Comcast Apparently Verifies Next To Nothing Before Digging Up A Yard

from the verification?-why-that-takes-time... dept

Hot on the heals of a tragically botched Comcast installation blowing up a house, killing two people, comes a story from security blogger Mike Rothman, about how some folks at Comcast just showed up at his house the other day preparing to dig up his yard to install a line. There were a few problems with this, starting with the fact that he didn’t order (nor want) a line — and there actually already was a cable line into the house. He investigated the issue and discovered that someone using the name of whoever owned the house two owners prior to him was on the work order. Rothman has a few different theories for what may have happened (some a bit more paranoid than others), but can’t make sense of why this would happen. Much scarier, however, is the fact (as he points out) that Comcast did nothing to verify the order before they planned to start digging up someone’s yard. They didn’t check with the homeowner. They didn’t call the person on the work order. They didn’t even check to see if there was already a cable line to the house. They just sent a crew out to dig. It seems like this is the sort of thing that shouldn’t happen. It’s not hard to do some basic checking before ripping up someone’s yard, but apparently that’s not how things are done.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Comcast Apparently Verifies Next To Nothing Before Digging Up A Yard”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Tora1188 says:


Doesn’t Comcast also have to verif the order with the city before they start any major construction or excavation project? For some reason they may or may not have checked with the city (who would have noticed that the propery owner was in fact NOT the person on the work order…. Cities want to yank their tax from the proper people….)

big dog says:

I used to work for them, and the sad is that they will do just about anything to get money out of people. I have alot of examples but one is the best. i called an order in and there was a lte fee i was told next time call the boss and he will put it in without using the office phone because they are recorded. ie:change the name kon the account so the order goes through ih yeah and he had to change the social security number also a big nono in america!

Paul says:

Not suprising

Comcast outsources their call center to places that barely speak English and it isn’t at all surprising that this could have happened. What most likely happened is that the person had cable at their old address years ago then needed to have a new line put in at their new place and so Comcast botches it by pulling up old records.

I just the other day was with someone who had called AT&T a few days prior to have their old landline transfered to her new apartment, she was calling AT&T again to see if the transfer had gone through. She was calling from her cell phone and between people barely speaking English (she had to spell out her last name 8 times, and had to say the first letter 6 times) and getting her call transfered to 4 different people there was so much confusion on AT&T’s end that they thought she was trying to transfer her cell phone to Nebraska (she is in California)

All she was trying to do was check if her prior request was completed.

Luci says:

Re: Not suprising

Not surprising in the least, actually. I worked for the contracting company that handles (or handled, it has been a few years) AT&T/Comcast in Toledo OH. They closed down our call center, which was earning them in the neighborhood of 4 TIMES projections and moved all the jobs to India. Supervisors and up could keep their jobs… if they agreed to move to India.

Robert G. says:

Call ahead???

Excuse me, but if an order was placed to have a line repaired or replaced, the either one of two things happened. First, Comcast is required to have you sign a form to consent the digging of the yard UNLESS it’s a feeder cable, not a drop. If it’s a feeder line, then the right of way access has been granted already by the city for the cable provider to dig. If it’s a drop they were digging for, then someone screwed up, and will likely be fired for not getting the signature. The guy either was an existing customer, and was having trouble, or had a feeder running thru his yard that needed repaired, or was visited by someone who didn’t follow procedure. A company as large as Comcast (the largest in the US), will unfortunately be in the news all over because everyone knows who they are, and they are in just about every state in the US. The policies are in place, the employee just needs to follow the rules.

Sean Carton (profile) says:

Bastard Comcast Contractors

I had a similar thing happen to me.

I was having trouble with my cable and Comcast said they’d “send a crew out.” A bunch of dirtbags hauling a trenching machine showed up one morning just as I was leaving for work. I asked them what they were doing and they told me they were going to dig a trench for a new cable.

“Where are you going to put it?” I asked.

“Oh, we’re gunna run it right up yer yard there,” said one, pointing to the hill in front of my house.

“I’ve got an irrigation system in my lawn,” I told them, not wanting to have the pipes chewed up.

“Hmmm…well we’re sure as heck gonna chew ’em up when we put the cable in,” the foreman cheerfully told me. “Just take it up with Comcast when we’re gone and they’ll reimburse you for the damage.”

“F*ck no,” I yelled. “Get the hell outta here. I’ll fix it myself.”

Which I did (it was a small break that I fixed with a quick splice), avoiding what would have surely been months of hassle with Comcast.


shawn says:

Re: Bastard Comcast Contractors

your full of it . contractors are responisable to fix what they mess up or break befor they leave. I am a contractor and never had a problem however i dont use a machine i do it by hand. I want to leave and have them happy that i did not tear up there lawn and i know that there is others out there that care about peoples propety….

