Door-to-door alert from Alki: Casing, or Comcast?

Alma on Alki wanted to get the word out about someone who came to her door tonight – read on for her story:

Someone came to our house (1300 block of Alki) at about 7:15 or 7:30, claiming to be from Comcast. He was holding a clipboard and had a photo ID tag hanging around his neck, although in retrospect I don’t think it said Comcast. He asked if this was the (Alma’s surname) residence, and I said yes. He said they were going to be doing service work on the block next week, and were checking ahead of time to see if there were any service issues we wanted taken care of. I answered his questions, and he left.

We thought it was a little odd, and although we had been just about to go out for dinner, we decided to wait a few minutes so he wouldn’t see us leaving the house right away. As luck would have it, after waiting a few minutes, we walked down the stairs just as he and a woman (both in their 20s) were walking past. :-( She admired the house (it’s one of the flower houses, so that’s nothing unusual), and they got into a silver 4-door sedan and drove off towards Duwamish Head.

At that point, we decided it was just too odd. Unfortunately not in time to get their license plate! I came in and spent about 20 minutes trying to get hold of someone at Comcast to see whether it might be genuine. Comcast told me what I think you’ve already printed in the WSB — 99% of the time, someone from Comcast will be wearing clothing that says Comcast and will be in a Comcast vehicle. They also have photo ID from Comcast.

Thank goodness we have a Dutch door so I only have to open the top half to talk to someone, and thank goodness my husband and grown nephew were walking around in the living room, so they weren’t about to try to come in. Needless to say, we didn’t go out to dinner. :-( I called the police and neighborhood watch folks, and wanted to let you know as well.

28 Replies to "Door-to-door alert from Alki: Casing, or Comcast?"

  • Christine April 28, 2009 (9:08 pm)

    If his name was “Boss White” and he was a tall African-American he is a Comcast person. I had a similar experience a couple of weeks ago and his name badge seemed handmade and weird, so I called Comcast, if they can confirm his ID and after a long, long call and waiting in line, someone finally confirmed that he does work for them as contrator. But Comcast does not have a list of all contrators currently working for them, so it’s really hard to get it confirmed.

  • JanS April 28, 2009 (9:08 pm)

    Alma…so sorry to hear this…your house is so beautiful, and I bet they just thought it would be a good target. Thanks for the information..:)

  • Derek April 28, 2009 (9:19 pm)

    similar person reported at 44th & Spokane

  • herongrrrl April 28, 2009 (9:27 pm)

    Huh, we had similar visitors the other day on Beach Drive. It was a guy wearing a uniform (although now I think of it I don’t know if it said Comcast or not), with a clipboard and an ID badge. My husband answered the door, and being that he’s not a regular reader didn’t ask to see the badge. The guy was accompanied by another guy dressed business casual and it seemed weird to me that this guy was just along for the ride. We didn’t see a Comcast vehicle, and it was on a weekend evening which seemed strange too. But he knew our names and that we had placed a service call at one point in the not too distant past…and he started asking a bunch of questions about our phone service and how much we paid for it as though he was trying to sell us some bundled services. So while it was odd, the pitch seemed genuine, and they were aggressive enough about it that we told them we weren’t interested and they should leave. It didn’t occur to me they might be casing the place, duh!

  • Diane April 28, 2009 (10:15 pm)

    I’m pretty sure 90 – 100% of the folks going door to door for Comcast are contract, and could be dressed in myriad ways, working for multiple contractors; as I regularly peruse the job ads, you wouldn’t believe the ads listed for door to door to sell Comcast products; they are incredibly tacky, greedy, claim earnings of $1000+/wk, and I’ve seen multiple company names listed
    as a Comcast cable customer, the customer service has been horrific; just try to get through to a real person over the phone to get real help, without waiting on hold for days; and there is no way to contact anyone by email
    I am begging for anyone to give me advice on any reasonable alternative; is there any decent cable tv provider in Seattle with fair prices, good reception and good customer service; you’d think I’m asking for the moon
    fortunately I will never encounter these door to door sellers in my apt building with security entry; I guess they’ll be hitting up all the homeowners

  • Noelle April 28, 2009 (10:25 pm)

    ohh dear! I am afraid as times get tough, more people will think up ways to be sneaky. Its Always OK to ask for a card and their superviser’s name and number. If they are really from where they say they are, it should be no big deal. Be safe and go with your gut.

