Comcast Balks At Refunding $6,300 To Customer Who Forgot Decimal Point

Imagine if Comcast made an honest-to-goodness, easily explained error and accidentally sent credited your account to the tune of more than $6,000. Now imagine how they would respond if you refused to return the funds, but told Comcast it could just slowly chip away at the money until the account was zeroed out again. We don’t imagine the Lords of Kabletown taking that suggestion too kindly, and yet that’s exactly what Comcast proposed to a customer who forgot a decimal point and overpaid his bill by thousands of dollars.

The customer, who happens to be 86 years old and a 25-year customer of Comcast, says that when he went online to pay his bill of $64.53, he accidentally omitted the decimal point and entered $6453 — 100 times what he owed the cable company.

The man tells WKRG-TV that he noticed the goof about a week later while reviewing his paid bills.

“I called the bank, and they said it had already been processed,” he says, “there was nothing they could do.”

His daughter attempted to talk some sense into Comcast but all the company said it could do for the long-time customer was to use the credit for future bills, meaning the man wouldn’t have to worry about another cable bill until the age of 94.

Of course, he’d be out thousands of dollars in the meantime.

Even after WKRG got involved, it still took a visit to the local Comcast depot, “several phone calls, and seven hours” before someone finally made a decision that makes any sense.

“We are issuing a full refund… and we apologize for not reimbursing him sooner after his inadvertent payment was first brought to our attention,” reads an e-mail statement to the TV station.

Of course, if the customer paid via debit card or e-check, it can still take up to 10 business days for that money to eventually show up in his bank account.

Thanks to Charles for the tip!

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  1. wackydan says:

    Cancel service. They have to send you the balance at that point… Might take a while though.

    • Coleoptera Girl says:

      He is getting his money back. However, I might cancel service anyway, for not resolving the obvious issue immediately.

      • RenegadePlatypus says:

        Eyes collectively roll whenever it is suggested that you are going to cancel your service when displeased with your cable service. Sure you will. You are more likely to spontaneously grow an arsehole on your elbow.

        • crispyduck13 says:

          This is way beyond “displeased.”

        • Snowblind says:

          Correct. Threats to cancel fall on deaf ears because most people don’t mean it.

          So don’t threaten. Ask for what you want, in this case a refund.

          “I just want to be sure I have this right, I want you to refund the money I accidentally overpaid and you are unable or unwilling to do that.”

          Get the answer.

          If they don’t comply, cancel the service. Don’t threaten, don’t change your mind, just cancel.

          • sagodjur1 says:

            Yeah, threats to cancel are pointless because not everyone knows or plays by the same customer service rules that you operate under.

            Many people have this idea that you have to play a game of threatening to cancel to get what you want with every company, but different companies are (obviously) different.

            I recall when I was a CSR at a call center, a customer called and immediately said he wanted to cancel. I pulled up his account and said, “okay, I can cancel that for you right now.” And his response was, “wait, I don’t want to cancel. You’re supposed to try to stop me!”

            Personally I get really annoyed when a CSR tries to stop me from canceling a service because I wouldn’t say I wanted to cancel without meaning it.

            Say what you mean and be persistent.

            • Snowblind says:

              Well, if your game is to say things you don’t really mean… I don’t know what your going to get from people who can’t read your mind.

              Which is basically no one, except possibly your mom.

              I don’t know what else CSR expect from you if you can’t deliver a satisfactory resolution to a reasonable request.

              Just suck it up?

            • frank64 says:

              I have only threatened to cancel when it wasn’t a threat. Usually with credit card fees, I consider most as gotcha and refuse to pay them most of the time. I have actually cancelled once, but they reinstated it when I emailed them telling them why I cancelled.

