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Regular Contributor
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎11-20-2005

Deceptive Billing Practices

Dear Comcast:  Your billing tactics are reprehensible. I recently terminated my voice service, and was hit with an "early termination" fee in excess of $300. Unbeknowst to me, you included a provision in your terms and conditions which auto-renewed me for one year and which required me to pay 75% of the charges for the remainder of the one year period. This is a sleazy and deceptive tactic.

I encourage anyone else who has experienced this to contact the federal trade commission, better business bureau, and any other consumer protection agencies. The only reason that Comcast gets away with this is because there is so little competition.

New Visitor
renujuneja
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎12-13-2011

Decptive Billing practices

I totally agree.  I am very unhappy with Comcast.  They have very recently added a new service (outsourced it I imagine) where now you must pay a 40 dollar activation fee and 6 dollars per month (the usual 5.95) for any help on the wireless.

 

All I want is the wireless password which we have forgotten since it was set up or changed.  And for me to get my own password I would have to pay them at least 50 dollars.  They refuse to talk, except to say that I have to subscribe to this service. 

 

This is totally unethical.  We are existing customers and when we signed up we were not told that to get help with wireless, even this non-technical help, we would not be able to get it through Comcast. 

 

Well, if they continue to do this, they will not have many customers.  I am ready to report them to the Better Busines Bureau. 

 

Renu

Official Employee
ComcastNick
Posts: 1,296
Registered: ‎12-13-2011

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

[ Edited ]

When you signed up for your services, you signed up for a contract to keep those services for a certain amount of time.  Basically the exact same thing as a cell phone contract.

Comcast does not have many offers that do include a contract, and most of those are the triple plays where you get a Visa gift card.

 

This is not deceptive in the slightest, in fact, you have to do a verbal acceptance to even get that promotion where you are advised of the termination fees and the two year contract.

 

If you believe you were not so advised, then contact Comcast, tell them you were never told there would be a termination fee.  Comcast records all calls and can pull that call of yours and verify what was said.

 

 

Edit:

For your wireless password, Comcast does not support Customer owned wireless routers.

If you are having problems with forgetting your wireless password.

Directly connect a computer to the router.

go to the website 192.168.1.1

Sign in with the user name, "admin" and the password "password"

Click on the wireless settings option, scroll to bottom of page, there is your wireless network password.

Comcast Nick
APSC Supervisor
Regular Contributor
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎11-20-2005

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

You obviously are affiliated with the company because you mischaracterized my e-mail for purposes of defending the policy.  Nice job of distorting the issue.

 

If you read what I said, I was not talking about the two-year term that I signed up for.  I was talking about the automatic one year renewal that occurred once the two years expired.  This "renewal" happened automatically and without any notice. Thus, after completing the contract term, I was still hit with a "termination fee" despite not even being aware that I was under contract any longer.  That is what is deceptive.  I don't expect any relief from the company, as I've dealt with the customer reps that mindlessly parrot the company policy or simply go silent when I complain.  It's clear that the company will only respond to external pressure such as from a significant number of customers or a government agency.

Official Employee
ComcastNick
Posts: 1,296
Registered: ‎12-13-2011

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

No distortion in my post.  You did not say you had fulfilled the 2 years of your contract, and your post made it sound like you had the service for a year, then were complaining about year two of the contract.

 

There are no service contracts, in Comcast, that will last longer than 2 years.

if you were in a contract, for 2 years, then there is no valid termination fee.

It is as simple as that.

 

If you called in and had a new agreement added, then it is different.

There is no automatic renewal, on a contract.

 

If what you are describing happened, then there was some for of error on your account, that is correctable.

An error like that is easy to find in the billing system for an agent if you call them, and are clear as to what you believe happened.

Comcast Nick
APSC Supervisor
Regular Contributor
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎11-20-2005

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

Perhaps you are thinking about residential service.  I am dealing with Business Service.  Your statement is not correct, and that is not the position the company has taken.  I spoke with the Business Class Representative, and she told me that the agreement "auto-renewed" for one year unless I provided a letter requesting that I be taken off of auto-renewal.  After the fact, I found the provision in their terms and conditions that they contend govern our relationship.

