There are surprises—and then there are surprises.

I’ve previously spelled out our woes at trying to get our Comcast CDV (cable, data, video) services set up at the new place. The good news is they’re all set up now (and have been for about a week and a half now). The bad news is it unnecessarily cost us a little over $200 that we shouldn’t have had to spend. The better news is that it didn’t. Explanation ahead…

The short history: When the original Comcast technician came out to install our services, he spent less than five minutes looking around the place before declaring unilaterally that (a) the cable setup wasn’t properly grounded, so (b) he couldn’t install any of our services per Comcast rules, and (c) we’d have to hire a licensed electrician to ground the setup. Well, pooh, but okay, fine.

So the electrician comes out (the next day, as luck would have it) and grounds the setup (the electrician says he used to work for Comcast—more luck!—and this should be more than good for them), and that little visit cost us over $200. But yippee, now Comcast could come back out. I promptly turned around and rescheduled our installation appointment for a few days from then.

The second Comcast technician comes out (a different tech—this turns out to be important). He notices the grounding setup and declares it a fine setup—but not exactly what Comcast wants. Wha—?? So what does he do? He goes back to his truck, gets some gear, and promptly starts installing a new grounding setup. Well, this is new, but at this point, I don’t say a word about what’s gone on previously and just let him go about his merry way.

The rest of the (re)install goes flawlessly. As he’s wrapping up, my curiosity finally gets the better of me. I explain to him about the failed initial installation, how we had actually paid to have that new grounding setup installed (per the original tech’s request), and gee, why is it that he (the second tech) took the time to fix the improper ground when the first tech had punted? His response? “We’ve been instructed that if there’s something that’s broken that prevents services from being set up, it’s our job to make sure things get fixed so that services can be set up, period.” (or words to that effect).

OK… well, that’s great and all, but sh*t, now we’ve spent over $200 that we shouldn’t have had to spend at all. I was a bit peeved; when the wife found about what had happened, she was furious. I tried to tell her that, historically, cable companies haven’t exactly been the most responsive in the world to complaints, but that we’d try anyway. And thus began a series of calls between us, Comcast, and the outfit that Comcast contracts with locally to install services.

Rough timeline:

  • Call Comcast to explain what had happened and ask what they were going to do about it, since we’d obviously been given incorrect information. The customer service rep (and her supervisor) agree that this shouldn’t have happened, but that they (Comcast proper) couldn’t do anything about it. They referred it directly to the contractor and said I should hear from the contractor supervisor by the end of the next business day. No promises as to what might actually result from all of this. (This all happened on a Friday, so that meant waiting til the following Monday. Grrrrrrr.)
  • First surprise: Monday, we promptly hear back from the contractor. They inform us that the install-at-all-costs decision was actually very recent, which could explain the differing tech stories. But they agreed that we were probably wronged when it came down to it. We arranged for him to come out, look at the new setup, and get a copy of the invoice from the electrician.
  • A rep for the supervisor does indeed come out later in the week, looks things over, and takes the copy of the invoice. Says they can’t necessarily promise anything, but they’d see what they could do. Says we should hear back by Monday at the latest. Oh joy.
  • Monday comes… no word from anybody. Hmmmm. Make a note to contact them Tuesday.
  • Second (and more shocking) surprise: Tuesday (before we actually called anyone), a rep for the contractor comes out and hands us a check covering the full cost of the electrician, offers his apologies, and has us sign something saying that everything was OK and that this matter was closed. Which we gladly did, ’cause, I mean, what more could we have expected them to do?

So, somewhat shockingly, this story has a very happy ending. The cable, internet, and phone all work great, my opinion of the local Comcast outfit went up by leaps and bounds, and in the end, it didn’t cost us a penny for installation. And they lived happily ever after.