My Roommate Stole My Cable Box And Comcast Wants $300

Dave is the responsible roommate — the guy who volunteers to handle all the bills and finances for his pals.

The setup worked out great for a former roomie who ordered an extra Comcast cable box without Dave’s permission, then skipped out of town, taking the box with her. Now Comcast wants blood. He writes:

Hello! I’m a long-time reader and thought you may be interested in my problems with Comcast. Maybe you know of a good customer service contact within the company that can resolve this for me. Or you may wish to inform your readers about my story.

I rent in Seattle with other roommates and I handle the bills. I opened an account with Comcast when I moved in for cable and Internet. Payments are made automatically and I am not sent a bill in the mail (there is one online, of course). I just noticed that there has been a $6.10 monthly charge on my account for an additional box since September 2008. (It is my fault for not catching this sooner, but that is not the point of this story.)

It seems that an old roommate contacted Comcast last September and got an additional box on her own, without my knowledge or consent. This roommate has been gone since April and she took the box with her. She left this house with arguments, unpaid bills, etc and is not returning my calls today.

I called Comcast twice today. Both customer service reps refused to refund any of the monthly $6.10 charges. For the ongoing fee to be removed (or to cancel my account), I will need to return the box or face a fine of $300. I have no way of contacting the old roommate, and I never gave Comcast the permission for her to modify my account.

Dave was defrauded and shouldn’t be responsible for the payment. In addition to disputing the charge with Comcast he should alert the police.

Also, he’ll probably be the first guy to tell you that if your roommates aren’t responsible enough to assume some of the bills, it’s not a great idea to cover for them by putting everything in your name.

(Photo: kimaroo)

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  1. RevRagnarok says:

    Didn’t I see this on Judge Judy? Oh yeah, I did. Small claims court against the old roommate.

    You won’t see me type this much, but it has to happen every now and then: “Comcast is not at fault here.” Not their problem that you sublet the Comcast account.

    Now that I think about it, it’s most likely against Comcast’s ToS. Doubly so if you have a cable modem. I don’t agree with that, but the simple fact of the matter is it is in your name.

    I’ve had apartment bills stuck in my name way too many times…

    Sorry I had to blame the OP here, but it sure looks like that’s where the fault lies.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      @RevRagnarok: If they all live at the same address, it’s probably within Comcast’s ToS since they are a household as a group. That said, I don’t see that there’s much recourse against Comcast, since as the account holder you promise you’ll be responsible for the equipment on your account and pay the bills. EvilFormerRoommate defrauded both the OP and Comcast and it seems like hunting her down is the best chance the OP has of not paying the $300.

      • zacox says:

        @GearheadGeek: And I thought that cable companies were adding extra security measures like Q&A’s and additional passwords in order to prevent this kind of fraud.

        Seems to me that Comcast should have made a better attempt at finding out who was adding equipment and what authorization she had.

        Were this to be one fluid act (ordered the box 2 days before skipping town), Comcast would be left holding the bag here, and not the OP. But because there were seven months between the time she ordered the box and skipped town with it, the OP shares some responsibility.

        If I were a judge deciding this case, I would rule thus:

        Comcast and the OP each have 50% responsibility.

        Comcast should have denied the authorization for a new box since the account was not in EvilFormerRoommate’s name.

        The OP should have watched his bills more closely and determined that there was an extra box.

        Comcast should refund the first month of box fees as well as every month since the OP brought it to their attention.

        Comcast should waive $150 of the $300 box fee.

        The OP should not seek a refund of the middle x months of box fees, and he should pay Comcast $150.

        Case closed.

        • Dimitrii says:

          @zacox: @tonberryqueen:

          I got a call out of the blue a couple of months ago from Comcast. The rep apologized for us being cut off and wanted to finalize my order. I explained that I had no idea what she was talking about. Apparently someone had called and was making a change to my service. She said that they said they were me and provided my last 4 of my SSN. When they were cut off she called back the number on file and got me.

          She wanted my SSN as verification. I refused and asked for her extension, as I was going to call the main number to make sure I wasn’t being scammed. She was legit, but wouldn’t tell me any details of the false order.

          We established a security code and I haven’t seen any fraud on my credit reports. But it is scary.

      • Cyberxion101 says:

        @RevRagnarok: The OP says that he didn’t authorize the former roommate to make changes to the account. If that’s the case, then isn’t Comcast at fault for releasing the second cable-box without his consent?

