Lawsuit: Comcast Leaked Customer's Banking Info After She Sent Check For "My Right Arm"

A woman who sent a sarcastic payment to the “Comcast Vampires” for “My Right Arm” is suing because she says Comcast employees posted a copy of her unredacted check on the internet. She says she was alerted to the security breach by a stranger from Colorado who received the check in an email that said: “This is too funny not to pass on. This is an actual payment we received via yesterdays mail.”

The woman says “attached was a copy of my personal check with my name, my address, my phone number, My account numbers, my signature… nothing was blacked out…Nothing! And a copy of my comcast statement.”

Here’s her story as she tells it, from the Comcast Must Die website:

My gripe with comcast started when i received my first bill after signing up for the Comcast Triple Play. $99 a month, right? No…It was an additional $30 on top of that because i was already a comcast customer. If you have cable in my area, yes, you have to be a comcast customer.

So my first bill was for $228. When i paid my bill i paid $200. Leaving a $28 balance to be tacked on to next months bill. When i had family visiting, my cable wasnt working for a few days, finally i called and the reason was because my account was past due. In order to get it turned back on i had to pay $169 (not my $28 balance)by phone immediately. So i did, electronically… and before i hung up the phone the tv was on again. That fast. Embarrassing.

So since i paid over the phone i disregarded my next payment and instead sent my check to the “Comcast vampires” and paid in the amount of “My right Arm and zero dollars” memo “Robbing customers blind”. Haha, i got my little dig in there, so i thought.

About 2 weeks later, i was out of town visiting family when my husband calls from home telling me that he just recieved a strange phone call from a woman in Colorado. We live in Pennsylvania. She just recieved an email that said “This is too funny not to pass on. This is an actual payment we recieved via yesterdays mail.” And attached was a copy of my personal check with my name, my address, my phone number, My account numbers, my signature… nothing was blacked out…Nothing! And a copy of my comcast statement.
Immediately, i called my bank, then comcast, then the police. I had to cut my visit short to come home and take care of this situation. That was last August. Since then i have filed complaints with the BBB, Attorney General, and the FTC. I have searched for an attorney to file a case against them. No Luck. There are 3 Consumer Rights attorneys in Pittsburgh. I am afraid of the whole identity theft thing. A comcast employee put all of my personal information out there, its just a matter of time in my eyes. They have given me so much runaround, i dont even want to go there. I even spoke to a comcast security agent that couldnt even tell me her last name, she just had an Agent ID B!<. How ridiculous is that. She gave the the number for the comcast legal dept, 1-800-871-6298 and fax, 1-720-267-2794. She claimed that she had reported the incident and it was now out of her hands.
Nothing has been done, i have had to change my bank account, get new checks, and constantly keep an eye on our credit report. They issued me credit for 3 months of services.
A few people got fired, but that doesnt help me any. For all i know, the email could still be circulating. Now i am not sure where to go now. I just know that this incident could haunt me for years to come. And i still write my checks out to the comcast vampires.

The Associated Press says Comcast has no comment.

Woman sends Comcast check for ‘my right arm’ [Post-Gazette]
(Photo: cmorran123 )

Comments

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  1. sgodun says:

    So, a woman pulls a “joke”, it backfires on her, and she gets pissed off? Do I have it right?

  2. chevychic55 says:

    that sucks. close out your account… you probably already did that. not much else to be done

  3. majortom1029 says:

    IF your going to send in a check like that . why not just black it out yourself?

  4. BlondeGrlz says:

    @sgodun: “Backfire” would have been if they actually came to her house and demanded her right arm. Mass emailing her personal information is totally inappropriate.

    Comcast get thousands of checks each month. Being responsible with the personal information on those checks should be a no-brainer.

  5. blong81 says:

    I guess be careful what you send to people.

  6. kyle4 says:

    Not excusing what they did but she acted like a moron this entire time. It’s just bad karma.

  7. Juggernaut says:

    Yeah, it sucks but am I missing something? She thought it was funny to send the check, the receiver thought it was funny and shared it, and then everything went to hell. What does she want… Witness Protection? $1,000,000.00? A public flogging?
    Nothing got done… some people got fired, I changed bank accounts, got new checks, keep an eye on my credit report, they gave me three months credit.

  8. DarrenO says:

    Yeah, one of the times where it’s actually correct to blame the consumer. Someone wants to be a bitch and do something stupid and is then surprised when it bites them on the ass. If she hates Comcast so much why is she still a customer, even after this??

    I guess as they say there is no patch for human stupidity!

  9. 44 in a Row says:

    Comcast get thousands of checks each month. Being responsible with the personal information on those checks should be a no-brainer.

    I agree in general, but the only thing that gives me pause here is that this clearly was designed to get attention. She wanted someone to actually look at it and notice it, not just process it for payment like with the other thousands of checks they get. Again, not excusing what they did at all, but it can’t be the case that she wanted her check to go ignored.

  10. smirky says:

    Was there information on this particular check that isn’t on every single check she hands out during the month? It wasn’t exactly private information. However, theremay have been private information on the copy of the Comcast statement.

