Comcast Dings Your Credit Report For Moving With Their Precious Cable Modem

Comcast told reader Marcus that he could just take his cable modem with him when he moved from the Philadelphia suburbs into the city. Then he checked his credit report and found out that he was a cable modem thief.

Comcast’s service continues to surprise me with how inept they are these days. My situation, which is probably not unique started when I first signed up for Comcast television and their high speed internet service in 2005. From the time I signed up till Jan. of 2007, my bill has fluctuated and fees changed so many times, that it prompted several calls to customer service. Of course many of the promised credits to my account never showed up, so in Feb of 2007, since I was moving from my apartment to a house, I decided to dump the cable tv and keep the internet service. Unfortunately Comcast was the only high speed internet service in that area besides satellite. Which bugs me, because I was moving from Rockledge, PA, which was RIGHT outside of Philadelphia INTO Philadelphia. Why do some parts of a major metropolitan area like Philadelphia NOT have DSL yet is beyond me, but that’s another issue.

So, at the mid of Feb of 2007, I called Comcast and spoke with a representative there and informed them that I was moving and that I wanted to cancel the television service, but keep the internet. After about 40 minutes of repeating the same information and being transferred to 3 reps, FINALLY someone “supposedly” got everything straightened out. I was told by the last rep that I DIDN’T HAVE TO RETURN ANY EQUIPMENT and to just take EVERYTHING to the house I was moving to. So, I moved, had my address changed at the post office, call all the other places to change my address and Comcast in the middle of march came and hooked up the internet using the EXACT equipment that I brought with me from my old address.

So March 2007 through Jan. 2008 passes by and we now in Feb 2008. Yesterday, I went to check my free year credit report ( I check it every six months now due to some past situations), and everything was in the green and normal with the exception of this unknown charge of $85.00 from Eastern Account System with an account number XXXXXXXXXX and the payment status was and I quote “Seriously past due date, assigned to collection agency.” Surprised, and ever so slightly confused I started searching around the internet and finally found the phone number to Eastern Account System. I called them and talked with a guy named Pat. He informed me that the charge was for “unreturned equipment and a 14.95$ charge for a remaining cable balance.” I was VASTLY confused at this point and told Pat that of course the equipment isn’t returned I’m currently USING the equipment (at least half of it anyway). The representative was ultimately confused as well, and asked for the serial numbers of the devices I had with me. Which I gave him and he verified. Then he asked me if I moved recently, which was an affirmative answer. Pat kinda chuckled and said, “You gotta call Comcast. You moved into a different borough or different section of the city. The two sections DON’T communicate with each other so you’ll have to call the main customer service line and find out whats going on.” He said he had wondered WHY all their snail mail communications to me all came back returned. Comcast had given them my OLD address. Lovely.

Right after that I get on the horn with Comcast and the amount of dread just piled up with each button I pressed for their customer service number. I get a hold of a rep and tell him my story, of course he puts me on hold and transfers me to the billing department. After about 20 minutes someone picks up and I can barely hear them speak. You know that static you hear when you talk to someone who has a bad cellphone connection? Yup, that was the exact same sound I was then hearing. I was on a landline, so it wasn’t me. I guessed their using their wonderful new VOIP telephone system. After several attempts of repeating my story and information to the lady on the static filled line, we finally get the ball running and then I get cut off.

Once again, I dialed the dreaded number and get a hold of another girl named Amanda. We plod through the same thing again. But THIS time NONE of my information was coming up. No street names, account numbers, nothing. She couldn’t neither my old or new street address. Giving her my city, state, zip and social number couldn’t pull up anything either. On hold I went while she got a supervisor. 10 minutes later, Amanda was back on the phone and asked for my information AGAIN! She was able to eventually find my information using some kind of weird trickery with their computer systems.

So, we go over the story ONCE more of me moving and for some reason there’s a charge on my credit report about equipment NOT being returned. I hear some typing and some clicking and finally she says “Oh, I don’t see ANY equipment serial numbers attached to your current address.” Apparently, Comcast doesn’t need to know WHAT and WHO’S equipment your using, they are just happy they can bill you for stuff and the rep that I talked to last year didn’t feel the need to change over my information properly.

Therefore, I’m put on hold AGAIN and another 20 minutes was lost from my life. Amanda gets back on the phone and this is the exchange at this point

Amanda – Ok, you just gotta return the cable box and modem to the Willow Grove, PA branch. They will issue you a receipt.