        I have to jump through hoops just to ask technical questions. Getting changes made to my account is doubly difficult. If it’s this tough to do when the account is in your own name, then it stands to reason that it should be even more difficult to do for someone who isn’t authorized to do it at all. And yet according to the OP, his former roommate was able to get Comcast to make changes to his service in spite of not being authorized to do so. If that’s true, then how is it not Comcast’s fault?

        Also, I think you misspoke when you said that the OP was at fault. While I still wouldn’t agree, I think you’d have been more correct to say that the missing cable-box is the OP’s responsibility. He’s not at fault. If anyone is, it’s his thieving former roommate, and Comcast for letting her get away with it in spite of not being authorized to make changes to his account.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      @RevRagnarok: Since the Comcast bill is in Dave’s name, his roommate should not have been able to make changes to the account, such as adding a box, without Dave’s explicit permission. That is why it’s fraud, and why it’s not Dave’s responsibility. It’s as if you had a roommate who decided to help themselves to your ATM card. The fact they were able to get away with it doesn’t make it your fault.

      • holytrainwreck says:

        @ChuckECheese: Never never never. How many times do people have to state to NEVER put any company’s bills on auto-pay?

        Get them to send you the invoice so you can have a look at it first! Then YOU can choose how much/if/when you pay.

        • falafelwaffle says:

          But calling them and saying “Hey, I’m not paying for this extra box” when they are saying “Sorry, but it’s on your account, so you need to pay for it” doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay for it, it just means they are going to eventually send you to collections.

      • goodpete says:

        @RevRagnarok: My thoughts exactly. Sure, Comcast should never have let the roommate modify the account. Also, it might be the right thing for Comcast to return the money to the OP and pursue the roommate through the legal system for the cash. Judge Judy would approve.

        Anyway, what the OP should do is start the process to file a claim in small claims court. If the OP wins, the roommate will almost certainly have to pay the 300 bucks. And if the judge is feeling generous, they might throw in the monthly charges and possibly some extra for the trouble the roommate caused by fraudulently modifying the account.

        So once the paperwork starts moving, the OP can go to the roommate and offer to settle out of court by having the roommate return the box and pay the monthly charges. It will be cheaper for both of them because no one has to pay the 300 bucks.

        Anyway, that’s what I’d do.

      • JennQPublic says:

        @ChuckECheese: I don’t know about you guys, but my Comcast account isn’t exactly Fort Knox. Anyone with the last four of my SSN and my birthdate can make whatever changes they want, and that information could easily be found by someone who lives in my household.

        Also, she may have just asked a repair tech for a box when they were out. I’ve never had my identity questioned by anyone from Comcast who was actually at my house.

      • friday3 says:

        It also doe snot make it the banks fault. YOU are responsible for things that are in your name including your ATM. If the roommate cleaned out your account, they should not be held liable. YOU left the ATM and agreed to share your residence with her. Your bad judgement should not be Comcasts problem

    • dreamcatcher2 says:

      @RevRagnarok: I don’t know about Comcast, but Time Warner Cable makes contracts with individuals, not households. I don’t think a contract with a household is a thing that exists in contract law. Whenever I talk to the phone or cable company, they make sure it is the account holder, not just somebody who happens to live at the same address.

      Comcast went and made a deal with somebody who is not Dave, and decided to stick Dave with the bill. That’s not cool. I agree that Dave shouldn’t have monthly bills refunded, because dude Dave, you’re right, you really should look at your bills, and paying a bill is tantamount to agreeing it was correct. But Dave never acknowledged receipt of, nor agreed to be responsible for any additional cable boxes, and has received no benefit from Comcast that suggests he should now be paying them. In contract law, both parties must receive some benefit for a contract to be valid, and this includes modifications to contracts as well.

      • MrEvil says:

        Really, Household as the government defines it is married persons and any blood relatives living in the home. Single people co-habitating that are not related does not constitute as a household.

    • RayonFog says:

      @RevRagnarok:

      The OP was pretty clear that they didn’t authorize the additional box or any other changes to the account. I don’t know how it is in Seattle, but I own the building in LA where my business is located, and I rent out 3 suites to my colleagues. The bills are all in my name. Even though we are all at the same address, not one of my utility providers will allow anyone but me to make changes to my accounts. It’s even a hassle because sometimes I want one of my colleagues to be able to call in and discuss our service, but they will only speak with me unless I specifically add my colleagues to the account.

