OT: LONG: (WARNING - THIS IS NOT ABOUT WOODDORKING) Is Comcast AThird World Company?

I've been restricted in my access to rec.norm lately because the signal that I'm getting from the folks at Comcast (hereafter referred to as Scumcast) has been intermittent.
'Bout three weeks ago on a Saturday I called Scumcast to complain about the intermittent signal. I had my suspicions that this was caused by an improperly installed underground cable but I held my tongue about this on the initial call.
Well, they said that a guy would be out on the following day to look into things.
Since the next day was a Sunday I thought that this was pretty wunnerful service and looked forward in happy expectation to the Niceman Cometh.
'Course, nobody showed up on Sunday. So I called Scumcast when I got home on Monday evening and was told that the service tech had called and that no one was home.
I had been home all day. There are four phones in this house. When the phone is busy or not answered, it is picked up by Verizon Voicemail.
I think somebody was maybe telling a fib.
During the fib phone call I was informed that nobody could come out until the following Saturday because somebody had to be home, so that Scumcast could check on the results of their efforts on my behalf.
That's when I informed them of my suspicion that the problem was a result of Scumcast's imperfect installation of the underground cable that runs from the pole on the street to the interface on the exterior of my crib.
I call the installation imperfect because they had run the cable without sealing the ends of the conduit, so that both ends were open to the weather, which means that water got into the conduit, which means that, freeze/thaw cycles being what they are - the freakin' cable was prolly compromised in some way.
Now, I had dug the trench with my own hands and I had put stone in the trench with my own hands and I had fit the conduit together with my own hands and I had backfilled with my own hands and I had capped off both ends of that conduit with my own hands and I know that the sumbitch was water tight and buried deep enough to be on spec.
Made no nevermind to the Scumcast lady, She demanded that somebody be home.
That meant that I wouldn't see a guy until the next Saturday.
This young dude came on Saturday and agreed right off that the problem was probably caused by the imperfect installation of the underground cable. We agreed that the best solution would be to run a temporary aerial cable to the house until the Spring thaw and that, at that point, Scumcast would do a proper underground installation of fresh cable.
Good Enough.
The young Scumcast dude had me sign a waiver so that the Scumcast peoples could work at my house without me being there and said that another tech would be out on Thursday to install the temporary aerial cable.
Came home Thursday night and saw no evidence that Scumcast had been around.
Called the ever helpful service lady and asked, "Wassup?"
The EHSL said that the call had been completed.
?
An hour later another (different) young Scumcast dude called to say that he was sorry that he couldn't make it that day but would schedule a guy for Friday.
Good Enough.
Came home Friday night and saw no evidence of Scumcast having been around.
Called the EHSL and she said that the call had been completed.
By now I'm starting to get a little loud.
I wound up telling the EHSL that I would check on things in the daylight and get back to her.
This morning I looked at the pole and saw that someone had indeed been there and had cut off the connectors (leaving the waste piece of wire lying in the road) and put new connectors on with a pretty fancy weathercap to cover them. No aerial cable. No change in signal strength.
I called the EHSL and said that the tech had not completed the agreed upon installation of the temporary aerial line and had simply cut the coax and put new connectors on.
The EHSL told me that a new service call could not be scheduled until the next day that someone could be home - a week later.
That's when I started to get really loud.
Now, I spent a large portion of my professional life running construction projects and getting subcontractors to perform to some minimal level of competence - I had learned how to be loud.
I asked to speak to the person who managed and scheduled the service techs (as I had every intention of cutting him a new one and wanted it to be personal like).
"I'm sorry but the dispatch branch is not available for direct interaction with customers.", said the EHSL.
I told her that I knew damned well where they hid out and that I was on my way over there as soon as I hung up the phone.
"Let me get back to you, Sir."
Good Enough.
A person who identified themselves as a Service Supervisor called to say that they would me to sign a waiver to allow them to work on the property while I wasn't there. I told the SS that I had already signed such a waiver with the first young dude that had come out on the previous Saturday.
"I'm sorry, Sir but we have no record of that."
"Let me explain to you how this is going to go." says I, while trying not to hyperventilate.
"If this line is not run by Monday morning at 6:00am, I'm going to call my electrical contractor and have him correct the problem. He will do this in a short amount of time but he will charge a lot of money for it and I will backcharge Scumcast for his services, as well as adding a hefty fee for my own time in managing the problem on Scumcast's behalf. When I submit our bill, it will be on the letterhead of my attorney."
"Let me get back to you, Sir."
Good Enough.
Fifteen minutes went by.
"A service representative will be out to assist you today, Sir." came the voice of the EHSL in a following call.
Comes 7:30pm ('bout half an hour ago) and another (different from the first two) young dude calls to say that he's sorry that he couldn't make it today - would anyone be home tomorrow?
Will the Niceman Cometh?
I never did care for construction management.
It's the agita.
Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker (ret) Real Email is: tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet Website: http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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@hotmail.com says...