 

Specifically, Paragraph 4.2 of the current "Business Services Customer Terms and Conditions" provides that "Upon expiration of the Service Term, this Agreement and each applicable Service Order shall automatically renew for successive periods of one (1) year each ("Renewal Term(s)"), unless otherwise stated in these terms and conditions or prior notice of non-renewal is delivered by either Party to the other at least thirty (30 ) days before the expiration of the the Service Term or the then current Renewal term." 

 

This was not brought to my attention until I was told that I had auto-renewed and that despite having completed a two year contract, I would be charged a $337 early termination fee.

 

Of course, if you have the authority to speak on behalf of Comcast concerning its interpretation or application of this provision, please identify yourself, and I will happily contact the company and inform them of your position.

Official Employee
ComcastNick
Posts: 1,296
Registered: ‎12-13-2011

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

Yes, I was speaking about residential services.  You had not identified the issue as a business account, and it was my false assumption.

However, if that information was included in the contract you signed, while I can understand your frustration with the issue, I cannot understand how this is deceptive at all.

Comcast does have their faults, and there are errors that happen, both computer and human, with their systems, but when that sort of information is communicated in text of the contract presented to you, deceptive is not an accurate description.

With any company, and any contract you sign, whether or not it is comcast, your cell phone, or your housing lease/mortgage agreement.  It is up to you, to read the terms of that contract.

 

Comcast Nick
APSC Supervisor
Regular Contributor
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎11-20-2005

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

I didn't say I signed a contract with that term.  You made that assumption.

 

I have no such agreement. It's provided on the website and somehow made part of the "agreement."  No one has provided me with a document that I signed which includes that term.  The company contends it is a term of the service.  That does not mean I signed a document with that term in it or that I was made aware of it.

 

Even if I had signed such an agreement, it's a sneaky tactic not to point it out and not to give me notice prior to renewal.  The company has no legitimate basis for employing such a tactic, even if their attorneys were clever enough to slide it in the agreement.  It's nothing more than a means for generating extra income from unwary customers.  I would venture to say that almost no one in the customer base is aware of it, unless they've had the pleasure of getting skewered with it, as I have.     

 

I'm done dealing with you, whoever you are.  You have no interest in fair play and are a shill for the company.  Fortunately, by engaging in this thread, you have allowed other Comcast customers to see what they can expect when they deal with the company.  If nothing else, my posting achieved that.

Official Employee
ComcastNick
Posts: 1,296
Registered: ‎12-13-2011

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

I am sorry about your experience, I am merely providing information that is relevant to your issue. 

It is my understanding that all business accounts have contracts that are for a certain length of time, it is the only way you can get a business class account.   

It is good for people to know that business accounts will automatically renew.

If you were told this at the start of your services, you would have had a better experience.

Comcast Nick
APSC Supervisor
Regular Contributor
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎11-20-2005

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

For any of you who have followed this post, you may be interested in what transpired.  Someone in this forum provided a "customer care" e-mail address for sending complaints.  After I sent an e-mail similar to my original post, I was contacted by a "researcher" who was researching my complaint. 

 

The ultimate resolution is that I was called by the same woman who told me that I would have to pay the "termination fee" in the first place.  NO ONE has even attempted to defend the policy of "auto-renewing" for annual contracts and then charging termination fees if you terminate prior to the end of the auto-renew period.  Instead, this woman had the gall to offer me the option of REACTIVATING the phone service that I terminated and then reversing the termination fee.

 

After I was done laughing, I told this woman that I'm not in the habit of increasing my business with companies that take advantage of me as Comcast did here.  Of course she said that she did not have the authority to reverse the termination fee otherwise.  Of course she didn't.  The people with authority hide behind the powerless customer service reps and are insulated from customer contact so that they can continue this type of behavior.

 

The bottom line is this: Comcast may have cleverly set up their terms and conditions in a way that would survive a legal challenge.  However, that doesn't make it right.  The only possible justification for their behaving as they have done is to catch customers unaware of auto-renewal and early termination fees by burying it in terms and conditions that are not set forth in their customer contracts themselves.

