Should Cable Companies Credit You For Outages You Didn't Complain About?

There’s that old question that asks: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? But in the world of Consumerist, a more appropriate query might be: If the cable goes out for a few hours and customers don’t notice, should they get refunds anyway?

Over at FastCompany.com, contributor Don Peppers details — somewhat exhaustively — his recent experience with Comcast, wherein his cable service disappeared briefly because of a local outage. After it came back on, he called to see if he’d be credited for the time it was out.

Comcast agreed to the credit, but when he asked if he would have gotten the credit had he not asked for it, he was told that no, you only receive the bill credit if you bring up the topic.

But Peppers thinks Comcast missed a golden opportunity to do something positive for its customers (The italics are the original author’s):

[T]he trustable thing for Comcast to do in this kind of situation would be to proactively advise customers that they know an outage has occurred, and tell them that the company will be automatically providing a credit on this month’s bill. No call necessary on your part, because we know you experienced this outage, and we’re watching out for you. Comcast already has all the data needed to make this happen. If it really does want to be on the customer’s side, here’s a splendid business opportunity to demonstrate it.

Netflix has done something like this before. It wouldn’t automatically credit customers’ accounts, but it would send out e-mails allowing customers to claim the credit if they want to.

If a company isn’t going to go to the effort of proactively crediting accounts or alerting customers of possible credit, you could make the case that customers who complain about an outage should not have to then make a follow-up call in order to get a credit.

We wanted to know where y’all came down on this, so we’re asking:

Thanks to Alexa for the tip