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Comcast Bills for Two Months of Service on First Bill

This article was written by in Consumer. 21 comments.


The author of the Debt Sucks blog explains his recent predicament with Comcast. When I received my first bill from Comcast many years ago, I faced the same situation. My first bill was much higher — almost twice as much — as the monthly rate I originally agreed to. Here’s what Debt Sucks has to say:

The other day, I received my first bill from Comcast, and immediately became infuriated when I opened it up. You would, too, if you were expecting a bill in the 30s or 40s and find it’s $83.31! I turn it over and there, at the top, is listed a previous balance of $57.46. How the heck can I have a previous balance!?… [The customer service representative] finally explained to me that I was being charged for two months of service — the one I already used, and the one following.

This policy — billing for future service each month, except for the first bill which includes a catch-up charge — is never explained when you initially sign up.

Frank Eliason, from the “Comcast Executive Offices,” frequently responds to postings on blogs and forums across the internet criticizing or thanking Comcast. He showed up at the Debt Sucks blog to leave a comment:

We are in the process of redesigning our statement to better explained the first month cost. We could have also done a better job of explaining this during our initial interaction.

Comcast has recently purchased my cable television and internet provider, Patriot Media. Recently, I received a letter to warn me that I should expect to see the branding switch over to Comcast soon. The letter also mentioned that billing dates will be adjusted. If they are adjusted into the future, then I would expect a larger bill that my monthly charge. If my billing date changes from the 13th to the 20th, my next bill would include service for March 13 through April 20 rather than March 13 through April 12.

This was not explained in the letter, it is the assumption I am making. I can also assume, if the cycle date is pushed later, that other people will see a higher bill this month or next month and they will not be happy.

Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published March 10, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Ginger @ Girls Just Wanna Have Funds

COMCAST SUCKS DONKEY BALLS and that pretty much sums up how I feel about them. Their customer service is sub par, inept and OFTEN rude and unaccommodating. The only time they show some semblance of professionalism is when you are ready to leave them for FIOS.

*straightens up self after outburst*

Excuse me, Comcast just strikes a nerve sometimes. Instead of trying to FIX the problem, they have people romaing the internet to address the complaints. Here’s a tip-FIX the problem!

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avatar Lynn

Not only do they have a 1st month billing problem, but try and get the refund they owe if you trminate service,
It took me 6 months after countless personal visits to local office and 2 letters. Never would a supervisor speak with me at the local office, only the front desk Gal. There always seemed to be something new that I had not complied with, each time I visited. After the 3rd visit they had no record in the computer that I had ever applied for my refund. Lucky I had kept the receipt for the return on the modem from 3 months before.
Seems almost a scam, as many people will just give up on the process and never receive the refund for the service the had paid in advance from the very first billing.

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avatar Ginger @ Girls Just Wanna Have Funds

Might I add that we had to pay $150 TWICE because they lost the payment and we found out 6 months later because they threatened to put us in collections.

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avatar afriq

COMCAST HAVE THE WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE EVER PLEASE BE WARNED!

On January 26 I ordered my comcast service (Internet & TV) and my bill was supposed to be $ 65.21. But when my first bill came it was about $151.56 and they said this was because of equipment charges and all which had not been even mentioned in the first place. Their customer service said this was because of charging in advance.

But on my next bill it was again double and they also unilaterally changed my due date to the 15th instead of keeping at the 26th monthly. I again called them to find out what was going on but they told me there’s nothing they can do about changing the due date and they keep adding charges. To make matters worse, I spoke to a customer service agent who was very rude and when I asked to speak to a supervisor she refused telling me that there was no need for me to speak to one. I told her how unprofessional she was conducting herself and she went as far as making threats at me like she knew where I stayed which was really scary and uncalled for. I hung up with frustration.

I then called again and asked to speak to a supervisor who said his name was Joe at their Everette Center in Washington since I live in Lynnwood. Then Joe said he does not understand why the due date was changed and there was nothing he could do about changing it; but he would try to investigate and come back to me. He never did! I called again but each time you speak to a different person they just make promises that they don’t keep. Up until now, I am still getting double on my bill with hidden charges that are contrary to what they advertise and promise. I have never experienced such a lousy customer service and a rip off. As consumers we have to do something about companies like COMCAST who have a monopoly in most areas and will do whatever they can to milk us of our hard earned money. There is no accountability on the part of their staff and they just don’t care at all and most of them are just rude and lie all the time. We have to find a way to break their monopoly somehow. I want to WARN YOU ALL OUT THERE TO STAY AWAY from COMCAST!!!

Any suggestions anyone please? Thanks!

