This is a sad evening for Consumerist, because this post is about Comcast sending a gigantic bill to an unsuspecting customer and yet we’re going to side with Comcast.
I signed up for Comcast High Speed Internet and Digital Cable back in August ’08. I was given a 6 month promotional rate and my month bills started rolling in at $65. A couple months ago, I was still getting the bills for $65. I thought it was strange that the rate hadn’t gone up, but at the time, I couldn’t remember exactly how long the promotional rate was for. I was worried about it, but I was also finishing my last semester of college, so I didn’t have time to call them and offer them more of my money.
I just got my bill for this month and instead of the usual $65, Comcast wants $457. Apparently my instincts were correct and Comcast didn’t up my rate over 4 months ago when they should have. To correct the problem, they billed me for the last four months of stuff they missed in this month’s bill. Can they do this? I have always paid my bill on time and I am willing to pay the new, higher rate on the monthly bill that I just recieved, but there is no way I can pay them almost $400 for 4 months of back billing. I am going to call and talk to them in the morning when their billing office opens. Do you have any advice for this situaiton?
Here’s the deal: you owe them the money. If they’d been over billing you for four months and you’d just discovered it, you would rightly demand that they reimburse you immediately. We accept that you were too busy—the final weeks of a term can be insane as far as available time—but if you suspected they were under billing you, you could have put aside the money you thought you owed and then contacted them when you had some breathing room.
As for what you can do, we think the most straightforward solution is to pay it off as quickly as possible, even if that means having your cable/Internet cut off for the next 4-8 weeks. Of course, if you call them and luck into finding a friendly CSR, you might be able to work out a payment plan and avoid a service disruption, or possibly even a penalty.
For the rest of us, it’s a good lesson that when a company screws up their side of a business agreement, it shouldn’t automatically absolve you from your obligations. Contact the company and try to find out what’s gone wrong—the sooner you solve the problem, the less of a headache it will ultimately turn out to be.