              • kc2idf says:

                I have been known to use “Okay. Shut it down. Right now. No, I’m not kidding. I’m done doing business with you.” I did that to Sprint Long Distance over chronic metering errors back when long distance was a relevant concept. Naturally, they wanted to know what they could do to get me to stay, and I made it clear: they had had ample time to fix my many complaints, and I was done wasting my time arguing with them about the extra charges on my bill because they couldn’t measure my usage correctly.

                When they offered unlimited usage, I came back, but only because I got a discount. The second I did, the metering issues re-manifested (funny, the LD proviers I had before, between and after didn’t have this problem) but it didn’t matter because it had no effect on my bill.

            • regis-s says:

              Undoubtedly “wait, I don’t want to cancel. You’re supposed to try to stop me!” was his way of trying to wrangle a better deal. A lot of people here have admitted to doing it.

              I’ve always thought of it as a classless thing to do. If a company is going go along with it though I guess you really can’t blame people for doing it.

          • frank64 says:

            Yes, but then they will have to repay the difference. It could be a way to get your 6K.

        • chefboyardee says:

          Your eyes may collectively roll when someone says that, but not everyone’s. Amazingly, some of us have morals and stand by them. I have cancelled more than one service, *including Comcast*, because I was mad at how they treated me over something and/or a new policy they enacted.

          This may come as a surprise to you, but not everyone needs television to survive. I haven’t turned mine on in months and I have *gasp* a rich and fulfilling life that is never lacking for something to do.

          So yes, “sure I will”, or at least, I would if I was this guy. And I don’t doubt that others on this board are the same way.

          Echoing what Snowblind said, you don’t threaten. You just cancel. Speak with your wallet, it’s often the only voice you have.

          • rdm says:

            For those of you who had “42 minutes!” for how long it will take someone to come in and brag that they don’t have a TV, step up and collect your prize.

        • Abradax says:

          Except some of us do it.

          I was sick of paying 200 dollars month for service. I tried to get a lower bill, TWC wanted to charge me 70 bucks a month for non digital cable with no cable box and refused to give me any type of price break even though a new user can get digital cable for 30 bucks. I cancelled and haven’t looked back. Also got magic jack, so I don’t pay for digital phone either.

        • duncanblackthorne says:

          Really? I stopped using Comcast for cable TV back in January, and put an antenna on my house instead. Best decision I’ve made in a long time. If I could get internet service from someone else I’d dump them completely.

        • Coleoptera Girl says:

          In this case, I wouldn’t suggest that I will or might cancel. I would cancel, period. Cable is not essential to life.

      • limbodog says:

        What if he, like me, lives in an area where there are no other service providers?

        • Coleoptera Girl says:

          That is definitely a problem, for people who want cable. Are there no other internet providers? Yes, you get shows later than cable subscribers, but you still get them. If there are no other ways to get internet… I’d say as long as he gets his money back, do whatever you can to get other providers into the area. There isn’t much than can be done, if you feel that you must have cable/internet and you’re comfortable with the trade-off.

          • ReaperRob says:

            No, there are no other providers. The only internet competition is an anemic DSL package from the deathstar.

        • shepd says:

          Live without it for a month while you wait for your cheque to be mailed and then get it reconnected. Even if the reconnection fees are $100, it’s better than not getting the money back.

          Of course, he is getting it back now… but hey, it’s an alternative.

        • mharris127 says:

          In most cases Dish Network would be happy to provide service for him. It would probably be cheaper as well, IIRC their rate for 120 channels is only $44 a month (after the one-year discount ends). I recently switched to Dish after my basic 50 channel no-box needed cable went up to over $60 a month. I haven’t had any problems with their billing yet, on payday I just log on to their website and use my debit Mastercard to pay the bill.

    • Demilio says:

      Probably was some idiot CS rep that didn’t want to deal with it.

  2. Auron says:

    Of course it would take media involvement for Kabletown to do the sensible thing in this situation. Though i’m sure if the situation were reversed and Comcrap “accidentally” sent a $6,300 refund to a customer, they would be screaming blood and guts every day until every single penny was restored.

