Avoid Comcast’s Internet Installation Activation Fee

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Last November, the promotional rate on my Comcast Internet and digital cable service expired and jumped from a somewhat reasonable $70/mo rate to an ridiculously unreasonable $140/mo rate. We tried to do the Comcast cancel dance to no avail as the CSR said “I can’t do anything” and we said “I want to cancel” and the bozos at Comcast actually let us cancel. Almost the same day, Verizon started putting in signs around the neighborhood advertising their new FiOS service, fiber optic right to the house, and we were intruiged. Talking to the Verizon folks at their booth, it appeared that their rates would equal the promotional rates of Comcast so we decided we’d live without Internet for a couple weeks until they got the whole thing setup. Well, as expected, Verizon still hasn’t setup FiOS is our area so I’ve decided to sign back up with Comcast for their promotional rate.

So, how do you avoid that ridiculous $50 activation fee? Well, the activation fee is so that you have the pleasure of waiting at your home during a four hour window, where they will invariably show up an hour after the end of the window, just so the guy (or gal) can do one of two things:

  • If you live in an apartment, he will unscrew your coaxial cable panel from the wall, and connect the cable on the inside with the jack, or,
  • He will find the box outside, open it up (it’s hardly ever locked), and connect it.

So, to avoid the $50 charge, just connect it yourself and ask for the self-install kit (please do not steal cable and do not trespass on their property, I’m not advocating or condoning the theft of services that you aren’t paying for). If you have a cable modem, simply hook it up and try to open any website. A Comcast site will appear where you can download their installation CD software and you can do the installation yourself. If you don’t have a cable modem, wait for the modem to show up before you do all of this. If you’re patient, you can avoid the $50 fee but you can’t avoid a phone call, and the 30 minute wait because somehow they are always busy and they never hire more CSRs, to Comcast to activate your service.

The benefit is two-fold – not only do you avoid the $50 fee, you get internet the day you start paying… not two weeks later when their technicians are able to pencil you in for a four hour window they stand no chance of making anyway.

{ 100 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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100 Responses to “Avoid Comcast’s Internet Installation Activation Fee”

  1. Liz says:

    The self-installation kit is fine and dandy; however, Comcast is now charging a $29.95 fee to install internet/cable yourself. They found a way to get your money.

    • Kevin says:

      Comcast doesn’t charge an install fee for S.I.K. (self install kits) they charge a $30 trip charge for a tech having to go to the house and hook up the service outside

    • dan says:

      when did they start charging this because as I have stated several times I got the self install kit and the only charge was 10 dollars to mail it. I have had my service since april 20th this year.

      • Cable Dude says:

        I know in our area, Comcast has this newer “Hot Drop” policy, where they leave the main line hooked up from the previous subscriber. If you moved in within a certain amount of time, signal was already on in your house.

        Or they may just have had a way to waive it at the time.

  2. Ayo says:

    Comcast overcharges always!

  3. Falconeer says:

    Probably the easiest way to get by the install fee.

    Order the internet and their ‘phone service’ (aka VOIP). If you get the phone service they’ll waive the installation fee. Then cancel the phone after it’s installed.

    Perfectly legal, etc. Plus do it fast enough and you’re within the ’30-day money back guarantee’ window. If it ends up sucking you’re at least not stuck paying for an install you aren’t going to use.

  4. Anonymous says:

    When I try to ask for self install kit, the rep said they can’t provide that because we’re first time users with Comcast, so he ended up charging us $60.00 for installation fee.

    Is this standard or did the rep completely lied to me?

    • dan says:

      he lied! I got a self install kit and I was a first time user. when I use to work for a co(in sales/instalation) in atl that contracted out for comcast the the phone rep worked on hourly pay and commision pay.

  5. Customer in Ann Arbor says:

    LOCAL CUSTOMER)> I would like to have service sooner than next Sudnay 13th if possible?

    Christian (COMCAST CALL CENTER REP)> For the self install kit, I am sorry but no. At my end for new customer it is required for a professional install.

    LOCAL CUSTOMER)> If I were to purchase the install kit at Best Buy, could I install and cancel the install appointment

    Christian > However you may visit the local center since they can process a self install for pick up for the service you would like to request.

    LOCAL CUSTOMER)> You have no idea what is is like being without internet service

    Christian > Yes, you may. All you have to do is call the 1-888-266-2278 and request to be connected to our Activation department if you wish to buy a self install kit at a Retailer store.

    LOCAL CUSTOMER)> so I can buy the kit at a retail store and then call 800 COMCAST to be activated over the phone?

    Christian >
    Yes that is correct.

    LOCAL CUSTOMER)> When I do that, can I thne cancell the install appointment?

    LOCAL CUSTOMER)> I was planning on being at church that afternoon.

    Christian > Yes, you may cancel at 4 days prior to the date for the installation.

