Comcast Sicced Collections On Me Before My Bill Was Due

Dan says he’s feeling a bit untrusted by Comcast, which has released the collection agency hounds on him, despite his bill’s due date still being a ways off.

He writes:

I canceled Comcast at the beginning of October.

When I returned my cable box I was told that I would received an adjusted bill for $44.05.

When I had only received unadjusted bills for much more by mid November I called.

They said the adjusted bill was in the mail and not to pay until I got it.

When it arrived it was dated November 27 and said the payment due date was December 12.

On December 7 I received a collection notice from Credit Protection Association L.P.

They sent it to a collection agency before the bill was due.

Has this happened to anyone else? The over-aggressive bill collection method seems to be a pretty effective way of burning bridges.

Comments

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  1. Omali says:

    It’s Comcast. Do their poor customer relations surprise anyone anymore?

    • Leria says:

      Nope, it doesn’t surprise anyone who knows how shoddy Comcast’s customer service is from having people who are close to you working for them.
      I’m one of those people.

  2. solareclipse2 says:

    Since the bill wasn’t due, isn’t there a way you can take action against the collection agency or comast? Sounds like harassment or something.

  3. Murph1908 says:

    Just a shot in the dark here. But perhaps collections was trying to get payment for the bill the CSA told you not to pay. Not the adjusted one you got later.

    • MiltyKiss says:

      That is what it sounds like to me.

      The only way to check is to see if the amount that Credit Protection Association LP is requesting is the same as the unadjusted bill that was due.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I agree, I think collections went after him for the unadjusted bills. After all, to the accounting department, those bills are correct and thus, he owes that amount of money. If the due date on the unadjusted bill was earlier than the due date on the adjusted one, he missed the due date on the basis of the CSR’s instructions.

      I’ve never had a rep explicitly tell me not to pay my bill before – I’ve always waited for the credit to apply to my account, then paid it, but even if the credit hasn’t appeared, I always pay before the due date.

      • Sunshine1970 says:

        I have. Time Warner just a few months ago after a move I made. I was told not to pay a bill and wait for a new one. This caused my account to be late. But, after making one phone call to them, it was resolved quite quickly and painlessly–which totally floored me.

  4. SecretAgentWoman says:

    I would suggest denying the validity of the collection bill to Credit Protection Assoc. IN WRITING ASAP as you only have 30 days to do so before they can “assume” the debt is valid and start messing with your credit!

    • Tiaris says:

      This was done to us. We were never notified in any way – and DirecPath had our address, phone numberS and email address – of a phantom bill (for what, we don’t know, because there was nothing that should have been charged after we canceled and paid the final bill, which we did), back in April – one month after canceling service. So it’s been reported to my husband’s credit report and “active” since April (and they’ve been continuing to validate it), all without any communication to us from either company.

      Righteously upset to learn that last night when we finally pulled his credit report for the year.

      • Leria says:

        You should think about filing a lawsuit or calling them up and telling them “Take this off or I will contact the BBB about you and your associates!”

  5. JohnDeere says:

    sounds like they gave out personal information without your consent. id sue them.

    • Eyeheartpie says:

      I’m fairly certain that it’s in the ToS that they can send your info to collections for non-payment.

  6. fluidfoundation says:

    I had the same sort of thing happen to me. I had moved and they were supposed to transfer my service. Instead they canceled and restarted new service. However, they did not update any of the contact info for the old account. Only 14 days after I moved they sent a collection letter. Thankfully I still had access to my old property and found it, called them and tore them a new one.

    Canceled them at the new address that day.

  7. burnedout says:

    I haven’t had Comcast send the collection hounds after me, but the last few months they’ve been turning off my cable a week before the bill is due. There wasn’t a past due, either – I thought maybe I goofed up an internet payment or something. But nope, they just wanted to make sure that I was AWARE that the due date was approaching.

  8. winshape says:

    It’s not considered burning a bridge, when it is the only bridge available. Assuming he was using broadband as part of the service, he probably has to choose between Comcast and AT&T.

    There should be a realistic time limit on assigning territories to cable/broadband providers. I realize that they have to recoup their installation expenses, but it essentially creates a monopoly on goods.

