I've been a regular customer of Comcast for years, in part because there is no competition in the Boston area. Verizon offers FIOS here and there, but for the majority of us it's either comcast or the dark ages.
That being said, my recent encounter with them takes the cake. I regularly make payments online. About 2 months ago, I submitted a payment for my bills. A week went by, then without any prior notice, I came home to find my roommates complaining the tv and internet service was shut off. I called up 1-800-COMCAST, only to hear them say that my payment was declined, and therefore shut off our service. Given that my checking account had several times the neccessary funds, I printed my bank statements, and brought them to the comcast office in Allston, MA as proof.
The staff at the office there informed me that I was going to be assessed a fine of $20 for this, and didn't care what evidence I had. They told me I had to call their billing dept to dispute it, and that I had to make an immediate payment on site to get my service reactivated.
A couple weeks later, I checked my comcast bills to find that not only was I assessed a $20 fee for the transaction decline, but on top of that I was charged a $15 reactivation fee, as well as a late fee of $5.89. All in all, it was coming out to be a $40+ problem. Talking with the woman in the billing dept on the phone was most frustrating. You get transferred from one person to the next, then they tell you they will review your case and will decide if your charges will be reversed, as if they were judge and jury.
Well after several more days, I get a call informing me that they were reversing the $20 fee and $15 reactivation fee this time. The $5.89 late fee stands. So what happened exactly? Apparently I entered the bank routing number wrong.
This is probably the worst form of consumer fraud I ever experienced. Transactions decline all the time! I work for a registration company and you wouldn't believe how many times we have to deal with declined transactions for all sorts of reasons, most of the time nothing to do with an insufficient balance (wrong number, new card, bank putting a freeze due to suspicion, etc). If we assessed $40 in fees everytime someone's payment declined, not only would we be out of business, but we would probably be at the receiving end of a class action lawsuit for fraud. So because I probably entered 1 or 2 numbers wrong, Comcast has the right to slap all sorts of fees? The funny thing about it all is that if I had not made a payment at all, I wouldn't have been assessed all these fees. Going back to my original point, I think because Comcast has such a monopoly over everything no one dares to challenge them. For most of us, its a one party system, so don't upset Uncle Joe or you'll end up in Siberia splitting rocks.