Comcast sales shenanigans land cable company in hot water on Capitol Hill

If you needed another reason to not like the cable company, Comcast seems to be giving Capitol Hill apartment dwellers a good one. Its practice of contracting sales to people who use pushy, aggressive and sometimes illegal tactics to enter area buildings may have finally gone too far. There were no arrests Friday night but the actions of two of these contractors riled up the wrong person, spread through Twitter and caught the attention of the local TV crews.

CHS and other neighborhood news sites have reported on situations involving sales contractors and run-ins with residents over the years but the problem continues. In August, we posted this note from Toby to our Facebook page:

 ”Earlier today a guy in a comcast jacket and hat rang the buzzer at my building and claimed to be letting me know about a free cable box that was being shipped to me on a trial basis. He said he just needed to confirm with my ID. I refused to show it to him, because it sounded strange, but he eventually left and continued down the street. Later, I contacted comcast online and they were unable to confirm this offer, and when I asked whether it was a scam, they thought that perhaps it was. I reported it to the police, who were going to cruise the neighborhood (near 12th and John) to see if they found anyone matching the description. Unfortunately, it had been 30+ minutes by the time I contacted them, so they didn’t think they’d find anyone. “

What followed was a series of “me too” responses and email about the rough behavior. And a police incident on September 1st:


OMG. The evil Comcast dude just accosted my next door neighbor. My neighbor called our landlady to tell her this guy was in our building again and the Comcast dude tried to wrench the phone out of his hand! My neighbor called the police and everything…. Drama.

Friday night, two of these Comcast sales contractors picked the wrong Capitol Hill apartment building for their shenanigans.

Here’s how Capitol Hill resident Valerie Bauman, a reporter for the Puget Sound Business Journal, described the incident to KING 5 News:

“They said they were contractors for Comcast and had the authority to be there and showed me this card and I mean, I’ve got a deck of cards, I can pull out the queen but I’m not royalty,” she said.

They eventually left, but came back.

“One of them smiled at me and said, are the police on their way ma’am?” said Bauman.

Valerie, who had seen our posts about the problem, says her complaints to Comcast got a response this weekend:

She also said Comcast is working to track down the other contractor so he, too, is no longer authorized for sales by the company. You can expect more on the Comcast problem from her PSBJ reporting, too.

Here is a statement from a company official on the incidents:

On behalf of Comcast, I want to offer my apologies to our customers. We are taking these complaints very seriously. As a policy, we do not tolerate overly aggressive, inappropriate behavior from the door to door sales people employed directly by Comcast or by our contractor companies and will take steps to ensure that incidents like this do not happen again. If anyone witnesses unacceptable behavior from any door to door sales person representing Comcast, we encourage you to call 1-800-COMCAST to lodge a complaint.

We’d suggest letting @comcastcares know if you have any reports of similar behavior.

30 thoughts on “Comcast sales shenanigans land cable company in hot water on Capitol Hill

  1. The same thing happened at my apartment 19th ave East. How did this person get into my building? The “salesperson” would not take no for an answer. I thought it was over with,but the next day, my email access was blocked. I had to call Comcast and they said that I had signed up for voice service and the “contractor” took over my email address for service. I had to spend my luch hour getting this straightened out and change all of my passwords.

  2. Is it legal to kick the shit out of one of them due to the unauthorized access of a secure building, they are clearly breaking the law?

  3. We had a pushy one come to our door (opening the gate that says “No Soliciting”) to tell us “I’m not trying to sell anything”, then immediately tried to sell us cable/phone/internet/endless suffering. Sometimes it’s nice to have a big dog (though she wouldn’t have done more than aggressively licked him), he didn’t bother us for long..

  4. Same thing happened at Broadway and Pike. Someone let the Comcast “representative” into my building. He was pounding on my door, and wouldn’t stop. Said he was in the building to inform me that, due to street car construction, I might be experiencing some interruptions to my service, and not to be alarmed. He then asked to see my cable boxes, then asked to see my photo ID. He told me what a nice computer I have. I asked him to leave, but he hesitated, so I asked him to leave immediately, and he finally did. When I saw the news report on TV, I realized that, even though I think I’m too savvy to be scammed, I nearly was. Frightening.

  5. Unfortunately since we are customers of COMCAST they may contact us about our ‘service’ and this is not like sales cold calling in the eye of the law. They have a business relationship with us. I was annoyed that my door got knocked on twice in one week in a ‘secure’ building, but I don’t let them get into their pitch.

    COMCAST upgraded some of the networks around the hill and have been trying to up sell all their customers here. I got a BS email about how they were doubling my speeds.

  6. I only have the most basic cable and no cable box. (I only wanted internet access and no TV service, but it’s cheaper to ‘bundle’ and just ignore the TV.)

    Anyway, I got a letter from Comcast they were updating their system to all digital and I would need to call a number to get a free digital converter to continue to get the basic cable. I called the number and it was sales :(

    I think they are using the upgrade as a way to upsell folks. I ignored calling sales thought I would wait and see what happens. (I don’t really want the TV anyway.)

  7. This is why I have DSL with CLink. When I did have Comcast three years ago, the internet service was constantly dropping and crawling at a snails pace during the afternoon. Dropped them like a hot potato and have never looked back.

  8. One of them buzzed my apartment at 9am a couple weeks ago and said she needed into the building to repair some network equipment. She then proceeded to go door-to-door in the building, asking people to upgrade or whatever. Won’t fall for that again.

