Comcast Loves You So Much They Keep Billing You… 4 Months After You Canceled

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Oh Comcast, you romantic. You were so sorry to see Michal leave that you pretended he didn’t. We get it: he bikes, he blogs, he helps toddlers learn Polish. But after four months of him repeatedly asking you to stop billing him, when you still won’t stop it begins to look a little stalker-ish. Your computers can’t always be down.

It’s instructive to see how Michal is handling the situation, though. He’s set up a free blog at Blogspot, and posted scans of receipts and bills, transcripts of online chats, a timeline of what’s happened so far, and his email to Rick Germano (SVP of Customer Operations) and the subsequent auto-generated response that was sent back. For anyone who has a problem with Comcast that they can’t seem to get resolved, this is a great guide to all the ways you can attempt to communicate with the company.

As new information comes in, he posts it. As of Monday, Comcast’s Twitter-monitoring team is on the case. We’ll be checking Michal’s blog in the coming days to see whether they can succeed where everyone else has failed.

Consumer Complaint (Thanks to Erica!)
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. What happened was Comcast has caps on their own internet usage. And someone in the office keeps downloading torrents at the beginning of the month, so when they try to update Michal’s account, they can’t. Simple

  2. CyrusOpeth says:

    Interesting.

    If you send random bills that you know to be false–not incorrect, but false–to a company, you can be prosecuted for fraud.

    A company sends you bills that everyone knows to be false, and they get away scot free?

    The company sending you bills can ding your credit with the reporting agencies if you ignore THEIR bill, so actual damages can occur. My sending them a bill, however, does nothing–in theory, they go through their checks and balances and find out that they don’t owe the money, so they simply ignore it.

    Interesting.

    • crashfrog says:

      @CyrusOpeth: You’re just doing it wrong. If you’re one person sending out bills you know are false, you’re committing fraud.

      On the other hand – if you’ve hired someone else to send out bills based on a list, and then you’ve hired someone else to put names on the list according to the direction of someone else you hired, and then hire about a dozen other people between you and the bills, you can send out any fraudulent bills you like, and hold people’s credit ratings hostage until they pay up.

      You know, like Comcast is doing here. It’s legal – apparently – so long as the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, and if they’re separated by about 200 hands in between.

      • Tiber says:

        @crashfrog: Well, companies are legally treated as people, they are responsible for their employee’s actions, and the people at Comcast are aware of the problem and even have it on record. Thanks to the transitive property, A person (Comcast) is repeatedly sending bills that it knows to be false.

        I wonder if you could work that angle in court. Ok, it would be a hard sell, but I’d just like to see what would happen if there were serious legal ramifications for such excessive incompetence.

        If a customer has made a company aware of a billing problem, that should be it as far as the customer is concerned. The company should be on the hook when their infrastructure fails, and the customer should not be expected to see to it that a problem is solved beyond what is reasonable.

        • crashfrog says:

          @Tiber: Well, companies are legally treated as people

          Only when it’s good for them. No, really, that’s the legal principle at work, here. Corporations can assert legal personhood when it comes to gaining benefits, but when it comes to assigning liability – oops! Not people anymore!

  3. SomeoneGNU says:

    I had a similar issue. The real problem was that even though I cancelled no one disconnected my service so they kept billing me. I kept up on them and about two months AFTER cancelling a tech finally turned off my service and I was credited back.

  4. MrGutts says:

    This sounds like what happened to me with Charter Cable, then they sent it to bill collectors. haha.

  5. ScottHardy says:

    Comcast has been quite lucky so far. They had a Class Action Settlement with about 200,000 customers in Michigan in 2007 which only cost them $2,000,000. Surprisingly, a case in Georgia was dismissed due to the clauses in their contracts stating that cases must be tried singularly and go through an arbitrator. Hopefully if Michael decided to take this to court the judges in California will be a bit more likely to allow it to hit class action status.

    This will be interesting to follow!

    Warm Regards,
    Scott Hardy
    President and CEO of Top Class Actions LLC
    [www.topclassactions.com]
    “What class action settlements do you qualify for? Find out at TopClassActions.com”

  6. dragonfire81 says:

    He was probably told it was cancelled when the rep in fact did nothing and now the bills keep coming.

    Other companies have done this too and they make it very hard for you to actually get the cancellation through. AOL anyone?

  7. Ein2015 says:

    My parents had a similar issue with AT&T… after they aquired some other long distance company (about 5 years after the ‘rents cancelled), AT&T started sending my ‘rents a bill for long distance on their land line! Took about six months before AT&T sent the “final bill” (as it was written)… of course that “bill” was zeroed out too.