  9. Tiaris says:

    Be VERY leary. CPA put a notice on my husband’s credit report one month after we canceled service with “DirecPath” (the company that had a deathgrip on our apartment complex), for over $200 – a charge that we have yet to receive ANY information regarding (our address and phone numbers have not changed since before cancelation). Doing research last night, this company may very well be a scam; they’re nigh-unreachable, etc.

    We’re going to be starting the dispute process today but we have to ‘prove’ that we don’t owe this bill but …how do you prove you don’t owe something when you’ve never received any paperwork from the company regarding owing anything? >_

    tl:dr version – Be leary and try to get Comcast involved!

    [any advice on this would be appreciated, btw – I’m pissed as hell about this “bill” that never existed as there was no equipment to return and I was sitting there when my hubby called and canceled service. It was simply a matter of them coming out and flipping two switches in our util. closet (they had an exclusivity contract with the complex and were hard-wired into all the apartments). And I was there when they did that.]

    • chiieddy says:

      Actually, you should read up more on the Consumer protection act. You don’t have to prove you don’t owe anything. Send them in writing you do NOT owe the bill and THEY have to prove you do or cease and desist.

      • Tiaris says:

        Thank you for this! I will do that as soon as I get home tonight. Same with filing an official dispute with the Big Three.

        I DO need to sit down and read that act through.

      • LadyTL says:

        The problem with that is they could stop trying to collect it from you but still report it to the credit reports. I’m having a problem with that now where they admitted to me that the debt wasn’t valid but they told the credit agency when I filed a dispute for it still being on my credit report that it was still valid. So now I can’t get it off my credit reports.

        • Difdi says:

          In that case, sue them. They’re at the very least committing libel/slander, and possibly even criminal fraud by reporting a debt they KNOW doesn’t exist.

        • chiieddy says:

          Request everything be in writing including proof you owe or don’t owe the debt. You can dispute the debt on your credit report as well as invalid. Pull your credit reports for free.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      OK, does the CPA ever go after legit debts? These were the people who tried to come after me for not returning a non-existent modem to Charter.

      To their credit they did give up after I sent them a drop dead letter but still…

  10. comcastcares says:

    I would have to look into the specifics, but it sounds to me like Dan received a bill for the full amount, but cancelled during the course of that month, and per the instructions of the agent he did not make a payment at all until the next bill came. This is what created the past due status. This should not have an impact yet on credit, and I would simply recommend paying the bill.

    I apologize to Dan that the agent provided the incorrect information. They should have computed the amount owed and provided you that information. I would be happy to look into further for you and make sure there was no negative impact to Dan.

    Frank Eliason
    Comcast
    We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com

    • chiieddy says:

      Frank – I had similar issues when I recently moved and canceled service. I didn’t have any overdue bills, but since Comcast requires you to PREPAY for service I received a bill for the full amount due on 10/27 when I canceled service weeks before for 10/28. They told me to not pay it, so I walked into Comcast on 10/27 and returned all equipment and requested final amounts. They refused to give me anything and I had to wait to receive the bill for the 7 days of service I used after 10/20. This could have easily happened to me, and seems to be a systemwide failure if what you’re saying is true.

    • RPHP says:

      Paying which bill? I hope you are saying he should pay the adjusted bill because he does not owe the bill which seems to be in collection.

      Further, it is noble that you are trying to look into the situation now for him but this does not excuse the situation to begin with, which, based on other comments posted here, seems to be a regular snafu by comcast.

      • falafelwaffle says:

        Did he say it excused the situation? No, he apologized for it and is doing what he can. Do you expect him to build a time machine and make it never have happened? God.

  11. SkullCowboy says:

    The exact same thing happened to my wife and I. We canceled and turned in our boxes. We were current and only owed for the final billing period. About a week before our final payment was due we received a collection notice in the mail (don’t remember the collection agency name) that included late charges. This says to me that Comcast had to turn us over at least 3 to 5 days before that. Comcast billing then refused to talk to us because we had been turned over to collections!! The first bottom feeder at the agency we talked to was insulting and suggested if we paid on time we wouldn’t be in this mess. A supervisor or two later and a faxed copy of the Comcast bill showing the due date and they kicked the account back to Comcast, who was mildly apologetic. All in all an enraging experience.

  12. GMFish says:

    The over-aggressive bill collection method seems to be a pretty effective way of burning bridges.

    Oh yeah, I’m sure Dan will be begging to sign up for yet another Comcastic a$$ reaming at the first opportunity. It must be great having mini-local-monopolies like the cable companies have. When you’re the only service in town, you can get away with treating customers like crap.

