Comcast Billing Gone Bonkers

SM writes:

This story starts in March 07 when my sister moved out of the country and canceled her Comcast account. I returned her modem, and they told me her account was settled. Then, my mom (who has power of attorney) gets a bill for around $193. Comcast customer service tells my mom that she really only has to pay around $35, so she sends a check for that amount, but another bill arrives for $135.35. Again, Comcast customer service tells her, no actually you only need to pay $43.86. My mom tries to dispute the bill, but Comcast sends my sister’s account to a collection agency called CMI…

My mom then figures she should just pay the bill, so she pays on July 31. Then she gets another bill from the collection agency for the same amount. Comcast does not acknowledge receipt of payment from July 31 until my mom faxes them her bank statement showing the check cashed by Comcast. Within two weeks my mom gets a refund from Comcast AND another bill from CMI! After talking with a supervisor at Comcast, my mom is told that everything is taken care of. She does not receive any more correspondence or bills until December 10, when she gets a call and a bill from CMI. She then called Comcast and spoke with a man named Dyran Nichols (my mom had nothing but praise for this man).

Turns out there are two accounts in my sister’s name! Both are misspelled, one payed out and one owing the $43.86. What? How does that even happen? Anyway, he says that nothing more will be owed, CMI will be told to back off, and everything will be taken care of and my mom will get a letter of apology. The only thing he told my mom to do was to call CMI on Jan 15 to make sure everything was taken care of.
Now this brings us to today, when CMI calls again. They are still looking for payment for my sister’s account. My mom called Comcast immediately, and guess what? They have no record her last call or the original account (never mind that the bill for an account that does not exist is in her hands). But don’t worry, the account sent to CMI still exists. The supervisor tells my mom that she needs to send all the of the past correspondence back to Comcast so that they can see what to do. My mom refused because she had already sent all the information in. She told the supervisor to find Dyran Nichols and find out what happened. The supervisor now says that she will look up Dyran Nichols and call her back by Wednesday.

I understand this is a very long and confusing story, but what can we do to make sure that this is taken care of once and for all? It’s been almost a year of going back and forth with Comcast and obviously their word is crap, so what do we do now? Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
SM

PS. I wanted to keep this simple (ha) so I haven’t mentioned how throughout this process Comcast and CMI have been unable to understand that it’s possible that there is more than one person with the last name [redacted]. They have repeatedly treated all accounts with the name [redacted] as one account. It appears they have a lack of cultural competency that could be contributing to their confusion and lack of responsiveness.

Forget Comcast. Comcast is no longer part of the picture. Your account has been sold to CMI. It is now no longer Comcast’s property and they don’t give a damn about it. That’s why nothing they have said has mattered. So just focus your attention on CMI. In this case, you don’t need to be supplying them with information. They need to be supplying you with you information. You need that they supply

* (1) the amount of the debt;
* (2) the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
* (3) Provide a verification or copy of any judgment (if applicable);
* (4) Proof that you are licensed to collect debts in (insert name of your state)
* (5) Proof that they actually own the debt.

Considering the billing mixup, we’re guessing it will be hard for them to actually supply all of this information.

Here’s a sample letter for disputing the debt. Under federal law, they’re not allowed to keep contacting you just to get you to pay. Here’s a sample letter for telling them to buzz off. If they keep contacting you, you can sue them in small claims court and easily win judgment against them.

(Photo: honeylamb)