Tenth (tenth) wrote,

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Professional Billing Disservices

I haven't dealt with Comcast in a while, but they don't disappoint.

While their phone support has been great, both patient and friendly, as well as the requisite "helpful", and their service has been working out very well for me at the new place (especially after the service tech labeled our wires, to discourage any other wandering telecom guys from unplugging our house... You'd be surprised at how often this happens in my neighborhood!) the one thing I remembered the most about previous dealings with them was their billing system.

They hadn't really contacted me much at all since installation, just an email noting that it might take my first bill might "take some time" to arrive. I had also tried to sign up for an account on their website in the hopes of paying or even just seeing my outstanding balance, but you need a special PIN number to do that, which would theoretically be mailed to me.

Which it was... not. But they did send me what I wanted the most, after a month of radio silence: A bill for almost $400, and an friendly yet stern admonishment for my lateness, and my failure to cleverly guess the amount and (somehow?) manage to have already paid it before the bill or Online Account Establishment PIN number arrived.

Thanks, Comcast!

It was cool, though; I still had almost six days to take care of that before they sent a collection agency after me. And they included a brochure encouraging me to sign up for paperless EcoBilling, to avoid crap like this in the future. Which I did! After I called them to get my secret PIN number, which they still hadn't sent me (unless it is somehow secretly Bible Encoded into my statement or one of the many other brochures it came with.)

Another fun note; While I signed up for the account using an email address, they can't email me any of the relevant information. They also can't give me the PIN number over the phone, even though their call system was aware that I had Comcast Digital Voice service and was using it to call them; They had to call me back (via call waiting) on that number before they were convinced. Now... I get that you can spoof caller IDs, but it just seems weird that they can't tell WTF is happening on their own VOIP network. I mean, they are actually my phone company... You would think if anyone knew the score on that one, it would be them.

Anyway, even after signing up for an online account and selecting two more secret awesome PIN numbers, my online paperless EcoBill won't take effect for at least 45 more days (possibly more!), after this current billing period and well into next one. So I ALSO had to fill out all my bank information again in order to make a one-time payment for my current balance (which may take up to three or more days to process... So it may still possibly be "late".) Which came with it's own magical adventures, since the Payment system is designed to encourage you from overpaying; They do grudgingly acknowledge that this is the right thing to do in certain circumstances, such as if you are "paying a printed bill before an auto-payment takes effect", but it also seems to be in-frigging-evitable given how their billing system works.

So if I understand this correctly, I may have to make one (or possibly two?) more "blind" payments, re-entering all of my bank and contact information each time and also clicking through a lot of "Please don't overpay your apparently empty balance!" dialogs before any of this song and dance becomes even vaguely automatic. Hopefully I won't have to move again before that happens.

And I thought my company's own home-grown billing system sucks! (Turns out, it is so far in advance of regular human billing systems as to seem Magical in comparison.)

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