  11. evslin says:

    I hope she at least gave this stunt some thought in advance. The idea of that check having 20-30 sets of eyes on it within 5 minutes of it being opened isn’t something I consider outside the realm of possibility – let alone it being shared outside the office.

    There are plenty of other ways to voice your dissatisfaction with a company that don’t involve writing it on a sheet of paper containing your bank account number and personal contact information.

  12. mmstk101 says:

    Really? It’s the customer’s fault?

    So, maybe she shouldn’t have sent the sarcastic cheque. That in no way excuses Comcast employees forwarding her PERSONAL and PRIVATE information to other random people. If nothing else, they sure as hell should have redacted the info.

    Are you kidding me? Comcast = fail.

  13. boomerang86 says:

    I can think of few companies that deserve the negative publicity as much as Comcast.

    Wrong as the Comcast employee was to release that check image outside of the company, the customer used REALLY bad judgement in sending in a prank to a person she will never identify.

  14. evslin says:

    @smirky: What’s different about this check is that it’s gonna make the first person who looks at it go “LOL HEY GUYS GET A LOAD OF THIS” – all of a sudden it’s all over the office when it otherwise wouldn’t be.

  15. MissTicklebritches says:

    @kylo4 What the customer did didn’t hurt anyone, it was just a statement about how she felt. What Comcast did caused the customer a lot of anxiety and time.

  16. bobfromboston says:

    Obviously she has every right to be royally pissed off, but she’s being melodramatic saying “this incident could haunt me for years to come.” The account is closed, there is no further identifying information available — exactly what more can happen?

    Plus, she accepted the three months of free service, which probably was not a good move if she’s looking to sue.

    Unless satellite or Fios is not an option, it’s hard to believe she still writes “my checks out to the Comcast vampires.”

  17. Brunette Bookworm says:

    @smirky: I think the problem was it got out in email, apparently enough that strangers contacted the person. Yeah, it’s kind of crappy to send in a check like that but there is no reason for someone at Comcast to send out a copy of someone’s check to someone not involved in the billing process at Comcast.

  18. Munsoned says:

    I understand her frustration at the situation, but I agree with other posters that it’s hard to feel too sorry for her.

    Based on most of our initial gut reactions, I doubt a judge/jury is going to award her much, if anything. What has she lost? What are her actual realized damages? You need to prove actual damages before a court will award you anything. Fear of future identity theft might not cut it…

  19. BlondeGrlz says:

    @44 in a Row: Showing the check to the other people in the processing center =/= spreading it all over the internet. I wouldn’t have a problem with emailing it if they had blacked out her personal information. Even just her account number.

  20. milk says:

    One time a woman paid my department $25 in pennies and got upset when we told her we had to count it all. It took 20 minutes, and she had to wait there. Why would a business not count the money you give them?

    Acts like this just require a little forethought. What these employees did was definitely wrong, but you have to think about the possible consequences of your actions in any situation.

  21. fordpickup says:

    She probably shouldn’t have done what she did, but there is no reason to blame her for Comcast employees scanning a check and emailing it around. It’s just not okay to do that.

    As for some type resolution, I would suggest Comcast should pay for a year of credit monitoring. People have been fired and there is no reason to fork over large sums of cash.

  22. majortom1029 says:

    I have had people calling me sayin g that there monitor was broken and that they need a new one. I get over there and it was just turned off. I walked away cursing after that one.

    The reason was screwed up but charging them 40 bucks to remote in was a normal thing to do. The tech has no idea what is wrong and it could be a wrong setting making the monitor not work.

  23. Mr_Human says:

    She said nothing go done, and then went on to note that “some people got fired” and she got three months credit.

    I wonder if the Comcast people thought it was a gag/fake check?

  24. majortom1029 says:

    @majortom1029: Sorry wrong story.

  25. Munsoned says:

    @majortom1029: huh?

  26. katra says:

    @smirky: There is a huge difference between sending a check to a company you regularly do business with, and having a copy of your check spread around on the internet, giving all of your account information to strangers.

    She behaved childishly. The Comcast employees behaved negligently, and there’s a huge difference between these two things too. I can’t believe there is so much ‘blaming the victim’ in this thread.

  27. Nytmare says:

    You shouldn’t play games with your own financial instruments containing personal info, but Comcast’s behavior was worse. Their financial department needs bitch-slapped. How can someone whose JOB is to process personal checks be so negligent?

  28. Juggernaut says:

    @majortom1029: They did what to your kitten?

  29. chevychic55 says:

    @BlondeGrlz

    And sending an immature check to employees who probably deal with crap all day is not inappropriate? That was just a dumb attempt at trying to feel better for signing up for a service without properly reading the terms.

  30. JustThatGuy3 says:

    The reason she can’t get a lawyer to take this case is because she doesn’t have one.

    1. The info on that check is available to anybody she’s ever written a check to. It’s not exactly confidential.

    2. Comcast could argue that, since the check clearly wasn’t valid, it wasn’t a “payment,” and hence any responsibility they had to keep it confidential was obviated.

