Update on Cable Companies Selling Alarm Services: Can Comcast Compete?

Posted by , , at 1:33 pm

As Comcast continues to roll out the XFINITY ™ Home offer in over half the Comcast markets, the questions remain: how are customers reacting to Comcast’s entry into the home security arena, and what does it mean for traditional alarm companies? We have heard (anecdotally of course) that the rate of adoption has been underwhelming: in fact, by the time Comcast expected to have 50,000 home security customers, they had only about 10,000. As I said, that is only anecdotal, but to those of us who have devoted our professional careers protecting lives and property, it’s hardly surprising if consumers are reluctant to trust their peace of mind to an entertainment company with a decidedly poor service reputation. In fact, Comcast ranks #4 on Business Insider’s list of the 18 most hated companies in America!

And if Comcast customers have been slow to sign up for this additional “bundled” service, it would explain why I can’t find any reviews on Comcast’s home security offering. However, I can share one Comcast customer’s comment to the home security offer, which was posted on a FrontPoint blog:

As a former Comcast customer, I see this being a very poor decision for this company as a whole. You would think improving on customer service would be the number one priority. The reason I say former customer is for the following reasons: problems with customer care, failure to fix in-house problems, such as repairing problems within the infrastructure with land lines, constant loss of internet, and last but not least, the lack of respect for the customer. Now you’re going to add a new problem to the mix, with home security. I wouldn’t recommend Comcast to anyone. I feel bad for anyone who is going to pay for this service. I think the company should fix the problems they have first before adding a new one.

I even went to Comcast’s online customer forum to find any reactions to the security offering – nothing there. But I did find plenty of frustration, complaints, and commiseration, along with a few compliments when an employee actually resolved an issue. The complaints seem to focus on poor customer service and technology that doesn’t work: again, a poor combination when you are shopping for the peace of mind you expect from an alarm system. Then I found another site, CustomerServicesScoreboard.com. The overall rating scale runs from “Excellent” to “Terrible,” and Comcast unfortunately rates the bottom designation. Here are some other stats on Comcast from the site:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are some other references to the Comcast home security offering. One web site affiliated with Consumer Reports fielded many comments that indicated a “thumbs down” before the product launch. My favorite is this one, a simulated response following an alarm event:

“We just received an alarm from your XFINITY Security System. The police are scheduled to arrive between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm next Thursday. Please make sure someone is home to let them in. Or, if you prefer, you may choose the self-arrest option.”

As a “real” alarm company that is focused on protecting homes and families, FrontPoint welcomes the advertising budgets that new entrants like Comcast bring to increasing public awareness of interactive monitoring services – exactly the advanced features that FrontPoint has offered since our inception in 2007. We also expect that the more people research their options, the more they’ll choose FrontPoint. As the leader in wireless home security, we specialize in the best protection: that’s why we’re the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. FrontPoint systems are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat – and you’ll be thrilled with our service.

Comments (24)

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  1. Nina

    There were a lot of typos in my previous post. They will not show up when they are suppposed to…they will either be late or they will never show up…there customer support staff is terrible and I can’t wait to say goodbye to them forever. If you need dependability, do not sign up for Comcast Hoime Secuirty…you’ll regret it! Trust

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Nina – no worries on the typos, we get the message. Thanks again.

  2. Nina

    There were a lot of typos in my previous post. They will not show up when they are suppposed to…they will either be late or they will never show up…there customer support staff is terrible and I can’t wait to say goodbye to them forever. If you need dependability, do not sign up for Comcast Hoime Secuirty…you’ll regret it! Trust

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Nina – no worries on the typos, we get the message. Thanks again.

