Comcast Collects Alarm System Payments For 7 Years, Doesn’t Notice It’s Offline



When you pay $30 per month for a security system, you sort of expect to get a working security system. At least, most people would. Not in Comcastlandia, the strange world ruled by the corporate policies of Comcast. A Houston family started alarm service in 2007, and then learned from experience that their alarm system wasn’t working. And hadn’t in the entire seven years that they had been paying for service.

Fortunately, they didn’t learn that their alarm was offline after a break-in or any of the other things that an alarm system is supposed to prevent. Every time the family left the house, they would set the alarm, and it would act as if it were activating. Then, one day they found the back door sitting open when they came home. The alarm was set, and should have gone off. It didn’t.

It turns out that this was no mere temporary glitch. The alarm had never worked. Comcast determined that the alarm had been offline since some point in 2007. While it’s nice that the family had a pretend alarm system to reassure them for the better part of a decade, they are somewhat annoyed that they sent Comcast three grand to provide security services and got nothing in return.

“I’m a loyal customer and my thing is I don’t mind paying for a service if you’re providing the service,” the lady of the house told local news station KPRC, “but they weren’t.”

Comcast countered that the seven years of non-service weren’t their fault, since the user agreement says that customers are supposed to test their systems monthly. If the system is offline and the customer hasn’t tested it, that makes everything the customer’s fault. Comcast offered the couple a $20 credit.

Once a local TV station got involved, of course, Comcast paid closer attention. The company says that they’re going to refund all of the money that the household paid for their non-alarm system over the years.

If you do have an alarm system, make sure that you follow any instructions in the user agreement about testing.

Alarm insecurity: Will your home alarm work when you need it? [KPRC] (Thanks, Amy!)

The Hidden Cost of False Alarms

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