    3. She took $350+ from Comcast (3 months of free service), so they can argue they’ve compensated her.

    4. She hasn’t shown any actual _damages_ – if someone had actually stolen her identity, she might have more of a case.

    Can’t say I feel a lot of sympathy for her – she knowingly didn’t pay her full bill, and then got irate when they decided “you don’t pay, we don’t provide service,” then decided to send in a joke payment rather than the next bill, and then gets ticked off when it goes haywire.

  31. BlondeGrlz says:

    @chevychic55: Comcast fired several people for this, so even they agree emailing the check was inappropriate. Please see katra, nytmare, and mjane79 for people who understand the meaning of the word “negligent” as it applies in this case.

  32. My keyboard has a typo key says:

    No matter how funny anything is on a account transaction. Be it a comment or a name. It led to unauthorized transmission of personal and account information.

    I wonder how funny names, like Richard Head, Harold Beahre… On Comcast payment checks are to be found floating around the internet.

  33. Farquar says:

    Honestly, I’m a bit suprised at all the negativity towards the customer. There is always a bit of that here, but the overwhelming “customers fault” on this one is unexpected.

    While I agree that what she did was an effort to get attention, but it was an effort to get attention from within the Comcast office. She didn’t post the check, or anything about this online until after she found out it was making its rounds.

    I wouldn’t presume to know the law on this one, but I would not be suprised of there was some duty on the part of Comcast to safely and privately maintain their customers information. While this wasn’t an actual payment, I wouldn’t expect that the duty would change.

    There was one comment above about how she couldn’t know who opened the letter. That’s irrelevant. Comcast opened the letter. They are responsible for their employees actions.

    Lastly, if she accepted 3 months credit in satisfaction of her “claim” she’s now fighting windmills.

  34. I hope she’s suing for $54 million.

  35. nedzeppelin says:

    one time where i can’t find any fault on the consumer’s side. i don’t know what the rest of you are talking about

    so you think she’s a bitch and had it coming to her because she sent them a sarcastic check?

    in no way does that give employees the right to start scanning your check onto their computers, and attaching it to emails to send all over the country.
    i’m pretty sure there’s probably a dozen employee guidelines forbidding that kind of behavior.

    what next, some employee says, “look donald trump is a customer of ours” and emails out a check from the donald to prove it?

    also, sure anyone she’s ever written a check to has that information.. but SHE sent them the check. she can decide who to trust. circulating it out to a million strangers over the internet is hardly acceptable behavior

  36. spindle says:

    @JustThatGuy3: “1. The info on that check is available to anybody she’s ever written a check to. It’s not exactly confidential.”

    Awesome. Can I have your checking acct # and routing number? Since it’s not really private info and all, you shouldn’t mind.

  37. craptastico says:

    so first, this deadbeat doesnt pay her entire bill, and then is appalled when they shut off service to her? check one that she’s a moron.
    i also don’t understand why she would sign this joke check. check two she’s a moron.

  38. JustThatGuy3 says:

    One other thing – Comcast would have been fully within their rights to endorse that check on to someone else, who could have endorsed in on, etc. etc.

    Was it appropriate for these employees to do this? No, and I would have fired them too.

    Is Comcast liable in any meaningful way? Again, no.

  39. nedzeppelin says:

    @JustThatGuy3: comcast is definitely liable for what their employees do with their customers’ information….

    or is verizon not responsible because 1 person decided to sell 12,500 unlisted phone numbers to somebody?

  40. My keyboard has a typo key says:

    @spindle: Add phone number and home address.Account number and other fun items for a potential scam. Never mind that a total stranger can call the home number on the check. Or send a nice official looking letter.

  41. chevychic55 says:

    @BlondeGrlz: Look, i am just saying, there was no reason for her to look for any other sort of retribution. She already accepted an appeasement gift from them, so that should have been the end of it. if I had sent in a jopke check and it ended up on the internet, I would have felt like an ass and moved on. I am an extremely chill person though, and it takes a lot to get me upset.

    Comcast is a huge company… there is no way they could ever possibly prevent something like this from happening. It happened, and they dealt with it by firing people. She should just let it go now. Also, I say she is one of those “freak out” people seeing as how she cut a visit short for this. she didn’t have a phone with her? there was no reason for that other than the mere fact that she can now claim she was forced to come home early for this. People need to RELAX sometimes.

  42. AD8BC says:

    Customer — bad joke. Funny, but dangerous.

    Comcast — bad move. Should be smarter than that (we all know that they aren’t.

    Share the blame. 35% customer, 65% comcast.

  43. dustincimino says:

    For all the people who said she deserved it, I would like to see this happen to you. Yes what she did was a little immature but still no reason for Comcast to put out all of her information. I hope she does sue that employee that sent out the check not the company.

  44. chevychic55 says:

    Also, for all of those people how say Comcast needs to do something to prevent something like this, what do you propose? she they invent some sort of new technology that will cause a check to spontaneuosly combust when it comes within 1 foot of a scanner? I work in an accounting office and I can assure you that scanners are vital.

  45. warf0x0r says:

    @BlondeGrlz: “Backfire” would be if they didn’t cash the check due to improper payer information thus resulting in a late fee so that she owes the vampires more money.

    Personally I think that whomever did this took more pride in their company than they should. Comcast doesn’t do anything special or well. Their commercials mocking DSL are simply comparing apples to oranges. I can’t imagine working there. I’d find no satisfaction in being simply poor or adequate.