    LOCAL CUSTOMER)> without being charged?

    Christian > Yes, that is correct.


  6. jw says:

    I have a new computer.When i plug in my ethernet cord nothing installs.Is there a disk that i need or am i doing something wrong.

    • Kevin says:

      If you had your modem hooked up to a diff computer then unplugged and hooked it into a diff computer you have to pull the power plug on the modem and plug it back in so it can sync up to your computer.

  7. jw says:

    I was taken by the installer he said he would come back but never did and i dont want to pay another install fee help!!

    • Kevin says:

      If a tech says he will come abck and does not come back they will not charge you another fee. The work is guarenteed for 3 months and if you have any problems within 3 months there will not be a fee for a tech to come out if you let the tech install your cable. I would ask for a contractor for comcast we get the job done right without having to go back and forth.

  8. Chris says:

    Well that’s B.S. I just went and picked up the self install kit and also the digital boxes myself, they charged me $170.0. Clerk said “it’s because someone still has to come out.” I mean i’m hooking everything up in the house all he has to do is reconnect to the pole which has the hookup at ground level.

    • Kevin says:

      He also checks your signal levels at the side of your house. After you hook everything up and get your computer hooked up to the internet open up the internet and type in and it will tell your signal levels. You want your levels to be between
      Upstream 28-51
      Downstream 11 -11
      if your signals are out of those ranges you need a tech to fix your levels and it will speed your internet up to what speed tier you ordered

  9. Chris says:

    And no, I am not a first time customer. I had them for around 5years total before canceling, only for 3 months due to wife being off work and having a baby, we needed the extra money then. Still wouldn’t wave the fee.

  10. Kevin says:

    I installed Comcast cable and now i’m in Dispatch. You can ask them to waive the fee and if they dont waive it tell them you will go with someone else and they will waive the install. But if you do a self install kit you will be charged anytime a tech has to come out. If you let the tech install it (preferably a contractor for comcast) they will install and do free trouble calls for 3 months. Letting the tech install it is worth it in the long run. I’ve been dealing with Comcast cable for a while and taking shortcuts can end up costing you more and give you more of a headache.

    • Cable Dude says:

      Not always, you still get charged if it’s an internal rewiring job, or customer error that required the service call.

      Unless you have some sort of protection plan in place.

      Comcast claims no responsibility for the quality of your internal wires/connectors/configuration/customer equipment (such as TVs/Computers/Phones/AV receivers, etc), that is on the subscriber. If any of these are the cause of the problem, and not the comcast system, you will get charged.

      They only claim responsibility for their own equipment and system, as it should be.

  11. Shanghi McCoy says:

    nuf said

  12. Mike H says:

    One note on Verizon FiOS (may be applicable to Comcast as well)… They contract out the install. Ours tried to convince me that he couldn’t snake the cable into an existing outlet but rather needed to bring the cable through the eve (under the rain gutter and through the attic) and out through the top corner of a room. Can you imagine a wire coming down from the corner of the ceiling? And no, I wasn’t mounting the TV on a wall.
    The installer was only interested in getting in and out as fast as possible to turn as many tickets as he could. Verizon was no help in persuading him. Finally I had to threaten cancelling before he agreed to bring the cable up from the floorboards. I couldn’t get him to snake it.

    • sat-tech says:

      have any idea what it takes to wallfish a cable? you should have offered him fifty bucks to do it, then im sure he would have. after all the expenses, installers hardly make anything, so its no surprise he was trying to get in and get out. not sure why he wanted to drop it out of the ceiling though, thats just total laziness.

      • wallfish says:

        @sat-tech – seriously? Running a cable on an exterior wall is a little harder due to insulation, but an interior wall…not a problem. Anyone doing installs for a living should know how to do it right and quickly.

        • Cable Dude says:

          That’s more then we offer in my market. We don’t do wall fishes, we just punch in from an outside wall, or up through the floor of an unfinished basement.


          Because Comcast is a SERVICE provider, not an internal wiring company. Call a local contractor or electrician if you want lines wall fished. Whether its a comcast sub contractor or company employee, we’re there to hook service up, and run lines as quickly as possible when we need to.

          Not every house is built the same. You don’t know what you’ll come across in some walls, and there are many liability issues you can run into that can jeopardize your job. I’ve seen a tech get fired for fishing a line through a wall and messing up electrical (we thought maybe a predamaged electrical line, and they pinned it on him afterwards as there really wasn’t anything he used that would damage an electrical line).

          Stuff like that happens a lot, and something most techs are not willing to risk. The ones that do end up like the above tech, just a nice guy that some jerk off took advantage of to get what, a free couple months of service?

