Displaced By A Tornado? Comcast Considers You "On Vacation"

They must not get too many tornadoes in Kabletown. Or maybe the folks at Comcast think that twisters really do whisk people away to magical lands with witches and flying monkeys. Regardless, residents of one tornado-damaged Michigan town say they’ve had a hard time convincing the cable company that they are not “on vacation.”

According to the Dexter Leader (which is apparently not a newspaper about a nice-guy serial killer who really should have stopped after the third season), a number of residents of Huron Farms, MI, have been trying to get their Comcast service suspended while they work to rebuild in the wake of a devastating tornado.

But not only were some of these people told they were being held responsible for cable boxes and modems that might well have landed in a treetop somewhere, they were also told the best that Comcast could do was to have their accounts listed as “on vacation,” meaning they would still be racking up $15 to $20 a month for service they have no access to.

“The whole idea that this happened to our neighborhood and that a company that has the entire hold of the market like this doesn’t have a plan,” one resident tells the Leader. “I’m not on vacation … I don’t want to pay for a service that I can’t use or have to cancel and pay a cancellation fee.”

Of course, once the media got involved, Comcast changed its tune.

“We didn’t have the visibility of which homes were affected and the degree to which they were affected,” a rep tells the paper. “Right now we’re just trying to figure out who those people are.”

But one resident whose house is currently being brought back up to code by engineers, says she still hasn’t heard back from Comcast.

“It’s taken a bit of time, and it’s been a little frustrating, but they are putting together a plan for us,” she tells the Leader. “I think where a lot of us are really frustrated is that they knew the tornado hit a few weeks ago. Why didn’t they have a plan in place?”

This story is reminiscent of Charter Communications’ huge PR goof in post-tornado Alabama last year. That event solidified Charter’s place in this year’s Worst Company in America tournament.

Without a response policy, Comcast charges tornado-affected residents vacation fees [Dexter Leader]

Thanks to Travis for the tip!