      I’m not saying Comcast is completely at fault, but I certainly don’t think they should be blameless when they were the ones who sent the box without the account holders permission. Problem is, by paying the monthly fee for so long, OP was giving Comcast his tacit approval, so he’s SOL, unfortunately.

    • mizike says:

      @RevRagnarok: Two things here:
      1) As others have pointed out, Comcast better have a decent explanation as to why they issed a cable box to some random unauthorized caller and are attempting to collect from the OP. If this woman talked them into ignoring all of their identity procedures, then the mistake is at least partially on them (he’s still partially at fault for letting a year go by without bringing it up).

      2) I hate to say it, but small claims court likely isn’t worth the hassle for $300. You’re looking at two days lost wages (one day off for the trial, another to file the forms and effect personal service on the defendant) and even if you’re 100% successful you’re not that much better off as you’ve still got to try and collect your $300 from a known deadbeat.

      • henrygates says:

        @mizike: It’s not worth the $300, but it is worth it on principle. Thieves should not be rewarded for their behavior with complacency, and wouldn’t a judgment go on her credit report or something? Maybe she won’t pay now, but when she’s 30 and wants to buy a house she might feel differently.

    • jswilson64 says:

      @RevRagnarok: 1) Room-mate’s fault for ordering cable box w/out consent of OP.
      2) Comcast’s fault for not verifying identity.
      3) OP’s fault for not noticing the extra charges

      Once OP didn’t dispute the extra charges for some reasonable length of time, Comcast is off the hook. He’s out the 6 bucks a month – sorry. And he’s liable for the cable box.

      That said, OP needs to send ex-roommate a demand letter, certified mail, return receipt. Demand ex-roommate send OP reimbursement for the missing-cable-box fee, plus the monthly fee for the extra cable box. Give her a deadline. When she doesn’t pay up, small claims court is the only recourse (unless you can get her to a mediator).

    • mmmsoap says:

      I’m with you that, had he ordered the cable box, he’d be responsible for it being missing. However since he didn’t give authorization to edit the account, how is it “not Comcast’s fault” that they added extra services without his okay?

      The only way I can see Comcast avoiding blame is some kind of “you gave us default okay if you didn’t complain for XXX days about the charge” clause.

  2. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    OOooh.. That is shady shady.. I’m only a little surprised that Comcast allowed someone unauthorized to add a box to the account. Maybe she posed as “his wife” or some such.. but still her name should have to be on the account for her to deal with them.

    Also: YAY My kitteh is famous!! Bastien will be so impressed later when I show him.

  3. tonberryqueen says:

    Comcast doesn’t make it hard to modify an account, unless something’s changed.

    One of my old roommates had our Comcast in her name, and when we wanted to upgrade our cable package and get DVR, she had me call to set it up one day when I was off from work. I didn’t even have her cell phone number in front of me, so I couldn’t even give them that without ending the call and looking at my phone contacts, but they let me order the modifications, anyway, only knowing our account address and the account holder’s name.

    …which, in retrospect, is pretty scary.

    • Cyberxion101 says:

      @tailstoo: I would imagine that it might be difficult for Dave to have retrieved the box before his roommate left with it, being that Dave had no idea that the she had ordered a cable box in the first place. :P

      If Dave is at fault for anything, it’s for letting auto-pay make him complacent. That your bills magically pay themselves without you needing to do anything to make it happen doesn’t absolve you of the responsibility you have for looking at them every month. He may not have initially been aware that his shady bitch of a roommate had ordered the cable box, but he should have been as soon as it showed up on his bill, and he would have been had he bothered to look at it.

      Dave did own responsibility for this, but in spite of his objection it actually is the point. Well maybe not, but it does have a bearing on the matter at hand just the same. There was a period of several months between when she ordered the cable box and when she moved out, but it never did occur to Dave to look at his bill at any time over the course of those months. In fact it took him another several months after she left for him to come to the conclusion that something wasn’t right and to finally check it. In spite of how unimportant Dave seems to think this is, the simple fact of the matter is that had he been more diligent about checking his Comcast bill from month to month he would have caught the additional cable box, and he would have been able to confront his roommate about it before she moved out and took it with her.

