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Is Comcast’s service now bad enough to kill you?

August 26th, 2014 at 11:35 AM

We’ve known for a while now that Comcast’s customer service is incredibly bad, but we never imagined that it could be potentially lethal… until now. Two new stories have just cropped up that show how Comcast’s subpar service might not just be headache-inducing but potentially life-threatening as well.

The first one, written by well-known analyst Rob Enderle over at TechNewsWorld, explains how Comcast disconnected his Internet and phone service without telling him while making a network upgrade in his neighborhood and then took “a few days” to get it back online even though he called the company via his cell phone the minute he saw that his service was down. Apparently Comcast will shut off your service during upgrades if it detects any line noise coming from your building and will only turn it back on again once you call the company to request it.

Enderle understands why Comcast relies on homeowners to notify the company that their service is down because it can be tricky to notify everyone that there might be service interruptions, particularly when so many people go on vacation in the summer. Nonetheless, he says that this is potentially dangerous, especially because it takes the company a ridiculously long time to send a technician back out to reconnect your home.

“Home fire and security systems typically use phone lines to report problems, and folks in hospice care at home often have medical equipment connected through the home’s phone or Internet lines,” he writes. “People often have medical problems or break-ins that require a call to 911 — and they may not know their phone isn’t working until they need to make the critical call.”

Amazingly, this is only the first potentially deadly Comcast blunder we’ve heard about this week. The second comes to us courtesy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which informs us that a major Comcast data breach has exposed the personal information of more than 74,000 customers in California who had unlisted numbers. As the EFF points out, these are people “who had paid for their personal information to be unlisted” for various reasons, including personal safety.

“They have put my life in danger & this is not the littlest bit of exaggerating,” wrote one affected customer in a formal complaint against Comcast. “I’m tired of getting the runaround & have now contacted corporate office, being paraplegic already how am I suppose [sic] to protect myself from a man that has threatened to kill me.”

Comcast told the California Public Utilities Commission that it first became aware of this potentially deadly breach in October of 2012 although the EFF says that “the Commission has found complaints about wrongly published unlisted numbers from more than two years earlier.”

Let’s be fair to Comcast here, though: Running a major cable company is hard work, especially when you’re tight on money after doling out $19 million per year on lobbying expenses and after almost spending $110,000 to honor a current FCC commissioner at the same time you’re trying to merge with Time Warner Cable. There are priorities to be maintained, after all.

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