  3. Nina

    I recently ordered Comcast home security and cancelled within just one week of having the service. I would recommend that anyone who is thinking about buying Comcast sign up for service from another company. You will deeply regret your decision if you do. Trust me. I can’t believe all the problems this company has caused. First, if you cancel they’ll try to charge you anyway. Don’t believe their guarantees. Second, they won’t shop up to any of the scheduled appointments and if they do they will be there hours late. Third, if you want them to pick up the equipment you will schedule all-day appointments and they will never arrive (I scheduled two all-day appintments and they never showed up) and then they showed up when I didn’t expect them. Fourth, I was reasssured I would not be chargeed if I cancel…they lied…bill is riddled with chargess. MOST IMPORTANTLY there system didn’t work from day one….That’s the truth…it never provided coverage and kept going off line. I highly recommend that you look elsewhere. Trust me!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Nina – Thanks so much for sharing this unfortunate story about your dealings with Comcast. These negative reports are rolling in as Comcast continues to roll out its XFINITY Home offer – and I have found it very difficult to find any good reviews – after spending a fair bit of time looking. It seems that Comcast (and they are not alone as a new entrant to home security) is learning the hard way that it’s not easy to provide peace of mind, when that is exactly what people want. Just becasue it’s “convenient” for these cable and telco providers to try to increase their sales and customer loyalty by offering alarm services, that does not mean they’ll be successful at it. I hear ADT, the 800 lb. gorilla of our industry, is not running ads targeted specifically at the cable companies, and warning people that they experience exactly what you have described – and if these companies make ADT look good, that says a lot! Thanks again.

  4. Nina

    I recently ordered Comcast home security and cancelled within just one week of having the service. I would recommend that anyone who is thinking about buying Comcast sign up for service from another company. You will deeply regret your decision if you do. Trust me. I can’t believe all the problems this company has caused. First, if you cancel they’ll try to charge you anyway. Don’t believe their guarantees. Second, they won’t shop up to any of the scheduled appointments and if they do they will be there hours late. Third, if you want them to pick up the equipment you will schedule all-day appointments and they will never arrive (I scheduled two all-day appintments and they never showed up) and then they showed up when I didn’t expect them. Fourth, I was reasssured I would not be chargeed if I cancel…they lied…bill is riddled with chargess. MOST IMPORTANTLY there system didn’t work from day one….That’s the truth…it never provided coverage and kept going off line. I highly recommend that you look elsewhere. Trust me!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Nina – Thanks so much for sharing this unfortunate story about your dealings with Comcast. These negative reports are rolling in as Comcast continues to roll out its XFINITY Home offer – and I have found it very difficult to find any good reviews – after spending a fair bit of time looking. It seems that Comcast (and they are not alone as a new entrant to home security) is learning the hard way that it’s not easy to provide peace of mind, when that is exactly what people want. Just becasue it’s “convenient” for these cable and telco providers to try to increase their sales and customer loyalty by offering alarm services, that does not mean they’ll be successful at it. I hear ADT, the 800 lb. gorilla of our industry, is not running ads targeted specifically at the cable companies, and warning people that they experience exactly what you have described – and if these companies make ADT look good, that says a lot! Thanks again.

  5. JCM

    Saw the commercial for their special on tv and called up. Customer service rep was very nice and seemed knowledgeable. I agreed to the offer because I concluded that I’d save some money over ADT. Then I read more about the service package and though I’m not sure, it looks as if Comcast would not cover all my windows for the price they quoted me. Additionally, and more importantly, Comcast took the liberty of increasing my internet service to the required package – another monthly increase in my bill, without informing me or asking for my approval. I’m dumping this company. I’ve had so many problems with them before, but this is the last straw.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Jordan, for your comment. We have heard from a number of unhappy customers who tried XFINITY for home security and had a bad experience. Some of them did not get what they ordered, or what they paid for, some had technical issues, but generally there was a sense that Comcast entered the alarm industry without really understanding what it takes to provide peace of mind, along with good service. At the very least they should have set up a separate call center to handle the alarm issues, which it appears they did not do, and that gets really frustrating for homeowners worried about protecting their homes and families. Alarm services may not be rocket science, but that does make it easy to do it well – and ultimately good service is a critical factor in customer satisfaction. Follow the good reviews – they may well lead you to FrontPoint!

  6. JCM

    Saw the commercial for their special on tv and called up. Customer service rep was very nice and seemed knowledgeable. I agreed to the offer because I concluded that I’d save some money over ADT. Then I read more about the service package and though I’m not sure, it looks as if Comcast would not cover all my windows for the price they quoted me. Additionally, and more importantly, Comcast took the liberty of increasing my internet service to the required package – another monthly increase in my bill, without informing me or asking for my approval. I’m dumping this company. I’ve had so many problems with them before, but this is the last straw.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Jordan, for your comment. We have heard from a number of unhappy customers who tried XFINITY for home security and had a bad experience. Some of them did not get what they ordered, or what they paid for, some had technical issues, but generally there was a sense that Comcast entered the alarm industry without really understanding what it takes to provide peace of mind, along with good service. At the very least they should have set up a separate call center to handle the alarm issues, which it appears they did not do, and that gets really frustrating for homeowners worried about protecting their homes and families. Alarm services may not be rocket science, but that does make it easy to do it well – and ultimately good service is a critical factor in customer satisfaction. Follow the good reviews – they may well lead you to FrontPoint!

