Comcast Dings Your Credit Report For Moving With Their Precious Cable Modem

Comcast told reader Marcus that he could just take his cable modem with him when he moved from the Philadelphia suburbs into the city. Then he checked his credit report and found out that he was a cable modem thief.

Comcast’s service continues to surprise me with how inept they are these days. My situation, which is probably not unique started when I first signed up for Comcast television and their high speed internet service in 2005. From the time I signed up till Jan. of 2007, my bill has fluctuated and fees changed so many times, that it prompted several calls to customer service. Of course many of the promised credits to my account never showed up, so in Feb of 2007, since I was moving from my apartment to a house, I decided to dump the cable tv and keep the internet service. Unfortunately Comcast was the only high speed internet service in that area besides satellite. Which bugs me, because I was moving from Rockledge, PA, which was RIGHT outside of Philadelphia INTO Philadelphia. Why do some parts of a major metropolitan area like Philadelphia NOT have DSL yet is beyond me, but that’s another issue.

So, at the mid of Feb of 2007, I called Comcast and spoke with a representative there and informed them that I was moving and that I wanted to cancel the television service, but keep the internet. After about 40 minutes of repeating the same information and being transferred to 3 reps, FINALLY someone “supposedly” got everything straightened out. I was told by the last rep that I DIDN’T HAVE TO RETURN ANY EQUIPMENT and to just take EVERYTHING to the house I was moving to. So, I moved, had my address changed at the post office, call all the other places to change my address and Comcast in the middle of march came and hooked up the internet using the EXACT equipment that I brought with me from my old address.

So March 2007 through Jan. 2008 passes by and we now in Feb 2008. Yesterday, I went to check my free year credit report ( I check it every six months now due to some past situations), and everything was in the green and normal with the exception of this unknown charge of $85.00 from Eastern Account System with an account number XXXXXXXXXX and the payment status was and I quote “Seriously past due date, assigned to collection agency.” Surprised, and ever so slightly confused I started searching around the internet and finally found the phone number to Eastern Account System. I called them and talked with a guy named Pat. He informed me that the charge was for “unreturned equipment and a 14.95$ charge for a remaining cable balance.” I was VASTLY confused at this point and told Pat that of course the equipment isn’t returned I’m currently USING the equipment (at least half of it anyway). The representative was ultimately confused as well, and asked for the serial numbers of the devices I had with me. Which I gave him and he verified. Then he asked me if I moved recently, which was an affirmative answer. Pat kinda chuckled and said, “You gotta call Comcast. You moved into a different borough or different section of the city. The two sections DON’T communicate with each other so you’ll have to call the main customer service line and find out whats going on.” He said he had wondered WHY all their snail mail communications to me all came back returned. Comcast had given them my OLD address. Lovely.

Right after that I get on the horn with Comcast and the amount of dread just piled up with each button I pressed for their customer service number. I get a hold of a rep and tell him my story, of course he puts me on hold and transfers me to the billing department. After about 20 minutes someone picks up and I can barely hear them speak. You know that static you hear when you talk to someone who has a bad cellphone connection? Yup, that was the exact same sound I was then hearing. I was on a landline, so it wasn’t me. I guessed their using their wonderful new VOIP telephone system. After several attempts of repeating my story and information to the lady on the static filled line, we finally get the ball running and then I get cut off.

Once again, I dialed the dreaded number and get a hold of another girl named Amanda. We plod through the same thing again. But THIS time NONE of my information was coming up. No street names, account numbers, nothing. She couldn’t neither my old or new street address. Giving her my city, state, zip and social number couldn’t pull up anything either. On hold I went while she got a supervisor. 10 minutes later, Amanda was back on the phone and asked for my information AGAIN! She was able to eventually find my information using some kind of weird trickery with their computer systems.

So, we go over the story ONCE more of me moving and for some reason there’s a charge on my credit report about equipment NOT being returned. I hear some typing and some clicking and finally she says “Oh, I don’t see ANY equipment serial numbers attached to your current address.” Apparently, Comcast doesn’t need to know WHAT and WHO’S equipment your using, they are just happy they can bill you for stuff and the rep that I talked to last year didn’t feel the need to change over my information properly.

Therefore, I’m put on hold AGAIN and another 20 minutes was lost from my life. Amanda gets back on the phone and this is the exchange at this point

Amanda – Ok, you just gotta return the cable box and modem to the Willow Grove, PA branch. They will issue you a receipt.

Me – So, what about my internet? I need a cable modem. Will the Willow Grove branch issue me a new one?

Amanda – (said rather admantly) No! They CAN’T issue you a box you live in a different district.

Me – So HOW do I get a NEW one?

Amanda – You will have to either have one mailed to you or you can purchase one.

Me – Ummm.. I don’t want to buy one, can YOU mail me out one?

Amanda – Is that what you’d like to do?

That last question made me dumbfounded and VERY VERY concerned about Comcast, the people they employ and the training (If ANY) that’s given to their employees. Anyhow, Amanda took down my mailing address and said a new modem would be out in two to three business days. And she begrudgingly noted, supposedly, in the computer that I’m keeping the cable modem and cable box until the new equipment shows up.

That’s my tale of woe… even though its being resolved, Comcast and other companies these days make you feel like your a circus poodle jumping through hoops of fire. Why can’t we have MORE high speed internet choices in this Country! I’m not asking for servitude or slavery, just a good product and decent customer service.

Honestly, more high speed internet competition is an issue about which you might want to write your congressperson. Maybe if more people did that, they’d start pretending to care about it on TV. Verizon will probably help you look up the address.

Anyway, be sure to dispute the entry on your credit report.