Business

CONSUMER ALERT

This cold call from Comcast is not a scam

Comcast may offer to send a technician if it identifies a service issue.

Tannen Maury/European PressPhoto Agency

Comcast may offer to send a technician if it identifies a service issue.

The phone call seemed suspicious. Caller ID said it was Comcast on the line but the number was unlisted. The voice mail the caller left inquired about sending a technician to the reader’s home to fix a problem he didn’t even know he had. Figuring it was unlikely the cable giant was offering proactive troubleshooting, the reader concluded it must be a scam.

Comcast, however, confirms that the call did indeed originate with them and the offer is genuine. Surprised? You’re not alone.

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Many consumers don’t know that Comcast runs an outreach program to identify potential service and equipment problems or maintenance needs. The company then contacts customers and offers to address the issue. Perhaps your cable box is out of date, for example, or your modem is slower than it should be. Sometimes these issues require a visit from a technician; other times they can be remedied with a self-install kit of new equipment.

A Comcast spokesman declined to say how long the company had been taking this approach, but said it was not a new initiative.

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Customers often have not noticed any problem before hearing from Comcast. At the same time, would-be conmen are everywhere, and cable companies don’t generally enjoy a stellar reputation for customer service. So how can you tell whether a call you receive is an authentic offer and not a scammer trying to wheedle his way into your home?

First, look for other contacts from Comcast. In general, a customer identified by this process will be contacted by e-mail, mail, or even text in addition to a phone call, the company said. If still in doubt, call 1-800-COMCAST, chat with a representative online, or stop in to an Xfinity retail location to talk to a customer service agent to confirm the initial contact was legitimate.

Be prepared to be persistent, however. The reader who originally wrote to me had contacted Comcast after receiving the first call he found suspicious. If the first person you talk to doesn’t sound conclusive — if he says something like “I don’t see anything in the record” — ask to speak with someone more senior.

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As for the reader who originally brought this practice to my attention? Comcast will be sending a tech to his house this week.

Have a consumer question or complaint? Reach Sarah Shemkus at seshemkus@gmail.com.
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