  13. Tom says:

    All you need is a modem and a network adaptor. That’s all

  14. Mars says:

    I always thought there were no self install kits and it was only the option to do a installation fee. I found it ridiculous because I know how to do it myself. So I asked the online rep for Comcast if there were self install kits or any chance of taking off that fee and she said No. So I found this article and called Comcast and just asked if they had self install kits I can pick up. Sure enough they said yes. Thank you for this and saving me nearly $50!

  15. Helena says:

    Helena_(Thu Feb 11 17:15:42 EST 2010)>Hello Robert –

    Robert(Thu Feb 11 17:15:50 EST 2010)>Hello, Helena.

    Robert(Thu Feb 11 17:16:05 EST 2010)>I can see here that you want to order Performance Internet/the Internet promo at 19.99?

    Helena_(Thu Feb 11 17:17:09 EST 2010)>Yes, that is correct. If I were to purchase the install kit at somewhere such as Best Buy, could I do the install and not have to pay the one-time $100 installation fee?

    Robert(Thu Feb 11 17:17:21 EST 2010)>Yes, its possible.

    Robert(Thu Feb 11 17:17:39 EST 2010)>we can also send one for you, there is a shipping fee of $9.95

    Helena_(Thu Feb 11 17:18:28 EST 2010)>Really – there isn’t a price for the installation kit itself?

    Robert(Thu Feb 11 17:18:43 EST 2010)>let me check that for you.

    Robert(Thu Feb 11 17:19:00 EST 2010)>but if you do want to get it sooner, buying one from Best Buy would do.

    Robert(Thu Feb 11 17:21:16 EST 2010)>Good news, Helena.

    Helena_(Thu Feb 11 17:21:31 EST 2010)>What’s that Robert?

    Robert(Thu Feb 11 17:21:25 EST 2010)>Its free from us.

    Helena_(Thu Feb 11 17:21:50 EST 2010)>What a surprise. And the shipping timeframe?

    Robert(Thu Feb 11 17:22:05 EST 2010)>shipping will be 3-5 working days

    Helena_(Thu Feb 11 17:22:47 EST 2010)>Not bad. Could I pick it up and still pay the 9.95 fee?

    Robert(Thu Feb 11 17:24:58 EST 2010)>are you renting the modem from us at $5 monthly?

    Helena_(Thu Feb 11 17:25:13 EST 2010)>Yes – I all ready have phone service

    Helena_(Thu Feb 11 17:25:41 EST 2010)>So, I will pay 9.95 for the installation kit plus the 19.99 monthly fee, correct?

    Robert(Thu Feb 11 17:27:27 EST 2010)>there is no fee if you pick it up.

    Helena_(Thu Feb 11 17:27:41 EST 2010)>And the kit is still free?

    Robert(Thu Feb 11 17:27:48 EST 2010)>Correct. Kit is Free.

    Helena_(Thu Feb 11 17:27:59 EST 2010)>Wowwwwww, lol

    Helena_(Thu Feb 11 17:28:42 EST 2010)>Could you please provide the closest locations to me?

    So to summarize: You don’t have to pay anything for the installation. Simply order the internet service online if possible (to get the best promotions), pick-up the installation kit from your closet location – completely free of charge (or have them send it to you with a wait time of 3 to 5 business days for $9.95), install yourself and get billed your regular monthly rate via the next cycle. If I remember to do so, I’ll let you all know how the self-install goes. But hey, if I can’t do it, I have a father, uncles, cousins, brothers and a boyfriend, all of whom I’m sure can figure things out. I just saved $100!!!

    I live in Northern, VA.

  16. Frustrated says:

    Guess what people companies do what you sit at home and complain about. If you stand up to them they change policies and rules. They only do what you allow. Nothing more or less. Who have the power PEOPLE that buy the service. Where do the money come from your pocket.

    If you dont like it call and complain like no tomorrow because guess what they have to listen. Endorse competition! Stop hurting the small companies that want to go up against the big bad companies and we can have options for once and a while.

    LOGIC will go a long way!

  17. comcast sucks says:

    I just tried to order internet service from comcast – they want $228.94 for the install! I am still in shock. What is wrong with this company? Anyone know a better provider for the Bellevue, WA area?

  18. Sim says:

    When i try self-installing Comcast it says i do not meet minimum sysytem requirements beacause i have Windows NT 6.1 though acording to my computer i have Windows 7 home premium. Help??!!

    • sat-tech says:

      nt 6.1 is windows 7. try running it in compatibility mode or have them send you a new disk.

  19. PK says:

    I have some questions!

    I talked to two reps separately today at Comcast, and they gave me different information.

    One lady told me that there’s no fee for the modem and cable box, but another guy told me the modem is $5/mo and the box is $3.45/mo…what’s correct?

    Also – what exactly is involved in installing everything, I’m going to get the self starter kit and save myself $50!

