I recently switched my broadband / cable provider from Comcast to Astound. In general I’ve been happy, but there have been a few hiccups. By far, the most confounding and amusing one is the website registration process.

As a new customer to Astound, if you want to access their “web self care” site,  you need to create a new account. Sounds reasonable so far, right? But take a look at the image below. Have you ever seen a registration form with three password fields? I haven’t. Now, look closer. Notice that one of the fields is called “Registration Password”? What the heck is that??

After some trial and error, I determined I’d need to call customer support — which, by the way, was exactly what I was trying to avoid in the fist place!

My call to support went something like this…

Me: I’m trying to register for “web self care” but it says I need a registration password?

Astound: I’m sorry about that. I can help you. Please verify your name and address.

M: < verifying my name and address >

A: Okay, I’m going to hang up now and call you back on the phone number you gave us when you signed up for service. Then I’ll give you the registration password.

** I shit you not. **

M: Oh… kayyyy… < click >

Phone: RING!!

M: Hello?

A: Hello, Mr. Villamor. Here is your registration password: a s t o u n d, all lower case. (Update: password is now astound1)

** I shit you not. **

M: Thank you. Can ask you a question?

A: Sure.

M: Why on earth do you have a registration password? I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.

A: We do this for your security so that an unauthorized person cannot access your billing information.

** I shit you not. **

M: That makes no sense. If I haven’t registered yet, there’s nothing to protect. Not to mention, I don’t care if someone knows I owe you $96.67. What’s the worst they can do, pay my bill? And by the way, not even banks have registration passwords. Might I recommend that you stop wasting people’s time with this?

A: It’s for your security. Can I help you with anything else?

M: Yes. Can you tell me if I am a character in a Kafka novel?