  • Gail Goodrich April 28, 2009 (10:59 pm)

    What kind of a comment is that from ‘herongrrrl’:
    ‘He’s (her husband) not a regular reader didn’t ask to
    see the badge’!


  • WSB April 28, 2009 (11:14 pm)

    I believe she’s saying that we discuss door-to-door concerns, and the rules/regulations, here so much, if you’re a frequent WSB “reader” you’d be well aware, if not, maybe you wouldn’t, and he isn’t/wasn’t.
    Meantime, got this in e-mail:
    >>April 28th, the same guy was in the Gatewood neighborhood (36th and
    Othello). I noticed him from our dining room window around 6:30PM, as
    we were preparing for dinner. He was across the street holding a clip
    board and talking on a cell phone. I watched him for a minute or so,
    because he was standing in front of my neighbor’s open garage door.
    It made me suspicious. (We’ve had some break-ins recently in the
    neighborhood). I was preparing for the knock on the door in the next
    few minutes, but it never came. I checked from our upstairs window to
    see if he was still somewhere on the street. No sign. Never saw a
    Comcast vehicle or any other clipboard people.

    If he truly was a Comcast guy, I could have let him know our Comcast
    service have been less than impressive.<<

  • Morganlf April 28, 2009 (11:42 pm)

    We had a Comcast guy knock on the door around 5pm yesterday (Barton and 34th). It was a college-aged guy with a orange vest with a comcast logo and a clip board. He seemed nice enough and legit.

  • Chux April 29, 2009 (2:41 am)

    We live next to the Homestead on Alki and yesterday I, too noticed the same guy around 6ish. I watched him from the window look at our apartment building(we’re not secure)and proceded to walk up. Sure enough he rang our bell. I usually never answer the door unless I ordered food, so I chose to ignore him. I did hear him go to the other units and some opened up. He said he was from comcast and ask the same questions the others mentioned above. No Comcast to be seen either. I’m suspicious by nature, so I wondered if he was casing as well. Though was surprised how he was in many different areas of West Seattle. Just keep vigilant people.

  • MRC April 29, 2009 (7:04 am)

    Same report as original post around 50th & Alaska.

  • Jill Loblaw April 29, 2009 (7:17 am)

    Yep. A man was on our block near the Charlestown Cafe last night talking with various neighbors, too. Orange clip board in hand and seemed to be talking with Comcast customers as he did not come to my house which has satellite service. I don’t hear many complimentary comments about Comcast.

  • KatherineL April 29, 2009 (8:00 am)

    A man came to my door – 35th and Genesee – last week. White middle-aged male, about 5’5 maybe, light brown hair, twinkly blue eyes, wearing an orange vest that said Comcast and carrying a clipboard. He kept asking and asking questions about my service, which is not Comcast. He bragged about how great Comcast’s customer service is until I told him the trouble my brother had with it. I got the impression he kept checking out the inside of the house as I talked. He finally said, “I’ll mark you down as not interested,” put an x on his clipboard, and walked away. I didn’t see where he went.

  • TDe April 29, 2009 (8:51 am)

    I had a similar incident last week and told the guy “Thanks, but I’ll call Comcast.” I called and the company confirmed they have people going door-to-door and that although they’ve been advertising for 2 years that if you’re with Comcast you won’t need a digital converter box, apparently that’s not true anymore. At least some of the door-to-door guys are legit… but it sounds like not all of them. The real ones will have Comcast ID.

    So, if you have Comcast cable and no digital TV, just call the Comcast 800 number, wait on hold for 5 – 20 minutes and order a free converter box.

  • Shauna Causey April 29, 2009 (10:21 am)

    Hi, I work for Comcast in the communications and community relations dept. and live here in West Seattle. We DO have Comcast representatives in West Seattle. They always have a Comcast badge with a photo (no exceptions) and Comcast branded clothing. If anyone is concerned, I would always suggest asking to see the badge as a first step. We do our best to hire excellent representatives at Comcast, but the old rule applies…if anyone is uncomfortable or unsure about representatives from ANY company, it’s always best to err on the side of being cautious. If something feels strange, don’t open the door or let them in your house. If you have any direct feedback for Comcast, we’d love to hear it and you can email me directly at or for customer service. To answer Diane’s note: here are some other ways you can connect with us: our 1-800-COMCAST phone number is staffed with local customer service representatives in Everett and Fife. You can also connect with our customer service on Twitter: and for local news and updates:

  • shed22 April 29, 2009 (10:31 am)

    A gentleman stopped by my house yesterday, as well. He was wearing a comcast jacket and had a clipboard with my name, address, and current comcast subscription info. It seemed as they were looking to upsell current customers to larger subscription packages and/or internet. Everything seemed legit to me and the guy was very courteous and not pushy at all.