  20. NP says:

    It seems that FIRST TIME customers HAVE TO pay installation fee. 🙁

    • Cable Dude says:

      Yes, especially in new MDU (multi dwelling units) buildings like apartment complexes and such. In new houses, you may not have a line run to feed the house. If so, it was never connected, which only the proper authorized personnel (comcast tech) can do it (legally anyways).

      The other is the prewired cables inside may not be terminated, or weren’t terminated properly. A lot of builders/contractors don’t have proper training or knowledge to terminate the lines properly when they’re wiring them up.

  21. rishi says:

    If you are ordering online how do you un select the “Professional Setup” option? I don’t see a way to remove it from my cart or un select it as an option.

    Let me know if you have any ideas.


  22. karen says:

    i have direcpath internet, the service is terrible, but my place is new construction and no other service was available. so i heard about at&t u-verse, i think i will try them, they are available. also there is something called the broadband speed test that is free, i used it and SURPRISE, direcpath is not delivering the speed i ordered. also, i don’t want direcpath because when i call, I HAVE TO PRESS ONE to speak english. ugh.

    • Cable Dude says:

      The shocker here is any non cable service I test hardly ever is getting the speed they pay for. I’ve tested the micro wireless stuff, dsl, and satellite, all failing miserably. Granted, with DSL it seemed to be closer as they were closer to the headend, but almost never actually what they were paying for. (I think the highest I saw was a 3 Mb dsl sub getting 2.7-2.8)

      I haven’t tested any of the new fiber systems yet, mainly because it’s not available around here.

      With Comcast’s powerboost (included with all but economy speed), i regularly see well over what the sub is paying for (honestly!). A 12 Mb sub can easily get 20Mb+ direct off the modem consistently. Older/non-updated routers will hinder speed, especially over wireless., great speed test site.

  23. JA says:

    Well, all I can say is do your homework and have a separate browser window open with the package you ordered while chatting on-line for on-line confirmation (only way to complete on-line ordering, such a pain).

    Promo Internet package selected for existing customers only (which I am) stated under customize step, $15 one-time fee and maybe a $9.99 handling fee depending, basically. I selected will self install and have my own cable modem. My order came up as $30 one-time fee with $15 handling. So $45 for a CD, I have a modem and I’m self installing? LOL!! Asked on-line chat rep why different that was stated and I selected during ordering (I copy/pasted that statement from separate browser window I had open). Was told it depends where you’re located. I said my order already discloses my location. Rep agreed only $9.99 for kit and no other start-up charges. $9.99 to mail me a CD but whatever and agreed. Ask about receiving Email on order confirmation, was told yes…haven’t received. Going to local store for order confirmation (don’t trust rep changed $45 charge to only $9.99). Plus maybe I’ll get no charges when I P/U instal CD from store.

    I don’t approve of Comcast’s marketing ploys and you must be a ‘haggler’ to pay only what you ordered…or less in all fairness. A CD doesn’t cost 10 bucks to mail. Heard elsewhere you can down-load software free anyway. Researching that after this post…..

  24. Dustin B says:

    This article is not correct in a lot of scenarios. If you have your cable through your association then you could do the self install kit to save you the install fee. The same rule also applies when you already have the cable TV hooked up. What it does not apply to is if you have no cable TV what so ever and you want the intenet. Then a tech still has to connect you up to the Tap. If a tech has to go out to get you started then you have to pay the fee. So, in short, if you have Cable already you can use your own cable modem (You must purchase seperatly) or Comcast can ship you a self install kit for 10$. Sometimes if the front counter has them in stock you can pick them up for free. Hope this helps.

  25. Nettygal says:

    1/15/2011 sign up under promo deal.
    Told to come in and place deposit and pick up my self in stall kit.
    Go home- No Install recognized. Call tech support. 1 hr later, they tell me to schedule a tech to come here. I live in an apartment and they have to Flip the switch. ( wow so worth the service fee! NOT NOT!)The Guy assured me that I would not be charged since they also found problems in there lines that week. Various outages were going on with customers. A week later- (man they are quicker with sending bills then service!). I get a bill with a $50 install fee!!! I send a letter to an assigned CSR personnel. She researches and agrees that based on the call log I was assured the fee would be waived. A New bill with adjustments would be forthcoming. Yup I got the bill today! They not only kept the install charge they nicely added the install kit fee of 39.00$ !!!! THen of course the modem rental, since they swore my original comcast modem simply stopped working. Psstt its because they lock out mAC ID Address’s from previous customers! (Which I was 6 months prior). I work in technology and do not like being nickeled and dimed and I refuse to do such to any customer I want to retain!
    This will get resolved to my liking financially but Comcast has really much to improve upon . To the guy who mentioned all the supplies, parts and gas,truck guess what??? ITs a business, its built in to the budget I’ve yet to see the Comcast Stock plummet because of any of those matters. But when it does I am sure I’ll see another bogus fee to help them recoup! Bottom Line is: Yes they will charge you .

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