On Friday, December 15th at 10:00pm EST, my Internet connection from Spectrum suddenly dropped out for no apparent reason. It had been working perfectly fine only moments before. I was literally in the middle of checking out from Amazon.com and between page loads, it dropped.
I reset both the cable modem and my router and waited a good 10 minutes to see if it would come back up. That’s when I made the first call to customer service. After being transferred to tech support, the tech told me my modem had “high levels” and thought it needed to be replaced. I could either take it to the store or wait until Sunday for a technician to come out. I opted to swap it myself. Then I went to bed.
I woke up Saturday, disconnected the old modem and took it to the store for a swap. There the rep swapped it out for me with no issues and without saying a word. I drive back home, connect the new modem, but it too wouldn’t connect. So I call customer service again. This time I noticed that the IVR said I had recently disconnected service and asked if I wanted to make a payment.
I press the option to speak with a representative. When I get on the line with her, she asks to confirm my name, address, and telephone number. She tells me that my account had been disconnected two days ago and that she would have to get me over to someone in sales to get it straightened out.
I get to the sales rep who sees that someone else had called in, given my address, and had my services disconnected. The new modem had been swapped out on my “old” account. To get it straightened out, she asked if I could email her a copy of my lease. I tried accessing my lease online through my phone, but of course, the property management company hadn’t moved it over to their new website. I would have to go get a copy from the leasing office, drive back to Spectrum, and get a representative there to correct the “issue”.
So, I get the leasing office to print out the lease showing where I’d be there until February 13th, and drive back to Spectrum. There, I got the same rep I had before. He asked if the modem didn’t work – I said, “I don’t know, but you swapped it out on an inactive account” and told him that someone else had opened a new account at my address, which caused my service to be disconnected.
He quipped “this is a nightmare” to which I replied, “dude, this is my second trip out here – and this is the second time it’s happened”. He said, “how is that possible?” I know how it’s possible – you don’t confirm addresses with a lease agreement or anything.
Yes – this is the second time someone gave them the incorrect address, disconnected my service, and I had to jump through hoops to prove that I still live at my address to get my service disconnected.
I suspect this “security hole” is possible with any service address. Just call up Spectrum, give them a random address and tell them you are moving in. They’ll disconnect the current tenant’s services without question and you never have to prove anything. It creates a headache for both Spectrum and the current tenant to restore services (in fact, the current tenant is now considered a “new” customer and can get the latest deals, because a new account number is generated for them).
I also suspect this could be done for other services, such as water/sewer, power, and telephone since no one seems to do any verification of who is living at that address and blindly disconnects/reconnects services at the address you give them.
So all you troublemakers, have fun with that bit of information.