 

Comcast's new motto: CAVEAT EMPTOR--Let our customers beware!

New Visitor
picartist
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎12-29-2011

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

I just learned the same thing when I went to cancel my account. I've had this account for at least three or four years and knew nothing about an automatic renewal. I intend to file a complaint with BBB and whatever state regulatory agencies are around.  This is really sleezy. I don't care that it's only two months worth of billing but if I had called in February it would have been 12 more months of billing.  What a bunch of crooks.

New Visitor
picartist
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎12-29-2011

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

This is pure baloney.  I've had my account with Comcast for about seven years and not sure how long I had the phone and internet with them, at least four years. Wireless phone companies do not have automatic renewal on their phones. Once the term is up you are on a month to month.  You work for a sleezy outfit my friend, just ask around and most people will tell you Comcast has poor service (uses mostly indepent contractors).  I was going to consider Comcast home security but now you can forget it.

New Visitor
picartist
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎12-29-2011

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

I just sent these posts to Kattman and Pinaud who have filed a class action lawsuit against Comcast over another billing practice.  Who knows, maybe it'll stop Comcast from being so sleezy.

Regular Contributor
jwhyrock
Posts: 37
Registered: ‎01-31-2012

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

@Anon @picartist

 

I just wanted to pop my head in as I have the exact same situation on my hands (many Comcast customers do as it turns out) and to lend my support.

 

Message me if you get a chance as I'd like a current status on where you both are at with your problems.

 

My forum post is here -

http://forums.comcast.com/t5/Billing/Unauthorized-quot-Automatic-quot-Renewal-of-1-year-contract/m-p...

Regular Contributor
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎11-20-2005

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

I'm nowhere with my problem.  I just paid the extortionate surcharge this past month. 

 

If we can get a group together to contact the FTC, that might help. 

Regular Contributor
jwhyrock
Posts: 37
Registered: ‎01-31-2012

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

Absolutely yes I'm in. I haven't done anything yet. I'm still waiting for their response which I anticipate will be much like you and others received. In my thread I also posted links to related incidents where others encountered the same criminal behavior from Comcast.
New Visitor
jfillenwarth
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-10-2012

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

I have been a Comast business and residential customer since 2009. I called sometime around Christmas in 2011 to find out if I was under any contract with my business phone, fax and internet. I was told that my contract expired February 25 2012.

I planned to move my business line to a residential line, add another residential internet service and cancel my fax line. I was told today, after spending nearly 3 hours on the phone with Comcast, that I was under contract with my business service until February 25. I said, I was told by the Comcast person in December that my contract was up on February 25. They told me today that my contract auto renews. Comcast NEVER mentioned this to me in December. They simply said my contract expires February 25.

Why would there be an auto renewal that I did not authorize? How can you justify cheating and lying to customers?

I am giving Comcast the benefit of the doubt that they will allow me to add my phone and internet to my residential account. I am assuming I just spoke with someone today who was having a bad day.

If I am not able to do this, not only will I cancel my entire residential service ($280/mo), I will tell everyone I know in person and via Social Media how Comcast lied and stole from me. Again, I am holding hope that this will be resolved and Comcast will allow me to modify and eventually eliminate my business service. I would gladly keep my residential with Comcast.

New Visitor
jssgee
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎03-29-2012

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

[ Edited ]

@ Anon-

The worst thing would be to ask the government to protect you from such things like the shadyness of Comcast, and no doubt Comcast is very shady and corrupt. It really frustrates me everytime I see people that seem to believe government intervention is the answer to such problems. Big government is the very CAUSE of these problems! Your idea of the solution of more government intervention is very backwards, I'm afraid.

The excessive regulations and laws that have been put in place are the very reason that there is so little competition out there. Because smaller business are unable to afford their way around the thousands of regulations, they are unable to grow or in many cases, get started at all. We need to go in the opposite direction. We need to shrink government.

 

Just trying to educate/help out. Sorry for going all political on you.

 

 

Regular Contributor
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎11-20-2005

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

Your implicit assumption that the action we are taking is somehow an invitation to "more big government" is misplaced.  Consumer protection laws and the FTC have been around for years. I'm simply using a tool that has been around for sometime.  It will not have any affect on the size or level of "government intervention." The remote and tenuous connection between this situation and the spectre of increased government size reveals that you simply looked for what you thought to be an opportune moment to go on a big government rant.  Do it at someone else's expense. 