  13. donjumpsuit says:

    Wow,
    An actual Comcast employee explaining out of turn, that the bill was already in arrears, even though the representative told them not to pay until they received the bill. I wonder if Dan gets paid to browse the internet and drum up good vibes for …. is it Comcast/NBC now?
    Anyway. Comcast has done this to me TWICE. Its no mistake, its policy. Much like it is policy to obstinately deny requests to match current subscription offers for long-standing customers. It also policy to overcharge for internet service, and then throttle it if you over use it, and if you would like a bit speedier of a service, they can charge more for that too.

    Good luck Comcast/NBC I am sure that merger will turn out well. I have AOL – Time Warner in mind.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      I wonder if Dan gets paid to browse the internet and drum up good vibes

      Don’t you mean Frank? Dan is the OP.

    • Elginista says:

      Yep, it’s policy. I had the exact same thing happen to me when I canceled last spring. I was told to wait for a final adjusted bill rather than making the “normal” monthly payment. I got that final bill on a Monday and set it aside to pay on Saturday (like I do with all my bills). I got a collections call on Thursday, a full two weeks before it was actually due. When I pushed back to the collections person, (“Um, I have the bill right here, it’s not due for another two weeks”) they accused me of being continually delinquent and irresponsible.

      Nice, Comcast.

  14. morganlh85 says:

    We have to call these idiots nearly every month to fix our bill. I’m very close to canceling everything and downloading all my TV off the internet.

    • chiieddy says:

      I did that during the course of my move.

      Comcast advertises 15 Mbps down for Internet. We were lucky to get 1 Mbps down (granted, we lived in a fairly urban area, but it wasn’t even close). Since we were cable customers we paid $42.95/mo for our service. We switched to Verizon DSL (which also is no bed of roses) and once it was set up properly, costs $29.99/mo and is 3 Mbps down. I was unable to effectively watch Hulu on Comcast and it works like a dream on Verizon. Go figure.

      I purchased an AppleTV, which I have yet to use for anything other than Hulu, but we will likely be purchasing seasons of shows at $35 – 40 per season later in the year from iTunes to pick up some gaps in Hulu. There’s some BBCAmerica stuff on there. Cost $229 (- $100 gift card from my birthday). Cable without the internet was costing $66/mo (I had basic digital). Total Comcast was getting from me per month was $109, per year $1308

      New annual cost (first year) if we buy 10 shows at $35 per season would be:
      DSL – $19.99 * 12 = $239.88
      AppleTV = $229
      10 shows @ $35 = $350
      Total: $818.88
      First year savings: 489.12 (actually $589.12 because of our gift card)

      After the first year, the total changes to $589.88 and the savings is $718.12

      We’ll have to buy an antenna to pick up over the air broadcasts, which I found a directional for $40 on Crutchfield.com, so we’ll be down another $40 the first year, but so what?

  15. amrcanpoet says:

    This guy’s very brave to send this story in. I sent in an identical one a month ago (the situation was with CapitalOne having collection agencies call my mother-in-law to track me down 2 weeks before a bill was due, having never contacted me first, and it was resolved that they just wanted to upsell me features) and got ripped apart in the comments from people saying that they did that because my credit is so horrible.

    Nevermind the fact that I own 1 credit card with a balance of $500 on a $2,000 limit, a paid-off car, and a house with never a late mortgage. I love the arm chair CPA’s on this site. :-)

  16. ben says:

    I don’t know what Comcast’s policy is, but it’s a relatively standard practice when cancelling service with a provider to be told to wait for the final adjusted bill before paying anything. Usually I’ll ask them what my total will be, though, and I’ll go ahead and pay that amount by the original due date.

    Regardless, I’m not sure why the bill was sent to collections anyway. If his final bill was due December 12, it makes sense that his previous bill was due November 12. By December 7, he had already received a notice from the collection agency. That means that they mailed it out at least a few days before that, and that Comcast notified them even before that. So even if he was technically late on his bill, it couldn’t have been more than two weeks or so. That’s an awfully short time in which to send the bill to collections.

    • Leria says:

      True…. most times when stuff is sent out to collections, it is AT LEAST 5 to 6 months since the past due first happened….. though I have seen cases with my cousins (who are poor) where because they are poor, the stuff is sent to collections ‘sooner’ because they know my cousins won’t be able to afford a lawyer to challenge it.

