We know that some unscrupulous people out there will try to pull one over on a cable/phone/utility company by simply claiming that the person who owes them a big bill is a previous, unrelated tenant. But if you have several documents proving that you are indeed the new tenant, that should be sufficient. Right? Oh wait… this is Comcast we’re talking about.
Consumerist reader Brent bought his house about a year ago and recently decided to order Comcast Internet service for the place. But when he went online to place the order, he accidentally submitted it twice.
“So I chatted with an online representative,” Brent tells Consumerist. “He looked at my order status, and insisted that no order had been placed, although I had two separate order confirmations. He persisted to ask for my information again, so he himself could place the order. I gave it to him, and a few minutes later he notified me that I had a deliquent account from Comcast, that was charged off in 2005.”
When he called Comcast customer service, Brent, who says he’s never had any Comcast services before in his life, was told he owed $117 for an account opened at his current address in 2003 and closed in 2005.
Again, Brent didn’t buy the house until Feb. 2011. Oh — and he would have only been 16 years old when the account was created in 2003.
The folks on the phone keep telling him there is nothing they can do; he’ll have to resolve the issue in person at a Comcast office.
Which Brent does the next day, but only after preparing for the visit by bringing along his mortgage agreement and documents from the utility companies showing when the services were turned on.
They try to give me the run around, and ask if I have something that proves when I bought the house, so I show them my mortgage papers. They look at them, and then say that really doesn’t prove anything, and then ask if I have proof of when the utilities were turned on in my name (thinking for sure I wouldn’t have that, so they could get me to leave).
So I pull that out, and they make a copy of it. The lady goes and talks to her supervisor, and they then ask for a copy of my old utility bill from my previous address, which I do not have because I lived in a completely different city previously.
At this point, the Comcast folks say they will have to review the paperwork to see whose name is actually on the old contract and that they would call Brent within a week.
That was two weeks ago.
“So basically, Comcast has somehow rolled over the old account balance that was at my address when the previous owner lived there, into my name, and refuses to admit that it is their fault,” writes Brent.
Once again, this situation not only points out the level of incompetence at Comcast, but also highlights the problem with regional cable monopolies that virtually eliminate all consumer choice — and give cable/Internet providers with no competitive incentive to do their jobs properly.