Benji says:

Dunno, I rather liked it

They dug up a trench in my backyard when I got the drop replaced (old one didn’t have a strong enough signal to get the internet), and I saw it as an opportunity to get some free work done. I had them remove the unused planter at the back of the yard for me and it was all free 🙂
You just gotta look on the bright side sometimes.

Namrok says:

My parents had the exact opposite problem

When the cable line to my parents house went bad (it was 20 years old and got messed up somehow) it took Comcast almost 2 years of constant calls to bury the thing. It wasn’t until my parents threatened to cancel and get DirectTV (which they should have just done) that they finally sent someone out to bury the cable.

Bob (user link) says:

Cox is no better

Cox came out 2 years ago and ran their trencher around the trees in my front yard, minding where the painted markers indicated other buried utilities. Then they made their final turn, decided they had worked themselves into a corner and quit, after 2 hours and pulling up the cable buried so far.

It laid there for a couple of months until I got tired of calling and moving it to avoid my mower. I just trenched a groove with a trowel, put in the cable, tossed some topsoil and grass seed over it. No problems in over two years, and they never came back duing that time.

The Original Just Me says:

Odd error at the source URL

Precondition Failed

We’re sorry, but we could not fulfill your request for /blog/mike-rothman/paranoia-and-idiocy on this server.

We have established rules for access to this server, and any person or robot that violates these rules will be unable to access this site.

To resolve this problem, please try the following steps:
Ensure that your computer is free of viruses, Trojan horses, spyware or any other sort of malicious software.
If you are using any sort of personal firewall or browser privacy software, check to ensure that its settings do not cause your web browser to inadvertently violate any of the rules listed below.

James K says:

Re: I know why!!

I have to agree that Comcast is now, in general, lousy. Hilarious that a company in the business of communication can suck so horribly at it.

I moved residences, and had to cancel my existing account and start a new one. Not only did it take them a month to get my new service started, but to this day, I still get calls from them “confirming my service cancellation” or checking on my “pending service transfer.” I have to literally ask them, “where is this coming from… what records are still open about this?”

I find myself simply baffled at the internal miscommunication. The individual customer ends up being the only one who can help the major corporation sort out their own records.

Lance says:

I've experienced worse...

A couple of months ago, AT&T was digging in one of my neighbors’ yard. Either by accident, or perhaps on purpose, they cut one of the lines in the area where they were digging.

Imagine my surprise when I received a call from my wife from a number that I had never seen. A bigger surprise awaited me when I got home that evening. Through a series of conversations (including one with the neighbor that was attempting to call his own wife), I discovered that the good folks at AT&T had switched my line with my neighbor. I’m not one their (AT&T) customers, so they didn’t seem to be in any big hurry to get it fixed.

Finally, three days after they initially screwed things up, they managed to get me reconnected to my own phone number. All of this happened without either my neighbor, or me, having any kind of service request to AT&T. Yeah, Comcast screws things up sometimes, but they all do.

unwanted digging says:

unwanted digging

I woke up this morning to 6 guys digging a 4 foot trench in my front yard. There vans had no company markings, none of the guys were wearing any company insignia. We had received no phone calls, letters, or anything to let us know that anyone would be digging. None of the 6 guys rang the doorbell to announce their arrival, NOTHING.

I ask some questions, and finally figure out that they are Comcast Contractors. It was hard to find out because none of the guys spoke English very well (shocker).

Called that guy’s supervisor, and he said “Well, the first 3 feet up to the curb is county property, and we can dig whenever we want.” OK- maybe that’s true, but how about a courtesy call / letter / ring the doorbell? The other thing that doesn’t make sense is that there’s nothing wrong with my cable, or anything else.

Comcast is bar none the worst corporation in the U.S.

Midlothian VA homeowner says:

Broken Irrigation Pipes

Comcast guys dug up my yard a month ago, to put in cable for a neighbour of mine. In the process, they dug into my irrigation pipes and damaged a pipe really bad.. I called Comcast and reported a damage the same week! and been calling every week since then, to hear a different tones of “someone will call you” every time! The sod that they dug up and put back is now dead, due to lack of water.. Still waiting.. COMCAST, when are you going to call me!

Midlothian Resident.

4tees (profile) says:

Re: Broken Irrigation Pipes

I am having the same problem. They came out of easement and damaged water line, which damaged plumbing inside of house. They used an unlicensed contractor and did not get a permit. Then the City cited me for working without a permit. I am now involved in civil litigation and wondering what has happened with your situation. Contact me if you can.

bluerider says:

Re: Re: Broken Irrigation Pipes

I?m having exactly the same issue on my property. Without any notice or visit, sub-sub contractor of Comcast started digging my yard Yesterday, then today, they they cut the water line today.

