Comcast Refused To Cancel Cable For Customer Whose House Went Up In Flames

When your house burns down, the last thing you should be concerned about is having to make repeated calls to your cable provider to get them to cancel or suspend your service. And yet Comcast refused to cancel service for one Minnesota customer after his house was turned to ashes — all because he couldn’t provide his full account number.

The Pioneer Press has the story of a man in St. Paul who lost everything in a fire on April 1, and who couldn’t get Comcast to care enough to believe him.

The man’s daughter contacted Comcast to tell them about the fire and to request the service cancellation. The Comcast rep asked for the account number, which the homeowner couldn’t provide because that information had burned up with everything else.

So the homeowner spoke to the rep and provided identifying information, like the last four digits of his Social Security number, and still no luck getting his service cut off.

The daughter made a perfectly reasonable suggestion to the Comcast rep: “disconnect the service or send someone out to fix the cable, because it’s not working.”

To which the rep replied, according to the daughter, “That doesn’t make sense, because the house burned down.”

It took multiple calls and nearly a week for Comcast to finally come around to the notion that maybe they could have handled this better.

The homeowner eventually heard from Comcast HQ, which said the cancelation had been processed and backdated to April 1, and that he wouldn’t be charged for equipment lost in the fire (at least Comcast learned that lesson from incidents like this one, and this one, and this one).

“Comcast has safeguards in place to protect the privacy of our customers, including not allowing unauthorized users to make changes to a customer’s account,” a rep for the company tells the Pioneer Press. “We do provide the option for customers to designate others, such as family members, to make authorized account changes and verifying an account can normally be done either over the phone or in person with a driver’s license.”

A neighbor family who also lost their house to the same fire had a much easier go of convincing Comcast. A family member and a friend went to a Comcast office and were able to cut off service by providing the name and phone number associated with the account.