  • Alkiholix April 29, 2009 (10:47 am)

    Had a “Comcast” person show up twice in two weeks and referred them to my “No Soliciting” sign on my door and told them to go away. They knew my name and knew of recent service calls but I don’t trust anyone that shows up off the street. If I need or want something from Comcast, I’ll go to them myself.

  • sam April 29, 2009 (1:00 pm)

    we had a comcast guy too- last week. he had a vest with the logo on it. but, I didn’t have a free hand to hang on to the dog, who was going crazy, barking. I used that excuse to tell him through the window/ door, ‘we don’t have comcast’

    I think he heard. well, left anyway.

    he wasn’t pushy. he then walked up the street and I saw him talking to the driver of a pickup. nothing too eventful.

  • Diane April 29, 2009 (1:19 pm)

    I used to be a huge fan of Comcast, and have been loyal cable customer since moving to Wash in 1998, when cable was something like $20/mo for the same channels they now charge $67 (>300% increase?) I’ve been a cable customer pretty much since its inception in the 70’s; so like 35 yrs?
    also seem to be one of the few in Seattle who admits to enjoying much of what tv has to offer (most of my clients/peers do not watch tv, do not use cable); so you would think they would want to retain me as a paying customer with good service
    I felt that was absolutely the case when moving in to my apt here Sept 2007; the technician who installed my service was fantastic, and gave me email & direct phone for Seattle area sales manager, who was wonderfully responsive to fixing problems with my reception; one day there were even 3 technicians in my living room trying to figure out how to fix, get it all working correctly; and for most of the next year it worked great
    starting last December, I’ve had a snowball effect of so many problems with bad reception, outages, overcharges, poor communications with customer service, no show appts; it’s been ridiculous; and to top it all off; they raised rates; added fees for paying over the phone, and without informing me, added $20 fee for technician to come out; then I learned they now charge $20 any time to fix outages unless you enroll in a $1/mo extra “service protection plan”, which I never heard of
    after trying all avenues to get help from customer service back in Dec/Jan, I emailed the sales manager, requesting help
    after no response in 30 days, I emailed Shauna, requesting help; she sent a very kind reply, informing me the sales manager is no longer with Comcast (what a shame); and that she was forwarding my email to the customer service team, and someone would contact me the next day; I was very pleased, hoping to finally hear from someone who could help, but alas, I never heard from anyone, by email, or by phone, or by mail
    I’ve called their customer service many times; front line folks are no help, and you get a different person each time, so have to re-explain the whole mess; when I request a supervisor, only response is “someone will call you within 24 hrs”, that is if it’s M – F, basically at their convenience; they will not give out any phone numbers to contact supervisors, or even talk to the same cs person so you don’t have to rehash issues; and they would not transfer my call to a supervisor at the time of my call, even if I agreed to wait on hold
    basically, I’ve given up; seeking other avenues for cable tv, or no tv, and to deal with Comcast issues
    with minimal effort, Comcast could have retained me as a very loyal and happy customer for life; it’s pretty sad, and worst business model for retaining customers; I just don’t get it; guess that’s why the streets are filled with door-to-door folks to bring in new customers

  • Diane April 29, 2009 (1:41 pm)

    I misspoke in original post last night; these job ads are advertising $2000/week, not just $1000/wk
    to see running Comcast contractor door to door sales ads; just search “Comcast” under Craig’s list, in All Jobs
    here is sampling of few running now; these are at least a bit more professionally worded than some I’ve seen in the past, but you get the jist
    “Earn $800 – $2,000 per week doing Comcast Customer Upgrades! “

    “Average $5K-$10K a month”

  • Shauna Causey April 29, 2009 (2:30 pm)

    Diane–hi, I’m really sorry to hear that. I do remember talking with you via email. I would like to help AND figure out what’s happening with your service. (If you can shoot me an email with your email or your phone number, I’ll get right back to you and we’ll look into it asap).

  • pie April 29, 2009 (4:11 pm)

    I really hate that the only way I can get limited cable in HDTV is to pay $100 a month.