      Still, Dave’s lack of attention to detail aside, I’d like to see Comcast do the right thing here. Sure Comcast may technically be within its rights to demand that Dave pay for the box, but they would also be well-served to keep it in mind that this is only an issue because they allowed an unauthorized party to make a change to his account without seeking his permission. They should call it a wash and write the box off, because pressing the matter may draw attention to just how lax they are when it comes to the security of its customer’s accounts. That could be more trouble than the missing cable box is worth.

      As for getting a former roommate’s contact info before she/he leaves, what’s to keep them from lying to you, or from withholding that information altogether? Especially when they have reason to do so, as may be the case in Dave’s situation? I can’t imagine that a thief would want to give her former roommates the means with which to track her down, especially if she left the house with disputes and unpaid bills. It may not have made a difference even had he thought to ask her for that information.

    • yevarechecha says:

      @tonberryqueen: This is also the case with Verizon. My roommate and I have FiOS, and the service is in my name. We each have a TV, and she wanted to get a DVR for hers. %15.99/month. I didn’t want to pay for the DVR, but didn’t care if she got one as long as she paid for it.

      So she called Verizon. I let her have the account number, but she didn’t have any of my other information. They added the DVR to the account and sent it the next day. Now, I did give her permission to do this. And I pay the bill every month online, calculate her share, and she writes me a check. She’s honest, so it works in this case. But how could Verizon have known? I was very disturbed that they’d add monthly charges to the account without the express authorization of the account holder.

    • mmmsoap says:

      I have Charter, and I used to be annoyed that they ask me for at least 3 account-verification steps, including the last 4 of my social. After hearing this story, I’m pretty glad they go through those hoops. A nefarious roommate/neighbor could certainly get through the name/address portions, but would (in theory) get stopped before doing too much damage.

  4. tailstoo says:

    Yep, this isn’t Comcast’s fault. If Dave was handling the bills, and the roommate left with the box, it’s up to Dave to get the box back. It’s not really fair to assume that Comcast should eat the cost of the box because the roommate is scum.

    Anytime you have a roommate who leaves, you should have their contact info – you never know what skeletons pop up after they’re gone.

    • ARP says:

      @tailstoo: I agree but I think Comcast shares some of the blame for allowing such easy mods to their account. I can vouch for the ease. My wife called from her cell (not the phone on record), only gave our last name and ordered an upgrade.

    • P=mv says:

      @tailstoo: I would say this is Comcast’s fault. The box was ordered without his knowledge and the roommate does not appear to be an authorized user on the account.

      • VouxCroux says:

        @AshCatScram: Certainly. Yes, the OP should have paid attention to his bill, but why in the Hell is Comcast allowing an unauthorized person access to modify the account and order another cable box? It’s another thing if the roommate ordered a PPV from the box since you don’t need verification (though you can add that).

    • lannister80 says:

      @tailstoo: She’s a criminal. It’s up to the police to get the box back.

  5. temporaryerror says:

    Unless the roommate was an authorized user on the OP’s Comcast account (and I’m guessing not) I don’t think that it would be too hard to put some of the blame on Comcast for letting an unauth’d user make changes to the OP’s account without his/her permission. It doesn’t really say how the former roommate went about getting the box, but surely there are some sort of security precautions in place to prevent this sort of thing?

    • temporaryerror says:

      @temporaryerror:
      Oops… others replied similarly while I was typing…

    • supercereal says:

      @temporaryerror: It’d be hard to prove that the OP never authorized the addition, especially after paying for it for more than a year. Did he not notice an additional TV or cable box over that entire time? Personal responsibility trumps here, but I’d say that if something fishy is indeed going on, then a police report would be a minimum requirement moving forward.

      When I shared cable expenses in the past, I tried multiple times to get repairs to my cable box (which was on my roommates account). I needed the account holder to make the request each and every time (from multiple CSRs at that)…even for this simple box exchange. I can’t imagine that they would make fundamental additions to an account based on a request from a random stranger that is not the account holder.

      • ShadowFalls says:

        But don’t they record calls for quality assurance? They can’t prove if he authorized it or did not, but if he didn’t call, the legal assumption is no.

  6. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Dave says the old roommate isn’t answering his phone calls, but then says that he has no way of contacting her? He should try finding some of her friends on Facebook and Twitter. It may not pan out but at least if she’s not answering his phone calls, he can still get to her friends and see if they’ll help him out.

