Monday, August 27, 2012

Comcast joins Charter Communications in hall of shame

The following is a series of entries that I will continue to post to until I get closure or I reach a stale mate.  If you are interested in the item I suggest you bookmark this page and check back on my progress.  I will remove this message when the post has gone to its logical conclusion.


This all started with my bill from Comcast in late July, 2012. My bill increased from about $120 per month to $153 a month with no apparent reason. On August 3, 2012 I called Comcast to find out why my bill had increased so much. I was told that the promotional rate that I was paying had expired and that this was my new rate.
I asked if there was any way to get the service reduced. They told me there was no way to do it other than to terminate my service.
I told them to terminate my telephone service and keep the internet and Cable TV service.  They immediately offered me a bundled package price of $99 a month for the first year and $119 for the second year. So much for nothing that they could do.
I said that was fine.  They said that in order to get that rate I had to make a commitment for two years and that if I were to cancel before that time I would be subject to a penalty.  They told me that I would receive a letter with the agreement in the mail and that I would have up to 30 days to decline the terms.
I looked forward to receiving the agreement.
I was also told that I would have to be verified by an independent organization that I really wanted to avail myself of this agreement. I agreed to that too and was transferred to them. I agreed to the terms that I would have 30 days to decline the terms of the agreement.

About a week later, August 11, I believe,  I had reason to call Comcast again on an unrelated matter. While I was on the phone it came out that Comcast believed that the last time I had communicated with them was a number of months previously. I told them that I had spoken to them only the week before and that I had tentatively agreed to a bundled agreement, subject to my review of the written agreement just the week before.  They searched and said that they had no record of that, but that I could sign up for that bundled package while on the phone on August 11.

I signed up again and also was verified by the independent organization. I was told that I would be receiving my agreement in the mail and that I had 30 days to decline the agreement. I consented provisionally, subject to my review after I received the written agreement.

I marked my calendar for August 27 and when that day came I called Comcast to find out why I had not received my written agreement for review.
At first they told me that I would not receive a written agreement in the mail, that they would summarize it on the phone and that would be that. I said that I wanted to see the agreement. After being told that they would send it to me again. I reminded them that if I would receive the agreement after September 11, 2012 the 30 probationary period would have expired and I would not be able to cancel without incurring some sort of penalty.  They said that they would extend the deadline by 15 days to mid September.
At this point, while it may not seem possible, I had invested about 4 hours of my time in this endeavor.
I told them that I was not going to start the process over in another 10 days. Could they please send me an email of the agreement. NO.
However they did say that if I were to log onto and put in a id and code which they gave me I could see it there.
Try as I might, the information they gave me did not work. I could not see any agreement.
I called back and was told that I could go to my local Comcast office and they would print it out for me.
I went to my local Comcast office and made the request for the agreement.  They told me that they could verbally summarize the agreement, but that I could not get a written copy of the agreement.

It was at this point that it became clear to me that they DO NOT want me to see this agreement. They want me to give up and just accept the fact that I am accepting the agreement without having seen it.
I again called Comcast and told them of my dilemma. They cannot help me.  While I was on the phone I asked about my bill which had not arrived.  They told be what the charges were and they seemed too high. They told me that they had mailed it to me on August 21, almost a week ago.  Okay, it might still be in the mail. I'll give it a few more days.
In going through the charges it became clear that there was a $10 fee for electing the bundle agreement. How convenient was it that they failed to mention this little detail when I signed up for the service?
As I started to get irritated about this charge they told me they would give me a credit for the $10 charge.
I have never felt so flim flammed by a con artist as by Comcast.  When are they going to grow up and behave like a legitimate business instead of a fly by night siding salesman?

I filed a formal complaint with the local Telecommunications Agency. This is supposed to be the watchdog organization.
Tune in next week to see what the next installment of this saga results in.

