Comcast makes me paranoid
May 30, 2019 9:17 AM   Subscribe

Would Comcast fine me for having a security sign in my yard, even though we don't use their security service?

When we moved into our home, we noticed that the place had been set-up with Comcast's home security system. We didn't have security as part of our Comcast account, and didn't want it, so we simply disabled the system. Of course, there was one of those "Protected by Comcast" signs in the corner of one of the front flower beds, and we just kind of ignored it.

Today, I happen to look out the window and there's a Comcast truck stopped in front and the driver is snapping a pic of my house with his phone. I couldn't figure out what he was doing, when it suddenly occurred to me that that sign was still out front. Now I'm paranoid that Comcast is going to hit me with some kind of huge surcharge for "using" a Comcast service without paying for it.

I know Comcast are evil f***s, but do they pull crap like that? For a sign?
posted by Thorzdad to Grab Bag (8 answers total)
Don't worry about it. The absolute worst they can do is ask you to return the sign. They can't charge you for services you haven't received.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 9:29 AM on May 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

Not meaning to threadsit, but I thought I need to clarify where my paranoia takes my thinking...

In my mind, I can imagine a scenario where Comcast argues that I did use their security services, since the sign itself can act as a first-line deterrent to burglars. And, thus, I get hit with a huge surcharge.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:35 AM on May 30, 2019

Do they charge for a "sign-only security service" option? If not, I can't see how they could. They may ask you to remove the sign though.
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 9:50 AM on May 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

You're also providing them with free advertising. Pretty sure they can't charge you for an intangible value. I'd bet that if you hear anything about this later it will be a sales call to try to convince you to reinstate.
posted by Mchelly at 9:56 AM on May 30, 2019 [7 favorites]

If the sign was so important to them, it was incumbent upon them to go retrieve it or for the previous owner to return it. Either way, it's not your responsibility to manage their signage when it's just been abandoned in your yard. If they try to charge you for anything at all (I very much doubt this will happen), ask them to produce the contract where you agreed to use and pay for their service. An abandoned sign is not a contract.
posted by quince at 11:16 AM on May 30, 2019 [7 favorites]

> In my mind, I can imagine a scenario where Comcast argues that I did use their security services, since the sign itself can act as a first-line deterrent to burglars. And, thus, I get hit with a huge surcharge.

This is incredibly unlikely to happen, but since your mind is going there, one way to put your mind at ease is to go through the contract you signed with them for services.

If you've never explicitly opted for security services (or to have the sign in your yard) and agreed to be charged for it, in all likelihood you would have a strong legal defense against any potential charges. Your order of operations would be, in increasing order of "totally unlikely to get to this point"

1) Notice charge on your bill for security services, You call customer service and say you never agreed to security services and it's resolved.
2) They say no you used the sign and the bill stays. You ask to be turned over to retention services because you're going to cancel their services over this stupidity....and retention services resolves it for you.
3) RETENTION SERVICES says no we can't do anything about this. You send them an letter with their legal department cc'ed documenting what's occurred and demand that they remove the surcharge or you will sue them and report them to the Attorney general. Legal resolves this for you.
4) Surcharge isn't removed. You file a complaint with the Attorney general and serve small claims lawsuit paperwork on them. Legal resolves this for you before it goes to court.
5) You go to court. The judge laughs in attorney's face and looks at the incredulity of how much time and effort was spent by this company to defend a surcharge over a lawn sign. You get your money back.
posted by Karaage at 11:25 AM on May 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

Is there any kind of above-ground or in-ground utility box in the vicinity? He may have been taking a picture of that, possibly for a neighbor's install issues? Maybe he likes your landscaping? I mean, I think my mind would first jump to something more typical (like, is this dude casing my house) rather than wondering if they're planning to charge for a service you don't have. Please follow up if you hear anything, we're dying to know.
posted by sageleaf at 11:37 AM on May 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I can think of several other reasons Comcast person would take snaps of your house. When we moved into our house many years ago, we received a flyer in the mail for a siding company. I looked at it and the house in the brochure was OUR house. Turns out the previous owner agreed to let them use a picture of the house in exchange for a reduction in price. If Comcast were taking pictures of your house with the sign, maybe they want it for promotional reasons. They like your house and the sign looks good in front of it.

Maybe the person was looking for ideas for their house landscaping or color or design and was adding a picture of your house to their Pinterest board. Maybe they had the wrong address.

Let me ask a question. What if your house had been burglarized with the sign in front? Would you have a claim on them for failing to provide security? If not, and I think not, why would they be able to bill you for security because you had not been burglarized?

I would not worry one lick over this. Next time this happened, I would walk out to the truck, snap their picture and ask what they are doing.
posted by AugustWest at 11:08 PM on May 30, 2019

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