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avatar ComcastCares

On behalf of Comcast, I would like to apologize for those that have had problems in the past. We are working hard to listen to our Customers and improve the service we provide. If you would like to learn more of our efforts, please visit the following URL:

http://www.comcast.com/customerservice

While you are there, if you do need assistance or have additional feedback, please send a message through our ‘Ask Rick’ program. On the right hand side of the page is a link to send your feedback to Rick Germano, Senior VP for Customer Service Operations.

Thank you for the feedback!

Frank Eliason
Comcast Executive Offices

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avatar Ginger @ Girls Just Wanna Have Funds

Afriq the only thing I can tell you to do is to tape your conversations with comcast, but make sure that you let them know that you will be taping the conversation. Keep ALL records and throw nothing out. Keep all bills and follow up on all of your inquiries as they have inclination on how to provide not only good but effective customer service.

@ Comcast Cares-Please fire your entire customer service department including the managers and then start from scratch. Need a suggestion? Chat with the folks who implement and manage Verizon Wireless’ customer service department.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,372 (Platinum)

ComcastCares: I think you missed the point of the original article above. The “catch-up” billing is *never* fully explained… and Verizon Wireless, with the same billing technique, also does not explain it sufficiently.

So many customer service complains would be solved by fully explaining catch-up billing. This would stop people from “freaking out” when their first bill — or their first bill after changing service plans — comes with a hefty fee much higher than expected.

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avatar afriq

In response to Mr. Eliason about what they’re doing at Comcast, I would like to say the following. With all due respect SORRY DOES NOT CUT IT, whilst the company fails to change their software and their customer service culture if not the entire department. Unfortunately, it is companies like COMCAST that open up opportunities for better companies that are more responsive to the needs of their customers and are more in vogue with a dynamic way of doing business with integrity and excellence. Mark my words Sir; that your company is not a learning organization and your employees and leadership is such that you continue to defend the same things that are going to bring you down. The POWER of the CONSUMERS in this day and age is so strong that it will eventually bring you down. All you’re simply doing is “sugarcoating” a bitter pill judging from your perspective of the problem. It is like trying to give someone a pain pill to temporarily relieve them of their pain without a full ‘SURGERY’ of the problem that has caused that pain in the first place. Consequently, that might be good for defending your job and appeasing your shareholders in the short term. Eventually, the pain will resurface again and will, in the long run destroy your business. Competition is a good thing and COMCAST is losing the battle of competitive customer service and I wonder how long you’re going to be holding your job. Mark my words Sir because this is far from over; believe you me! There’s such a thing as being profitable whilst being responsive to the needs of your customers in a win-win situation. COMCAST is deceitful in the way they conduct business and it is people like you, in positions of power who are slow at changing their attitudes and hold on their ‘rusty’ ways, thereby allowing some of your employees to conduct themselves with impunity. You need an ‘overhaul’ of your customer service department and invest in a modern/better software whilst putting yourselves in your customer’s shoes. I could give you a list of other companies that are are way better in their customer service approach are a step ahead of you already. So I will continue to advocate against COMCAST until you attend to the root cause of your lack of customer service and even your lack of understanding of the concepts thereof. It is just appalling to say the least! You might win the war but you will lose the battle! You’ve been warned!!!

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avatar Mike

Comcast has horrible customer service. I wish there were more choices in my area.

I was billed for a cable modem rental that was incorrect. The customer service person stated that there records only went back 6 months and since I had service for 6+ months they COULD NOT make the adjustment over the phone. They could have easily handed the problem to a manager to research and then call me back. Instead they stated I would need to go into a service location in person with my documentation. So grudgingly I went in with my paper work showing my MAC adress for my OWNED modem. They did not even bother to look at my paper work and was ready to adjust my bill by returning the charges. This was NICE but then made me LIVID that I even had to drive into the bleeping service center. I admit I lost my cool and professionalism. The manager came from behind the two-way mirror and asked me if everything was OK. I said I had no problem with the counter attendant but with the horrible customer service that brought me into the center.

Instead of a 15 minute call to return my $36.00 for the rented modem charge. They ended up compensating me for 1 months billing for TV+Internet along with my rental charge.

I would have been satisfied with them just correcting the billing mistake in 15 minutes in the first place. MY TIME AND EFFORTS ARE IMPORTANT.

Caveat Emptor – Buyer Beware!!!

I am thinking about trying Qwests internet but am hesitant to switch from TV service.

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avatar ComcastCares

flexo – I totally agree!