    What he should do at this point is alert the police because he is the account holder, and she didn’t have his authorization to get another cable box, so he can report her to the police for theft. At the very least, they may be able to retrieve the cable box for Dave, and he can return that to Comcast and get the charges refunded.

    And he should take his account off auto-pay.

  7. friendlynerd says:

    I don’t really see this as Comcast’s problem. If I loan you something, and one of your friends steals it, I’m still coming after you. It was in your care.

  8. floraposte says:

    Any merit to filing a police report?

  9. akuma_x says:

    Not sure about Comcast but I work for another cable company and our policy is report it stolen to the police. Bring copy of police report to local office. Charges for box removed from account.

    • jaya9581 says:

      @akuma_x: Exactly my thought. I don’t blame Comcast for not offering to do anything at this point. What would stop all of us from calling up and claiming the same story?

      File a police report, submit it to Comcast. Then it’s a theft issue. It’s up to the OP whether he wants to deal with that or not.

  10. morganlh85 says:

    Sounds like OP has a small claims case for this and the other issues. Call People’s Court!

  11. LINIS says:

    This definitely comes down to whether the roommate was authorized to request new equipment on the account. If Comcast gave the box to her without her having proper access, then Comcast should eat the cost. If the OP gave her access to such capabilities on the account, then he should foot the bill.

  12. verdantpine says:

    While it is unfortunately your account, and ordinarily would be your complete responsibility, I think you should hammer Comcast a little more, reiterating that you never authorized use of another box. If you’re put through multiple levels of CSR hell, write a polite, certified letter to the suits at the top. You’re alerting them to the fact that it’s easy for anyone to scam their CSRs – including people who might default on the company.

    I don’t know about a police report, I’m thinking small claims. Anyone?

    Bottom line – my sympathies for having a crummy roommate. Something similar happened to one of my buddies. You know what worked for her? She called her ex-roommate’s mother, and the mother shamed her into making good. You could try that.

  13. Tim says:

    Maybe I’m just fishing for ways to blame Comcast, but they probably shouldn’t have sent the second box without the OP’s consent. I know that giving her the box like that probably wouldn’t have been a problem in the majority of situations, but still.

  14. MercuryPDX says:

    The sad thing is I’m pretty sure Comcast can deactivate the box and make it worthless from anywhere, so they will probably get it back anyway.

  15. theblackdog says:

    Sorry OP, but unless you can file a police report on the “theft” of the cable box, you’re SOL.

    This is why you check your bills people!

  16. gothamguy says:

    My bigger question is: how little attention did he pay to his finances that it took him so long to notice a change in the amount of his bill? If I allowed a company to auto-debit from my account for a bill that could change each month (phone, cable, utilities, etc.) I would be extra-careful to review the charges because the money is gone by the time you find out about any mistake.

  17. katstermonster says:

    Yes, he should have paid closer attention this bills. BUT why was his roommate, who I assume was not on the account in any way, shape, or form, able to get Comcast to give her a cable box? I’d say they’re a teensy bit liable. My roomie and I have Comcast, my name isn’t on the bill, and I’d be REALLY concerned if I could just call up and get them to send ME a cable box.

  18. shepd says:

    This is theft. This is how that works:

    Step 1: Contact your insurance company to report the theft so they can pay Comcast.
    Step 1b: If you don’t have insurance, or this isn’t covered, you pay Comcast $300.

    Step 2: Contact the police and explain the situation to them.

    Step 3: File a small claims court case against the former roommate.

    Step 4: Receive default judgement when the former roommate doesn’t show up.
    Step 4b: If the roommate does show up, receive official judgement instead.

    Step 5: After x months of not receiving payment, file in small claims against to garnish roommate’s wages. See if you can tack on court fees at this point.

    Step 6: Wait for roommate to get a job and ganish away.
    Step 6b: If roommate doesn’t get a job, file to put a lien against something they own and repossess it.

    Alternatively, see if you can convince the crown/DA in your area to prosecute. Good luck with this, $300 of theft on your say-so probably just won’t cut it for a proper case and the crown knows it, so they’ll tell you no. If they say yes, well, wait until the case is done and you’ll get the receiver back. Unfortunately, it’ll be blacklisted by Comcast at that point and it’ll be worthless and you can then go to Step 3 anyways.