Me – So, what about my internet? I need a cable modem. Will the Willow Grove branch issue me a new one?

Amanda – (said rather admantly) No! They CAN’T issue you a box you live in a different district.

Me – So HOW do I get a NEW one?

Amanda – You will have to either have one mailed to you or you can purchase one.

Me – Ummm.. I don’t want to buy one, can YOU mail me out one?

Amanda – Is that what you’d like to do?

That last question made me dumbfounded and VERY VERY concerned about Comcast, the people they employ and the training (If ANY) that’s given to their employees. Anyhow, Amanda took down my mailing address and said a new modem would be out in two to three business days. And she begrudgingly noted, supposedly, in the computer that I’m keeping the cable modem and cable box until the new equipment shows up.

That’s my tale of woe… even though its being resolved, Comcast and other companies these days make you feel like your a circus poodle jumping through hoops of fire. Why can’t we have MORE high speed internet choices in this Country! I’m not asking for servitude or slavery, just a good product and decent customer service.

Honestly, more high speed internet competition is an issue about which you might want to write your congressperson. Maybe if more people did that, they’d start pretending to care about it on TV. Verizon will probably help you look up the address.

Anyway, be sure to dispute the entry on your credit report.

(Photo:cmorran123)

Comments

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  1. MikeB says:

    There is no mention of it, but he wants to make sure that he follows up and verifies that the ding has been removed from his Credit Report.

  2. apotheosis says:

    When I first started reading Consumerist I thought all the Comcast hate was some sort of vendetta. They did pretty well by me, no worse than (and frequently better than) other service providers I’d dealt with.

    Now, I’m getting the distinct impression that simply I lived in the one area where Comcast wasn’t entirely staffed by incompetent doofii.

  3. rmz says:

    It’s Comcraptic!

  4. MDSasquatch says:

    and while you are at it, you may want to put in a CHANGE of ADDRESS with the Post Office.

    I am anxiously awaiting Verizon FIOS in my neighborhood; COMCAST is RUDE, ARROGANT, EXPENSIVE, LOW QUALITY, UNRELIABLE, and basically A COMPLETE RIPOFF

  5. LorneReams says:

    Since Comcast couldn’t verify it with you easily, I’m sure a dispute with the CRA would have had it removed.

  6. Shannon says:

    i’ve heard enough to NEVER EVER use comcast. Ever.

  7. soulman901 says:

    Ok folks, let’s go over the lesson that everyone needs to learn.

    1. Buy your own damn equipment. Leasing it will cost you more and you can get pretty good deals on cable/dsl modems these days.

    2. Slap yourself if you didn’t follow rule 1.

  8. DeeJayQueue says:

    @apotheosis: Doofii for the win.

  9. itsallme says:

    The poster mentions canceling cable TV service and keeping only the internet service at the new location. Didn’t the poster think it was odd that he got to hold onto a cable TV converter that wasn’t being used for no reason (for almost a year).
    I’m assuuming you don’t need both a converter and a modem for internet service.
    Had he questioned that at the time of new installation he probably would have returned the cable box at that time and this possibly could have been avoided.

  10. zundian says:

    Why wouldn’t he want to buy a cable modem? It’s $50 for a new one, instead-of $5/month for the rest of your life. And he wouldn’t have had to go through any of this.

  11. cosby says:

    @soulman901:

    Yea I have to agree with buying the cable modem over renting it.

    Anyway I would just file a dispute with the credit agency over this and be done with it.

    Calling your congressperson is a good idea as well. Maybe if they get enough complaints of shit like this happening they will do something about it.

  12. Nighthawke says:

    What’s the olde saying??

    “Worst…Company…Ever!”

    Enuf said.

  13. HeyThereKiller says:

    Um… Verizon has DSL in Philly… and im pretty sure Earthlink does as well…

    do your research fella

  14. tequilajunction says:

    @itsallme: Comcast almost never refreshes their equipment, so it’s totally plausible that the box could have been so old, that they wouldn’t even want it back.

    Plus he’d already asked once and been told to hold on to it. It’s just a shame that his call wasn’t recorded for quality assurance and/or training.

  15. tequilajunction says:

    @HeyThereKiller: Verizon has DSL in parts of Philly, but not all of Philly.