Ginger – Thank you for the feedback. If people are not service oriented, they need to find different employment, at the same time I believe the majority of our team are the right people, but we need to make sure they have the right tools to assist the Customer right during the first interaction. We need to look at every aspect of the Customer Experience and make sure we provide our team the right tools to get it right, without creating policies or procedures that further hinder the experience.

Afriq – I know I will not be able to change your opinion via this blog, but hopefully the actions you see over the next year convince you otherwise. I walk in our Customer’s shoes everyday, and I strive to learn from it and work with our leaders to improve our organization based on our findings.

Mike – I agree and I apologize that we created that experience for you.

Thank you all for the feedback!

Frank Eliason
Comcast Executive Offices

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avatar Ginger@Girls Just Wanna Have Funds

@ Comcast Cares-I disagree. Every single interaction we have had with Comcast has been regretful and this has been with moving through different states. This is no longer about a few bad apples, this is about a corporate culture which breeds this type of customer service, so it starts with Comcast executive management actually. You can fire every one of the CS reps but what sense does it make if management has the same attitude towards the customer?

I’d like to know with the advent of FIOS becoming available in more areas, what are you doing to actually retain your customers? I appreciate your presence on this post but what is Comcast actually planning to do in order to improve their customer service? Firing them won’t work if your managers and supervisors are of the same cloth. What are the higher ups doing about changing their attitudes towards their customers? That is the question I’d like answered.

@ Flexo, VZ Wireless explained the issue to us upfront so Ive never had any issues with them about double billing.

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avatar afriq

Hey Ginger and Mike did you read the response from this Mr. Frank Eliason from Comcast about waiting for a year to get things changed. What kind of mentality is that? This guy is out of touch with reality; he thinks I am going to be with Comcast that long in order to see what they will do! Shame upon your law Mr. Eliason! The only thing that Comcast is good at doing is apologize then do nothing about it. That’s like saying sorry accept it or leave it really. We need to boycott this company somehow and kill their monopoly in the area so that we can have better and more responsive companies serving us. It seems where ever Comcast operates they have a monopoly such that no other company can serve the same area. All they’re good at doing is avoid competition otherwise they would not survive. There is a new company known as Wave Broadband and they have an amazing customer service culture but they’re only allowed to operate in areas where Comcast does not because they’re really good. Has anyone heard about them?

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avatar Ginger

At the end of our current promotion we are switching to Verizon FIOS. I think if more people like those of us who have blogs spoke out against Comcast we would be able to start some sort of change within their organization.

The monopoly lasts but so long until new technology arrives.

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avatar afriq

Mike: I am actually considering Qwest internet broadband and TV because a friend I know has them and they even have more channels than Comcast for less the cost and is through DirectTV. He’s thoroughly happy with the service and their customer service is excellent too. You should check it out because I am in the process of doing that and will change to them by the end of this month[March].

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avatar afriq

Ginger: Verizon is really good too and anything other than Comcast is what I would suggest for anyone; besides with Verizon you can buddle your services as well.

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avatar ComcastCares

Let me outline some of the initiatives we are taking to improve the Customer Experience:

1. Rick Germano joined the Executive Team as Senior Vice President of Customer Service in October
2. We started our listening tour meeting with Customers and employees regarding their experiences (good, bad and ugly). You can view what we refer to as Rick’s Notes from the Road to read about some of these visits:

http://www.comcast.com/Corporate/Customers/RickGRoadTrip.html

This will soon be updated from our trip this week to Houston

3. Hiring additional staffing to better assist our Customers
4. Added new technology to allow better communication with out technicians. This will also provide them the tools necessary to ensure they are able to fully assist the Customer.

Beyond all of this we are working to improve the training to our staff and developing other tools to make sure we can better assist our valued Customers. We are active in the blogosphere because of the additional feedback we have been able to obtain.

Thank you again for the feedback!

Frank Eliason
Comcast Executive Offices

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avatar MikeVx

I am no fan of Comcast, despite using their internet service. They tie their internet service to the TV service, charging you more for just internet than internet plus minimal TV. I have no use of cable TV, but I have minimal basic anyway. Comcast also uses dubious methods of wringing money from internet customers, by offering only two tiers of service, one very fast that the price keeps rising for, and another that is useless for the sort of things broadband is used for, so dial-up is saner at that point. They do not allow for a middle ground. At one point I called to see about discounts (the service costs too much when I don’t need the very high speeds) and there were none, until I said I’d ask AT&T what they had, then a discount appeared from thin air. I’d prefer a tier that mid-ranges speed and cost, as opposed to a near-dial-up tier at 3x the cost of dial-up, and a very-fast-but-too-costly tier that I have to keep calling in on to keep it affordable.