  46. @spindle: Can I have your checking acct # and routing number? Since it’s not really private info and all, you shouldn’t mind.

    Can I have your address? Can I have your real name? How about your birthday? I’ll send you an awesome birthday present!

    Exactly what he said about checks is accurate. You’re extending his statement to imply things he didn’t.

  47. Mr.Ninethree says:

    Let’s all blame the consumer!!!

    Oh wait…

  48. alexanderpink says:

    And the first comment blames the victim! Damn what’s wrong you people? Why do you even read the consumerist? The security of personal financial information is the obligation of Comcast. She has no obligation other than to pay them what they owe, and every right to do that in whatever legal way she cares to. I hope she sues and wins.

  49. @chevychic55: Firing the people who sent her check around is a pretty good solution.

  50. BlondeGrlz says:

    @chevychic55: I totally agree that she is taking it too far, since she already accepted compensation from Comcast. The most she deserves is some free credit monitoring. My problem is with the idea that it was somehow OK for this Comcast employee to do what they did.

    @twiddling_my_thumbs: I thought the exact same thing about people with funny names. I’ve seen some funny things on employment applications but that doesn’t mean I scanned in someone’s personal info and sent it to everyone I know. Common sense: not a requirement to work for Comcast!

  51. Farquar says:

    @chevychic55: It doesn’t matter what would be required for Comcast to prevent this.. They are the employer and are legally responsible for everything their employees do in the course of their employment.

    It’s no different than a delivery company being on the hook when one of their drivers runs a red light and causes an accident. Or when a bouncer, defying club policy, beats the crap out of a patron. It does not matter, company pays. This is no different.

  52. @BlondeGrlz: Comcast fired people. It wasn’t OK.

  53. BlondeGrlz says:

    @Michael Belisle: Please read my previous comments. What I was referring to was the people here who seem to think it’s ok.

  54. @BlondeGrlz: Second, funny given names on an employment application is different. There’s a difference between unintentional humor and “I’m going to fill out this employment application with the name I. P. Freely.”

    Should you send around the I. P. Freely application? Probably not. Would I be surprised if you did? Nope.

    That’s all that happened here.

  55. @BlondeGrlz: What I was referring to was the people here who seem to think it’s ok.

    Oh, well they’re morons. Pay no attention to them.

  56. Karyuu says:

    She was a customer of Comcast. Comcast is required by law to protect their customer information. They failed. End of -that- story. All the blame the victim hooligans need to move on.

  57. PreserveFreedom says:

    This woman is an idiot. All the information she is worried about is on every check she writes. Wether she hands it out at the grocery store, mails it out to a utility company, or gives it to the paperboy. She used the check for a use other than intended. Yea it was unprofessional for a comcast employee to circulate it in the manner, but she was the one that started the problem. I can tell you that the fact that she has her phone number on her check is a good indication that she uses paper checks for every day shopping. Anyone that has any more than the absolute minimum info on the face of their check is not genuinely concerned about their identity or privacy. Step into the 21st century lady! Sign up for online billpay from your existing financial institution! Use a debit card for phone and POS purchases! If you can’t take the backlash from a joke, don’t try to start one!

  58. BlondeGrlz says:

    @Michael Belisle: No, I meant funny real names. Not I.P. Freely, but someone who’s real name is funny. Ben Dover? Still not ok to put his address, phone number, etc. in a mass email just because I happened to see it. Poor guy has enough problems.

  59. chenry says:

    @sgodun: Having your personal information and bank account numbers broadcasted over the internet is not “backfiring”.

  60. PreserveFreedom says:

    @spindle: If you can get me to write you a check, yes you may have my routing and account numbers. This info is on the bottom of each and every paper check you write. If you look at the bottom of your payroll check you can also get your employer’s routing and account numbers. If ComCast were to send this idiotic woman monetary compensation their routing and account numbers would be at the bottom of that check. If you don’t want to give that info out you need to close your checking account, open a savings account, and pay your bills with money orders.

  61. @Karyuu: She probably has a case. I understand that.

    But that’s not the end of the story. We wish she would have thought about the potential consequences of her childish actions in the first place. What did she think was going to happen to her check? She wanted attention. She got it. Please learn from what happened to her, because the outcome is unsurprising.

    Now that’s the end of story.

  62. Raziya says:

    They shouldn’t have sent out the check…but come on. The customer here wasn’t exactly bright either, and it seems like she is just trying to get a quick buck out of this anyway. :|

  63. JenniMoyer says:

    This is Jenni Moyer from Comcast, and I wanted to share some additional information about this. We’ve apologized to the customer and have worked with her to address her concerns. We take our customers’ privacy very seriously, and the people who were involved in this are no longer with Comcast.

  64. @BlondeGrlz: I know you were talking about real funny names. This is subtly different: she wrote a check for “my right arm” which is not a real check. I’m saying that it’s closer to someone who filled out an application with a fake name.

    I wouldn’t write a fake check like this because this is what I expect would happen to some extent.

    /me will stop posting for a few minutes to let others catch up in the score.

