence earlier than shopping for the home, plugging the tackle into the Comcast web site to ensure it had cable Web and contacting Comcast on to make further positive. Each the Comcast web site’s availability checker and a Comcast gross sales rep confirmed to them that the home had service.

However Comcast had given the couple false info due to an error in its protection map, and it did not inform the couple about this error till after they purchased the home. That was over six months in the past, and Koll and Narkon nonetheless do not have residence Web service.

“It wasn’t till after we closed on the home that Comcast lastly notified us that we have been in a ‘lifeless zone,'” Koll informed Ars when he first contacted us on February 12, 2021. “The ends of our road are connected, however the center the place we reside doesn’t have the service pedestal.”

This wasn’t the primary time that Comcast, the nation’s largest cable firm, has falsely informed prospects that service could be out there.

Though it was Comcast’s fault, the corporate demanded $5,000 up entrance to increase its community to Koll and Narkon’s home. The couple ultimately paid up in late November after figuring out it was the one viable possibility. However whereas Comcast initially promised service inside 90 days of receiving the $5,000 cost, it failed to finish the challenge in that time-frame.

Comcast now says the challenge will lastly be accomplished by April 15, over six weeks after the unique 90-day estimate handed on March 2. The couple has been utilizing cell hotspots for Web entry all the time they’ve lived in the home due to Comcast offering false availability info after which failing to finish the set up on time.

Comcast: “[We] didn’t reside as much as our requirements”

Comcast appeared to take the issue extra significantly after Ars contacted the corporate’s public relations division, ultimately promising a $5,000 credit score.

“Mr. Koll’s expertise didn’t reside as much as our requirements and we’re very sorry for the inconvenience this has precipitated, subsequently, we might be making use of a credit score to his account equal to $5,000,” Comcast informed Ars on March 29, after just a few weeks of back-and-forth communication.

“The surprising a part of it was Comcast’s refusal to even personal this,” Koll informed Ars in a cellphone interview final week, after Comcast agreed to the $5,000 credit score. “They only type of brushed it off and we actually didn’t get any traction on this till we reached out to you [at Ars].”

A Comcast rep referred to as the couple yesterday to verify that service might be put in on Thursday, April 15, someday between 8am and 10am, Koll informed us. Even after that decision, Koll stated he’s “not satisfied” the challenge is much sufficient alongside to be completed by then. However they’ve ordered Web, TV, and cellphone service, and the couple is switching their cell telephones over to Comcast’s cell service. The overall value is estimated at $249 a month, Koll stated. At that value, the $5,000 credit score will final about 20 months. Virginia is likely one of the states the place Comcast reluctantly agreed to delay data-cap enforcement till 2022.

No possibility however to pay $5,000

Between emails, cellphone calls, and in-person visits, Koll stated he had dozens of contacts with Comcast over the previous six months to attempt to kind the mess out. “Comcast stated, ‘yeah, our brokers informed you that service was out there they usually promised you that it was proper there at your step, however they have been fallacious,'” Koll stated.

One installer arrived on the home and “stated, ‘I must go discover out the place your service line is,’ after which he disappeared. He by no means got here again,” Koll informed Ars. “After which we had two different installers and there was lastly the third man who stated, ‘You do not have a service pedestal shut sufficient and also you’re a hefty invoice simply to have it put in.'”

After listening to Comcast’s demand for $5,000, Koll complained to the FCC however the company “adopted up with Comcast and accepted their rationalization with out remark,” Koll informed Ars. Koll stated he additionally contacted the workplaces of US Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) with none outcomes.

Edward Koll at his home.

Edward Koll at his residence.

Gigabit Web “is accessible in your tackle”

Koll offered Ars a duplicate of the $5,000 bill dated November 30 together with chat and electronic mail transcripts from conversations he had with Comcast.

In a web-based chat earlier than they purchased the home, Koll requested a Comcast rep to confirm that gigabit Web service and cable TV could be out there. The rep informed him that “the Gigabit Speeds Web plan is accessible in your tackle” and {that a} 2-year contract would price “$169.99/mo plus tools, taxes, and costs.”

The rep informed Koll to order service 5 to eight enterprise days upfront in case cable wanted to be run to the home, making it sound like it might be a simple course of and never a six-month ordeal. However the Comcast rep was fallacious as a result of Comcast’s system was offering false info. Koll positioned an order for Comcast service over the cellphone on August 25, and the couple closed on the home on September 24, transferring in the identical day. Even when accepting the order, Comcast did not understand that it hadn’t prolonged its community shut sufficient to the home to supply service.

Comcast boasts about its gigabit network in a slide from a press kit.

Comcast boasts about its gigabit community in a slide from a press package.

Comcast

On November 1, 2020, Koll replied to an electronic mail from a Comcast rep within the govt buyer relations division, and identified that Comcast’s service map confirmed his tackle as having service. Koll’s electronic mail additionally identified that he had positioned an order for service on August 25 “and on the similar time put a deposit into the account in order that service could be put in on or earlier than closing on this home.”

“Given the a number of assurances from Comcast for service and the prolonged delays we now have already endured, I anticipate a fast decision to this matter,” Koll wrote in that electronic mail.

However there was no fast or low cost decision. “We reluctantly agreed to pay $5,000 in November to have the service pedestal put in regardless of Comcast’s earlier guarantees relating to current service availability,” Koll informed Ars, months later.

“We actually need assistance”

Koll first contacted us after studying considered one of our articles a couple of 90-year-old AT&T buyer, Aaron Epstein, who purchased an advert within the Wall Road Journal to complain about AT&T’s sluggish Web service. On the time, Koll wasn’t positive that Comcast would set up service in any respect.

“We actually need assistance, much like Mr. Epstein,” Koll informed Ars in his first electronic mail to us. “We have to get the service we have been promised put in. We wish to have the $5,000 again, however at this level are prepared to just accept that as a credit score in direction of future payments. Comcast has supplied two free months, which doesn’t come near the quantity we now have paid.”

Though Comcast later agreed to a credit score equal to the complete quantity they paid, the corporate didn’t inform us why it will not refund the $5,000 as a substitute of offering it as a invoice credit score. That primarily means they needed to pay $5,000 upfront for about 20 months of service, an preliminary expense that new Comcast prospects usually wouldn’t should pay.

Comcast fixes map, months too late

In late March, Comcast lastly up to date its protection map and on-line availability checker to accurately present Koll’s tackle as unserved. So why did Comcast’s web site and a Comcast gross sales rep falsely inform Koll that service was already out there on the residence?

“This isn’t a standard incidence and we now have to look into these cases on a case-by-case foundation,” Comcast stated. “For this particular tackle, it was included in a database from an organization we acquired a few years in the past. Our native groups are planning an additional assessment of that regional database.”

Cable firms have failed for years to develop extra correct service maps. The cable business’s greatest foyer group fought towards necessities to submit address-level knowledge to the Federal Communications Fee, telling the FCC in 2017 that it is too tough and costly to determine precisely the place they will and may’t provide service.

The FCC lastly ordered ISPs to submit geospatial maps of the place they supply service in 2019, however then-FCC Chairman Ajit Pai didn’t end establishing the brand new system earlier than leaving workplace in January 2021. Upon taking up from Pai, Appearing FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel realized “that we had a whole lot of work to do and hadn’t but begun lots of the steps required to truly construct a group system,” she wrote.

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