Comcast Auto-Payment Charges Account In Perpetuity; CSR Tells Cardholder To Cancel Card

Marian adorably paid her son’s cable, phone and internet bills as he attended grad school in Chicago. All were handled by a company called… Comcast. Duh duh duuuuuuh!

She signed up for the automatic payment plan (“Nooooo!” You’d scream at her if she were a character in a movie. “Don’t open that closet!”) and sure enough Comcast not only over-charged her but continued to automatically charge her card even after her son closed his account, paid off what was supposed to have been the final balance and moved to California.

Her story:

Things went well until some time in February or March 2009 when, apparently, Comcast’s system crashed and, according to the company reps I spoke with subsequently, all of their automatic charge information was “lost.” My son and I didn’t initially realize that this had happened until he got a notice saying his service was going to be cut off because of non-payment, and I received my April 2009 credit card statement indicating I had been charged $396.55 by Comcast. I then realized that my card had not been charged in March; however, the $396.55 bore no relationship to my son’s actual charges, AND the money, I later learned, had not even been credited to his account! No one could tell me where the money had actually gone.

The short version: I contacted my credit card company (Bank of America) and contested the amount — they notified Comcast about the error and credited the money back to my card. My son closed out the account with Comcast because he’s moving to California, and paid the remainder of his bill in cash. However, on the 29th of June and the 29th of July, there were two more automatic charges to my account from Comcast — each of them for just over $200.

What I believe has happened, and what I have repeatedly tried to suggest to Comcast, is that somehow, during their purported “crash,” my credit card information became linked to some other (real or imagined) account, and that’s why my card is being charged. But Comcast appears unable to fix the problem. On several occasions it was suggested by them that I “just cancel my credit card.” Which would of course create a lot of effort by ME because of several other automatic payments, etc. And it’s THEIR fault! (There have been no other unauthorized charges to my account other than from Comcast, and each of these charges has been an automatic deduction on the 29th of the month. Which to me indicates that this is an error involving Comcast’s system.)

Comcast reps told me several times that I needed to find out from Bank of America where the payment was actually going — that Comcast was unable to track it down from their end without some kind of reference number from Bank of America. Bank of America tells me this is not the case—they get the request from Comcast and they charge my card — Bank of America states that Comcast should have some tracking device that connects the card number to an actual account. (What a concept!) In fact, Comcast is being charged a fee by Bank of America each time this happens, so one would think they might actually pay attention. Nah.

Marian says she’s looking forward to seeing what happens on Aug. 29. She warns people about signing up for auto-pay. It may be convenient to streamline your bills via auto-pay but it’s an absolute must that you keep an eye on your credit card statements to look out for not-so-funny business.

(Photo: honeylamb)