  3. evilpete says:

    Aren’t checks supposed to be processed by amount in the written form ( under the payee’s name )

  4. benminer says:

    Spending $6k+ on cable over 8 years seems like a lot but that’s what $64 a month works out to.

  5. kanenas says:

    Wow… I don’t think I ever saw a Comcast bill that cheap until after I dropped TV through them.

  6. binkleyz says:

    Buried lede- “Man gets a Comcast bill that’s only $64, fails to pass out from shock”.

    • sagodjur1 says:

      I’m paying less than $40. Just call them and ask if they have any specials going on and then just repeat when that special is over. It’s annoying, but consistent.

  7. RandomHookup says:

    On the couple of occasions I’ve made an overpayment of anything, I’ve never had a problem getting reimbursed. Strange that Comcast would be this insistent on keeping the money.

  8. Pete the Geek says:

    There is something very wrong with Comcast for their staff to make such a mean-spirited decision. I wonder if they outsource their billing?

    • Mr. Fix-It is trapped in a collection of half-working appliances says:

      If it doesn’t involve some kind of skilled labourer physically interacting with the system’s infrastructure in some way, odds are it’s outsourced.

      • iguana426 says:

        wait, your Comcast labourers are skilled? LUCKY! When mine came out last time my husband had to explain the difference between an HDMI port and the Ethernet port and why they weren’t interchangeable. Apparently Sparky had forgotten a cable and wanted to try to fudge it.

    • frank64 says:

      Very true, talking about a total lack of being human, besides common sense.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Why, you think people in the US aren’t big enough assholes to do something like this?

      If so you really should get out more.

      • Pete the Geek says:

        Outsourcing can be anywhere, even another US-based company. In modern times many companies hand over (outsource) certain critical customer-facing business functions to third-party companies in order to “save money”. In other words, they willingly hand their reputations over to the lowest bidder. Billing, warranty, rebates, customer service, even manufacturing is being done by third parties.

    • bookling says:

      Nope. They outsource tech support but not billing. (Former Comcast billing agent here.) Payments are sometimes outsourced, but anyone who can change your plan/get you a refund or a credit is in the US. There are plenty of stupid people here, I’d often be the one trying to sort out a mess like this after 7 other people failed to fix it properly.

  9. Hoss says:

    How could this have been so seriously mishandled?? The funds were fully his funds — Comcast had no rights to those funds. Comcast’s duty in handling financial transactions was not performed. They fraudulently withheld HIS use of HIS funds.

    • The Unincorporated Man says:

      That’s quite an accusation. I wouldn’t say Comcast was being actively fraudulent, just jerks. One is a criminal act, the other isn’t. If you give me $1000, and you meant to give me $100, then you want $900 from me, I’d be a jerk not to give it to you…..but not a criminal.

      • Barry Bunch O'Krunch says:

        It might not be a criminal offense, but it I’m pretty sure this would fall under “unjust enrichment.” Cablevision isn’t just allowed to shout “finders keepers!” and stick its fingers in its ears because someone made a mistake.

        • The Unincorporated Man says:

          But it’s not….it credited his bill for the future.

          Believe me, the facts are bad enough. Comcast sucks enough without accusing them of crimes.

      • Hoss says:

        The only room for defense is that an uninformed CSR didn’t follow-up with management. No financial person would knowingly withhold funds from anyone. This is in fact a crime. We are very fortunate in finance that such shenanigans are not tolerated

      • FreddyJohnson says:

        Tell that to Joseph Bucci:

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/23/joseph-bucci-wells-fargo_n_1540549.html

        “Joseph Bucci woke up one day to find $70,000 in his Wells Fargo bank account, which previously had about $35 dollars, Phillyburbs.com reports. Police allege Bucci knew the money wasn’t his, but went on a monthlong spending spree anyway; now, he’s facing felony charges and seven to 14 years in jail.

