Move Your Comcast Account, Get Bonus $8 Late Fee

Mark wrote to us with a warning for Comcast customers: if you move while your account is set on auto-pay, the system is set up so that you will miss a payment and be hit with a late payment fee. Why is it set up that way? Nobody knows.

I recently moved across town and dropped cable TV but kept my cable
internet with Comcast.

My first bill after I moved was an odd one that spanned 2 billing cycles
but added up correctly. It was paid in full by auto-payment as usual.

My second bill at the new address had a $7.99 late fee on it because the
move caused the previous bill to span 2 cycles but only receive 1
(automatic) payment.

Wondering how it was possible to get charged a late fee on an account with
automatic payments, I called them up this afternoon and was told this
happens all the time, and I should have been notified that the fee was
going to happen if I didn’t make 1 manual payment after moving. I was told
it happens to everyone who transfers service with automatic payments.
Nobody ever mentioned it to me.

The helpful phone rep quickly credited my account and life went on… but
I’m glad I noticed the extra charge.

Check your statements, even when you’re on autopay: solid advice for any monthly service.

Comments

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  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    “Why is it set up that way? Nobody knows.”

    Ooh ooh! I know!

    Is it so that Comcast can squeeze another nickel out of its already-abused customers!?

    • Blueskylaw says:

      “Is it so that Comcast can squeeze another nickel out of its already-abused customers?”

      Why yes, it is.
      The proof is:
      1). It happens to everyone who transfers service with automatic payments.
      2). They don’t know why.
      3). They refunded the money with no challenge and without making you feel like it was all your fault.

      • Conformist138 says:

        #3 is always the standout: if you notice, you get the prize of your money back so you don’t ask too many questions.

    • Cosmo_Kramer says:

      These edge cases exist because they’re an exception to the normal rules, which makes them difficult to deal with programatically. Chances are their IT department is aware of the issue but it comes up so infrequently that other things are prioritized ahead of it.

      Of course you’re going to respond that Comcast prioritizes everything else ahead of this because they want $8, because Comcast really fucking cares about getting one-time fees of $8 from a small minority of their customers.

    • wickedpixel says:

      Exactly. It’s the same way that anytime you have a service call they bill you for it, whether it’s something that should have been free or not. Then it’s your responsibility to notice the charge on your bill and call to have it removed. This is SOP for Comcast.

  2. ianmac47 says:

    Why would anyone “move” their cable service? A new address is the perfect excuse to get introductory rates for another six months.

    • nakkypoo says:

      Hey, with your reading comprehension, you could be a Consumerist editor, too!

    • Conformist138 says:

      Now a SSN is required for all service, so that loophole is pretty well closed. It would be a good time to get a new low rate if someone else in the house has never had cable, but you don’t have to move for that to work.

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Sounds like Comcast decided not to make their IT department make a 30-minute fix to a major issue because they want more money.

    • nakkypoo says:

      Comcast has over 15 million customers. This is not a “30-minute fix”, it’s probably weeks, if not months. There would be call centre downtime as well (the billing system would be offline for some amount of time as the new software is rolled out. Call centres often tie into the billing system to look up customers.)

      I’m not saying Comcast shouldn’t fix this, they absolutely should. It’s just not as trivial as you think. I doubt it’s about money either. Of all the things wrong with Comcast this is probably pretty low on the list.

      • vastrightwing says:

        If Comcast has too many customers, perhaps the FTC should consider breaking Comcast into many smaller cable companies. We shouldn’t have to be victims here. Me on the other hand, pulled the plug from Comcast… xfinity years ago.

        • nakkypoo says:

          I don’t remember if it’s the FCC or the FTC, but it’s been done. Comcast is near its limit for number of customers.

          My point was more that 15mm customers aren’t handled by one piece of software running on one computer. It’s likely dozens pieces of software spread around hundreds of servers.

