Getting Cable -- You'd think Free=Good? No.
May 23, 2012 7:14 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to sign up for cable and internet at my new house that I just bought. One problem: the previous owner is out of the country and he has yet to disconnect his service. How can I get (in this case Comcast) to allow me to start a new account at my house?
posted by sandmanwv to Technology (12 answers total)
Have you actually called Comcast? I'm sure they would be more than happy to let two people pay for service to the same house.

Seriously, just call them. They're supposed to run new line to the house anyway when they do a fresh install, so the previous owner's service shouldn't matter at all.

You could also just hook into the previous owner's line until he gets around to shutting it off, and worry about setting it up for yourself whenever it gets resolved.
posted by phunniemee at 7:30 PM on May 23, 2012

You may need to go to a Comcast office with proof of property ownership for them to start your account. I'm moving next week and if the previous tenants haven't disconnected their service, Time Warner said I could just show them a copy of my lease.
posted by lucysparrow at 7:41 PM on May 23, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks phunnie.. I actually did talk to them (online chat,though) and they told me that the previous account at the address needed disconnected before I could create a new account.

I should be good with cable until I get a new account, but I'm not sure if I can register my new cable modem until it's disconnected.

I'm just looking for anything I should say or have (i.e. like a house contract, other bill, etc) when I speak to Comcast!Thanks!
posted by sandmanwv at 7:42 PM on May 23, 2012

They are not "supposed" to run new lines when they start new service. That would not make sense. Just call them and tell them that you bought the house, and their beef is with the other guy. You'd like to give them money, and don't really care about their bureaucracy. That ought to get it done.
posted by gjc at 7:57 PM on May 23, 2012

Best answer: Interesting. Maybe it's because I've only ever rented, but I've never encountered them not letting you double up service.

Regardless, you should call them and keep asking to be transferred until you find someone who will let you do what you want. There have been times when I have used their online chat thing multiple times for the same problem, and received answers that were not only different, but actually in direct contradiction to one another. I don't think the chat folks are very well trained in handling real life questions. If it deviates from their script even a little bit, some of them tend to get really lost and spout nonsense.

Call, explain your situation, and don't hang up until you've found someone who can fix it. Eventually you'll find someone who will. (Be prepared, though, to have to call them again in a month when they forget and randomly cut off service or send you a double bill or some other nonsense because they didn't log the previous conversation into the computer properly...)

Good luck! Comcast is a PITA to deal with, and you have my sympathies.
posted by phunniemee at 7:58 PM on May 23, 2012

I heartily recommend calling Comcast, outsourced - online chat help is pretty much useless.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:09 PM on May 23, 2012

I've run into this as a renter before, and Time Warner asked to see a utility bill or a copy of my lease to verify my address. Nthing call them and talk to a live person.
posted by donajo at 8:39 PM on May 23, 2012

Call them. This happened to me with Comcast. The CSR called the previous tenant but said I could also go to a service center with a lease or utility bill to prove I lived there and they could disconnect it that way.
posted by aloysius on the mixing boards at 8:56 PM on May 23, 2012

Agreed with all the above comments about calling Comcast directly, especially if you can get ahold of someone local to your area; most larger markets served by Comcast have their own call and/or service centers. I was in the same situation when I moved into my current apartment, and I called their basic number until I got someone from Minneapolis who was more than understanding about disconnecting the previous renters' service. Just make sure you cancel the right apartment number/name so that someone isn't randomly without internet! (Also happened to me.)
posted by nigeline at 10:46 PM on May 23, 2012

Best answer: I work for a large cable company (not Comcast). This is extremely common and it would be bizarre for Comcast not to encounter it on a regular basis. The procedure would be for the rep to call the person with the active account, and if they can't get a hold of them to then confirm that you aren't confused about the address. If you aren't sure, we would probably then send someone to field to meet you to confirm you do live at this active account. This will take extra time, so to be safe try to sound like you know that you live there (eg "I'm already receiving mail at this address I just gave you"). They will then disconnect the account in the other party's name (and mail something indicating that they did this to the mailing address on file) and continue the order with you as though you've moved into an account with active service already (thus not requiring someone to go out there to connect it, probably just needing for you to come into the office to sign the agreement, pick up the equipment, and possibly set up recurring payments or show proof of residency).

Interestingly enough, the most common result of this is an angry follow up call from the previous resident asking why their internet went off. The reason for this is that they just took their modem to a new address that already had an active line for any number of reasons (bulk service contract apartment building, line not being trapped after previous resident disconnected service, etc) and the modem would sync up with an active bootfile because it shows in the system that it is attached to an active paying account.

I'm pretty sure that they would never "double up service" at an address, as a policy like that sounds like it is just asking for a lawsuit, but I could also see a non-local rep giving you the run around. Asking for a supervisor helps a lot if you aren't getting the answer that you need; it also allows them to escalate things to the local division without having to guess a magic reason that fits their narrow criteria for escalation.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 2:38 AM on May 24, 2012

Whenever I have a problem with Comcast, I send a tweet to @comcastcares and Bill Gerth or one of the other online reps gets on it right away. And they follow up with me to make sure my problem was taken care of.
posted by Joleta at 9:12 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have faxed a copy of my lease to Time Warner every single time I've moved in the last 5 years (6 times) because the person before me NEVER shuts off their old service. Maybe I'm just following the same lazy ass around Austin.

Every time this has worked. I find it hard to believe that Comcast doesn't have this under control.
posted by magnetsphere at 12:40 PM on May 28, 2012

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