  65. BlondeGrlz says:

    @JenniMoyer: Oh Jenni, thanks for that but you are really really going to regret that choice of words.

  66. kallawm says:

    No arguments that this was totally inappropriate on Comcast’s part, but I don’t understand the level of paranoia. Anyone you give a check to has that information. People know where you live, oh no!!! Unless you put your social on your check, in which case you’re just dumb. :)

  67. smirky says:

    I should have pointed out that I am not at all suggesting that Comcast did not act like asses. My only point is that there should have been nothing on her actual check that she doesn’t freely give to others.

  68. hamsangwich says:

    I don’t quite get what else she wants. The people responsible were fired (correct decision), they credited her 3 months of cable (at $200 a month apparently, correct decision) and apologized to her. Maybe they could spring for 2 years of credit monitoring, but they already gave her what effectively amounts to $600 extra with which she could get her own credit monitoring and have a lot left over. I understand she’s pissed, but it sounds like it is resolved now.

  69. My keyboard has a typo key says:

    @hamsangwich:

    She settled for the resolution. So not much they could or will do. Maybe offer credit monitoring as good faith.To show the world they are taking this more serious than most do in terms of private transactions.

    Pretty much she took the offering.So she might be out of gas. Except publishing what happened.

  70. Drowner says:

    Probably started out as an internal joke and some dumb underling sent it to a friend outside of the comcast intranet.

    But seriously, if you were sending a joke check why would you include all that information? Why would I put my phone number on it?

    Come on lady they’ve don all they can, and even fired some people. Let it go. -cough attention whore cough-

  71. Farquar says:

    @JenniMoyer:

    um.. wow. You guys #1 pay attention to blogs (awesome) #2 admit to paying attention to blogs (wow) #3 Actually posted the resolution on the blog.. (holy shit)

    That said Jenni Moyer is a Senior Director, and assuming you are her.. then well, I’m kind of happy with you right now.

  72. nedzeppelin says:

    @kallawm: in addition to your name/number/address, your check also has your account number and bank routing number on it

    which is enough to order things online

  73. nedzeppelin says:

    jennimoyer,

    does comcast take outsourced contractors seriously, when they drag race and run over little girls?

  74. chevychic55 says:

    @Michael Belisle:

    i agree with you. they deserve to get fired.

  75. gliscameria says:

    A friend of mine had his checks made with a note at the bottom.

    “Take what you want, it will never fill the void in your life.” He uses them everywhere.

  76. chevychic55 says:

    @Farquar:

    Yes, I am aware that companies pay for rogue employees’ foolish actions… but should they? It probably started because of some lame case that set a precident for suing companies. IMHO, I think that if a company properly trains a person and runs a background check, then they should be off the hook for a person potential snapping at a random time.

    I digress though… Bottomline. the employee(s) deserved to get fired. The customer accepted an apology gift, so it is over. This should never have made it to the internet. she is complaining about someone butting her business for all to see, but she airs Comcasts dirty laundry after accepting the free months of service. 2 wrongs dont make a right

  77. Farquar says:

    @chevychic55:

    Well then we agree on most things.. All of paragraph two, yes.

    Paragraph one.. not so much.
    The question we often ask is: Who is in a better place to prevent the harm. It is always the employer, never the innocent victim. It’s very easy to say the employee shouldn’t be on the hook for their employees stupidity when the harm is an emailed check. When the harm is mutilation in a car accident, and the driver has absolutely no assets to cover the harm to the innocent party, its a lot more difficult to say that the employer has no responsibility. Not really the point of this post, but its the law for a significant policy reason that goes beyond some “lame precedent”.

  78. @nedzeppelin: in addition to your name/number/address, your check also has your account number and bank routing number on it which is enough to order things online

    Of course. A check is a fully-qualified instrument, complete with information about who wrote it and what account to take the money out of. But there are better sources of account number than a forwarded email.

    Did you know that a credit card number and expiration date is enough to make a purchase online too?

    Did you know that you don’t even need any form of payment to make a purchase online? You can get credit using random people in a phone book.

  79. amyschiff says:

    It really wasn’t a great idea to send the check in the first place, but what employee took it upon themselves to scan and then disperse it through email? Don’t they have better things to do… like work?

  80. I hate being forced to buy cable and high speed internet.

  81. Meltingemail says:

    @chevychic55: They did get fired.

  82. Meltingemail says:

    Scratch that comment, didn’t read far enough, nevermind.

  83. chevychic55 says:

    @Farquar:

    You’re entitled to your opinion, and I am mine. I do believe that is why there are insurance companies though. If a driver is driving a companie vehicle, then the policy should cover a large about of bodily injury… at least my personal policy does.

  84. dveight says:

    @alexanderpink: Believe it or not, many times the victims are the company!

    Now, in no way am I saying that what Comcast did was right, and yes, I would have considerd taking some legal action; however, she has accepted 3 months of free service, so her chance of winning a lawsuit is slim. It’s also highly unlikely that she can prove actual damages.

    Again, no way am I saying that what Comcast did was right, but she is a freaking idiot.

  85. pegr says:

    Regarding this image; anyone have a link?