Today, my Comcast bill actually arrived. The $99 special actually came in at $129. I did expect a little bit higher than $99. In dissecting the bill I see a new charge for "HD Technology Fee" at $10. It is in there twice. Now, yesterday, they removed what they told me was a fee for a change of service, but I do not see that in here.  I'll just assume that this is that charge, but twice. If I remove it, I get to about $109, which is about right (cable modem is $7 and there are some taxes for a few bucks). I will have to bring up the double charge to them.

I again called Comcast about the agreement. They disavowed any knowledge about the previous conversations and the extension of the probationary period to mid September. I was clearly running out of time to review the agreement before the apparent deadline of around the end of August. I cancelled the service.

I was called today by the Executive offices of Comcast with respect to the complaint that I filed.
I carefully explained in great detail the wild goose chase that I was put through in trying to get the written agreement.  The person was pleasant and offered to summarize the agreement verbally for me.
She also pointed out that they have 30 days to produce the written agreement and that since I had cancelled the service I would not be receiving the agreement. I pointed out to her that since I had just cancelled the service and they had sent out the agreement in a written form such that I would receive it before the 30 deadline that the agreement would already be in the mail and that they could not rescind the letter's arrival. (By the way, the letter never arrived, so it was a ruse, there never was a letter). She also said that since I had cancelled the service that I could not see what the agreement would have been.

The individual disavowed all the claims that were made by other Comcast personnel, to wit:
That I would receive a written agreement within 10 days,
That I would have the opportunity to review the agreement for up to thirty days from the date I signed up.
That there was a penalty of $480 for early cancellation. 
That I would be obligated for the penalty if I cancelled the agreement yesterday 8/28/12, just 25 days after I signed up
That I could pick up a written version of my agreement at the local Comcast office.
That they did not agree to send me a written agreement and that the verbal agreement was all that was necessary, in spite of the fact that part of the verbal agreement was that I would have 30 days to cancel the agreement upon inspection. 

I have returned the equipment to Comcast today. I have a signed receipt for the equipment and they owe me a refund of $10.57. I do not want them to mail the check to my billing address, but rather here to my home. I called to make sure that they have the correct address. I cannot get into their system since I am now not a customer, even though the account is not settled yet!. I finally got through and they will send a check within a few weeks.
In the meantime I have signed up for DirectTV and AT&T DSL. So far the AT&T ISP service appears to be somewhat faster than the Comcast Xfinity service.  DirecTV seems to be working just fine too. I certainly get more stations on DirecTV than Comcast and it is a lot cheaper.  I am very pleased with the tremendous reduction in price and the increased level of service from both of these carriers.
I did have one problem with representations made by AT&T with regard to the amount of time it would take for them to establish service here. Since there was no AT&T service at this location for many years they had to bring a new line to the house.  They were unable to meet their commitment to have me up and running within 72 hours. Due to the long holiday weekend I had to suffer with withdrawal symptoms of not having access to the internet.
I did also have one difficulty with DirecTV in that they did not get the mailing address I gave them into their system.  The bill arrived today and I have now asked them to change my billing address.  They also were unable to verify my credit report at this billing address (well, I guess they will just have to follow instructions, won't they).

It has been more than two weeks since Comcast said I would receive the refund in about two weeks. I will wait another week just to make sure it is not already in the mail.

I called Comcast to probe the fact that I have not received my check for the credit balance due and the final detail statement of my account did not arrive. Here is the new story they have for me this week.  I was not issued a monthly statement this month because there was no balance due. The representative stated that a credit was posted to my account on 9/15/12 and that it takes two to three weeks for the check to arrive.  I should be receiving my next month statement because it now shows a credit balance due. I will then see the detail of how the credit was arrived at.  This is a good sounding story, though it is somewhat different from the story I got a number of weeks ago. I will mark my calendar to look for the check arriving by the first week of October.

I have waited the prescribed amount of time for the Comcast statement and refund check to arrive, but alas, it has not. I called Comcast today. Here is the flavor of the day from Comcast.  Since I do not owe them any money I will not be receiving a statement. When I pointed out that I had not received a final accounting nor my refund, they said I should receive that by next Thursday, October 11. I will mark my calendar for this event.  If I do not receive anything by next Friday I will file another complaint with the  Telecommunications Agency.

