Why We Hate the Cable Company

June/20/2015 5:43AM
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Hard to believe anything in the private sector could operate like the government. It’s true, ask Larry the Cable Guy. The cable companies like all utilities are a monopoly. Like all monopolies they have zero incentive to operate efficiently. Or, even try.

Here’s a classic example. I changed banks in late 2014. With two houses we have a lot of utilities. Plus other routine monthly bills. Initially we had them on auto-pay with credit cards. But, it seems the credit card companies have their issues with fraud. So, every time your credit card is compromised, you have a lot of phone calls to make. So, we switched to auto-pay by check. When you change banks you have to go through the process of advising the companies to switch banks with your automatic check payments. This, in itself, is not easy. Not one vendor had a simple way to do that. But, eventually, with patience we got 23 of 24 vendors switched. The holdout, you guessed it, is the cable company, Comcast.

We started in January of 2015. Using their website, which accommodates both forms of auto-pay, credit card and check, we entered all the data. They require 45 days to handle this. This, in itself, is shocking. The others do it in a week. The next-longest was Cox Cable, of course, with 30 days. How inept do you have to be in this  day and age to take 45 days to make this type of change?

But, here’s the real kicker. It doesn’t work. Entered the data in January. In March, got a late notice in e-mail. Called and was told someone didn’t push a button. The 45 day clock re-starts. This person, Leroy, with an Indian accent assures me the data is fine, he personally enters it into the system and the late payment fee is waived. Whoa, last week another e-mail with another late payment notice. I give this Fred, from Bangladesh, a credit card number and ask him to waive the late payment and apply this to the account. I request he stop the efforts to initiate auto-pay and we will pay monthly by check in the mail. Today, another e-mail, bill not paid. I go on- line and pay it by credit card myself.  Here’s the e-mail response from Comcast.  Please keep in mind, it’s Comcast, not me who benefits most from auto-pay. They don’t have to send a monthly bill  and process a paper check . How absolutely incompetent do you have to be to make this process unworkable?

My name is Matthew and I am one of the agents assisting the Office of Tom Karinshak. I apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced and I will be working to address your concerns.

I have applied a $19.00 credit to your account for late fees accrued due to Auto-Pay issues. Please allow 1-2 billing cycles for the credit to reflect on your monthly billing statement.  Although you had an unfortunate experience trying to activate Auto-Pay, should you wish to activate it please go to http://customer.comcast.com/ and follow the directions below. Through My Account, customers can set up recurring payments from a checking account, savings account or credit card.

  1. Select the Set up automatic payments button at the bottom of the Overview page. (You can also click the Set up automatic payments link on the Billing & Payments page.)
  2. Choose a payment method.
  3. Enter the bank/credit and billing information and click Continue.

?You will also be asked for the three-digit Card Verification Value (CVV) that appears on the back of your credit card. (The CVV on American Express-branded cards is four digits and appears on the front.)

  1. Accept the Automatic Payment Terms & Conditions and click Continue.
  2. Confirmation is displayed. Choose the Ecobill preference and click Confirm.
  3. Accept the Terms & Conditions for paperless bills (if selected) and click Continue.
  4. A confirmation message appears:

?A 45-day confirmation message will be shown if you choose a bank account payment method

?If you choose a credit card payment option, the confirmation message will be tailored to the credit card used, i.e., My Account will inform you which billing cycle automatic payments will begin on. Since automatic payments will not start with the current bill, a link to the one-time payment option is also listed on the confirmation page.

  1. Click I’m done.

Thank you for taking the time to bring this matter to our attention. Without your feedback, we are unable to improve the service that we provide. I assure you that this is definitely not the service and support we expect our customers to receive, and we are continuously working to increase customer satisfaction. We strive to deliver a great experience to every customer, and we hope that your future experiences with our service will be more favorable. If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to respond directly to this e-mail.


Mr. Robertson, we are grateful to have you as a valued Comcast customer. We appreciate your business and thank you for choosing Comcast as your service provider.




Matthew B.

Office of Tom Karinshak

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Comments (3)

  1. Doug Gordon says:

    I never let any vendor autobill me on a card or forbid directly from my checking account after an MCI experience I had.

    I bought a house in June 2002, asked Verizon to move my phone number from my old house to new in the same town. Sadly, that month before I moved people selling me the house took advantage of 1 month free service from MCI. This was time frame MCI was imploding.

    Verizon tells me they can’t make my phone number ring in my house I own because MCI still has their equipment on the line and must remove it first. Now, I can get calls at the other people’s phone number, I can call anywhere in the world for free because I’m not ever gonna see the bill, but I can’t use my own number to have people call me.

    The irony is that I had an MCI long distance card plan at the time for $10.00/month with a certain number of long distance minutes before I owed more money. They directly charged my credit card.

    But of course I couldn’t use my minutes because my phone number was not hooked up to any telephone.

    This stalemate went on all summer. Shortly after I realized MCI was charging me for something I could not use every month I called the credit card company. They informed me it was not within my power to withdraw the authorization to charge my account, once given. Only MCI could stop the automatic charges.

    Finally after three months of this, Verizon took pity on me and in 3 minutes removed the MCI equipment from the line and made my phone number ring in my house.

    I started dealing with the attorney general of the state to get MCI to stop charging me for something I no longer wanted from them. Two months later I finally got them to admit they had been scr__ing me over for months and they wanted to know what I wanted from them. I asked for a letter of apology, and got it.

    Lesson learned, I push my money at companies that send me a bill, I will never again let them pull it.

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