  7. andria2012

    This alarm is good for home security. Thanks for this post

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks – we aim to please – and more importantly, to provide peace of mind!

  8. andria2012

    This alarm is good for home security. Thanks for this post

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks – we aim to please – and more importantly, to provide peace of mind!

  9. frank

    these alarms are the pits. Its made of cheap plastic and contacts are secured by 3m tape. The camera range as of now is 35 feet tops and it is not completely wireless. A cat5 5 cable is ran to terminate the other end to electric. Stay away from this headache. How do I know about this product, well I install it for Comcast.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Frank – thanks for your comment. I have not seen the equipment that Comcast installs, but it does not sound very robust. I am also interested to know that they are using sub-contract labor for their installations. Depending on where you are located, there may also be licensing issues related to who is installing the equipment, and it would not surprise me if Comcast is using non-licensed subs for these installs: after all, Comcast is not a “real” alarm company, and may not be up on the fairly complex regulations that vary from state to state, and even from one local jurisdiction to another. Then again, you may be licensed to install alarm system – in which case, congratulations!

    • Nina

      I am a former Comcast home security customer…their equipment is inferior and does not work..all the bells and whistles mean nothing when the system is currently down or experiencing connectivity issues. Stay away from Comcast Home Security…you’ll wind up the loser….Trust.

  10. frank

    these alarms are the pits. Its made of cheap plastic and contacts are secured by 3m tape. The camera range as of now is 35 feet tops and it is not completely wireless. A cat5 5 cable is ran to terminate the other end to electric. Stay away from this headache. How do I know about this product, well I install it for Comcast.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Frank – thanks for your comment. I have not seen the equipment that Comcast installs, but it does not sound very robust. I am also interested to know that they are using sub-contract labor for their installations. Depending on where you are located, there may also be licensing issues related to who is installing the equipment, and it would not surprise me if Comcast is using non-licensed subs for these installs: after all, Comcast is not a “real” alarm company, and may not be up on the fairly complex regulations that vary from state to state, and even from one local jurisdiction to another. Then again, you may be licensed to install alarm system – in which case, congratulations!

    • Nina

      I am a former Comcast home security customer…their equipment is inferior and does not work..all the bells and whistles mean nothing when the system is currently down or experiencing connectivity issues. Stay away from Comcast Home Security…you’ll wind up the loser….Trust.

  11. Alan

    Yeah, I just got another solicitation for their weak Xfinity Home. Lame.

    You are right, you likely have little to worry about.

    Thanks for the interesting observations and your latest info from your web research.

    Of course, now that they are a behemoth, vertically-integrated duopoly, and big enough to influence the competitive rules to their favor either via courts or politicians, they really don’t need to be overly invested in the outcome of this home monitoring push. They have little to worry about in an existential sense… If something sticks, that is just icing on the cake, but not critical.

    Might explain why their service levels have not greatly improved over the years. But they did roll out DOCSIS 3 upgrades widely earlier than almost all of the other cable co’s and they have improved customer service a little bit, so I will give them that… But definitely not improved enough to trust MY home security and life safety to.

  12. Alan

    Yeah, I just got another solicitation for their weak Xfinity Home. Lame.

    You are right, you likely have little to worry about.

    Thanks for the interesting observations and your latest info from your web research.

    Of course, now that they are a behemoth, vertically-integrated duopoly, and big enough to influence the competitive rules to their favor either via courts or politicians, they really don’t need to be overly invested in the outcome of this home monitoring push. They have little to worry about in an existential sense… If something sticks, that is just icing on the cake, but not critical.

    Might explain why their service levels have not greatly improved over the years. But they did roll out DOCSIS 3 upgrades widely earlier than almost all of the other cable co’s and they have improved customer service a little bit, so I will give them that… But definitely not improved enough to trust MY home security and life safety to.

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