    But I have to say I’ve never had to wait more than 5 minutes to talk with anyone and they have alway solved my problem right away. My .02.

  • H April 29, 2009 (5:11 pm)

    Same story for me last night about 5pm on Alki near 53rd. Young african american guy, didn’t look more than 20yrs old, no comcast clothing, had a clipboard, but a badge that was turned around and you couldn’t see what was written on it. I didn’t answer the door when he knocked. But I had to leave 5 min later, and to my dismay he was right down the hallway and stopped me. Told me they were doing maintenance on the block and asked if I had any service problems.

    I made up some generic story about having trouble receiving a couple channels. I suspected he wasn’t legit when he didn’t really care about what I said and didn’t ask me to elaborate about the problem. Asked if I had TV and internet, and then if I had phone service. I said no. He seemed to push the phone service. I said no thanks and walked away.

  • Jessica April 29, 2009 (6:31 pm)

    Just had a comcast guy come by a minute ago. (37th and Graham) Seemed legit, had business cards, clipboard, and a badge. Normally I don’t answer the door but this one didn’t seem sketchy. I really hate door to door solicitors even if they don’t seem suspicious.

  • no_means_no April 29, 2009 (6:52 pm)

    Comcast guy was back again at the door tonight after being here a few weeks ago. He desperately wants to sell us voice service and we don’t want it. We find the internet service way overpriced as it is. I made that clear. Last time we told him no, he argued with us, was snotty. This time, he argued with us and was just as snotty. Obviously hoping that the we’d change our mind. We have a satellite service for our RV and are seriously thinking now about moving off of Comcast altogether because of this. We can use the satellite service for both our home and RV for no additional charge. Keep in mind we have been on cable internet in this house since 1997 since we became beta testers for the @home network service.

    To report this guy, I called customer service and went to the voice queue, and it was about 2 minutes max until I told the nice man named Kevin my complaint about the door to door tactics. Then I checked in here and it looks like I am not alone.

    I hope Comcast will give these people (contractors or FTEs) some training on what it means when a customer says “no thanks.”

  • sean April 29, 2009 (10:22 pm)

    I dealt with a guy here near 48th and Charleston his name is Tony and I’m pretty sure he hooked me up with a way better deal. I guess I was just waiting for a reason to ditch Qwest slow DSL and superfluous (and very crackly) landline.

    I am disappointed he couldn’t schedule it faster than 10 days and I hate paying all my money to one big lame company but my current service bites and is spendy.

  • artsea April 30, 2009 (6:35 am)

    I’m another person who had a bad experience with a Comcast “rep” in a lime dayglo vest and with a photo ID hanging around his neck. He had a preprinted list on his clipboard and knew my name. Said he (and “Eric”, his silent African-American companion) needed to verify a couple of things and would schedule me to have someone come to install the new “box” so I would receive my cable TV when the switchover happens. He asked to see my Driver’s License or needed to verify the last four digits of my Social Security number. Didn’t like the sound of that but decided the last four digits was safe enough. After a lot of blah-blah about bundling my service, etc., he asked again to see my Driver’s License. I refused, so he next asked for my full Social Security number. I told him he had no need for any of this information as I’ve been a cable customer at this address for 23 years. He insisted they had to have it….corporate requirement because when I first signed up they didn’t need that info, but now they do. I let him know that our conversation was finished. He got really annoyed and rude. Thanked me for wasting his time, and said that when my TV picture went blank on June 12th, I’d be calling him. His badge said his name was something like Justin Sherrard. He never gave me the form he was supposedly filling out for the installation. After they left, we called Comcast. Got a sympathetic woman who took down all the information and said a supervisor would call me in a day or two. That was four or five days ago and it hasn’t happened. The woman we spoke with did order two of the new (free) digital boxes sent here and they arrived a couple of days later. I saw this same guy on our street wandering around with his vest and clipboard two days after his first visit. Incidentally, if you go to the Comcast website, there is a FAQ area about these new digital boxes. I don’t like the fact that not only do they unscramble the channel signals for us, but they also have the capability of transmitting information (about our viewing habits?) back to Comcast.

  • localperson May 7, 2009 (6:46 am)

    These “comcast” people really have little to do with comcast other than receiving a badge and shirt. They are indeed individual contractors who come to you literally off the street. I don’t think there are any background checks on them. If you want comcast services, I’d suggest just contacting comcast directly. I don’t want strangers in my home.

Sorry, comment time is over.