  16. Asvetic says:

    I avoid contacting Comcast for as long as I can, every time I do something wrong happens. I can’t see what the CSR is doing, and I can’t verify that they’re inputing the correct information. It’s the freakin Information Age, how come I can’t get an email with a verification link to finalize all changes and guarantee that things weren’t communicated poorly?! How fcking hard is this?!

  17. Laffy Daffy says:

    Cable modems are cheap … you can get them for $20 if you wait for a good sale.

  18. noi56u says:

    Never, ever try to move your service to a new residence with Comcast. I went through a similar experience a while back ended up with extra modems/cable boxes and more calls to CS than I care to remember.

    You’re better off just closing your account and opening a new one at your new place – especially if you have a roommate/significant other to open a new account in their name, so you don’t “accidentally” end up with two open accounts.

  19. balthisar says:

    @apotheosis: Same thing here. They’ve been entirely easy and great to get along with. The only downside was that for a long time, they weren’t equipped to set up automatic credit card payments without mailing in an archaic paper form, but I don’t even have to do that now. Last year my outline line was bad, and the techs did a fantastic job.

    Heck, I’m even using the same cable modem as I had when I lived in an entirely different city!

  20. rbb says:

    What’s inexcusable is that the modem can be uniquely identified anywhere on their network as long as it is attached to the cable (which it was…). How could COMCAST “lose” it?

  21. madanthony says:

    Comcast has grown by taking over a lot of other cable companies, which is probably part of the reason that their offices don’t communicate – the ones that were bought from other companies seem to operate pretty much the way they did before they were comcast.

    Here in Baltimore, the county was comcast long before Baltimore City was – Baltimore City was old TCI/ATT territory. They operate out of different offices, with different services (it took years for Baltimore City to get cable internet).

    Not that it excuses them from telling him that he didn’t need to turn in equipment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the disconnect in Philly is similar.

  22. hoot550 says:

    When I connected service with Comcast a few years back with my cable modem that I owned, it was equally as fun. The tech told me it was not “compatibile” with Comcast and I had to use the one he brought with him for me to lease. I assured him it mine was perfectly able to get the job done. After a thirty minute argument, and him calling his supervisor, he agreed to give it a shot. He finally had to acknowledge that it worked, but that “you should really get a new modem, because it may stop working some day when we upgrade.”

    I so don’t miss Comcast.

  23. warf0x0r says:

    @soulman901: After I had horrible internet problems and learned that my cable modem was about as old as internet over cable I bought my own modem for 50 dollars. I’ve never had any problems since.

  24. starrion says:

    Doofii- must use this in conversation today.

    Yes, it sounds like the stupid is strong with these branches.
    The last time I escalated a case with Comcast, I had the 2nd Comcast Motorized Division show up- supervisor w/pickup, (3) technician vans and (2) bucket trucks. They had the whole pole-to-house replaced in an hour and fixed all our problems. And I don’t even work for Comcast.

    I fear the Assault of the Doofii

  25. johnva says:

    @rbb: You’re assuming that Comcast is organized enough to keep track of that and communicate it to customer service agents. They don’t seem particular organized to me whenever I’ve had to deal with them (like someone said, this may be the result of their “growth through acquisitions” strategy).

  26. Mike_ says:

    I had a somewhat similar experience. I brought my modem with me when I moved between Comcast regions. At my new address, the installation tech gave me a new modem, but insisted on taking the old one with him. (I had planned on returning it to the other local office, but the tech said he had to take it.) A few weeks later, I started getting invoices for unreturned equipment. I spent many hours on the phone explaining the situation to Customer Service, but they were predictably unhelpful. After several months, my missing modem turned up in a warehouse transfer, and was credited back to my account.

    For this and other equally-frustrating demonstrations of monumental ineptitude and disinterest in customer satisfaction, I will never forgive Comcast for as long as I live. But I still write those a-holes a check every month because they are my only option for high speed Internet.

