Comcast Takes Six Months To Refund $2000 It Shouldn’t Have Charged To Begin With

Image courtesy of Consumerist

When you turn off your cable service, you shouldn’t continue to be charged to TV and internet you aren’t receiving. And if some error allows for those charge to continue piling up, you’d expect that fixing the problem should be a no-brainer. Yet, as one condo association recently found out, Comcast has a way of defying expectations.

Ars Technica has the story today of the Riggs Landing Condo Association in Sarasota.

For years, Riggs Landing negotiated a bulk service deal with Comcast (or its regional predecessors) on behalf of residents in its nine-unit development. The most recent deal was set to expire at the end of this year, but the condo board decided it wanted out early. The terms weren’t really great: the contract said that basic cable rates could go up 7% every single year, and most residents were already paying extra fees to Comcast on top of the bulk deal in order to get other TV and internet services in their homes anyway.

The condo association formally requested in January to end the bulk contract — and Comcast agreed, in that same month. The deal was set to expire at the end of march, and as of April 1, all the residents would be on their own. Riggs Landing provided several documents to Ars showing this timeline, and proving the two parties agreed on the terms.

Residents of Riggs Landing paid for service as part of their quarterly dues to the condo association. Since residents had effectively pre-paid for cable and internet service that they would now be on their own to obtain, Riggs Landing refunded them.

However, Comcast failed to stop charging Riggs Landing for its bulk contract after April 1. Instead, it charged the condo association roughly $680 a month each in April, May, and June as well — all while residents were still, separately, each paying Comcast their own monthly bill.

When Riggs Landing noticed the error, it immediately asked Comcast to honor the April 1 date and refund its $2000. At which point, Comcast came up with a technicality and said oh, no, we can’t actually end this bulk delivery until September 1 — so not only will we keep the $2000, but we’ll charge you for another two months, too.

That’s where Ars came in: a member of the condo board took the story to the media, and when Ars contacted Comcast, Comcast corrected the error and said it was issuing Riggs Landing a refund for the charges imposed after April 1.

The media wasn’t the board’s first stop, though. “Riggs Landing’s many efforts to get its money back included filing complaints with the Federal Communications Commission in July and the Florida state government in August and writing a letter to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts in August, all to no effect,” Ars reports. The condo association even tried to get relief through state mediation in September — a request to which Comcast never responded.

But while condo association did ultimately get its refund and emerge victorious, Ars points out, the path has been anything but smooth for several of the residents who are still using Comcast service.

Condo owners, assuming that the deal ended April 1 as Comcast had agreed to, negotiated and started their own packages for that data. But since as far as Comcast was concerned the deal didn’t actually expire until September, many of those subscribers suddenly found their packages changing or voided in the fall.

One tells Ars that Comcast at first promised her a monthly rate of $70 for her service, but then some weeks later upped that by $10 a month. Another, who started a new service contract in April, suddenly found his service cut off mid-November after Comcast actually made the conversion from bulk to retail service.

Some previous installments of “good luck getting that refund from Comcast” include…