  19. SkuldChan says:

    I had a room-mate (I can name names still ;) – who did this to me. What I did was call everyone who wanted money and tell them I was a new tennant and the old one moved out. I was able to setup new accounts on everything (including comcast cable) in my name – and he got stuck with the debt and the collections people.

  20. failurate says:

    I would be willing to bet that Comcast requires a whole lot more identification if the caller is wanting to downgrade instead of upgrade.

    That said, autopay is always a bad idea. Ignoring your bills + autopay is a horrible idea.

    • Cyberxion101 says:

      @failurate: Well I’m sure that the OP has definitely learned his lesson. Still, that doesn’t really begin to address the issue here, being that the crux of the matter is that Comcast let an unauthorized party make changes to his account.

      Sure he didn’t notice it for like what, a year after it happened, but it should never have happened to begin with.

  21. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Did the poster actually have the other roommates on the Comcast account, or was it solely in his name? If the latter is true, then the former roommate received the box fradulently from Comcast, and Comcast should not have allowed her to order the cable box. In that case, Dave would have to try to convince Comcast they gave a cable box to a fraudulent party and the account holder (Dave) did not authorize that action. Then it would be on Comcast to get their cable box back. Frankly, if he’s the sole account holder it would be on Comcast to prove an account holder ordered the box.

  22. TheRealAbsurdist says:

    WTF? When I had DirecTV they wouldn’t let my wife make changes to the account in my name. Comcast let your roommate have another box without even bothering to let you know? That’s their screwup plain and simple.

  23. Corporate_guy says:

    Honestly it sounds like the perfect way to get back at that roommate. Now you can have the police arrest her. As for comcast, hopefully they accept the police report and back off. If not you will probably have to pay the 300 and take them to court to get the money back.

  24. Beef Supreme says:

    File a claim with your Renter’s or Homeowner’s Insurance policy. Take that money, pay Comcast, and call it a lesson learned. All these lawsuits sound awesome until you realize they are not worth the time or hassle.

  25. SonicPhoenix says:

    1. Find out where former roommate is living.
    2. Go to Comcast office and request an additional box on the account for that address.
    3. Return the new box under your original account.

    Actually, you probably shouldn’t do this as it may constitute fraud but it’d be funny as hell.

  26. Dienacarfire says:

    I didn’t have time to read any of the other comments, so my reply may have been covered by someone else.

    Comcast really only require that you know the name, address, and last four digits of the social security number for the account (or the account number). Sometimes a rep will want to talk to the account holder, but most of the time that is not true.

    Dave needs to file a police report as well ask speak with a supervisor at Comcast (after filing said police report). Generally Comcast will work with the police, and once they know a report has been filed, they should refund the money.

  27. celtlion says:

    I agree, this really isn’t Comcast’s fault. The practical thing to do would be take them to small claims court. I guess he could also file a police report also but if it’s been this long it almost seems like a waste of time and resources.

  28. greeneyedguru says:

    Normally when I call Comcast, they verify my phone number (that I’m calling from the number listed on the accout), and then ask for the last 4 digits of my social to verify that it’s really me.

    Maybe the roommate knew someone who worked at a Comcast store or something.

  29. erratapage says:

    Okay… it’s Dave’s responsibility to go after the old roommate. I agree with that. But I’m not sure why Comcast couldn’t help out a little here. And why is it that we care so much about technical blame when good customer service dictates that a very large company should help a relatively blameless consumer.

  30. AK47 - Now with longer screen name! says:

    Wow, bad day for Daves. The last 3 posts have been about Verizon, Pizza Hut, and Comcast issues for guys named Dave/David.

  31. DanKelley98 says:

    What’s Dave thinking? His problem is with the roommate, not Comcast; and its really sad to see him try to use Consumerist in this way….

  32. aka_mich says:

    I really don’t see why Comcast let her set up anything on his account without first authorizing it with him. I’ve always been that guy too that has the bills in my name and whenever my roommate has tried calling Charter about even technical issues with our TV or internet they refused to talk to him.

  33. elizass says:

    Comcast is in the right. Sucks for the roommate.

