Comcast Convinces Business To Switch Its Phone Service, Loses Track Of Payment And Disconnects Line

Some silver-tongued sales-devil from Comcast convinced landscaping company owners Kelly and her husband to hand over their business phone line, only to claim it never received their payment and cut off their service in short order.

Their story boosts Comcast’s early bid to repeat its iinspiring Cinderella run in last year’s Worst Company In America tourney:

My husband and I have a small landscaping company and a residential design firm in Western Maryland. A remote area, with few choices for things like business service particularly phone, internet etc. We were Verizon customers but after a recent move we were unable to use Verizon for high speed internet and had to switch to Comcast. After a few months Comcast contacts our accountant and asks if we would like to switch our phone service ’cause it will save us a bundle.

So after some number crunching we switch. For both companies. Well today they disconnected our service for the landscaping company. With no prior warning, no courtesy call, no nasty-gram, nothing. The lines for our design business were still active so we contacted Comcast and they said our payment hadn’t posted so they disconnected our service. The payment was mailed over a week ago and even with a posting delay it may have been a few days late, but nothing serious (like 45+ days or more). So now our customers are getting “This number has been disconnected.” And while Comcast said they would reconnect our service “in a little while.” It’s been 5 hours and nothing. Our accounting manager is trying to make something happen, but so far no luck.

If this is the way Comcast is treating business customers I can’t imagine that they will successful in that market. I’m guessing we’ll move on back to Verizon after this — for all of the problems Verizon usually has, they’ve never done anything like this.

I really, really hate Comcast right now.

More than a week has passed, and Kelly has yet to hear back.

Obviously it’s not a good idea to pay your bill even a few days late, but Comcast seems to be behaving unreasonably here. Somewhere that smug, bespectacled “can you hear me now/it’s the network” Verizon guy sports that smug look on his face as he readies to reclaim an old customer.

(Photo: mojojornjorn)

Comments

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  1. econobiker says:

    This ~may~ be a Twitter contact worthy post if the customer is correct on the issue. Comcast has never dumped any accounts of mine or the 2nd wife’s that were a month late. (Note- late payments do NOT happen anymore in our household.)

    • Raekwon says:

      @econobiker: Except that I’ve tried the whole twitter/Frank’s team thing before and after an initial email they never again responded to me on two separate issues. Frank’s team only seems to help if an issue is made public in a big way.

  2. Fresh-Fest-1986 says:

    Call 1 800 316-1619. Ask to speak to a supervisor. Tell them to check the billing address in their system to make sure it is correct. Your contract for business services states a 4 hour turnaround time on trouble calls. Also tell them you deserve a month free of service for your troubles. If this doesnt happen immediately, escalate your issue to Comcast corporate.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      @Fresh-Fest-1986: I’m not sure if a 4 hour turnaround is applicable when they are claiming a payment wasn’t received. I’m still confused as to whether they’ve actually received the payment or not yet- They say they gave plenty of time for the payment to post, but they don’t actually come out and say “We sent the payment on June ** and it was processed thru our accounts by July **” I’m not familiar with Comcast at ALL but maybe for their business accounts, they aren’t as lenient on late payments.

      If they’ve received the payment and haven’t turned their lines back on… then shame on you, Comcast.
      Damn you, Comcast… damn you all to hell.

  3. citking says:

    Sounds like a job for Frank at Twitter.

    I think it’s time for more regulation. Until telecommunications and cable companies can get stiff competition we’ll keep seeing this play out every week.

  4. DirectAnon says:

    Reconnections are instant through a CAE. just ask any to reconnect it for you.

  5. vastrightwing says:

    Don’t waste your time with Comcast. Verizon will have you back up much sooner. “Comcast” is not real service, it’s a joke. At least for consumers, it’s only a nuisance to deal with them, but to trust your income with Comcast. I blame the OP on this one.