... snip of long tale of woe

Tom,
    My sympathies, your story does, however, make me feel a little (and only a little) better about my Direcway satellite broadband. Just to make you feel better, your service is somewhat better than users of satellite broadband experience. To make me feel better, you relate that at least cable modem users have problems also.
    I too have been suffering from dropouts and poor signal for the past 9 months. Your advantages? At least you are not talking to someone in India whose idea of solving the problem is to have the user unhook the satellite modem cable and run my fingers over the pins to exorcise the demons of static.
    Each call for service is an exercise in patience, first you get routed to India where some polite lady or gentlman, name Hundel, Jen, or Xavier wants me to try the remove static incantation before I can tell them we've already tried that, I have some parts I need installed, it's been 6 months, think you could get somebody out here? One thing you can say for these folks in India, they are great at apologizing -- doesn't do anybody any good, but they are sorry. That gets you transferred to "advanced technical support" which is a bounce back the the US of A. That bounce usually results in a message indicating that "due to unusually heavy call volumes, the wait time will be 78 minutes. After we finally resolved that my problem was not static, but possibly a bad LNB (low noise block), DW sent me a new modem and LNB, but I needed to have them install the LNB because the FCC won't allow self-installs for two-way satellite systems. It took 6 months to get an installer out (even longer story). When the installer came out, he indicated that the system was not initially installed correctly, the installers used the wrong cable and had not properly grounded the system. His hope was that the installation of the modem and LNB would solve the problem. His problem was that he was only authorized to do that install, since he was an independent contractor he wouldn't be paid for any additional work. My subsequent call to DW, going through the India, to USA, to long wait, to USA "advanced" support person resulted in the statement that since it had been so long since my system was installed, they would not fix it, the cable I had was probably just marked wrong -- they wouldn't use the wrong cable, but that they would send someone out to ground the system. I argued for some time, thought I had the situation remedied and waited for the installer to call. When the installer called, he informed me all he had been authorized to do was ground the system. I told him I would not authorize DW to fix a code violation to cover their ass while leaving an obviously defective installation behind. If the installation was code-deficient, it was not unreasonable to conclude that other mistakes were made -- if DW wants to maintain the liability of code-deficient installation, they are welcome to do so until they also fix the other problems. ... and here I sit, I have broadband satellite about 15 out of 24 hours (on a revolving basis), lose signal if the sun goes behind the clouds or the wind is in the wrong direction. If I find an alternative, I'll dump DW so fast it won't be funny.
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Tom,
Scumcast probably had to eliminate most of their technicians because their spending all of their money running commercials telling everyone how bad satellite TV is.
It would be nice to have a choice of cable companies just to insert a little competition into the market. -- Al Reid
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." --- Mark Twain

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snipped-for-privacy@reidHyphenhome.com says...

