Comcast Customer Hit With $60,000 Penalty After Waiting 10 Months For Installation

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We’ve already shown that Comcast and other broadband companies will mislead consumers into believing they can get service at a new property, only to find out when it’s too late that they can’t. So it’s both horrifying and not surprising to hear that when a Comcast business customer tried to get out of their contract because the cable giant failed to install their service for 10 months, they were hit with $60,000 in fees.

Ars Technica has the story of SmartCar, a Silicon Valley startup that had been led to believe Comcast could provide broadband service to its new office space.

Not only did the Comcast site say the address was ready to be hooked up, but this information was confirmed over the phone by two Comcast reps.

And so, days before moving into the new space in April 2015, SmartCar signed a 2-year business tier service agreement with Comcast. But it wasn’t until after they moved into the office that anyone from Comcast disclosed that a site survey would be needed before the building could be connected.

Then, a couple days later, Comcast gave SmartCar the bad news: The survey placed their building — in spite of everything Comcast had told them previously — just outside the Comcast service area, and that, “It just is not a financial feasibility to run the coax cable close enough to bring you service. We have a model and this would not meet the Comcast ‘payback’ model. Comcast doesn’t have any future plans to do a build out there.”

But wait. There’s more.

While Comcast couldn’t run coaxial cable service to the building, it said it could run fiber — for five times the monthly cost, and only if SmartCar signed a 4-year contract.

Given that the company had just moved and was stuck in a lease, they had little option but to go with this significantly more expensive option.

But when would they have service? Comcast told SmartCar anywhere from 30 to 120 days, but even that 4-month maximum turned out to be a fiction, as Comcast kept dragging its feet. As recently as January 2016, it was blaming the delay on obtaining permits from the local government.

That’s when, deciding it would move again after its lease runs out in April, SmartCar notified Comcast it wanted to end its contract — only to be told it would have to pay more than $60,000 in fees.

It wasn’t until Ars Techhnica got involved in the story that Comcast acknowledged that it was kind of a jerk move to demand that SmartCar repay construction fees for a project that Comcast had promised would be built nearly a year earlier.

So it’s another happy ending in which Comcast does the right thing — when called out by a major national media organization.

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