dslreports logo
site
spacer

spacer
 
   
spc
story category
Comcast Fails to Notice Alarm System Offline for 7 Years
by Karl Bode 08:16AM Tuesday Jun 03 2014 Tipped by FureverFurry See Profile
In what's not exactly a ringing endorsement of Comcast's real-time monitoring for their security services, the Consumerist notes that Comcast failed to notice that an alarm system installed by the company hadn't been operational -- for seven years. Comcast didn't appear to have problems collecting payments for the service for those seven years according to Houston's KRPC. Comcast offered a $20 credit for the inconvenience, and is quick to point out the user didn't adhere to the user agreement by testing the system on a regular basis.


65 comments .. click to read

Recommended comments




ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

2 recommendations

reply to ITGeeks

Re: Please...

They do? We never had to do that with ADT and when we went offline for more than a few hours, we were being called due to a trouble condition.

elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

2 recommendations

reply to davidc502
That's bs. An alarm system has a heartbeat, and if Comcast is collecting money and doesn't see a notification then they should contact the customer. Falling back on customer testing for a product that is supposed to be a "critical" device and a SERVICE is fraud in my book. It's not like $30 for something that costs 5 cents for the month, they couldn't lob a call in from India, maybe after a few days--er or years.

What is more preposterous, is that they kept all the money. If you think it's bad now, wait until they merge, then you will be guilty until not proven innocent by an arbitrator.

I know a few people who own alarm businesses and they laugh. I am kidding you not but margins can be over 90 points on alarm monitoring. It's one of the most profitable old skool technologies where with margins like that, you should have concierge service.

For my system (which costs under $10), if the network connection goes offline for 5 minutes, I automatically get a text, and then a call. When it's resumed it tells me so. In fact this is a reliable way to know my internet is down.


camper
Premium
join:2010-03-21
Bethel, CT
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

2 recommendations

reply to ITGeeks
said by ITGeeks:

Not when its the Customers responsibility to READ the instructions. It is NOT the company's fault the customer failed to read.

Let me take a different approach here.

What if the customer had read the agreement, tested the alarm and noticed that Comcast was not monitoring it. Where would the fault be?

In that instance, the fault would be squarely in Comcast's lap, because Comcast blew the install of the monitoring service. Fortunately, the customer caught Comcast's mistake and it was corrected early.

OK, so the issue that many people here seem to have is the fact that seven years went by before the problem was noticed. That still does not change the apparent fact that Comcast did an install that did not work and did not check to see if the install worked.


camper
Premium
join:2010-03-21
Bethel, CT
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

6 recommendations

reply to aaronwt
said by aaronwt:

To me it just sounds crazy that someone would have an alarm system for seven years and never test it.

I agree with that.

However....

To me it sounds crazier to purport to be a home alarm system monitoring service, and not even notice that an alarm system has not been monitored for seven years.

Why did even one week go by without Comcast notice that it was responsible for an alarm system and that alarm system was not being monitored?

Comcast is selling a monitoring service. This incident was a big fail for Comcast's monitoring service.

I would expect something along the lines of the following process:

1) alarm system is installed

2) alarm system is entered into monitoring system

3) before the order is closed out, a check is made to assure monitoring system is monitoring the alarm system

4) order is closed out

5) until a "do not monitor" order is processed, continue to monitor the alarm system on a regular (hourly, daily, weekly?) basis.

I'm thinking that in this incident, (4) was done without (2) or (3) being performed.

Once again, Comcast is providing a monitoring service, Comcast should have the appropriate process in place to prevent these types of incidents, without requiring the homeowner to catch Comcast's epic fails.


JimThePCGuy
Formerly known as schja01.
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-27
Morton Grove, IL

2 recommendations

There are proactive alternatives

My folks had a monitoring service and if they did not check in every month the service called them and if that didn't work a technician was dispatched to their home. The provider was not Comcast.


davidc502

join:2002-03-06
Mount Juliet, TN
kudos:1
Reviews:
·TDS

5 recommendations

reply to aaronwt

Re: Please...

said by aaronwt:

The only fault here lies with the user of the alarm system for not using it properly.

That is CRAZY! Never blame your customers who are paying and depending on you to provide a service.
--
Cord Cutter Hauppauge DTV Tuner Card PlayOn.tv Hulu.com Netflix.com Windows Media Center Guide.
Here's how »homes.yahoo.com/news/how-to-pay-···275.html


aaronwt
Premium
join:2004-11-07
Woodbridge, VA

3 recommendations

reply to camper
said by camper:

A problem like this indicates that there was (is?) something wrong in Comcast's process for monitoring the alarm systems.

While it would be nice to see more details on the exact problem, I still have to wonder how Comcast can install a system, and not verify that the alarm system is active or not verify on a regular basis that the system continues to be active.

In other words, how/why did this alarm system fall through the cracks? What can be done to prevent other alarm systems from falling through the cracks? These are the questions that should be answered.

What can be done is that the owner of the alarm system should have read the instructions. With ANY alarm system you are supposed to test it regularly. The only fault here lies with the user of the alarm system for not using it properly.

To me it just sounds crazy that someone would have an alarm system for seven years and never test it. It would be crazy to go months without testing it let alone years. Again, read the instructions. They obviously did not know how to use it.


aaronwt
Premium
join:2004-11-07
Woodbridge, VA

2 recommendations

I don't see how this is Comcast's fault...

Any person with an alarm system needs to check it regularly. Otherwise there is no way to know it's working properly. The only one to blame is the user of the system.


JeepMatt
C'mon the U
Premium
join:2001-12-28
Wilmington, DE
kudos:3

3 recommendations

Please...

This is 1 rare example. The Home product is outstanding - and yes - these people are morons if they never had an inkling in SEVEN years that something wasn't working.
--
"ONE team - ONE city - ONE dream!!"