That being said, one point that should be made about the way Comcast is billing. There is no explanation from businesses that do this because almost all businesses bill the same way. The fixed costs are billed in advance, variable costs are billed afterwards. There are very few businesses that do it any other way. It is not explained because almost all repeating bills in life are this way. Businesses are confused at complaints about this the way you would be confused by complaints that water is wet. Your phone bills are this way, line charge in advance, toll calls afterwards. Most repeating internet-based services are that way also. Natural gas and electric are based on variable-consumption models and are billed afterwards.

The upshot is that when you contract for any fixed-repeating monthly service, the first bill is always larger than the rest will be.

Hmmm. I find myself standing up for Comcast, s the world ending?

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avatar afriq

Hey guys I just wanted to put you in the loop regarding the fact that I Comcast contacted me regards the many issues that we have been discussing here. But suffice to say all they can do is offer apologies and NO ACTION at all to rectify the situation; at least not yet.

The following was my further response to them. And again this might not apply to all of you out there but this has been my experience.

Dear Lucille Quinton:

Thank you for your acknowledgement and confirmation of receipt of my concerns. I don’t know if this actually means the Vice President himself knows about this or maybe this might be just another shield of not wanting this to actually get to him. Nonetheless, my efforts to broadcast the culture and attitude at COMCAST will continue until someone begins to understand that the ‘status quo’ of service is upside down in your organization.

Further to the already mentioned issues, it might be of interest to you to know that I also received treats from some members of your staff regarding my audacity to bring these issues to the public. Certainly, I have no intention of stopping and I have even put my attorneys on alert regarding some of these threats as I think that all consumers need to know the truth about the service culture in your company. Some of those who are already customers have also alluded to these and many issues of a defunct software that you currently use, the backward customer service exuded by your staff; the too many apologies you make without much action to rectify the root causes of your failures in service.

As I write this email; for example, I have just received yet another marketing flyer at my home address trying to invite me to add more services with you, despite my having called you and visited your offices personally and given instructions not to send me any mail or bills to my home address but rather to my mail box which you now have in your system but that has fallen on deaf ears; even in the light of the empty promises. How pathetic is this! It is frustrating and unacceptable by all standards whatsoever.

I was also recently forced to pay more than I was supposed to pay on 3/10/08 an amount of $88.01 when my bill was not even due and should have been only $65.21 after I cancelled the additional services that I had ordered and was told that everything had been reversed to what it was before ordering the additional services. This was even done by one of your supervisors by the name of Joe (LJJ) but I guess as expected of your kind of service he did not do as he promised.

I cannot also understand why my due date was ever changed in the first place from the 26th to the 15th unilaterally. And this whole idea of blaming it on software that was installed and can be manipulated by you; is just a ‘scapegoat’ of lack of responsiveness on your part.

This is totally ridiculous and I will not be taken for a ride by a company that does not care about doing business in a professional and accommodating way. Please be advised.

Sincerely,

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avatar Lee

You are so right, afriq, apologies but no action. I looked at what AT&T could offer, pricewise. Apparently, when you make such an inquiry, your number gets “ported”, which in Comcast’s world means your bundle gets cancelled. I have repeatedly asked for documentation from Comcast stating this policy but they cannot provide such proof. I still had all 3 of Comcast’s services, but was charged individually, not bundled, and they made it retroactive from the time of the inquiry. My bill was $200 more than I expected plus they charged me a change of service fee for all 3 services. I paid the bundled price for services, hoping they would want to keep me as a customer (I never paid late) and resolve the issue. I fought with them for 2 months, then decided I had no other option but to switch to AT&T. They continued to bill me, even charged me for equipment rental after I returned all the equipment. Two months after I switched, Comcast sent me to collections for the unpaid balance of the unbundled services. I am currently disputing the charges with the BBB and FCC and am in the process of filing complaints with the FTC and Attorney General. I am considering class action litigation because I cannot be the only person this has happened to. Comcast had unfair and unethical business practices and is need of some serious governing.

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avatar Robb Rudzek

Bravo sir! well said!

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avatar Eric Wuest

I am currently dealing with a criminal issue with Comcast. We all know that they charge us for the first month in advance. Some of us are upset about how much they charge in advance but we can all agree that they charged us in advance. I cancelled my service on my bill due date which is also the beginning of my billing cycle per this basic logic. Now they want me to pay that last bill even though it is for the month that I didn’t use because I cancelled my service before that month began. They are trying to charge me for that first month twice by saying that I pay in advance for the first month but pay retroactive for the last month. Double dipping or theft. All I get from Comcast is a rude cust serv rep telling me the lie they instructed her to tell me over and over again.

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