 

Moreover, your response would leave all of the numerous victims who have posted on this forum with no remedy whatsoever.  The amount in dispute would not come close to that required to litigate the matter. The market for Broadband internet service does not remotely resemble anything like a free market, so simply switching to another provider will be of little use.

 

If you find a way to create a large number of broadband providers in my area and create a truly "free market," let me know. Then all of us can tell Comcast to go F themselves and let them enjoy the resulting drop in the market share.  Otherwise, I plan to use the remedies made available to me.

Regular Contributor
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎11-20-2005

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

jfillenwarth:  I have a letter to the FTC basically ready to go.  Some of the people who wanted to get involved early on flaked out.  The letter lays out how the contract is structured and explains how it is intended to trick customers by obscuring the "auto-renewal" process so Comcast can collect early termination fees. If you want to sign on, send me a private message on this forum with your full name, mailing address, and e-mail address.

 

Thanks.

New Visitor
ryanhendrickson
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎04-13-2012

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

How about theft by deception. its a criminal charge.

New Visitor
miketheman16
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎04-12-2012

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

To the contrary if terms such as these are NOT explained at the POS,IF the salesperson is so eager to make a quota on the sale and neglects to inform or purposely deny's any prospective customer this information  then that to me and nearly every other clear thinking human would believe that to be "theft by deceptive practices". Every cell phone company out there advertises that there is an "early termination clause" in their contracts so that potential customers know where to look in the contract and wheter or not to subscribe to the service upon its disclosure. Contracts are suppose to be made clear at the time of signing, If you are getting a credit card or a cell phone these things are brought to the forefront of any advertisments, Comcast deny[s common courtesy practices to gain clients,

New Visitor
Albertne
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎04-14-2012

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

@Comcast Nick  You sound very condescending. Way to earn your paycheck Nick, and thanks for the stellar customer service. Looks like another year of Worst Customer Service Sward for Comcast!

Recognized Contributor
MissyLaneous
Posts: 916
Registered: ‎01-07-2007

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

Albertne,

 

ComcastNick provided valid information.  Billing responsibility is a two-way street, and it behooves the subscriber to r-e-a-d information and their bills .  Same thing for promotions - subscribers need to educate themselves on the start/end date and the terms.

 

Yes, Comcast has "issues"; however, name-calling and such don't solve a thing.

__________________________________________________________
"CUSTOMER SERVICE" means providing
s-e-r-v-i-c-e to the customer, not the other way around.
New Visitor
miketheman16
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎04-12-2012

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

Where I work the "customer" is always given every consideration, The mentality at comcast is that they are always right and customer's concern's are either dimissed and yes rudely or simply just ignored with no consideration that the "customer" is in fact the source of your liveliehood, But hey if comcast can afford to loose so many customers to the poor or rather disinterest of their service reps towards their clientele then they certainly won't need to be keeping some of those employees on, No customers No complaints,,,,that simple. Your theory about it being a two way street would be valid if your own co-workers had any idea what your company policies and promotions are,,, they do not, I have heard no less then three different scenario's as to what could have possibly gone awry with the errors in my bill, As I stated earlier and as I encourage every frustrated and unhappy poster here, send letters lots and lots of letters to their corporate offices, include dates, times, names and id nos. As an aside I have during each of the numerous calls I have initiated,,,opted to have for the return call to provide feed back for the sevice I have received,,,even that simple a task has not taken place to date NOT ONE call has been made to me to review or rate my satisfaction with this company,,, seems to me they already know the answer and the invitation is just as empty as their word.

New Visitor
miketheman16
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎04-12-2012

Re: Deceptive Billing Practices

lodge a complaint with the FCC they are the regulatory body over "air media"... then call the congressman or attorney general ,,,bring in the local consumer advocate of your local paper,,,bombard their corporate offices with letters and finally prepare and distribute a petition to have this practice removed or lose the business of those signers. I'd be happy to help in anyway I can