  9. This happened a couple of days ago to me, but I guess I was stupid and didn’t really think how he got into my building because I figured he was there for business. The guy was very nice and ended up giving us free cable for a month, free Showtime for a year, and the new router he sent is working 2x as fast as our old one. I asked him a billion questions about payments and renewals to try to not get scammed, but now I’m afraid he might have scammed me anyway. I guess I’ll just pay close attention to my next bills and be ready for some angry phone calls…

  10. Same thing happened to the building I was staying in last month. We all got letters on our doors saying explaining the same situation as previously mentioned. The tenant had been buzzed several times at the front and apparently someone else in the building eventually let the salespeople in. However, the targeted tenant did not answer their personal door.

    I ended up seeing the “Comcast” salespeople walking around the area of Summit Ave and Republican St a couple of days later. There were three of them, all fairly young and professional looking.

  11. Kelly, I got the same letter (basic cable & internet only). I tried the online account look-up that was presented as another option in the letter since I hate phones & of course they had an “error” and I have to call. Thinking I might just wait it out as well.

    Stories like this make me very thankful that not only is my building secured entry, but each floor is secured as well (with no bell, so someone would have to go open the door personally).

  12. I had the same situation. If your tv isn’t an HDTV capable of accepting digital signals, when they do that switch-over you won’t get any TV as they’re taking the analog signals off. If you have an HDTV you don’t need to do anything. You can still get basic cable with no box, and the signals will be in HD, too (though they don’t like to admit that). I’ve had this for yrs since I ditched my DISH network. Local-only channels costs me about $13 a month and they come in HDTV, too.

  13. Comcast will give you a free wireless N router just for asking for it. You can pay $10 for shipping or I think you can pick it up at their place for free. You don’t need some cheezy sales guy to get it for you.

  14. jom,

    If he doesn’t know the answer to that question then he really is stupid.

    You remember when your teacher told you there are no stupid questions. Rob just proved your teacher wrong.

    Wondering about you now.

  15. This happened at my apartment building at Boylston and Pike as well. Dude was very aggressive when my boyfriend started questioning his being there. Not cool. I told him to brush it off, now I wish I had let him get on the guy’s case a little more.

  16. Similar thing happened to me but it was in the form of a box on our door with a new piece of hardware I had not ordered. When I called Comcast to ask them why they had sent it they told me about switching to all digital signal but couldnt give a date as to when it would happen since it’s been pushed back many times. When I pressed them more for a date they put me on hold for a while and came back to say they think it will happen sometime in January of 2013. After that, I asked them to send me a return label so I could send back the piece of equipment I never ordered/don’t want. Like Kelly, we only wanted the internet but it was cheaper to get basic/internet and we don’t want their clunky components.

  17. Why would you send it back, if they’re not charging you anything for it? Unless you already have an HDTV and just don’t need it. Or don’t have a tv at all. Now, if you do have a tv that doesn’t accept digital signals, you won’t get any tv at all. Which I guess if fine if you have no tv.

  18. Our main TV is HD, we have HDMI from the computer into the TV so we can watch all we need to through the internet that way . No need to hold onto another component. Nothing is “free,” I’m sure they would want it back if/when we cancel service with Comcast and I’d rather not store their equipment until then. If we ever do need it, I can get another one from them, until then, they can have it back.

  19. Though I think my encounter was a total con. A couple months back I happened to be getting my mail when a Comcast rep showed up at the door. Said he was there on a service call and demanded I let him in. I told him he should perhaps contact the customer he was supposedly there to see. He didn’t care for having the obvious pointed out to him and got really insistent, which made me all the less willing to oblige. Left him with my certainty that his appointment would show up sometime between noon and 5pm and walked away…

  20. About a year ago one of these itinerant comcast salespeople came by and i let her do the pitch because i was feeling bored. It sounded like a clearly better deal, and i got her to write in exemptions to all the gotchas i could think of.

    Then comcast took over and did their best to fuck me. I knocked them back several times by spending long periods of time going over the contract i had with them on the phone, but eventually the 6 month special offer wwas up, and they unilaterally decided that since their categories of service had changed in the intereim, my promised price post-6 mos was void, and they doubled it.

    This kind of ill-will isn’t just bought; they really have to work for it. And believe it or not, i actually feel some empathy for the original salesperson. It was pretty obvious she was just trying to do a job and go home toher kids–i am sure she would have chosen a different job if it had been up to her.

  21. DPT2,

    Obviously you spend too much time talking out of your ass and making stupid comments about things you know nothing about. Who gives a fuck what you’re wondering about, it’s nothing insightful that’s for sure.

    As JimmyCap said, ‘Go away Troll’

  22. I used to live in Ann Arbor, MI. An older, kinda-skeevy looking street person, driving a ratty old pickup with magnetic Comcast signs came onto my property. I asked him what he was doing, and he said it was none of my business. I explained — politely — that as I owned the property, it most ertainly WAS my business, that we had DirectTV, not Comcast, and that he should leave. He shoved me. I guess he didn’t know that I had spent 14 years as a cop in a major urban area and didn’t like being shoved by street people. He also didn’t know I had a dog. A big dog, who had left a HUGE pile nearby. Ole Gomer wound up face down in the dog poo, while my wife called the cops. Turned out Mr Comcast had several dozen prior arrests for burglary, but had still been hired by Comcast to check for “signal leaks”. So now he can add trespassing, assault, and breach of peace to his accomplishments.

    Comcast… the bleeding anal wart of the TV world.