Hey Comcast, where’s my $5,800?

By | December 10th, 2015

Comcast owes Cathy Coffey $5,800. Why is it taking so long to refund her?

Question: I overpaid Comcast by $5,800 after I switched to satellite TV and forgot to cancel autopay. Earlier this month, a representative promised me a refund within 10 days. But so far, I’ve gotten nothing except a runaround.

Comcast will not return my phone calls or emails. I have not been allowed to speak to a supervisor and, frankly, only get return calls from reps saying they will look into it. They also do not leave direct numbers for me to return these endlessly unproductive calls. They send emails saying they tried to call, but I am not staring at my phone all day waiting for them to call, and would be happy to call back.

As a 30-year-plus executive of a major media company with significant cable, television and other holdings, I resent Comcast’s public commitment to customer service. It does not translate to their employees and their attitudes towards the customer. Or in my case, former, and never again, customer.

To add insult to injury, for some reason my latest statement indicated that Comcast owes me a thousand dollars less. I would appreciate a real response followed by prompt action. Can you help? — Cathy Coffey, Woodstock, Ga.

Answer: Comcast owes you a full refund, of course. But I would be patient. After all, you forgot to cancel your autopay and didn’t notify the company about the problem for many months. What’s a few more weeks?

Truth is, companies don’t just cut refund checks without doing their due diligence, and the process can take time. The bigger the company, the longer it can take.

Related story:   Help! I took a gamble on an Airbnb rental in Las Vegas -- and lost

Clearly, Comcast was giving you the runaround. After the normal channels failed to yield the desired result, you could have appealed to a Comcast executive. And, failing that, you could have asked me to help — which is what you did.

Here’s how I see it: Yes, you need to monitor your bank account carefully to avoid being billed $5,800. But Comcast needs to put systems in place that will allow for a prompt refund. I understand a little foot-dragging, but you’d been waiting nearly a month when you contacted me, and that’s more than enough. You were giving Comcast an interest-free loan, and that’s not right.

This case ended with a lot of drama. After a week of back-and-forth — and following repeated threats by you to take your case to social media and other consumer advocates — Comcast overnighted a check to you. You received it just as I finished writing this story.


  • cowboyinbrla

    OK, jeez, I can see not noticing a small autopay. But to run the tab up to 5800 means it either went on for years, or his monthly payment was huge, on the order of $800 or so. How do you NOT notice that coming out of your account? Problems of the rich and famous, I guess.

  • Randy Culpepper

    Ms. Coffey is (was?) a VP for Cox Communications (it’s an easy Google search)–she should not be throwing stones.

  • Okay, here’s my question. She says she “forgot to cancel autopay”….did she also forget to cancel her entire ACCOUNT??? You don’t continue to bill a customer once an account is closed, period…autopay or not. I think Ms. Coffey isn’t owning up to the fact that she never had her services terminated, AT ALL.

  • Rebecca

    Ok, I hate Comcast. But I also like to be fair. You don’t notice $5800 worth of autopayments, which has to be months and months. Then, the second you snap your fingers Comcast is supposed to fix it? That’s rather hypocritical, IMO. Apparently it ended up taking a month to get a refund. Which is way less time than it took the OP to notice the problem.

  • Alan Gore

    Any cable franchising arrangement should be treated by the city or county as a utility, in which the cable company is obligated to provide a stipulated level of service in exchange for the franchise. Customer service access should be one of these stipulations.

  • Jeff W.

    There are two types of auto-pay. You can sign up with Comcast and have them take the money out every cycle. Or you can sign up with your bank/credit union and have them send the money every month.

    If she had the first, Comcast would have stopped taking money. If she had the latter, her bank would never have known the Comcast account was closed and would have kept sending money every month, I assume that is setup she had.

  • Fishplate

    The last time I had a problem with my cable company, and couldn’t get results from the 1-800 number, I went to the county franchising office and got a local name and number. Once I had that, I got my problem resolved pretty easily.

  • cscasi

    Sounds to me like she had “customer service” access. He called several times, spoke with representatives and representatives called back several times when she did not answer his phone and e-mails were sent to him. Granted, probably not anywhere near “good” customer service and as Fishplate and you mentioned, speak to the city or county franchising office (they do collect revenue each month as a tax which customers se eon their bills).
    And, we do not know how long she had to wait before he got his refund. Was it a few weeks, months? I know she states a representative told him ten days and that apparently did not happen. But, she did get his money back. Perhaps next time (if one arises), she will pay attention to her automatic bill pay and not forget to turn it off!

  • Extramail

    And, that is why I don’t and, will never, autopay. And, yes, maybe Im little amazed that $5800 goes unnoticed for any amount of time.

  • Barthel

    I don’t know how $5800 could go unnoticed. It’s a good practice to look at your checking account every few days, especially if you have a debit card.

  • Grant Ritchie

    Easy… Chris keeps that much in the ashtray of his Mercedes. :-)

  • PolishKnightUSA

    I don’t autopay with bank accounts. It’s too much access for a vendor to have. But for CC’s, sure. I then check my statements monthly.

  • pauletteb

    I do the same. Why not get the points for bills I pay anyway?

  • judyserienagy

    Wow, this is nonchalance taken to a ridiculous plane. How many YEARS did this go on before she noticed? Given the ease of fraud today, I can see ComCast taking several months to research this before sending her a refund. I thought by now that everyone knew that bank statements need to be balanced and credit card statements scrutinized quickly to be sure nobody has established access to your accounts.

  • Altosk

    I tell everyone take their cases to social media. Remember that Hampton I wrote about in the forums? The one that treated my sister like garbage? They were supposed to give her 40K Hilton points. When she couldn’t find them in her account after two months of waiting, she tweeted to HiltonHonors and within 24 hours they were there. Social media is a powerful weapon when dealing with apathetic companies; bad press is hard to erase.

We want your feedback. Your opinion is important to us. Here's how you can share your thoughts:
  • Send us a letter to the editor. We'll publish your most thoughtful missives in our daily newsletter or in an upcoming post.
  • Leave a message on one of our social networks. We have an active Facebook page, a LinkedIn presence and a Twitter account. Every story on this site is posted on those channels. The conversation ranges from completely unmoderated (Twitter) to moderated (Facebook and LinkedIn).
  • Post a question to our help forums or ask our advocates for a hand through our assistance intake form. Please note that our help forum is not a place for debate. It's there primarily to assist readers with a consumer problem.
  • If you have a news tip or want to report an error or omission, you can email the site publisher directly. You may also contact the post's author directly. Contact information is in the author tagline.