There you do have competition. Satellite TV is great, better service, cheaper, more channels. Hughes can't do satellite broadband to save their souls, but they have DirectTV down right. I've been using it since '98 when Paragon Cable in TX announced their annual 10% fee increase and decided I had enough of paying more while never getting any additional channels or new features.
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Al Reid wrote:

Amen. I hate Adelphia.
OTOH, the whole idea of competition among phone/electric/water/etc. is fundamentally pretty stupid, since the wire/pipe/whatever on your house is physically connected to Company X no matter who you pay for the service.
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You have a provider company and a serving company. If you check your bill, they're both taking their share.
Of course they can't route a bolus of natural gas to their customers, merely take a portion of the pool as their share, just like the "follow me" cell phone I, and probably you, as a truckdriver carry. A or B system, home or roam are now just words.

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It sounds like you have been put through hell, and I feel for you. I had a similar experience here with Speakeasy DSL. I will spare everyone the details but it involved multiple service calls, missed appointment, and all of the usual stuff.
When Comcast first offered cable modems in my area I, and most of my neighborhood, immediatately made the switch. With the exception of a few billing screw-ups, that were always in their favor, they have been wonderful. I have only had a couple of short service interruptions in about two years.
Bob McBreen
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check the connections to your cable modem and any other coax connections you can get to.
We started suffering from dropped cable modem connections about a year after having it installed. My son who spends too much time gaming on the internet was really frustrated. It turned out to be a loose connection into the cable modem.
PS I had debated going DSL but after all this time we still can get DSL where we live
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you can also do wireless broadband but several companies here in denver have tired but gone under (really a problem after spending $1000 on the hardware).
william kossack wrote:

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I love working for "general" like that. Have the work done, charge a decent wage for your time and back-charge the buggers....
Then again, I did bill Home Depot once.....and got paid <g!>
Rob
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Tom,
back in '97 in Kennesaw GA my neighbour put a new phone line in. In the process, I lost my cable due to the phone guy digging it up. Cable guy comes and fixes the line - cuts my neighbours cable. Neighbour's cable guy comes out and cuts off my phone line after fixing his cable. My phone company comes out and fixes phone line. Neighbour can be heard bawling in the street because his newly installed phone line is cut off and we're back where we started three weeks earlier.
Original phone guy returns to fix the line he installed and says "what idiot did this?" after looking at an 8' square patch of ground that has been dug to death in recent weeks. Both the neighbour and I tell him exactly which idiot did it. Neighbour - who is a very large guy, with no sense of humour whatsoever, tells the phone guy that he WILL stay until all services are proven to be working.
We both get a beer and sit down to watch the guy do the repair, wives check all systems are go and give the thumbs up through the curtains. Hole is filled in and repair guy disappears at mach speed. Neighbour and I survey our lawns - both covered in bright orange and lime paint, mud and general mess. Neighbour says "we should have buried the guy in the hole", then walks inside.
I feel your pain.
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Great anecdote. Thanks for sharing.
wrote:

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This is not at all atypical of Scumcast. I pity the poor folks who don't know enough of the technical stuff - they get hosed even more royally (if that's possible).
They keep calling me and asking me to add services and I keep tellin' 'em that they can't handle the basic stuff, and why would I want to burden them (or me) further.
Renata
wrote:

--snip--
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Hmmmm, interesting this should pop up. My dear old mother just got Alltel DSL a little while ago. It sux! Sometimes takes overnight for her to receive email from me or any of my siblings. I told her to check with the cable company, Comcast. I've had cable internet for years now and love it. Albeit with Insight now, it started out as @home. So I guess I should tell her to stay with her crappy Alltel DSL instead of Comcast cable?
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wrote:

<snip of good story>

I hadn't felt good about Time Warner until reading your story. For all of TWs screw ups, they look like models of efficiency compared to "scumcast"
Initial install of my stuff 17 years ago was completed by a monkey crimping the connectors to the cable with pliers. I replace them myself. Cable started going out eventually, I didn't argue with them, I got Dishnetwork instead.
I called TW to put a cable modem in years later, cable was upgraded to fiber and now seems to be reliable.
Good luck dealing with your company.
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