Cox Sees Your Double Payment, Raises You A Double Bill

Tamera accidentally paid her $134.61 Cox Cable bill twice, but instead of refunding or acknowledging the overpayment, Cox thought it would be fun to send Tamera an extra bill for $269. If she’s lucky, Cox says they’ll consider waiving their late fee.

Tamera writes:

I’m writing to tell you about my maddening odyssey with Cox Cable. Early in May, 2009, I authorized a payment to them through my bank’s online bill pay service for $134.61. My husband has had his hours cut at work and we’re squeaking by. We can pay our bills but since I have my priorities in order (rent, food, utilities, medical, car note, THEN extras such as cable) I scheduled it for the 18th of May, knowing the payment would be a few days late. Still it would be less than 10 days late and Cox is “usually” flexible as long as you’re paid up by the time the next bill cuts. Since the hubby got a few hours overtime I changed their pay date last minute to 5/15. The payment posted that day and we wound up being less than a week overdue in the end.

The following Monday, 5/18 I found the bill pay program hadn’t cancelled the original payment scheduled for 5/18 and therefore Cox Cable was paid twice, once on the 15th and again on the 18th for the same amount. I quickly contacted the bank, they explained it was a computer glitch and that since Cox had already accepted the 2nd transfer they couldn’t reverse it. To my surprise they have reversed ALL overdraft fees and freely admitted it was THEIR error NOT mine! They advised me to contact Cox, explain the situation and request a reversal.

I called Cox (the computer menu told me on Monday 5/18 I had a $0 balance) The 1st CSR I spoke with at Cox suggested they may not be willing to refund the overpayment since I had been late with the initial payment. I pointed out that we were now current and there was no amount currently due. When she suggested we just let them keep it for next month I asked her what I should tell the power company, for whom the funds from the overpayment had been earmarked, and what made her think cable television was a higher priority than electricity in our lives (and reminded her the cable didn’t work if we didn’t have electricity). She agreed to have a refund check available to pick up at the accounting office within 48 hours. She promised to call the following day with an update. Yeah, sure.

Wednesday came and not having heard from her I paid a visit to the local branch office. The young man was very confused. I had a $0 balance he said. I explained the situation to him. He went in the back to “see if the check was there”. Of course there wasn’t. He then typed copious notes into his computer and swore he’d let me know what he found out. Surprisingly, he did call back but we were out so he left a voice mail. He said we needed to bring in a print out from the bank showing the balances before and after BOTH transactions (WTF??) and they would go from there. I have no idea why but I still complied the following day. They got the print outs, AND a letter from the branch manager stating it was THEIR computer glitch that caused the double payment, that I had NOT authorized them !to receive 2 payments and suggesting they refund the 2nd. This time, the woman I saw said it was noted the payment WAS noted as due to be refunded but she didn’t know in what form. I had been told A) they can’t refund back to a checking account, only a credit card B) they can write a check and it can be picked up locally C) They can write a check and it CAN’T be picked it, it must be mailed from KY and D) Of course they can credit it back to my checking account. This woman swore she’d contact me by close of business that day with an update. Yeah, sure.

On Thursday I received an E-Bill for the EXACT amount of the overpayment, due on the 28th. And my payment on the 15th had NOT been credited. They now insist I have a past due balance AND a bill due. A week ago I owed NOTHING. Today, I owe $269! I lost my temper on the phone with the CSR and told them it was out and out theft and that if the situation were reversed I’d be hounded day and night, maybe even sitting in jail on fraud charges. Since when did the law start applying only to us and not to the entities we do business with?

If I’m lucky, they’ll just finally get around to crediting all of it to my account and waiving the late fee for the 2nd payment “as a courtesy”. Isn’t it time we started demanding more choices and more competition for cable companies?

Tamera later added:

Each time I contact them I get a different CSR who promises to “look in to the matter and get back to me”. You can guess how that works out. The last time I accessed my account online (5/28, the date the current bill is due) it still showed a past due amount of $134.61 for April and no credit for the current bill from the overpayment. I haven’t seen a refund either. Paper or electronic. Obviously they haven’t received a dime from me for this month but curiously, I received no E-bill this month either. At this point I plan to walk in to the Cox main office tomorrow morning and will not leave without either a credit to my bill for BOTH payments in writing and waiver of late fees or a police escort. If that should fail, the next step is opening a fraud dispute through my bank’s online bill pay service. My branch manager, having made calls to Cox on my behalf himself, is ready to fully cooperate in the investigation. Imagine that. You really have to suck to piss the bank off that much with your crappy customer service!

If a visit to the local office doesn’t clear things up, call Cox’s executive office and ask someone with actual power and hopefully common sense to take a stab at the problem. Also, since times are tough, it doesn’t hurt to threaten to cancel your services entirely if they can’t cut your bill below $100.

(Photo: star5112)