Comcast-installed wiring frustrates Vancouver landlady

By Brooks Johnson, Columbian Business Reporter

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Dolores McClelland is having a problem with Comcast, and it isn’t the reception on her TV.

“I can’t get them out here to take all their wires,” said the 83-year-old landlady of an apartment complex in Vancouver’s Maplewood neighborhood. “They have absolutely destroyed my apartment. The wires are strung here and everywhere, poking holes from my walls, and they never got permission to do that.”

But Comcast says it has at least one customer in the complex and that it did everything by the book.

“Our policy is to always ask the tenant if the property manager or owner has given us permission to drill holes and place cables,” spokeswoman Amy Keiter wrote in an email. “As for the issue of removal, as we do have active Comcast customers in the apartment complex, we will continue to provide them service.”

McClelland, who owns several rental properties in Vancouver, says she has had little luck working with the company. She maintains she never personally gave permission to Comcast to install wiring.

“Comcast seems to think they’re the king of the hill, and it’s working because I can not get them to come out,” McClelland said.

After being contacted by The Columbian, a Comcast employee visited the apartments on East 17th Street last week to inspect the wiring.

“We sent one of our tech supervisors out to the property, and what we have learned is that while the wiring is old, it was installed correctly and it is in good shape,” Keiter wrote.

One of McClelland’s complaints over the wiring was that a cable was possibly a “trip hazard” as it crossed the threshold of one unit’s doorway.

The same day the company visited her property, the cable was removed from the doorway as it no longer served an active customer.

“The tech reports that it was securely attached, and not hazardous,” Keiter said.

The apartment complex’s on-site manager, Kathleen Headley, said she was unaware any of the tenants were Comcast customers in the first place, complicating her attempts to have the wiring removed.

“It’s an ongoing issue,” Headley said. “(McClelland) doesn’t deserve this, and how many other landlords is this happening to?”

Comcast has a “dedicated multi-dwelling unit customer service team which is responsible for aiding property owners and managers with questions or concerns,” Keiter said.

That may be where McClelland needs to go if or when there are no tenants using Comcast; then she may be able to have wiring removed.

Comcast was recently sued by the state. Attorney General Bob Ferguson, seeking more than $100 million under the Consumer Protection Act, is charging the company with improper service call fees and credit screening practices. He also called the company’s service protection plan “near-worthless.”