Comcast, Where Your Auto Pay Is Simultaneously On And Off

On the left, Comcast’s site says Auto Pay is off. On the right, the Comcast bill indicates Auto Pay is on.

When you put a monthly bill on auto pay, it’s easy to occasionally take for granted that the right amount of money is being taken out every 30 days. But when the company you’re paying doesn’t seem to know whether or not you’re enrolled in auto pay, you can end up screwed.

Consumerist reader L. says he signed up for Comcast’s auto pay because it’s one of his few bills that comes in the middle of the month and he didn’t want to forget about it.

So when he got the notice from Comcast telling him he had five days to pay up or have his service disconnected, it was a head-scratcher.

Speaking to a Kabletown rep, L. says he was told that when the company switched over to its new customer portal, it must have turned off his auto pay preference, thus leaving him with a sizable bill he’d assumed was being paid.

“Funnier still,” writes L., “apparently the new customer portal is only partially communicating with the billing system. Attached is a picture [see above] of the account profile on the website with the auto pay settings marked ‘off’ next to a picture of my most current bill showing the auto pay setting as ‘on’.”

Of course the timing of the goof was even worse for L., as Comcast decided to start charging him for four premium channels he’d been getting through a promotion he never requested. This just adds a pile of cash to the bill.

“I probably should have noticed that I hadn’t been charged for the past two months of service,” he admits, “but isn’t the point of having an auto pay system specifically so you don’t have to check this stuff every month?”

While that may be true in a world where things works as they’re supposed to, the incompetence of companies like Comcast requires customers to be vigilant about checking their monthly bills — perhaps even more so if you are on auto pay, as it’s easier to dispute a bill you haven’t paid than it is to get money back from a cable company.