  86. Clumber says:

    @ AD8BC – 100% in agreement with your blame percentages. You an insurance adjuster? (Not a shot, just curious)

    Back in my college days (about 20 years ago… sigh…) we were, as students, encouraged by the school to have checks made up with our phone number, drivers Lic. #, and SSN printed on the checks because the local merchants (including Dominos) would not accept a student check otherwise.

    Thousands of students freely giving out all of that. Times certainly change, as I can’t remember now the last time I was asked for my SSN by a non-bank merchant.

    Back to this story… It was, indeed, extremely childish for her to sent that check in with spite, and in the heat of the moment I would bet OP didn’t start the thought train down the “protect personal information” tracks.

    However, when we send a check or swipe our cards with a merchant, we expect to be protected from exactly this sort of wanton disregard by their agents/employees. We are trading a degree of personal security for their service, but included in that service is a degree of protection of that information we give. Posting a scan of the check with all the information is a terrible breach. Of course scammers could get her info other ways, but this act brought her out visibly.

    That said, in my stupider youth I would often put demented stuff in the “memo” field of checks. To Shell Oil, “Sexual Favors”; to cable company “getting it up the ass”, and so on. Also not smart at all, but at that time the worst that could probably have happened is having it shown around the department if they even noticed at all. With light-speed distribution of data today, much better to avoid being unique. At least when personal security is involved.

    Blah blah blah… i talked too much. self-flagellation in progrss.

    ~tracy

  87. Karyuu says:

    @Michael Belisle:

    Yes, you are right – it is unsurprising. We are after all dealing with Comcast.

    However.

    Even though the woman’s actions do not hold up to the high standards of maturity, there is no excuse for what happened to her information. I don’t believe in this “You had it coming” attitude that seems to be present in a lot of commenters. She certainly did not damage Comcast or their employees with this joke, and I don’t believe she would’ve minded had it been scanned and posted on the Internet with her private info removed. She sent a check to people who are required to keep it private, no matter what is on it. She believed that they would act responsibly even as they chuckle – as they should have.

    It was a silly thing to do, but large companies like this absolutely require the trust of their customers no matter the situation. And they continue to lose it further.

    It’s disappointing, and all the finger pointing to this woman really leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  88. chrisjames says:

    Oops, check fraud! Sorry lady.

    But seriously, even with legitimate checks, you are still sending a company your personal information. There may be implicit agreements that they will safeguard the information and they will be held legally accountable, but you’re still releasing it to an uncontrollable entity. That’s not the kind of thing you want to be screwing around with people. Don’t dick around with your financial information, for any reason whatsoever.

  89. Charred says:

    By releasing her information, Comcast violated section III of their customer privacy policy ([www.comcast.com]):

    Comcast considers the personally identifiable information contained in our business records to be confidential. The Cable Act authorizes Comcast as a cable operator to disclose personally identifiable information concerning any subscriber for the following purposes if the disclosure is:

    * necessary to render, or conduct a legitimate business activity related to, the cable service or other services provided to the subscriber;
    * required by law or legal process (described below under “When is Comcast required by law to disclose personally identifiable information and CPNI by law?”); or
    * of the names and addresses of subscribers for “mailing list” or other purposes (subject to each subscriber’s right to prohibit or limit this disclosure and the CPNI Policy described below under “How do I place myself on Comcast’s ‘do not call’ and ‘do not mail’ lists?”).

    The Cable Act prohibits us from disclosing personally identifiable information concerning any subscriber for any purposes other than those listed above without the subscriber’s prior written or electronic consent.

    INAL, but I expect that this would put them in violation of the federal Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, and, if she has telephone service through them, the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996.

    Sending the check was extremely silly, borderline stupid, but that doesn’t excuse Comcast.

  90. arl84 says:

    @sgodun:
    Let’s say I go to 7-11 and leave my car running while I go inside for a soda. Someone steals my car while I’m in there. Am I stupid for leaving it running while I went inside? Yes. Does that make the person who stole it any less of a thief? No.

    Maybe she shouldn’t have done that, but Comcast has been pretty bad to its customers and I don’t blame her. Either way, that’s no reason for someone to go posting her info like that all over the internet.

  91. Keavy_Rain says:

    She accepted three months free service. In the eyes of the law she’s been compensated. Plus people lost their jobs over it.

    Seems to me she’s just bitter because she’s not getting millions in free money thus allowing her to retire and escape from cubicle hell. Then again if she did us Comcast customers would pay through higher rates and even crappier service due to budget cuts.

    If I were her I’d consider it a life lesson and move on. Then again I’d never do something so asinine as underpay a bill, whine about a legitimate reactivation charge, then send out a “joke” check drawn on a real account.

    If she couldn’t pay the full amount on time she should have called Comcast. They’re really cool about stuff like that if you don’t mind paying a late fee and keep your promise to pay the outstanding amount.

    All in all, I have zero sympathy for her but I agree that sending out her personal info was a dumb move.

  92. mitchelwb says:

    My wife and I just had this discussion last night… except we were talking about my 5 year old.

    She understands what consequences are and that every action has a consequence. What we are trying to instill in her is the idea that when you make a bad decision, you can almost NEVER guess what the resulting consequence is.

