Comcast Rip-off

 Special Note 2: Happy surprise — when I received my latest bill, it seems I was credited for the entire $51 ($50.96) I was owed. So, in the end, Comcast did the right thing and made good on its error. So I give them kudos for that. I just wish it hadn’t been so difficult to get them to do the right thing.  

Special Note: I was just about to post this when I received a call from a third person at Comcast (Victoria) telling me they are refunding me $33 (11 months of the extra $3 charge). I don’t understand how they arrived at this amount, since I’ve been paying the extra for 19 months, but I guess I’m happier because it’s more than the $18 I was getting back originally. But still, it’s not quite there, is it. So read on, and learn from my mistake.

I’m sad to have to blog about something as mundane as getting ripped off by the cable company (it’s so cliché). But hey, venting is good for the blood pressure, if not actually for the soul.

In yesterday’s bill, I found an extra sheet outlining the current costs for various services and the new costs because, of course, Comcast is raising rates yet again (who can keep track of how often this happens?). Seems I should be paying $42.95 for my high-speed Internet service, but for some reason, my bill lists $45.95. Nothing itemized — just a flat $45.95.

So I call customer service, and they quickly discern that I am being charged a $3 modem rental fee every month. (This $3 fee is listed on the rate sheet in a separate column with many other “High-Speed Internet Installation & Other Services.”) Funny thing, I have never rented a modem from Comcast, I’ve owned my own modem for oh, 8 or 9 years or so, I was not charged this fee by Comcast at my last house, but suddenly it appeared on my bill and has been there for the last year and a half. I didn’t notice it sooner because I had a special “deal” with digital cable for the first 6 months we lived here. When that ended, the $33.95/month I was paying jumped to $45.95. Again, no itemization that the basic charge was $42.95 plus a $3 tack-on for the mystery modem — an extra I would have noticed and called about immediately.

So, here I am, expecting a full credit for 19 months of their mistake and am told by a lovely customer service rep that Comcast is only required to go back 6 months for a refund. I was told the same thing by the supervisor I insisted on speaking with, who actually had the audacity to try to upsell me to get Comcast phone service as well! Good job, Yolanda, I’m sure your bosses are proud of you. I, however, am thinking DSL sounds pretty damn good right now.

I suggested (a bit heatedly) to Yolanda that Comcast itemize these charges so people know what they’re being charged for. She assured me they’d take my suggestion under consideration. (I’m sure she’s tapping out an e-mail to her powers-that-be about that very thing right now — because that’s what people do, right? They listen to their customers, they try to solve problems, they believe the customer is always right? HA HA HA)

Hey, I get it. Having to actually tell customers what you’re charging them for would defeat the whole profit in being able to easily rip them off.

I’m not an ignorant person, I’m pretty vigilant about checking bills and so forth, but somehow I missed this the last time the rate cards came out. So, my $36 loss is Comcast’s $36 gain. Caveat emptor for sure.

Have you checked your cable bill lately? (I hear FIOS is pretty awesome…)

You can fool all the people all the time if
the advertising is right and the budget is big enough. 
                                         ~ Joseph E. Levine