  8. Why was he paying the bills?

    I would’ve not paid one cent.

    • crashfrog says:

      @Pixelantes Anonymous: Wait until some company puts a gun to the head of your consumer credit rating and says “pay the money and nobody gets hurt.”

      That’s what’s going on, here – intentionally or not, they’re using the threat of his credit report to extort money he doesn’t owe. And, obviously, they’re disinclined to give it back.

    • cierniak says:

      @Pixelantes Anonymous: I wasn’t paying any bills. Comcast (and many other companies) bill you in advance, so on 5/25/08, I pais a bill for service through 6/22/08. Then I canceled on 5/29, so I should have received partial credit for the time until 6/22. And this is the “$142.29 credit” that customer reps have been talking about. It’s just that whatever reasons, they were not able to actually make it happen.

  9. smurph0404 says:

    When I had comcast they sent me a bill, which I paid, but they never credited the account for the amount even after the check was cashed. They said someone must have entered the wrong account number, and that stuff happens so w/e. Then they proceeded to turn off my service no less than 4 times after telling me every time I called that the issue had been resolved. Then they tried to send it to a collection agency before I emailed public relations exec and got it all fixed in 1 day. Then they had the nerve to charge me a $20 service fee to fix their own mistake after putting me through hell for 2 months.

  10. BridgetPentheus says:

    Same thing happened to me when I cancelled Comcast, it took me forever to get through and once I finally cancelled because I had automated billing set up they continued to bill me for several months afterwards on my charge card and even though they would admit they made a mistake they insisted the only way to refund my money was to send a paid to cash check to my old address (I cancelled because Comcast didn’t serve my new address) I explained to them because they charged the card they could refund the card. I got hung up on twice calling CSR. I wrote an email to the EB and within 24 hours I was credited back to my account. They seem to do this to a lot of folks so watch out and don’t let them overcharge you, spread the word to be wary.

  11. the Goat says:

    Adelphia cable continued billing me for cable modem service after I canceled and returned the modem. Good thing I kept the receipt the girl gave me when I dropped off the modem.

    But they refused to refund the money I had overpaid for two months (each month I assumed it was the last cable modem bill I would receive and paid it). I got a elevated rep to call me back and after an hour of arguing he said, “if I went to the local office they would cut me a check.”

    Of coarse once I arrived at the office they refused to cut a check. They said there were no notes my file. The only person there I could talk to about it was in a meeting. I could not get her name, or phone number. They would not allow me to set up an appointment to come back and talk to her, they would not allow me to wait for her.

    I was forced leave without my money. This was 10+ years ago. These days I would not have walked away so easily.

  12. akacrash says:

    I read through his blog real quick, and got the gist of this.
    Seems like Comcast still owes him $140 dollars or so.
    At this point, it might be worthwhile to take them to small claims court. For starters, they’ve been holding his money for months. Beyond that, he could sue for a few more bucks for this ‘time and effort.’ But the biggest reason to make sure this gets resolved before it ends up getting send to a collection agency.

    • scoosdad says:

      @akacrash: And if they don’t show up and they default, he can collect on his $140 by going to the nearest Comcast head end facility with the sheriff and collecting a PC or two for himself. Preferably one of the ones that handles pay per view records and billings.

  13. TBT says:

    This happened to me with Citibank. I “closed” my account, so they kept it open and started charging me fees for not meeting the minimum balance requirement and account fees. While I did manage to get a Citi branch manager to initially agree that the amount they were reporting to credit bureaus was *exactly* 4 months of fees, I didn’t get them to stop doing it (or charging the fees). I called every day for a month, and every day the guy who agreed with me was on vacation and would be “back the next day.” Wow, those certainly were some travel delays!

    Eventually, while he never seemed to return from vacation, he instructed someone to pay the amount I “owed” as a “courtesy.” Of course he refused to provide a letter to the credit bureaus so I could contest the hits, and as a further “courtesy” dinged my credit report one more time.

    3 years later, its still affecting my credit, and Citi just bought the bank where all my assets are :(

  14. ^Something similar happened to my mother’s Chase credit card account. She cancelled it 5 year ago. A new credit card came just last month without even a letter or a call. Here’s the clincher, though. They sent another credit card with my grandmother’s maiden name, which was supposed to be a security question.

    We did call them and tell them to cancel the credit card and that they can’t have our info on it. But since they have proven themselves to be incompetant or downright deceptive, or both, I doubt they did. We’re still waiting for the cancellation letter, which never arrived.