    I’m not blaming the OP for the result, but she is guilty of a bad decision. There are a lot of bad decisions in this post. The bad decision to have Comcast in the first place (If you can see the southern sky, you have more than one cable option, and I’m pretty outspoken that at least one of those is a darn good option) The decision not to pay a bill in full. Even if it is for more than you initially expected. Always expect a first bill to be higher than the normal recurring bill. The check itself was a bad decision. The Comcast employee that made off with the check. The only good decisions that I saw mentioned in the post were by the lawyers that wouldn’t take the case.

  93. Slow2Whine says:

    A few things I notice while reading the comments.

    1)After she sent the check, even if it was juvenile, she heard that the check, and her billing statement was in public view from a COMPLETE STRANGER. With all the reports of identity theft going around, she has a right to her paranoia. (I sure people googled around with the search term “comcast vampires already, looking for her info)

    2)That said, Comcast is possession of her information, and released it out to the public. Something obviously taken for granted that their employees are not supposed to do. In fact I’m willing to bet that either they have training on how to handle and process sensitive information or have to signed a document that they understand not to release such information. Maybe both.

    Keep in mind, she didn’t do anything wrong. Comcast actually did, and the actions of Comcast’s employees have the potential graver consequence then a mere inconvenience.

    As far as her getting compensation, I like to know more on that story. However, I fear since she already accepted 3 months of service, Comcast may be able to argue she accepted a “resonable” (in Comcast’s eyes) compensation.

  94. RogueSophist says:

    @Karyuu: “Even though the woman’s actions do not hold up to the high standards of maturity…”

    I think you’re giving too much credit to the standards of maturity set by this suddenly entirely humorless forum. I mean, that shit was funny. Funny. I fully endorse that sort of levity in all aspects of life, and Comcast employees were rightfully amused. Also unfortunately stupid, which is what this is really about.

    I demand that you all leave the Internet for five minutes, read some, I don’t know, Mark Twain, and come back when you’re ready to smile again.

  95. hypoxia says:

    I’m amazed people even write checks anymore. I haven’t written one since my checkbook was stolen nearly six years ago. That was one hell of a mess to clean up.

  96. thalia says:

    Am I the only one who finds the fact that this lady’s prank backfired HILARIOUS?

  97. thalia says:

    @arl84:
    Actually, leaving your car unlocked with the keys in the ignitions (much less still running) qualifies as an attractive nuisance and the thief wouldn’t be punished as harshly as a thief who broke in and hotwired the thing, and if you never found the car again your insurance certainly wouldn’t pay for it under the circumstances. I’d have to say this woman’s ‘prank’ falls into that attractive nuisance category.

  98. RogueSophist says:

    @nursethalia: This is what I heard you say:

    “Actually, leaving your car unlocked with the keys in the ignitions [sic] qualifies as a [tort doctrine that has absolutely nothing to do with criminal liability] and the thief [untrue statement in most states, possibly taken into account in sentencing but up to the judge’s discretion] and if you never found the car again [wild speculation]. [Now, to provide my legal opinion on a nonexistent doctrine,] I’d have to say this woman’s ‘prank’ falls into that [tort doctrine that has absolutely nothing to do with criminal liability].”

    Cool, thanks for the insight.

  99. roger2001 says:

    While inappropriate on Comcast’s part, but what the lady did was also inappropriate. The problem is that anyone, after recieving a check, can then go and sign the check over to a 3rd person. Some banks will not accept them, but it is still legal.

    Additionally, she would not have done something like this if she did not want it passed on to someone else. I assume she was thinking of someone that would lower her bill, but either way, the expectation was there.

  100. snakeskin33 says:

    The specific Comcast employees did wrong. Comcast responded by firing them and compensating her. They have done what they can to atone for and manage the part of this that’s their fault.

    It’s not her fault that they did that, at all. Those employees are still wrong; she’s still right to be furious.

    But the fact remains that you can avoid a lot of unnecessary hassle in your life by not acting like a jackass and trying to show off what a bad-ass you are by mouthing off to the cable company that had the nerve to cut you off when you decided not to pay your bill. When you unnecessarily do things that will make people you don’t know think you’re a jerk, you increase the likelihood of something bad happening to you. It doesn’t make it your fault if it happens, but generally, acting like an asshole is not good risk management.

  101. Wubbytoes says:

    In no way was this that woman’s fault. Yeah she wrote the funny check, but that doesn’t give Comcast the right to post her personal information on the internet. That is so messed up.

  102. @Karyuu: It’s disappointing, and all the finger pointing to this woman really leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    I don’t speak for the others, but I have two fingers, one for each of them.

  103. mrplatts says:

    I can commiserate with this. I too live in Pittsburgh, and the local Comcast offices are impossible to deal with. It took me three months to resolve an issue with them where they were applying my payments to the wrong account, and simple mathematics were apparently too complicated for the customer service reps. Eventually I got lucky and found one with a brain, on Easter Sunday!

  104. @BlondeGrlz: Indeed. I must agree.

  105. richcreamerybutter says:

    You guys think “my right arm” is bad? You should have seen what I wrote on some of my Merlin/Sallie Mae financial aid loan checks. I’d always meant to send them a full color 8×10 of me flipping the bird for their break room when it was paid off, but I never got around to it.