After they have reconnected the line, water meter up on the street indicates a slow leak between the valve on the street and the main valve of the house.

jake says:

Comcast is a joke. I was a contactor and i took pride in my work never had a customer complaint, never damaged property, nothing people always called in to give me good marks about my installs and usually when i would go and fix somethings that the idiot that was there before me didnt do right. The bottem line is that it all starts at the installation, I would especially on an install try to replace anything that might cause my customer problems in the future. So if your getting cable or internet, and the tech just goes on the pole to hook you up and then just comes in just throws in a modem or box then be prepared to have problems. Usually a typical contractor tech will do the bare minimum to make the equipment work. If I were you I would request an in-house tech, they dont get nearly as much work and will do a better quality job.

Heather says:

unauthorized digging

I live in a townhuse community. My neighbors decided to get Comcast cable (we have satellite…nothing to do with comcast). They sent a guy out who instead of digging to the end of my neighbors yard and making a 90 degree angle to where the utilities have a right away to be run, he just dug diagonally through the middle of my yard. My husband and I work from home. There was never a knock n the door aswking for permission for him to do this. He just decided to take the eary way out. Now I am fighting with Comcast to get it out of my yard, because it is right through the place where we are planning to plant trees in the spring.
Where do these idiots come off just diging up my yard???
I so HATE Comcast!

Joel Asaro says:

Me Too

In my case I did order the cable, but they came out and trenched through the lawn cutting a sprinkler water pipe without getting permission. Originally, they were going to fish a pipe, but when they gave up on that without explanation, they decided they would just cut through the lawn instead. They did eventually repair the sprinklers after two attempts, but the lawn has a huge brown line and a huge brown spot where the sprinklers were broken. They offered me $20 for my trouble!

contractor for comcast says:

related to this deal

ok so i work for comcast as a contractor, well we have to to to the hosue greet the home owner and we then have to check out where we will be installing cable internet or phone before we start a install then after we will then find the tap (which is the box or electric lines ) then we also if the line will be put under ground run the line from the tap to the house not digging the ground right up and we will hook everything up do wall fishing and wat not of what has to be done then we will send out another truck to put the line in the ground!!

Robert Jones says:

Comcast digging up yard without permission

Comcast is run by dumb and dummer and greed and greedier.

I had them out today to fix the TV and Telephone lines.

I find this orange cable laying in the landscaping. Its cut on both ends hooked to nothing. I ask the Comcast lady what it is. She says its new cable but she has no idea of why it was never completed and she could find no work order for it.
They dug up my yard, cut through the plastic liner in sandbox and home landscaping. Never got permission and left a hazard as the wire is not tapped off, just a bare wire laying against house and bare wire at other end. Plus it looks terrible. I ran it over mowing days prior, it was just laying in yard. Did a number on the blade and mower.

All our power and cable runs overhead not underground. We have two cable wires coming in and they are fine. No idea why they did that. She says they have rights but Im not so sure they can damage things like they did in this case.

A few things to do.
1. Drop comcast then they have ZERO rights to use easement of the power company.
2. Sue them for clean up

marcus dalton says:

Comcast Third Party Contractors

My story is similar to the original. I have used Comcast third party contractors and found them to be less then professional. First they don’t contact me as the signer for point of contact, second they never contacted blue stake which is a requirement by the state before drilling. Third they are never on time and request the company to pay employees to stay late for them, fourth they say they don’t speak English until confronted that they will loose the job. 5th They break our equipment and say or do nothing about it even when caught on camera. 6th when i report them they push our the date for the completion date to irritate us. The list goes on. On the side of Comcast resolving this issue is for them to push this off and ignore it as well as continue to transfer multiple time until I finally can get someone to assist. So my experience with this company as a whole is garbage at best.

wanda says:

Most of comcast sub contractors are liars

I have been lied to so many times it us a joke while fighting with then now almost a year. One makes a promise to make it right then I come home with then digging up my yard and I tell the new bunch I had an agreement and what it was then they say no one told them. Then the last big lie was they could not put the box where they had agreed to because they had no more cable. Then could not us the round box that was there because they had no bases, What they really mean is “this is what I threw on the truck and was trying to get it half assed installed before you caught me:” They now tell me that they can not give me money to use for replacing the landscaping as promised but can have someone they use, since they have to get a 1099. I am an accountant and can fill out a 1099. What that means to me is the sub contractor is billing Comcast the $1000 and doing $100 and getting the kick back ‘from the guy I use” .
I want it just put back as promised but after a year of lie on top of lies, I do not trust them as far as I can throw them. I will continue to fight to use my own landscaper and
get the area filled in and then sod put sown like it was before it was dug up…(5 times since Dec 12) I know my own landscaper will bot come out an put in shrubs that are half dead and mulch. But some have gotten help by posting on their facebook page.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...