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Why does Comcast require 4 months to send a $20 refund?

Everybody has their tales of awful customer service, and I’m going to share mine.

I paid for a family member to have Comcast broadband Internet. The price was about $30 per month for 6 months, then Comcast increased the price to the “normal” monthly price of $46.97. I switched Internet providers, and called to cancel Comcast service.

I called and was put on hold. Then it hung up on. me I called several times again and was mysteriously hung up upon. I spent an hour trying to wait on hold, only to be hung up upon. In desperation, I sent an email to customer service and copied the email to their Vice President of Customer Relations (or something like that). Fairly soon thereafter that office got back with me, leaving a message to call back. I called back and thankfully talked to a human who gave me a number to call in Houston to cancel service.

So I called that number.  The person in Houston billing processed the Cancellation request fairly quickly and said that they could not undo the automatic withdrawal of $46.97 which would happen on May 1, but that a refund for the remaining balance would be sent to me in a few weeks. I think the woman said  3-4 weeks, but I am not sure.

So I waited. And waited. And waited. At the end of July  I thought, “did I ever receive that refund Comcast promised me?” I checked my bank account and was dismayed to discover they hadn’t.  Irate, I called billing and said, “Where is my refund?” The Comcast billing person replied that the refund for $21.92 was still being processed – nothing was wrong – and that in the middle of July, the refund request was close to reaching the final accounting stage of  being processed.

“Do you realize that you’ve been keeping my money for 3 months? MY money?”

“Don’t worry, you will be receiving the check within 2-3 weeks.”

“Why can’t I receive it NOW?”

“That’s not the way it works,” the woman on the telephone replied.

“I can now transfer funds to any person or company in a matter of seconds. Why does a multibillion company like Comcast need so much time to process a $20 refund?”

“Don’t worry, you will receive your refund in 2-3 weeks.”

But more than 4 weeks went by, and still no refund. I called Houston Comcast again and asked when I would receive the refund. The person on the phone confirmed that the $21.92 was due to me, and that it was sent on August 22 (more than a week ago).

“I never received it,” I said. Neither I nor my family member  at the service address had received any check from Comcast. “Can Comcast provide an estimate about when the check should arrive?”

“It should take approximately 2-3 weeks.”

“Yes,” I said mournfully, “that’s what the other woman said 4 weeks ago.”

I have a theory about why Comcast requires so much time to send a refund: Pure unmitigated greed. Comcast already has my money; why on earth should it be in a hurry to give it back to me? Of course, the extra liquidity and interest is always a pleasant bonus. 

My case  is hardly unique. Many Americans have had experienced similar delays from big companies when receiving refunds.   It can take weeks if you’re lucky. Eventually you will get your money, though if you are not paying attention, sometimes you may forget to notice that the big corporation never sent it to you. Besides losing access to that money, Americans waste  a lot of time on angry  telephone calls and emails.

Big companies like Comcast pay no price for these kinds of delays.  They know that the amounts of these refunds are small enough that consumers won’t bother to take legal action about it.  At the same time, all of us know that if customers took 4 months to pay bills, Comcast would have cancelled service immediately (and probably turned the matter to collections). Comcast expects consumers to pay their bills on time; at the same time, they insist upon the right not to abide by that same standard of promptness.

In the meantime, the dollars keep rolling in.

I read online that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts earned $26 million last year. That’s almost a dollar earned for every second of every  day in the year.

Comcast’s revenues for last year was 55.8 billion dollars. That means Comcast as a company has earned $1800 in revenue for every second of every day in the year.

In fact, in the time it  took you to read my complaint (3 minutes), Comcast’s CEO earned $160 and the company itself earned $324,000.

So I feel pretty sure Comcast can afford it.

October 22, 2012 Update. Comcast finally did send the $21 refund 3 weeks after I wrote this message. I wrote this blog post mainly to shame them, but frankly, I don’t think my protestations made a single bit of difference. In the meantime, Comcast took over my apartment complex as the sole broadband provider, so I’m afraid I have to deal with them again.

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • A. Lester Buck III 10/21/2012, 7:26 pm

    While I have Comcast internet service and have been rather happy so far, I know I am dealing with the most hated corporation in the country. Thus, I would never, ever allow Comcast to automatically charge me for anything.

    As for prompting a refund, once I had waited long enough I would drop them a demand letter under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices/Consumer Protection Act, threatening to receive treble damages plus court costs. Form letter are easy to find on the web. This letter must be sent to Comcast’s registered agent, which may cost $1 from the Texas Secretary of State’s web site to determine. Do not use certified mail return receipt requested for small amounts, just a simple letter. Believe me, this will set off a lot of alarm bells, and just having their legal department process your letter will cost them a couple hundred dollars. When they realize they can’t screw with you, your money will be on its way posthaste. Or you can go ahead and sue, and make triple your money, at your option.

  • Lisa Lewis 10/27/2012, 6:02 pm

    OMG… I cancelled our service in July 2012 and to date we still have not received our refund of more that $177.00 . Comcast continues to try to get us to make payments and did bill my credit card even after 2 months of no service from them. What an ordeal it was to cancel automatic payments to them! THey are the worst! I have called and emailed them several times and if you actually get to speak to someone its the same answer… 2-3 weeks! IT HAS BEEN FOUR MONTHS! THey do not answer their emails about this problem. Where do I file complaints in PA about them?

  • Mathew 12/31/2014, 9:15 pm

    I sent &135.94 to comcast by mistake,I dont have an account with them now. I had one several years ago.It was in my internet bill pay section,by mistake i click that comcast.They took the money but I called several time ,they are telling talk to your bank.ank send me letter you resolve it with comcast.Comcast doesn’t give my money.I dont know what to do now.

  • Kim 1/6/2015, 6:43 am

    I canceled comcast service on Jan.2014 and I also still have not received my $32 credit check. I called comcast 4 times(international call) last year to request my refund check. They keep saying that it will be delivered in 4 to 6 weeks. but they never sent my money. I feel very frustrated and annoyed.

  • Maria Radinson 2/9/2015, 12:04 pm

    I have been waiting over 90 for a 100.00 refund. I guess there is nothing a consumer can do other then cancel service and I’ve already done that – too bad I can’t put a collection agency on their rear ends to collect my money for me like I am sure they do with their past due clients.

  • Annie 4/17/2015, 5:27 pm

    Same story here, I can’t believe this is happening. I canceled service on January 22 and each time I call (once a month) I am told the refond check of $135 will be sent in 3-4 weeks, now they are saying end of April. From what I see in other posts it may never happen, this is a scam!

  • J C 6/21/2015, 8:43 pm

    I left the US in March, canceling my comcast account beforehand. 3 months and several calls later, my $40 refund has still not arrived at my friend’s place (he lives in New York so I’m having him deposit the check for me.)

  • Luke 10/6/2015, 2:55 am

    Same story here. I cancelled my account on. April 11th and it is now October 5th and still have not received my credit return. I have called their billing department 9 times, been told twice that a check has been sent to me, but still nothing! I recently contacted our State Attorney’s office and they are trying to help me with this matter. But if nothing comes from that, I am honestly contemplating suing them for theft

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