Today, I received a check dated 9/24/12 in the amount of $10.57 from Comcast. No accounting of how they got to that number included. Maybe I will receive that in the next two days as they promised.

Called Comcast. They claim that I was already sent bills covering the periods 8/20/12 to 9/29/12 and 9/30/12 to 10/29/12. I told them I never received them. They are issuing copies to me at the service

Telecommunications Agency

Dear Ms. Sennett:

If you will recall that I contacted you earlier this year about Comcast's inability to produce the written agreement that I had verbally agreed to in order to get a "package" that they were offering.
If you will recall the agreement was subject to my ability to cancel the contract within the first 30 day period once I reviewed the written terms of the agreement, which they were supposed to send me.
I had not received the written terms in spite of numerous attempts by various Comcast personnel leading me down blind alleys to get the written agreement, including sending me to the local Comcast office to get a printout.  In spite of all these attempts, I have never seen any such written agreement.

After my complaint to you I got a call from the executive offices of Comcast, wherein they explained to me that they would summarize the agreement verbally and that I did not need the written agreement. Since 29 days of the 30 period had elapsed and I had that very morning cancelled the agreement with them since I was not in receipt of the written agreement, the representative said that I would now not be receiving the written agreement (it is as though they had reached into the US Postal Service and retrieved the one they allegedly had sent to me in the mail that I never received).
This is all poppycock. There never was a written agreement in spite of all the promises to produce one.

Now, what I am complaining about is that I have never received a final accounting of how the charges were arrived at to get to my final bill. I would think that I would be entitled to one.

Thank you for your assistance.




It has been about 6 weeks now and I have not gotten any response to my email. Very curious.
I will have to follow up on this.



I had been on DirecTV and AT&T Uverse (Internet) and Vonage for about 2 1/2 years.  The service on both DirecTV and AT&T degraded considerably.  They took away quite a few of the channels on the TV and said that if I wanted them back I would have to cough up more money, and the DSL service degraded considerably, to the point were streaming videos on my PC were not running in real time anymore.
I had forgotten many of the detail of the above spat with Comcast and decided to switch back to Comcast.  These are really the only two choices (except, there is alway Dish TV, but then what would I use for internet?).
I researched the deals and picked out the basic Xfinity Triple Play for TV, Internet, and Telephone.
I chose to do my own installation and purchased my own modem for the Internet and their VOIP Telephone.

So, here's what I went through with the salesperson on the phone.
I get:
1. Cable TV with 140 stations including HD
2. Internet with speed up to 50Mbps (this is actually 15Mbps)
3. VOIP telephone service for unlimited calls within the US, Puerto Rico, and Canada
4. A $100 visa gift card

And, I get all this for $89.99 a month for the first 12 months and $114.99 a month for the next 12 months (24 month commitment. Charges would not accrue until I got all my services attached.  The lead time on the phone was 15 business days.
There is a monthly charge for the Cable TV Box.  No installation charge because I did the installation myself.



I realized that Comcast was going to send the $100 gift card to my billing address and I called them to change that address.  They informed me that they see no gift card as part of the deal.  I told them that if the gift card were not part of the deal that I would cancel the service.  They told me to cancel the service if that is what I wanted to do since there is no gift card that would be forthcoming.

An hour later I decided to call back and ask them for a written copy of the agreement.  After some shuffling on their part they told me that I did not have an agreement with them.  This means that there is no 24 month commitment to them. I asked them what the charges were and they told me to log onto my account to find out.
I complained again about the fact that the "deal" as advertised for my town on their internet ad on their website clearly indicates that there is a $100 gift card in the offer.  They said that they would give me a $100 credit on my account.
I went on-line to find that the charges on my account (which were for paperless billing, which I never agreed to) were $145 and due in about 2 weeks.  This included the $89.99 charge, plus the cable modem, plus a whole bunch of charges for installation, installation kits, etc.  I told them that they did not do the installation and that the kits were not delivered. This will be revisited in a few weeks once I have my VOIP telephone service up and running. More importantly, they are charging for all the services as if I had them all up and running already, as opposed to what they told me on the phone that my billing would not start until I had all my services up and running.