          There are many things Comcast needs to fix, this is one of them. The occurrences of this happening are probably very few (compared to other problems.) Consumerist loves to knock Comcast, but this is the first I’ve read about this particular problem.

          Why they haven’t fixed it is beyond me, but I doubt it has anything to do with an IT budget. It’s probably more along the lines of they have so much to fix they don’t know where to start. And I hope they don’t start here. This would be low on my list too, but I don’t doubt that if the $7.99 was outgoing they’d have fixed it long ago.

      • JohnnyP says:

        Im sure they they have regular updates to the system. They could make the fix and roll it out with the next update.

  4. Robofish says:

    The auto pay sucks. If you log in to look at it or verify, it completely resets the fact that auto pay is setup, and then it won’t come out the next month. This has happened to us a few times before we realized what was causing it.

  5. Maxamus says:

    Why on earth does anyone use auto pay on anything? I would never ever ever let a company automatically take money either from my bank account or credit card.

    Seems some people feel it is to “troubling” to pay bills once a month?

    • TasteyCat says:

      This.

    • gabrewer says:

      Actually, I’ve found autopay to be a convenient option for those household bills that tend to be routine and non-problematic — such as electric, water, natural gas, and phone. It saves me a stamp (the cost of which is at a point that for several bills over the course of a year actually equals noticable money) and the time spent writing checks or authorizing payment online. I get my statement, mark it in my checkbook, and forget about it. And interestingly, this is old technology — available well before most people had ever even heard of the internet.

      However there are some organizations to which I would never give this type of acess to my checking account or credit cards — the cable company, my mortgage lender, and — in my town — the local newspaper. They are the epitome of evil, and some foulup is almost guaranteed.

  6. nbs2 says:

    That could be our story, except that we moved across the metro area instead of town. And my name isn’t Mark.

  7. fmatthew5876 says:

    Never ever do automatic payments

  8. Mulysa says:

    When I changed my credit card, I also had the same issue. It was the same account and I had had auto-pay before. I just wanted to use a different card. I actually got a call that the payment was late, and I just went in and manually paid for one month.

  9. VeganPixels says:

    It’s set up that way to remind you not to let businesses auto-magically open your register drawer whenever they feel like.

  10. Clyde Barrow says:

    “and was told this
    happens all the time”

    Mmmm, do I hear a lawsuit a-coming?

  11. wiz561 says:

    Funny this is posted. This is the same **EXACT** thing that happened to me, but they turned my internet off too.

    I moved service from one address to another. Not only did my autopay cancel, it seamed like they canceled my original account and created a new account for me. New account number, deleted my old email address, deleted my old ‘my comcast’ login ID, everything. It was almost as if I was a new customer.

    I figured that because I *transferred* my service from one place to another, everything would be kept the same. Nope, nothing.

    Normally, I would complain about this, but you know, it’s not even worth it. It’s not worth spending the hour or two on the phone with them, being transferred around the world, and in the end, you get no result.

    During this “transfer” of service, I wanted to cancel cable TV since I was paying out the nose for it, had so many extra fees, and the channels weren’t even the same on both TV’s. I didn’t even get TBS on the non-hd TV. In any case, I had to transfer the service to the new address, then call another number to cancel the TV service. Once I got my bill straightened out, they had to transfer me to another place, then transfer me to a local comcast office in order to cancel the TV portion. In order to pay my bill and cancel the TV portion, it took about an hour to an hour and a half. Absolutely ridiculous.

    • wiz561 says:

      OH, and BTW… I setup autopay for my new (transferred) account in the beginning of January. On January 31st, I logged in and noticed a ~60.00 charge that says due on 1/24. Autopay is turned on.

      OK. How the hell can I owe ~60 bucks on 1/24, which hasn’t been taken out yet, and all the time have my account be on autopay?

      I cancelled autopay and manually paid the bill. You would think “autopay” would mean “autopay” by due date. Maybe Comcast is using the same dictionary wireless providers use when they say “unlimited”.