Maybe I Owe Cablevision Money, Maybe Not: They Don’t Know

David, a Cablevision customer, recently moved outside of their service area. They were evidently sad that he left, because they just can’t let him go. Or figure out whether he owes them money or not. First he had a zero balance, then it was weeks overdue, then he had a small balance from his last month of service, then he received a letter from a collection agency. He called in to verify whether he needed to pay this bill or not, and learned that Cablevision isn’t able to send him a document stating that his balance is paid in full. Because they just can’t.

Two months ago, my wife and I moved. Prior to moving, I called Cablevision to give them my new address and was told it was outside of their service area, so I would be released from my contract and have to find a new provider. I paid my bill, went to the service station, dropped off my equipment, and received a receipt showing that I had a balance of $0.00.

Three weeks ago I received a letter from Cablevision that my bill was seriously overdue and in danger of going to collections. I called Cablevision immediately and asked to speak to a supervisor. The supervisor got on the line, and I told her that not only was I signed up for electronic billing so there was no way I was late for a payment, but I had a receipt from Cablevision showing that my final bill was settled. She told me that the bill wasn’t correct, and that I had a pro-rated outstanding balance to cover, and that when I cancelled my account they turned off my electronic withdrawal. I told her that I should have been notified, and that if I had simply received a bill I would have paid it. She apologized for Cablevision’s mistake, and I paid the bill over the phone.

A week later, I received a letter from a collections agency that due to an unpaid bill to Cablevision, I was in jeopardy of having my credit damaged. I called the collections agency who told me that if I had already settled the bill (I confirmed for them that I had receipt of payment from several days before their letter was written and postmarked) then I had to take it up with Cablevision.

I called Cablevision yesterday, who confirmed that payment was received, my balance was settled (again), and my credit would not be affected. I asked for a new final bill showing a zero balance or some kind of documentation showing that my account was settled, and was told that ‘it is not Cablevision’s policy to provide any documentation’. I asked how I am supposed to verify that my bill is paid in the event that there is another issue, and I was told that I should call back and have the call pulled if I ever need any record of the conversation.

I work for a company that runs a call center, and this is absurd. She said there was nothing further she or I could do, and then asked me to take a customer service satisfaction survey and hung up on me before the survey began.

This is when it comes in handy to live in a one-party consent state for taping communications, and then record your own calls. Normal people aren’t about to do that, though. They just want a piece of paper saying that they aren’t going to receive any more bills. At Cablevision, this is too much to ask…well, unless it’s an inaccurate receipt when you turn in your equipment.