        An internal Wells Fargo investigation found that a teller at one of the bank’s branches accidentally typed Bucci’s account number, depositing $69,300 in checks in March that was intended for another account, according to Phillyburbs.com.”

        So, I don’t know about you, but if I give you $1000 and I’m a bank that meant to give you $100, that doesn’t make you a jerk for not giving it back to me, it makes you a criminal.

  10. Robert Nagel says:

    Keeping the money would amount to a crime and punishable by jail. You cannot keep the proceeds of a mistake. Apparently, Comcast is hiring more stupid people than usual. What could they have possibly been smoking to think they could pull this one off?

  11. sparc says:

    what’s really sad is that nobody at Comcast even realized the scope of the mistake. If it was $100, i could understand as that probably would get zero’ed out in a month. Holding $6300 hostage is beyond crazy and just plain cruel.

    At minimum, a supervisor should have been able to use some common sense and sort it out.

    • Barry Bunch O'Krunch says:

      My guess is, the phone rep. was just trained to say “we’ll just credit your account” if someone asks to refund an overpayment, which I’m sure is Cablevision’s way of cutting down on having to send out checks for nickel-and-dime overpayments. They were probably just terrified that they were going to lose their job if they didn’t follow their instructions to the letter.

      That said, the rep. should have just passed them on to a supervisor or someone with a little wiggle room to deal with things “outside the box.”

      Or maybe they were just stupid. I worked in a call center one summer, and I think I was the only person there whose parents weren’t cousins.

  12. bhr says:

    Back when I worked for them the policy for any overpayment refund (it happened occasionally, especially w/online billing or with final payments) was 30 days. The reason for this, as it was explained to us, was that they had been burned by scammers in the past.

    Short version, customer overpays by “X” before moving/closing account. Then would order a chargeback/reverse or w/e that would pull the funds out of Comcast. In the meantime, however, they would get a paper check for the difference and cash it.

    Im not sure how exactly it worked, and how successful people were getting away with it (Comcast usually wants your social for this reason) but that was why they did it. Too many honored checks that would bounce 2-6 weeks after they were submitted

  13. Invader Zim says:

    That was exactly what I had to do. Cancel service. I paid six months in advance only to find out that once you over pay they stop sending you a monthly bill then you have no idea what they are charging you every month. Yes I could look online but I didn’t have to before why should I once I’m go to go for a while.

  14. Mozz says:

    Prime example of a lowlife scum company. One of his younger relatives should start a website, instead of asking for donations, ask people to drop Comcast. It would be fun to see how many customer they lose.

  15. Barry says:

    It must be related to who you get on the phone. I did something just as stupid and while paying my bill, typed in my remaining balance rather than the amount owed. Effectively overpaying Comcast by over $2k. They told me their standard refund would take 2 months but when I explained that I wouldn’t be able to pay my mortgage, they found a way to credit me back in two days.

  16. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    My late mother in law ran into trouble with Comcast when she was still paying her own bills. She paid them when she got around to it, and had only the very basic service which was about $10+ per month at the time (about 7 years ago or so). One month, she received a double bill because her check posted after the bill was printed, so she paid it, creating a credit of ~$10.00. Next month, she got another paper bill. There was the tiniest minus sign in front of the ~$10, so she didn’t see it, and paid the amount “due”. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    One night she called me swearing like a sailor about the GD cable company and how dare they charge over $90 per month for just a few channels.

    I went round and round on the phone with them, and finally got them to mail the bill to my address for 10 months until she finally had a bill with a positive balance, at which time, I helped her pay it.

    She never missed having a cable bill each month. From then on, I sat down with her and made sure everything was paid properly (because you know her actual children, my husband and his sisters were busy).

  17. Michael Belisle says:

    C’mon now. Clearly he was pulling an advance fee scam. You can’t fool me, grandpa.