  15. johnnya2 says:

    I would send a letter with the bill saying I have not, nor do I want your services. I cancelled on such and such a day. If they choose to keep billing you ignore it. if they put anything on your credit dispute it, and send proof to the bureau. If you do not pay it, they will eventually disconnect you, which is what you did in the first place. Remember, everything in writing, and you will be fine. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES GIVE THEM A PENNY. Paying could be seen as agreeing that you do owe them the money.

  16. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    People WAKE UP! Never give a company access to your bank accounts. They will abuse that access… guaranteed… it is one of those things guaranteed like death and taxes.

    Of course the company offers you the convenience of paying directly from your bank account, but convenient for who? Them.

    Would you go into a 7-11 (7:30-11:30 in NFLD) and hand your wallet to the kid behind the counter to take money out to pay your bill? Would you go into a Chinese food joint and when the fortune cookies come, drop your wallet on the tray and trust that they will act in your best interest? Of course not. So why would you expect a dysfunctional corporation to behave not just in your best interest, but honestly. These corporations are not that different from the investment houses and banks asking for your $700 billion today, Enron, Worldcom, Tyco, etc of a few years ago or the Savings and Loan Crisis of the 90’s, or… and the list goes on back to the beginning of corporations and greed.

    With all the bitching that occurs on the Consumerist about the abusive billing practices of Corporations this message should be tattooed on the inside of all our eyelids. But I guess by now only the choir is still reading so I will get off the pulpit. Thanks for your time in reading this, say 20 hail Mary’s while checking your credit report.

    • GreatWhiteNorth says:

      @GreatWhiteNorth: … this rant was a response to those posters who mention direct payment from their accounts.

    • Bog says:

      @GreatWhiteNorth:

      GreatWhiteNorth is correct. One thing is important is to NEVER to is to set up automatic bill-pay. Never-Ever. It may seem convenient, but there are better ways to pay recurring bills. You are giving them control over your account, and you are actually loosing control with the guise of getting a feature.

      • Corbin123 says:

        @Bog: Actually, it is pretty easy to get a bank to refuse automatic payments if they keep going through for any reason after you have canceled the service, etc. Banks may lie to you and say they can’t, but they are actually required by law to do it. Read up on the EFT Act.

  17. RenRen says:

    I canceled their service and moved clear across PA with the equipment. One morning, out of nowhere, a Comcast van pulls up and a tech knocks on my door. He asked if I was the person whose name was on a paper with Comcast letterhead (my name is hard to pronounce in human, I guess), and I said I was. He then asked for the equipment.

    We looked in the garage for a good 45 minutes until we found it in a box. He said thank you, so did I, and he was on his way. I guess a cable box is worth all that.

  18. privateer says:

    In mid-May, I bought a house and moved out of my apartment by the end of the month. I canceled all my utilities, including cable, internet and phone. Sure enough, three months later, Broadstripe had billed me for two more months and Qwest for three.

    When I called Broadstripe, they gave the requisite apology and claimed to have canceled the account. Another month later, another bill arrives with a negative balance. So I had to call last week and ask again for the account to be closed and a refund to be sent. I’m still waiting.

    Qwest was aworse. I have had numerous incorrect charges as well as two months of billing beyond the cancellation. They screwed up the installation at my new home as well. I had to call the sales rep at my old apartment for help. She has been very responsive and a champion, but even she could not get the billing people to do it right. It took more than a dozen phone calls with her and Qwest, following receipt of several incorrect bills and a refund finally sent last week, but to the old address.

    The threat of an executive e-mail carpet bombing, as well as publicity on a “well-known consumer advocacy web site,” truly motivated them, however.

  19. comcastcares says:

    We have corrected this for Michal. We will make sure to credit everything back and expedite the refund. This should not have happened and on behalf of Comcast I apologize to Michal. We are still in the process of investigating what occurred, but it would appear that we did not schedule the disconnect to happen at the Customers location. This should have been picked up during any of the conversations this Customer had with us.

    Thank you again for the feedback!

    Frank Eliason
    Comcast
    @ComcastCares on Twitter
    We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com

  20. SumanolataGeschnozzle says:

    I called Comcast a month ahead to cancel my account because I was moving out of the place. It took them 4 more billing cycles to actually do it. Everytime I called there was a different excuse – May – college kids moving out so techs are busy. June – rainstorm knocked out some towers so techs are busy. July – our system is down, call us later. It also took me another couple calls to reverse all the “late” fees they efficiently added. F them.

  21. cierniak says:

    I finally received my refund on October 13, 2008. It took 4 1/2 months. I think that having my story on Consumerist really helped. Here’s my hopefully final update: [consumer-complaint.blogspot.com]