  27. Difdi says:

    In the area I live in, for a period of several years, the Comcast CSRs, tech support guys *and* billing department all told customers that they could change out faulty leased hardware for working hardware (cable modem, cable tv box, etc) at this one local “comcast cable store”. Which was news to the personnel at the cable store, who simply refused to do any such thing, and instead signed customers up for an installer to bring new equipment and install it. Note that they didn’t usually *tell* people this until the old equipment was checked into their system, and couldn’t be unchecked. This went on for over five years, before eventually it got corrected and the cable store people were on the same page as the rest of Comcast. But for a while there…it was utterly Comcastic…

  28. jtheletter says:

    @soulman901: Problem with buying your own equipment is when the vendor refuses to support it. I own two different cable modems, both purchased from RCN, but every 18 months or so they ‘upgrade’ their equipment and refuse to authorize any older modems. It’s not a compatibility issue either, I’ve had this happen moving from one side of town to the other, literally taking the purchased and daily-used cable modem with me only to be told by the install tech that they won’t activate it because it’s obsolete. Apparently going obsolete within hours of my unplugging it from their network elsewhere in town. Unfortunately the hassle of getting them to recognize perfectly good hardware just was not worth my time and effort, not to mention previous experience with them has taught me that anything outside of their prescribed routine will usually end up in months of billing errors.

  29. johnva says:

    @jtheletter: Well seeing as there is a STANDARD for cable modems, compatibility shouldn’t be a problem unless your cable company is completely incompetent or you have an incredibly old cable modem that predates the existence of the standard. What I did to get things working with my own cable modem was just to plug it in, call them up, and ask them to enter my modem’s hardware address into their system. The entry-level “techs” had trouble with this but I got it done after escalating to Tier 2.

  30. Copper says:

    @MDSasquatch: He did.

  31. smythe says:

    Follow up and see how much he was charged for the new cable modem… I bet they sell him one or charge him to rent it.

  32. TommyNY says:

    So… you don’t return the cable box, you put it aside. Then, you have a problem when they say you didn’t return equipment?

    Let me clarify — you were mis-informed at one point, but failed to use your own common sense. If you have something that’s owned by a company, and you normally pay for it, do you think you can keep it but not pay for it?

    That’s as if you rented a car, called them to say you weren’t driving the car, and then become irate when they bill you for the days you still had it.

    Will you be misinformed sometimes in life — yes. Should you use that as a defense when you don’t use your common sense? — NO!

  33. vastrightwing says:

    Having Comcast as an ISP is WORSE than not having Internet at all. Do not use Comcast. This is not real Internet service. For a better experience, take head, bang against wall 20 times each hour. Alternative, use dial-up. I’m serious. It’s not as bad as Comcast.

  34. mike says:

    @cosby: Some cable companies (Cox is what I have) offers different rate plans. They advertise the 1.x Mbit/s, 2, etc. These rates all require you to rent/purchase a modem.

    However, there is a 768k rate where it’s $11.99 and they give you a modem for free.

    I asked the lady why wouldn’t most people get the lower rate, get the free modem, and then increase a higher speed. Her answer, “Most people just look at the speed, and not the benefits.”

  35. @HeyThereKiller: He’s outside of Phily, and if you’d like to play with semantics, here’s one for you. Baltimore has DSL. Baltimore also has FiOS. I see the adverts everytime I turn on the telly. I encourage you to go to Verizon’s website and search for either service in zip code 21209. How about performing one’s own research rather than dinging others?

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go back to fuming over the amount of competition (or rather lack thereof) for internet in my area.

  36. moviemoron says:

    Dispute that part on your credit report. By law they have to investigate it.

  37. Ann-Marie says:

    Yowsa – what a miserable situation! Further evidence why companies that function in silos are bad for customers. I’m with mbouchard — Marcus needs to follow up with Comcast to make sure the delinquency on his credit report is corrected. Sometimes this takes persistence. Then he should double-check that this negative has actually been removed by getting a copy of his credit report. You can get a free one (plus score) at Quizzle.com. Good luck Marcus!

  38. AD8BC says:

    @soulman901: Here here. I have been using the same Motorola surfboard cable modem (and Linksys router) for eight years now, first on Comcast (was AT&T Broadband at the time, one week after I got hooked up, we lost service due to that whole Excite@Home fiasco (remember that, fellow Consumerists?)) and now on Charter. Still purrs quietly.

  39. MrEvil says:

    I gotta say, Marcus is a supreme Doofus for leasing a cable modem. You can get cable modems BRAND NEW for $60 and they’re often better than the ones you lease from the cable company. Then Comcast charges what, $10-15 a month to rent the stupid thing? In six months the SOB’s paid for and you can take it with you whereever since all cable companies use some form of DOCSIS. I’ve had my Motorola Surfboard for over three years. It cost me $60. I’ve saved well over $300 not leasing one from the cable company. If the modem lasts you six months it doesn’t owe you anything and you can buy another one and not have to put up with this BS from Comcast.

