Comcast’s Protection Racket

Beat the Hidden-and-Delayed Fee

Remember how The Mob once sold “protection”? Offered deals “too good” to refuse? Comcast has modernized the old protection racket: The Comcast Protection Plan replaces rough stuff with the hidden-and-delayed fee: If a non-protected consumer has a problem with Comcast cable TV reception, a techie visit starts with a $28 fee. But what if the visit is to fix what Comcast broke?

Why a technician shows up is of no matter to Comcast’s Billing Department. Techie shows, you pay if not “protected.” With 9 years of Comcast experience, the latest techie needed 4 minutes to determine my pixilation problem* was from Comcast broadcast problems or poor main line maintenance.

Either I sign up for Comcast Protection or pay for what Comcast breaks. A call for service is an opportunity for Comcast to collect what I call the “hidden-and-delayed fee.”

How Comcast Plays the Game: Keep the fee off the form a consumer signs when the techie finishes. Delay notice of fee. Add it to the Comcast monthly statement, which is seen long after the service. Funnel inquiries through the Billing Department during its 40 working hours Monday-Friday. Route questions to a Comcast overseas outsource operation. Transfer to Comcast USA only under duress.

Consumerist Takeaway: After a Comcast techie is done with a service visit, call Comcast Billing a few days later to check for a charge. My call was outsourced to the Caribbean outsourcer that said the visit triggered the $28.10 hidden-and-delayed fee because I lacked protection. I insisted on transfer to Comcast USA, which waived the $28.10 fee. (Comcast outsourcers do not issue credits.)

*See my April 22 post, “Comcast Wants Me to Risk My Life.”

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One Response to “Comcast’s Protection Racket”

  1. Josh Saintperle September 16, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    Hmmm — last time I called Comcast for a problem, the person on the phone told me that if it was THEIR equipment, it was free, but if it was MY equipment, there would be a $28.00 charge —
    EXCEPT, she said, if I signed up for their $1-a-month protection, it would be free either way, AND, she said, you can cancel it the day after the visit, which I thought was quite consumer friendly.
    Since I had gone to Comcast after having been diddled mercilessly by Earthlink — lied to repeatedly about a technical problem — I thought that was downright friendly, that their phone person would advise me on the best way to game the system.