What is clear at this point is that Comcast is running the same scam about contracts that I encountered a few years ago.  There is no such thing as a contract.  It is a myth.  Unless you leave them too early and they want a penalty fee for not fulfilling your contract.  Catch 22.



I called Comcast again today about this bill that they generated and send paperlessly to my on-line account that I just happened to stumble upon.
So, I have now learned that they, contrary to their prior proclamation, charged me for all three services from inception, even though I do not have the telephone service.  Today they claim they have annotated my account with a note saying that I should get a credit for the time that I do not have telephone service.  This will be activated when I notify them that I have telephone service.

I have challenged the charges for $30 for the self starter kits that I never received. They have now allege that hey have given me credit for those and they will appear on my bill within 7 days.

I have also asked again if I have a contract with them.  They initially said yes, but then when I challenged that they relented.  They said that I can document this by going to the local office and asking for a printout of the fact that I do not have a contract with them.
These people are sleezeballs.  They will put their hand in your pocket and take your money if you do not watch them every minute of the day.


I went to the local Comcast office to pick up my documentation that I do not have a contract with them and they have now assured me that I do have a contract, but that they cannot produce it.  They say that it should be mailed to me.  Where have I heard this story before.  Oh, yes, it was the last time I want through this charade with them a few years ago.  This is like an Abbot and Costello reoutine. Who's on first?  I am now going to file a duplicated complaint with the local Telecommunications Commission.

I have called the local Telecommunications Agency over the last few days and left messages.  They have not called back.  I have read through their literature online and it appears that they cannot really do anything except forward a complaint to Comcast. I guess it is not worth pursuing the complaint with them.

I am on the phone with Comcast again.  A very nice agent who has explained that there are two software systems at Comcast. One system says I have a contract, the other says I do not.  I told them that I must get this situation resolved.

They think they have resolved the problem.  They have asked me to answer some questions confirming my understanding of the contract that I am entering. I have answered the questions, but in answer to the question as to whether I understand that I will be responsible for cancelation fees should I cancel the contract I answered that "If I have an opportunity to review the actual written agreement before the cancellation period ends then I would agree to be bound by the agreement."


My telephone service with Vonage went dead. I presume it is the cutover time for Comcast's phone service.  They told me that they were going to call me before this happened.  Good thing it happened this morning and not this afternoon when I have a very important conference call.
Comcast is activating my Comcast phone now.  It is now working.
I asked about the fact that I have not received the contract from Comcast yet.  They explained that it was sent to me. I said I did not receive it.  They said they emailed it to me at some email address that I did not know about that they set up for me at  I checked. It is not there.  They now tell me that somehow I got the contract rate, but I do not have a contract.  I told them that I want a contract. They say that they are sending it to me and that I will now have 30 days to review it.
I asked for the credit on the charges for the phone service I did not get from 2/20/15 to present.  They said that it is $16.49. I challenged the number as being incorrect.  They changed the number to $21.00. They just make all this stuff up. I have no idea where they are coming from.

I just called back Comcast to verify that the note is still in their system that I am to receive a contract AND that they will send it to me for revie. no contract and I ca back out when I want without cancellation fees.
I also challenged the monthly recurring charges amount. They have issued me a credit for $8.44. Monthly charges starting next month will be $107.64.


I am approaching the 30 day limit to get out of the Comcast contract that Comcast has said that they will reinstate, which they had previously renunciated without bothering to inform me. I called to just check on things again today.  Well. Well.  Today the story is that I definitely do not have a contract and that I can cancel at any time without penalty.  I have asked for them to send me some tangible form of that statement so that when they ask for the cancellation fee that I can show it to them.  They say that they cannot do that.  Catch 22 again.  I spoke with Daniel today at extension 301 4291.  He has said that he will research the situation and get back to me and assured me that my cancellation period will be extended until such time as I have reviewed the contract, if Comcast should decide at some later time that they changed their mind and rediscovered that I do have a contract, contradicting what they are telling me.

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