  40. swalve says:

    I’ve had my cable modem replaced multiple times by Comcast. Maybe at today’s low prices I’m losing out, but not at the prices they used to be. And even if it does cost me more, it’s easier to tell Comcast “come fix it” than it is to have a peepee match with some guy on the phone telling me to replace my cable modem.

    (Although maybe I should buy two of them, and swap them out when the guy on the phone says it’s my cable modem…?)

  41. Oface says:

    Comcast makes me want to punch babies. I came from the wonderful land of Cox cable. Now stuck in Comcast hell. The other day, I actually wanted to watch tv, went to OnDemand, and tried to pull up a movie on Encore. It tells me that I don’t have a subscription. So I call…after being hung up on twice and holding for 30 mintues, I get a person who is actually friendly and informs me its because they’re updating their software to make OnDemand easier to access and that it should be only 48 hours and I can then watch the movies I wish.

    And lets not even get started on the fucktard that drilled a hole in the TOP of the wall. Or the bitch that argued with me about my fucking box not being connected to the television.

    Gah. I hope they all burn in hell.

  42. stre says:

    yeah, i had something similar happen when i moved with a charter modem/cable box. they told me i could keep it and 2 weeks after moving i got a notice to return the equipment or get bashed on my credit report. luckily it was all within the same city (which was conveniently not large enough to have different boroughs), so it was straightened out even before getting the ding on the credit report. cable companies blow chunks.

  43. tony_sanjose says:

    I hate comcast, and despite the fact they are the only cable company in my
    area I am resolved at not watching any cable tv because of them.

    When I was preparing to move out of my apartment in May, I had made several
    attempts to cancel my service via phone. On one occassion the customer service
    rep actually hung up on me, and on another occassion I was on hold for nearly
    a half hour. I got fed up with this treatment and it seemed like they
    weren’t going to let me cancel my account.

    So instead, I sent in a letter by mail with my payment to have my account
    a month before i moved out of my apartment.

    It was pretty clear, even on the check I sent in with my final payment, I
    wrote on the message, final payment, please cancel service. With this was a
    brief note with my account number, address and phone number, and my signature
    asking them to please cancel my service because I was moving.

    They continued to charge me for service saying
    that they never received my letter and that mailing them was not the
    appropriate course of action that I should have called them.

    I tried to call them!!!!

    I spent 5 months arguing with customer service about whether or not I had
    actually called, which my cell phone clearly had record of, I even offered them
    a copy of my phone bill, but why should I have to go to such lengths?

    Finally a customer service agent, sympathetic to my situation assured me that my
    account would be resolved and that I would neither be charged nor sent to collections.

    This was a complete lie.

    I spent the next 3 months arguing with Comcast’s collections department
    and finally being stuck with their Credit Protection Association friends. They kept sending me
    notices that they were going to report me to credit reporting agencies, but I responded
    promptly to all their requests informing them of the situation, following all their
    protocols, even sending them certified mail.

    They reported my account anyway.

    At this point I was besides myself. I tried to work with collections to have
    them remove it from my credit report. Naturally they had no care about my situation
    and made no attempt to resolve it short of me paying the fee I was told by
    Comcast that I would not have to worry about.

    I was very distraught and finally agreed to pay the fee so long as they help me
    resolve the issue of it being on my credit report.

    They said that in order to do that they would need approval from Comcast.

    So I called Comcast Customer Service again and told them the situation.

    The guy he told me that indeed there was a way to fix this. Of course pay the fee,
    but that I would have to go to the Comcast center
    in Sanfrancisco to pay for it; that they would give me a letter that I could then use to
    have them remove the remark from my credit report.

    He even noted my account to the same.

    I made arrangements to make the 40 min drive to San Francisco, ready to pay,
    and when I brought up my issue to the people at the Comcast Center, they of course
    had no idea what I was talking about but were very happy to take my money. I asked to speak
    to a manager but there was no manager on duty. Great. I wasn’t going to hand over my money
    without the resolution I was promised. It seems like that is the only bargaining chip that
    I have here because they’ve done absolutely nothing to help me.

    The worst part about this is I shouldnt have to pay them at all, but they’ve gone out of
    their way to make my life miserable.

    I hate them. I hate Comcast. I will never watch cable again.

    Comcast: You’ve basically ruined my credit and by extension my life for $100.

    Thanks!