    Keep in mind these are companies in which “Kevin” from India threatens your mother over the phone at 10pm if you’re late on a (12.5% rate) payment in which they’ve added an additional few thousand after a few month forbearance in which you were unemployed.

    (I think if you knowingly take a job with a company like this, you should expect this behavior.)

  106. maztec says:

    This lady seriously needs to get a grip.

    Sure, Comcast Employees were wrong in what they did. But she handled everything, wrong. Quite frankly, I would hate to have her as a customer.

  107. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    @DarrenO: F*CK YOU. None of the employees at Comcast had the right to do what he/she did.

  108. CapitalC says:

    I’m no lawyer but I’d bet whoever scanned that cheque and sent it around did something illegal.

  109. roger2001 says:

    It seems that none of you, or the lady for that matter, has heard that if she has a problem with a cable company not doing the right thing has many options. She can call her local authority who regulates the cable company locally(in Pennsylvania it would be her borough or township). Also she can call the FCC, or, when I have an issue with Comcast, I call 1-800-Comcast. I get someone who speaks English and can help.

    When you do something stupid like this, usually things you dont want to happen are the result.

  110. @Charred:

    What you posted was information dealing with CPNI…customer proprietary network information. That has nothing to do with this. CPNI…thats like the company has to ask you to look over you recent phone history, in order to use that information to sell you unlimited long distance and stuff like that. That secret network information…nothing to do with banking or finances…nice try though at being the “smart guy”

  111. Albion01 says:

    So, let me get this strait, Comcast is this big evil corporate monster. When someone finally speaks out against them, albeit humorous, you people put her down? I’ll tell you something, she’s got more balls then any of you nay sayers. It almost leads me to believe that Comcast has an entire department whose sole purpose is to discredit unhappy customers when they see them speaking out.

  112. S-the-K says:

    Sounds like Comcast needs to be burned down. Give Diane Craig a call. She’s all for burning down private property because the voices in her head told her to.

  113. texan79 says:

    I live in the same area, and Comcast is the only choice for cable around here without paying more for horrible service from Dish or Direct. Comcast is aware of this and does whatever they want to to their “valued customers”. I once called with a complaint, and was told that there was no phone number for the corporate office. How very interesting that the company who provides phone service HAS NO PHONE. I share your feelings about Comcast, get a lawyer and nail them. They will pay big to keep you quiet.

  114. arl84 says:

    @nursethalia:
    Totally missing the point, you’re just splitting hairs. It’s still a crime, right? The thief still shouldn’t have done it, right? It’s still wrong, isn’t it?

  115. Amy Alkon says:

    Checks are risky instruments. Best to pay for everything with a credit card and then transfer money from your checking account to pay that bill. Take it from me: I just had my identity stolen. The only reason why my life as I know it isn’t over (and it’s pretty nightmarish at the moment) is because I froze my credit, meaning the thief could only ass-rape my Bank of America account, but she wasn’t able to open instant credit accounts at Wal-Mart, Target, and Kmart, among others. She tried – I got the rejection letters in the mail. If you can do it — freeze your credit in your state — I highly recommend it.

  116. darksunfox says:

    If I posted private information I had access to on the internet every time someone was ignorant to me, there’d be a lot of private data out there. Was she mean? Yes. But the first rule for people who have access to private data is to keep that data as private as possible. It’s one thing to show this around the office to a couple coworkers who also have signed confidentiality agreements, but to EVER send it electronically OFF-SITE is amongst the more disturbing breaches of data privacy I’ve ever heard of, and so easily remedied by simply blanking out some fields.

    At the same time, since no actual damages have been reported, she might be best to just let it all go for now because Comcast has the lawyers to win a case like that.

  117. CharlieInSeattle says:

    God I can’t believe the number of morons on this thread. Hello McFly it’s against the law for comcast to release personal information.

  118. SinisterMatt says:

    I didn’t read all the comments so I’m sorry if I say something that has been already said.

    I agree that this woman acted like a doofus. She probably shouldn’t have sent the check without considering what would have happened to it. Even so, she shouldn’t have had her info published to the world at large, which is something that she didn’t expect to happen.

    Do I believe that Comcast was in the wrong here? Absolutely, without a doubt, as I believe most here do as well.

    However, I think the dispute with this stems from the fact that her trust was betrayed. It’s a foregone conclusion that when you give a check out to someone, they have your account and routing numbers. Everything, it seems, to wire money out of your checking account. However, we take that for granted because we trust that the companies that we write checks to won’t take advantage of that and get more money that we owe them.

    When an employee of Comcast published that check to the Internet, people that she didn’t authorize to see her check saw it. She now cannot control who saw the check and who didn’t. That’s the problem I think she and others have with this.

    Legally, though, unless some schmoe out there in Internet-land tries to use it to steal her identity, which appears unlikely as she closed her checking account, the OP doesn’t have a leg to stand on in a lawsuit.

    Just my thoughts.

    Cheers!

  119. crankitupyo says:

    She started the prank and gets pissed when it rolls around to her.. she needs to get a life and stop acting like a 4 year old baby.