  18. fizz says:

    Having been through this fairly recently when my beloved husband accidently paid $4,000.00 for his car payment when he normally pays $400.00, I can safely say this is a fairly easy fix. Fill out a form at the bank that says it was an error. Whoever they talked to at the bank was wrong–ours was corrected within two days and minimal fuss.

  19. RandomHookup says:

    I have noticed that Verizon is getting sneaky with their bills. They send the new bill *before* the payment due date on the old bill, so it looks like I owe about twice as much as I do. Until I caught on, I was a bit panicked that I had failed to set up my electronic payment for the previous month. No, it’s just Verizon looking to get an advance payment from me (and millions of other customers).

    • Therulnig says:

      This happens with my mortgage payment. I get the next bill statement before the due date of my current month so the amounts are never accurate (because I tend to pay different amounts monthly).

      I never understood this because they don’t even accept advance payments, you can pay over your minimum payment amount like I do, but you cannot pay a SINGLE DAY earlier than the due date…

      • mharris127 says:

        That is weird. I was the compliance officer at a credit union and our loans, including mortgages could be paid on whenever we were open (as long as the minimum payment was in by the due date). We paid a computer processing company for the interface and back office necessary to process payments and compute interest (along with the usual deposits, withdrawals, check processing, etc. necessary of a financial institution). Even the little rinky-dink finance company (I don’t know if they even had computerized accounting in their office) my parents borrowed money from to purchase a car could process payments on any day in the month (surprisingly they even had an office with a payment counter to pay in person, not common from car finance companies that deal mainly through car dealers) and sent a receipt for each payment if it was mailed.

  20. Muffet says:

    That happened to me once. When I saw it on my bank statement, I contacted them and got the money back. It may have taken a couple of attempts (I don’t remember), but I got it w/o threatening them. Guess I was lucky.

  21. Obtruder says:

    Has anyone else ever wondered how in the Hell it takes less than 2 seconds to give a company all of your money, and 10 DAYS to get it back?

    Nothing takes 10 days in this world, especially when it comes to finance as it is all flowing through the Internet, instantly, all the time.

  22. Tijil says:

    Comcast gave me that same line of BS when they double billed my debit card, and sucked the money directly out of my checking account. (Yeah, I know, but at that time I did not have a credit card to charge to.)

    Being on Social Security there really wasn’t any sort of pad in my finances, as I was living from deposit to deposit with nearly zero by the end of the month.

    Comcast claimed they could not refund the money to me, and kept that story up on repeated contacts. They kept saying they would just keep the money and credit it to my next bill.

    At that point I called my bank and told them Comcast had double billed me and I needed one of the payments killed. They looked at the account, saw two identical Comcast charges on the same day, agreed I’d been double billed and did a chargeback on one (debit card was VISA).

    In less than 20 minutes Comcast called me and angrily told me I could not DO that. I had Comcast conference the bank on with us and the bank told Comcast that I most certainly could.

    End of problem (other than still being a Comcast customer).

  23. crummybum11 says:

    “…meaning the man wouldn’t have to worry about another cable bill until the age of 94. ”

    Unless they keep raising the rates. In which case, make that “89.”

  24. bookling says:

    This is ridiculous. I used to work in billing at Comcast and there is a very simple process for refunding a customer who has accidentally overpaid. I never saw one this big, but I did once have a customer who accidentally paid Comcast the amount of his mortgage, it was in the $2000 range. It can take several days to receive the funds back, sure, but there’s no reason anyone should have told this poor man that he couldn’t get his money back.

  25. Timmah says:

    One of the reps in my call center got this call. I work billing / repair, you’re right, this is an issue that is extremely simple to resolve assuming proper procedure had been followed… Unfortunately some of our reps give this great company a bad name. I for one love my job and enjoy every interaction with customers (even the angry ones) Its called Customer Service for a reason… I do feel that Comcast as a company should treat subs better, and our Customer Service is improving but we have a long ways to go!