  34. Ronin-Democrat says:

    screw he faux environmental online billonly idea. get a paper bill every month because.
    you may have to live with a broken computer
    you may get ill and need others to do the bill paying
    you will be reminded every month that bill is due

  35. [DFX] Deimos says:

    Comcast is in the right on this (::shivers::). The OP needs to sue the old roomate in small claims court, provided that he can prove that he took the cable box…

  36. katia802 says:

    wow, Comcast won’t even let me pay my son’s bill for him. He has to call, have phone number, last 4 of ssn and answers to security question to get the bill paid over the phone. Someone on their CS team really blew it.

  37. chimpotle says:

    Any time I want to make a change to our cable with Time Warner, which is in my wife’s name, I have to provide the last four digits of her SSN.

    I’m kind of surprised Comcast doesn’t have a similar policy to help prevent issues such as this one.

  38. SteveinOhio says:

    Speaking as one of those guys who handles the bills for everyone in the apartment, I would say this is definitely on the account holder and not the roommate (What you gain in control and reliability, you give back in liability)…except for that little bit about “without my knowledge or consent”. Comcast added services to an account that were requested by someone other than the account holder or a specifically authorized user. Game over, Comcast’s fault.

  39. coren says:

    I’m curious as to what “box” it is – we have the HDTV box which is 11 or 12, and these other boxes (first two are free, than 2 bucks) which I guess let us get the channels that used to just be free but are “different” because of the digital switch? I don’t know. Anyway, nothing at 6 bucks, so I’m curious.

  40. againstme69 says:

    The 2 most common ways to get a digital box from Comcast are:

    Pick up at local office
    UPS Shipment

    If the roommate had gone to pick it up at the office, she would have had to show identification and her name would have to be on the account. They are very strict at the offices with this policy.

    UPS – if the caller was not authorized, its still feasable for someone to set up the order for the box to be mailed to the customer, however, the box would have been addressed to the main account holder (Dave) – so the roommate would have been illegally opening the package (I’m assuming there’s laws against opening someone else’s UPS package like there is for US mail).

  41. lilyHaze says:

    @katstermonster: I think it depends on the parent. There are entirely too many adult children with enabling parents who think their precious babies can do no wrong.

  42. supercereal says:

    @katstermonster:

    The OP isn’t THAT stupid, this girl was a deadbeat, why would he have put her on the account?

    Apparently he is. If this girl was a deadbeat, when would he have been living with her?

    And if this site has taught me anything, it’s that people will lie, cheat, steal, any do any underhanded thing possible to absolve them of any personal responsibility. I’ve just become more skeptical than most when it comes to illogical stories that involve people paying someone else’s bills for more than a year “without noticing.”

  43. katstermonster says:

    @lilyHaze: Scary. But it’s always worth a shot. My parents would hunt me down and make me pay.

    @kexline: Ouch. That’s horrible.

    @Cyberxion101: Pecan Pi DID consider that possibility, which is why she suggested OTHER methods of contacting her. Like Facebook, for which you only need the person’s name. And hey, she lived with him, so I’d hope he knows her name! Your comment doesn’t even make any sense…

  44. Corydon says:

    @JohnDeere: comcast is absolutely at fault. they shouldnt send out stuff to people not in contract with them.

    This is absolutely correct. Comcast reps (and I used to be one) are trained to make sure they are speaking with the account holder before upgrading services like this.

    That being said, the way they verify who they’re speaking to is to double-check information contained on the account. So they’ll ask for names, phone numbers, security codes, etc. If the roommate was a bit of a con artist (and it sounds like she was) then she could have easily found the information she needed around the house and posed as a wife or whatever to get what she wanted.

    It would be nice if Comcast could waive the $300 fee for the box (which would merit an “above and beyond” IMO). I don’t see any way to legitimately get out of the rental charges though. Check with escalations. They ought to be able to see just how the box got on the account in the first place from the notes in the billing system.

    And if the roommate is not returning calls and generally being a class-A shady bitch, then I don’t really see any other choice but to take her to small claims court. She is, after all, the root of the problem here, not Comcast.

  45. Shivver says:

    @dreamcatcher2: Most companies are only going to ask for your account number and name, and maybe last 4 of your SSN. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dealt with Verizon and Directv posing as my mother (and I’m a guy). Without any more details it’s impossible to know if this is what his roommate did, but it seems likely. In that event, it was the OP’s responsibility to keep his account info more secure in order to prevent this sort of thing from happening.

  46. floraposte says:

    @Trai_Dep: Right, that’s what I’m thinking–not that the police will do a car-chase after the roommate, but that the OP then has something to show to Comcast.