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As someone who reads and writes over at DSLReports and Android Authority, I see a number of stories per week which involve a person receiving bills from their ISP even when the customer owes nothing. Eventually, the local newspaper or TV station talks to the ISP PR person and the issue gets straightened out.

But, something in this recent story in the Chicago Tribune really just stuck out to me.

To summarize, a woman orders TV/Internet service from Comcast. Within two weeks, she calls to cancel her service (well within the 30 day cancellation window) and was told that she owed nothing. The Comcast installer then comes to pick up her equipment. Then…..

In March, a bill arrived from Comcast, indicating she owed almost $300, she said. Then came calls from a collection agency. Although the amount the agency claimed she owed Comcast was smaller, $137.45, Johnson was livid. She insisted that she should owe nothing. But the collection calls and letters continued. The last straw, she said, was a recent letter in which the collection agency threatened to hurt her credit if she did not pay the money immediately. Johnson emailed “What’s Your Problem?” – Chicago Tribune

So, the Chicago Tribune got a spokesman to get everything straightened out. What exactly was the problem?

“The customer did cancel service within the thirty-day period, but because we did not remove the equipment in our system, the account could not be closed,” Segal said. “The equipment will be removed from the account, and we will update her credit report.” – Chicago Tribune

The error at issue is what makes this story stand out. How exactly was the equipment not removed? Is this not a completely standard move by Comcast employees? How could someone not see this obvious issue when the woman initially called in?

It’s also hard for me to understand why Comcast is so embarrassingly inept at removing equipment from their system. Let’s do a simple google search for other Comcast customers with equipment-removal issues:

  1. http://www.philadelphiaspeaks.com/forum/philadelphia-business/32939-fing-comcast-again-equipment-charges-despite-fact-i-returned-equipment.html
  2. http://stopthecap.com/2012/12/18/comcasts-erroneous-billing-and-collection-actions-ruin-d-c-mans-credit-costs-him-26000-penalty/
  3. http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1169907/
  4. http://www.creditinfocenter.com/community/topic/300517-comcast-account-in-collections-but-i-just-returned-my-dvrequipment/

Again, the issues that people are having with Comcast equipment is something that should be resolved within a single phone call and something that even the most basic customer rep should have the power to change.