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A Drop? Are You Kidding Me?

Channeling my inner Mora, I completely felt the same disbelief he had in 2001 when questioned about his team’s chances of making the NFL playoffs:

“Playoffs? Don’t talk about playoffs? Are you kidding me? Playoffs?”

For two weeks, I wrangled with Comcast after losing our service. The first (of many!) technician claimed that our “drop” — the line from the top of our driveway to the house — was bad and that we needed a new one. The drop would need to be ordered, so he filled out the paperwork with Mrs. Kharmin (since I was at the office) and left.

Unknown to the tech, we had already had a second drop made a few years earlier which was never connected. When I got home and saw the drop order, I called and canceled it. I requested that someone simply come out and hook up the existing secondary drop. This was on Thursday night and the earliest appointment was Monday.

Come Monday, I am again at work and Mrs. Kharmin at home. A different tech came out, surveyed the drop where it came down the driveway to a “pedestal” (those plastic obelisks you see in everyone’s yard) and informed Mrs. Kharmin that he could not use it as there were no wires. A phone call was made to me, and I spoke with the guy and told him that there had to be wires as someone tore up my yard to make that drop. He was insistent: no wires, no service. I asked him to do nothing and that I would contact a supervisor when I got home from work.

Monday evening after work, I opened the pedestal and lo! — therein I found two wires: one fat wire leading up toward the end of the driveway, and one thin wire leading toward the house. No wires indeed! There were two! I then called and spoke with a Customer Service Representative (CSR) who informed me that my account was showing a drop as scheduled to be made. A drop? No, I canceled that, I told her, and if it wasn’t then I asked her to please do so now. I then detailed the events thus far and asked to have someone come out on a day where I’d be home and could show them exactly what was what. An appointment was set up for Friday.

Friday, the appointment time passed and no technician had arrived. I called and spoke with a CSR to find out where my tech was and was told that no technician had been scheduled; rather a drop was ordered and until that happened no technician would be coming. A drop? Wait… didn’t I cancel that already? I canceled it again and asked to speak with a supervisor. The supervisor was unavailable (a common theme throughout this entire event) and would call me back “soon.”

As I waited for the call that never came, a contractor arrived and had begun to pace out the distance for a drop in my yard. I ran out and told him about the situation and that his service would not be required pending my conversation with the Comcast supervisor.

Saturday, I called again. Different CSR; same story. No information about a request for a supervisor call. No, instead they showed that I was being scheduled for a drop. Are you kidding me? A drop? Enough with the drop!! I canceled it, now for the third time. I implored the CSR to schedule someone, anyone, I didn’t care who to come out and have us physically show them what we had. They schedule a technician for Tuesday, and I coordinated with Mrs. Kharmin as she would be home that day. I showed her the wires in the pedestal and where they terminated and under no circumstances was a drop to be scheduled!

Sunday, we arrived home from church to find a Miss Utililty contractor spray painting lines in my grass. When asked, he told me that he was marking for the drop that Comcast had scheduled. Sigh.

Back on the phone, I was told by the CSR that no drop was scheduled. The Miss Utility contractor had been scheduled some time ago and had never been canceled. I was told not to worry and that come Tuesday, things would be straight.

Tuesday’s technician was shown the ropes by Mrs. Kharmin. He pulled the existing line from the ground by the house, hooked up his tester and determined that somewhere in the 300+ foot line it had been over-saturated with water and was no longer functional. We needed a new drop. Mrs. Kharmin interjected and asked that the secondary drop already in place be used. The technician told her that he didn’t know anything about that secondary drop and that it wasn’t activated so he couldn’t use it. He would have to have someone from the construction division come out and make a determination on that other line.

That night, I finally spoke with a supervisor. After canceling the drop he saw on our account (what’s this… five times I’ve canceled it now?), he listened attentively to our story and agreed with me that we needed someone else to come out and make a call on our secondary drop. In the meantime, he was going to schedule someone (at my request) to run a temporary line across our lawn just so that we could get service. They’d have someone out on Thursday.

My kingdom for some cable!

Wednesday night, I get a call from the contractor who I had found pacing my yard a week earlier. He called because he had just received a drop order from Comcast for our location. He remembered our conversation from his prior visit, and decided he’d better call before coming back out and dredging up our yard. Thankfully, someone with insight! No, I told him, Comcast was sending out the right people (hopefully) and if it was decided that we had to have a third drop, then we’d have him run it. He’d call me the day after the Comcast visit to see what, if anything, he needed to do for us.

Thursday, one of the supervisors from the construction division arrived. I gave him the recap of everything you’ve read so far. He looked at the drop and commented, “I think I’m the one who installed this drop. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” Geez. We looked in the pedestal and I showed him the wires (remember… the two wires that the technician told us weren’t there?). He said, “Oh, you just need a tap here.” A tap. What’s a tap? It is the thingy that connects the large, fat wire to the small, thin wire. He said that he’d check back at the office to verify that the drop could indeed be used and that he’d have someone out later that day.

Later, a technician shows up. I tell him what the construction guy said, and asked if he would at least run my temporary line to get me running. Full of great customer service, this technician was very accommodating. He unloaded a brand new spool and ran a line across my yard (the whole 300+ feet) and terminated both ends. He tested and connected it and waited for me to test my services to make sure that everything was working. Finally! WE HAVE CONNECTION!

Just as I was about to sign off on his work order, I noticed a Comcast bucket truck at the end of my driveway (right where we just placed the temporary line). We walked to the truck and found the drop technician (for lack of a better title?) was there and getting ready to install the tap.

The missing piece… a tap!

The two of them talked for about 40 seconds in Comcast-ese and it was decided that the first tech would wait for the second tech to install the tap. Once done, the first tech could finish the install from the tap to the house.

They were done in less than an hour.

Had Comcast sent someone more knowledgeable after the first confusing visit, we would not have had to cancel an un-necessary drop multiple times and spend countless time on the phone and taking days off of work. The entire episode was more than frustrating as you well may imagine.

So, that’s the story. Sorry for the delay in getting it to you, but as you can see there was a lot to tell.

© 2010, Kharmin's Small Piece of the 'Net. All rights reserved.

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