  17. Dasher78 says:

    I wonder if their aggressiveness is a new initiative. Recently, I arrived home to no internet or phone. A few days before we had disputed a double billing with Comcast customer service. They had apologized and reversed the second (double) charge from our card…..48 hours later they terminated our service for ‘non-payment of bill’. It took an hour on the (cell) phone to explain/document/correct their mistake.
    And now they own NBC, too. Super.

  18. LBAM says:

    Comcast did more or less the exact same thing to me.

    I canceled in August, returned the box before the end of the month. Had already paid the August bill and didn’t really expect that I would owe them anything. Didn’t get any bills in September or October.

    Then in early November they call me about an outstanding balance of $34 and change. I tell them I never got a bill. They promise to send an adjusted bill. Less than two weeks later I got a collections notice. The following day I got the adjusted bill. I went ahead and paid the adjusted bill to the collection agency rather than deal with the frustration of fighting it.

  19. jenolen2161 says:

    That happened to me two years ago with Time Warner. I moved, turned in my cable box, and was told the bill with the remaining balance would be mailed to my new address. I got the bill and two days later, a collections notice for that bill, even though the due date was weeks away. I called the collections agency, and they said it was standard procedure for people who move because they often don’t/forget to pay. Got it all straightened out, but it was added stress for nothing.

  20. bostonguy says:

    Also take into account that just because he got called by a “collection agency” doesn’t mean that Comcast SOLD his debt. They may just contract with this firm for collections on in-house current debts. I’ve had a few calls over the years from collections agencies working FOR a debtor. (Mass General Hospital in Boston does this).

    • Leria says:

      Uh, most times, the debt has actually been SOLD to the collections company… they are not just ‘working for’ Comcast or another business.

      • psm321 says:

        I think with Comcast they often do hire an agency instead of selling the debt. I’m pretty sure that was the case with my collection notice (described in another post).

  21. psm321 says:

    I got a collection notice once on an outdated account that was only there because Comcast messed up my address and couldn’t change it and thus had to create a new account. Apparently they kept billing the old account as well. Eventually got it fixed, entirely through Comcast (not dealing with the collection agency)

  22. PermanentStar says:

    I haven’t had anything like this, though I do have direct debit for my Comcast bill and somehow wound up with a mysterious past due balance. I don’t even understand how that’s possible.

  23. Paul Schreiber says:

    Comcast had my old American Express card on file. Surprisingly, it still worked for quite some time after I had the card replaced. One day, it stopped working, and AmEx declined Comcast’s charge.

    Comcast didn’t phone, email or write me. When I logged in to their web site, I saw no notification that my payment information needed updating.

    So what did they do? Mail me a letter threatening to cut off my service if I didn’t pay.

  24. cyberdog says:

    Not surprising with Comcast. I worked for them for almost 2 years. I got discounted service from them which was great. I had to pay a fee for upgraded high speed internet above the free they offerred employees as well as some fees associated with have all DVRs.

    When I quite employment I notified the woman in charge of Employee Benefits-Services that I was no longer going to be employed at Comcast on a specific date as well as would not be living at my current address as I was moving 100 miles away. I had a small balance on my account and paid that two weeks before my service was discontinued. So I ended up paying an adjusted amount.

    Well I put my cancellation request in and she responded back to me that it was taken care of. I never heard back from her after that. About 6 months later I get a notice from a collection agency for $150+ from Comcast. I was appalled because I paid them in full. I contacted the woman who handled this and she said she misplaced the email-correspondence and there was nothing she could do about it and I should just pay it.

    I refuse to pay for something I didn’t get or from their incompetent staff!!! I continually get bills every two weeks from the collection agency and I keep telling them the same thing. And of course Comcast won’t get it corrected or fixed.

    • Leria says:

      Think about contacting the Attorney General in your state…. that lady was feeding you a load of crap, to be blunt about it.

  25. gialablau says:

    this exact thing happend to me recently with Charter communications and I’m suing for fdcpa violations, i found an attorney who doesn’t cost me, only the company they sue. It probably isn’t too late for you to sue Comcast and credit protection association, I think you have a year to do so, contact me and I’ll give you my attorney’s info, don’t let them get away with this , it’s illegal!!