Published on June 12, 2020 by the FairShake Team
When it comes to companies that consumers have a lot of problems with, internet service providers might just top the list.
ISPs have a reputation for being bad actors. Think about it — when’s the last time you heard anyone mention they needed to call their ISP with anything but dread in their voice?
It’s not a baseless bad rep, either. ISPs have ranked extremely poorly on the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) yearly consumer survey since 2013, the first year they were included. Consumers have consistently been less satisfied with ISPs than with health insurance providers, airlines, or even the postal service.
As the ACSI wrote in its 2019 telecommunications report, ISPs are “still falling short of providing good service at an affordable price.”
In an industry that has an overall bad rap, Comcast sticks out.
Earlier this year, we mapped out the most hated ISPs in the country by state. In a whopping 10 states, Comcast was the ISP people had the most problems with, and dreaded dealing with the most.
In fact, that data made it look like Comcast might be the overall most hated ISP in the entire United States.
Based on FairShake data and Consumer Affairs reviews from across the nation, Comcast earned that top spot by netting hundreds of one-star reviews from consumers who reported experiencing poor customer service, slow internet speeds, misleading sales tactics, hidden charges, and other problems.
All that is to say, if you’ve been overcharged or treated unfairly by Comcast, you’re not alone. In fact, the company has settled several lawsuits by agreeing to refund customers who were overcharged or charged unfairly in recent years.
It can feel like a major uphill battle to get justice against a company as large and powerful as Comcast. But there are resources that can help you, and we’ve gathered several of them here in this article.
Ready to cut ties with Comcast and get the refund you deserve? Here are some steps you can take to fight back if Comcast is overcharging you.
First things first. If you’ve been overcharged or unfairly charged by Comcast, you might want to cancel your account to make sure you don’t rack up any new charges while you’re fighting for your money back.
But companies like Comcast make sure that breaking up is hard to do. While many services allow you to cancel online just by signing into your account and terminating it, Comcast definitely does not. There’s unfortunately no simple way to cancel your Comcast account.
Follow these steps, though, and you should be able to successfully end your account.
The first hoop you’ll have to jump through is making a phone call. Comcast won’t cancel your account if you contact them online — you have to call. The exception to this is in California, where Comcast is required to allow customers to cancel online. Since their contracts are automatically renewed unless the customer takes action, they fall under the California law that requires companies to allow customers to cancel subscriptions online if they were purchased online.
If you’re not in California and you need to call, the number will be on your bill, likely either 1-800-COMCAST or 1-800-XFINITY.
Follow the phone tree instructions to reach the right department for canceling your service. The menu can be confusing, but keep repeating that you want to cancel. Don’t talk to billing or technical support, and don’t say you’re transferring service to a new address. Keep saying “Cancel service” until you get a person on the line, and once you do, ask if they’re with retention. If they are, you’re good to go. If they aren’t, ask them to transfer you.
When you call, know that the sales representative on the other end of the line is literally there to try to talk you out of canceling. They’ll pressure you every way you know how to try to get you to give up on ending your account.
That’s why it’s a good idea to have an excuse prepared in advance, even if it’s a little bit of a white lie. Saying that you’re moving is a good option, because if you’re leaving your current address, the salesperson can’t talk you into keeping your internet service there. Sure, they’ll try to convince you to just switch service over to your new address, but you can sidestep that tactic by telling them you don’t yet know your new address. Don’t give them a city or a state — just keep telling them you don’t know where you’re moving. You’re right if you think it doesn’t make sense, but it’ll work and that’s what’s important.
As the Comcast sales representative dials up the pressure to try to get you to stay, it can be tempting to either give in, or lose patience. Don’t do either. Do your best to stay polite, but firm.
Remember that the person on the other end of the call is just following their job directive to try not to let people cancel their service. Being rude or losing patience won’t help you cancel your account, but staying firm and repeating that you’d like to end your Comcast service will.
Before getting off the phone, ask what equipment they have on file for you having. Write down serial numbers for everything.
You’ll need to return all of it, and you’ll need to return it exactly how Comcast wants you to, or they’ll (very happily) charge you for it.
Once you have your list, you have three options for returning everything: in a prepaid box, at a Comcast store, or at a UPS store. Take photos of everything, with serial numbers in view, throughout every step of the return process. Get a receipt for shipping. Keep records of everything, so if Comcast tries to charge you for unreturned equipment, you have evidence to fight that charge.
Once you’ve canceled your Comcast account and returned all your equipment, call back and ask these questions:
These questions will confirm that you’ve completely canceled your account and won’t end up with any more unfair charges from Comcast that need fighting.
Getting a refund from Comcast can be next to impossible — there are countless reviews and online threads that will tell you that.
Here’s what Comcast offers if you search its support site for “refund.”
Less than helpful, we know.
If you think Comcast owes you money back due to overcharging or unfair charges, you might consider pursuing another avenue.
According to the contracts customers sign with Comcast, they can only sue the company if it’s in small claims court.
Still, if the amount you’re owed by Comcast falls under your state’s limit for small claims, this could be a good option for you to get the refund you deserve.
Suing a company in small claims court can take a long time, and unless you meet certain court standards for low-income plaintiffs, you’ll need money upfront to pay filing fees when you submit your case to the court. You will also be responsible for “serving” Comcast, or correctly delivering paperwork to the company, following rules set by the court, to let them know they’re being sued. After you handle all the paperwork, pay your filing fees, and serve your lawsuit, you’ll still have to show up in court at the assigned time and date.
Comcast may or may not show up in court to defend itself. Either way, you’ll need to present your side of the story to a judge, who will make a ruling. The judge may award you the money that Comcast owes you, but also may not.
We offer a more detailed guide for suing Comcast in small claims court, in case that’s the avenue you want to take to fight back against overcharging. But as you can see, suing any company in small claims can be costly, time-consuming, and extremely complex. It’s easier to navigate the process with a lawyer on your side, but that adds yet another cost you’ll have to pay.
Looking for a simpler and more affordable option? You might want to consider binding arbitration.
The same small print in your Comcast contract that prevents you from participating in a class action lawsuit, and limits lawsuits to small claims court, also gives you another option for fighting back against the company: Consumer arbitration.
Arbitration is similar to small claims court in some ways. You’ll still have to gather evidence and submit a claim. Only this time, there will be no court date or judge. Instead, you’ll be assigned an arbitrator, who is an independent third party who is specially trained to help two parties on opposite sides of a disagreement reach a resolution. It’s similar to mediation, only whatever the arbitrator decides is legally binding and typically cannot be appealed.
What makes arbitration a simpler process than suing in small claims court is that you don’t have to do it alone. You can submit your claim to FairShake, who will then help you file paperwork and navigate the process. And since arbitration costs companies money, Comcast is likely to settle the claim before it reaches that stage. Either way, FairShake can help you decide what to do next.
Ready to see how you can fight for the refund you deserve from Comcast? If you’ve been the victim of Comcast overcharging, or unfair charges from Comcast, reach out and see how you can get your fair shake.
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