  6. shepd says:

    I don’t know if the FCC has similar rules, but in Canada it is illegal to cut off phone service for billing issues without going through a LOT of red tape, I mean a LOT of it. Letters, more letters, phone calls, collections agencies, the works. I believe it takes as long as 6 months delinquent before they can turn off service.

    Usually the US has better consumer protection laws than Canada, so I expect your FCC might just have some rules you can quote (or, better yet, have your lawyer quote) to a manager at Comcast to light a fire under their asses. I know when Bell Canada was screwing around with me I started quoting the various laws they are regulated to follow (At the time one stated the penalty was 3x the cost of service–which was only about $60 total at the time–guess Bell doesn’t like cutting cheques!) and, lo and behold, the very next morning (I called at night) a Bell van rolled by and fixed everything.

    • eddieck says:

      @shepd: Now, do those laws apply to just phone companies (as in Ma Bell) or would they also apply to a cable company offering VoIP? I’m guessing only Ma Bell telcos.

  7. "I Like Potatoes" says:

    About high speed internet and phone service: I have it in my home through Time Warner and at unpredictable times of day it will simply go out. If I’m talking on the phone, I will be able to hear the other person saying “hello, are you there??” and my modem will have all the lights on and working but internet will not work either. I’ve had Time Warner here twice to try and fix this and they act like they have never heard of this ever happening to anyone else (EVER). “Unless I can physically see it happen, I can’t help you” is what the service guy said. What the hell? Anyone ever had this happen? (It is becoming more and more frequent)

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      @changed my name: I had 3 similar experiences with TWC yesterday and about one a day the the last few days. Internet & phone dropping for about 5 minutes each time. I can hear the other person but they can’t hear me. The problem isn’t my modem or router.

    • larkknot says:

      @changed my name: My cable internet service was intermittent for a bit and then quit working – ask them to come out and check the line from the box to your house for problems.

    • Anonymous says:

      @changed my name: Have them check your connection at the pole. Same thing happened to me a while back, after 6 service visits someone finally just checked the pole. Turned out the wire was just 1/16 of an inch short, would connect till the wind blows.

  8. Borax-Johnson says:

    This is bigger than regulation. The telecoms need to be nationalized. Just like GM and all the banks. I’ll sleep better knowing thatthe beauraucrats are in charge of my customer service.

  9. I Love New Jersey says:

    Sounds like yet another reason to have good old fashioned POTS.

  10. Lukecadet says:

    Comcast the “Good Enough” network.

  11. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Pay the bill online and cancel the check. There is no evidence that the USPS actually delivered the mail and Comcast “lost track of payment”. I’ve had cross town mail go missing for over a week when the norm is next day delivery.

    I am surprised that Comcast cut them off so fast.

  12. private1111 says:

    why s ths vn stry n hr? thy pd th bll lt, bvsly ths s th cstmr’s flt, nt Cmcst.

    • GMFish says:

      @private1111: “they paid the bill late, obviously this is the customer’s fault, not Comcast.

      Unless you can point to a specific provision in their agreement/contract which allows it, you simply do not cut off a company’s phone lines because the payment was a few days late without some sort of warning.

    • SarcasticDwarf says:

      @private1111: Also keep in mind that it is very hard to pay bills much in advance these days. For example, I do bills on the weekend. If my State Farm bill comes in on Monday, the odds are that the payment will end up a day or two late due to a two week payment period. Heck, I am leaving town for two weeks tomorrow…I am sure that some of my bills will be late.

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        @SarcasticDwarf:

        Then you need to change the way you handle paying bills. You aren’t even claiming you don’t have the money to pay on time, just that you can’t be bothered to make sure you get the bill’s in the mail in time. You’re not going to get a lot of pity for being lazy.

        • katstermonster says:

          @wrjohnston91283: I have to agree with that, especially given how many companies now allow you to pay online…

          BUT if the OP truly sent the payment a week in advance, there’s no excuse for cutting off their line.

      • erikislame says:

        @SarcasticDwarf: You don’t have to pay bills in advance: just on time. Yea?

