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Comcast customer allegedly pulls gun on repair man over fees

When a New Mexico woman learns of additional fees for the service call, she gets upset. Her upset leads to jail.

Be careful out there. Hezakya Mixologist/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Though Comcast doesn't enjoy the finest reputation for customer service, there are various ways of expressing one's displeasure.

None of those should include a gun.

However, this is what police say a Comcast service engineer had to face on Monday when visiting the New Mexico home of Gloria Baca-Lucero.

For reasons that are currently unclear, Baca-Lucero allegedly thought the repairs would be free. When told by the service engineer that they were not, she expressed displeasure.

He allegedly explained she would have to sign a form to agree to the charges or he couldn't do the work. She, police say, gave customer service a call (surprisingly, she got through) and this person also told her that, yes, there was a fee.

As the Albuquerque Journal reports, Baca-Lucero wasn't in the mood to back down. As the service engineer packed up his tools to leave, she allegedly grabbed one of his bags and took it into her house. Was this her idea of a kidnap for ransom?

Police say that the next step in this difficult episode went a little too far. The engineer knocked on the door to ask for this bag. Another woman, identified as Stephanie Melendez, allegedly told him this was not possible.

Then, he claims, Baca-Lucero stepped out of the house and pulled a gun from her "right front pocket."

He says she told him: "You need to get off my property now." This is a variation of the famous "get off my lawn."

The service engineer, identified as Clifton Ratliff, said he managed to both raise his hands in surrender and flee.

Baca-Lucero was jailed and has now been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. She claims that the Comcast service engineer didn't want to leave her house and that's why she took out her gun. She insists that she pointed it in the air, rather than, as he claims, at him.

I have contacted Comcast to see whether the company can confirm its engineer's story and to ask whether its staff are trained to deal with such dangerous circumstances. I will update, should I hear.

Clearly, if there were additional charges involved, it was hardly Ratliff's fault. To be faced with a gun -- even if you believe Baca-Lucero that she pointed it in the air -- is hardly anyone's idea of a customer behaving well.

Sometimes, customers behave very badly indeed.

Updated 6.53pm: A Comcast spokeswoman told CNET: "The safety of our employees and customers is our top priority, and fortunately no one was injured in this incident. We are cooperating with authorities and are not able to comment further as this is an ongoing investigation."

I understand that Ratliff is thought to have followed the guidelines established in training Comcast staff and attempted to defuse the situation, rather than escalate it.