    • katstermonster says:

      @private1111: You must be new here. I wish you well.

      Also: A week after the line was cut off, Comcast has undoubtedly received the payment. Why don’t they have their phone back? Why isn’t Comcast trying to resolve this with them?

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        @katstermonster:

        I know Comcast residential has a reconnection fee that they charge to reconnect service after it has been shut off.

        • katstermonster says:

          @wrjohnston91283: Nice try, but unless the OP is lying or leaving out information, they’ve already been told by Comcast that the line would be reconnected “in a while while”…a week ago.

    • Paul Carr says:

      @private1111: 45 days late is pretty late for a month to month billed service. I would imagine that they need to pay a reconnection fee or a late fee. However Comcast should be contacting them about it much faster then a week. Personally though if I had a brand new customer that was 45 days late on a payment I would have them in court.

      • NatalieErin says:

        @Paul Carr: Read a little more closely: the OP didn’t say they paid 45 days late, they said “The payment was mailed over a week ago and even with a posting delay it may have been a few days late, but nothing serious (like 45+ days or more).” So at most their payment was late due to Comcast’s processing time.

    • erikislame says:

      @private1111:

      So vice versa, if I don’t show up for work for a week, my company should still pay me?

      This disemvoweling shit ROCKS!

      (Cmon now: I’m all for not blaming the OP, but asking for super aggro handholding for PAYING YOUR BILLS is the premise of bad business.)

      • mythago says:

        @erikislame: It’s always fun not to read the story, because then you can blame the OP (as long as you put in the BS “not that I’m blaming the OP but….” disclaimer first), right?

        They SENT IN THEIR PAYMENT ON TIME. Comcast claims they never got it. Now, I don’t know where you live, but on my planet utilities do not immediately cut you off for nonpayment – precisely for the reason that it might be their error. The OP didn’t get a warning, or a 48-hour disconnect, or a notice of nonpayment. They sent in their check a week ahead of time and BOOM! no Comcast.

  13. Skin Art Squared says:

    Comcast cut off my business class internet service one day for no reason whatsoever. No late payments, no nothing. They just came out, and shut it off. I discovered it after about an hour or so when I went outside and noticed the “can” by the street was all wonky. They never bothered to close it up properly or lock it or anything. So I opened it up, found my house number, and sure enough, disconnected and trapped.

    Got them on the phone, explained the whole situation with what info I had, and was told they would come out sometime later the following week to reconnect.

    Of course I went berserk. There was no way that was going to be acceptable. By the time the phone call was done, I had a tech at the house in an hour, reconnected, line labeled as “Business Class – DO NOT TOUCH”, and a padlock on the can.

    I can only assume it was an error, and ya know…. shit happens. That’s fine. But to even suggest I wouldn’t be reconnected for a week was totally uncool. It sucks that you have to get nasty and issue threats to restore something that never should have been cut off in the first place.

    So when Comcast tells you “a little while”, you better make sure they clarify what their definition of “a little while” is. It might be a couple of weeks.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Here is an idea: Why don’t you pay your bill on time? Just a thought? I mean, you did have 45 days to pay it so ultimately, if it’s late, it’s your fault! Personally, I would make your company wait the full 5 hours before reactivating your service. If I were you I would ask your bookkeeper to tell the truth! No warning, there is always a warning! (check your email)

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  16. sinfuly Delicious says:

    I dunno bout comcast but I do work for a similar company with VIOP phone service we offer.

    First if the payment is miss applied or missing I would check to see if it has cleared with your bank. It could honestly be lost in mail and the company never got. Youd be asking the company to cover your bill even though they would have never gotten paid.

    In our company they would normally take your word and do a temp hold while they research. If the check is cleared with the bank I would recommend faxin that to comcast as proof.

    As for the reconnect. Be expecting at least 72 hours for the phone to be back on… at least. ours is 5 business days (still not complete sure on all that personally but I think part of it is E911 services)