Comcast customers who lost—or still don't have—cable, phone or Internet service in the wake of Hurricane Irene have a nasty surprise in store for them when they seek to get credit for their downtime. Comcast says they won't be crediting customers who lost service during the hurricane because it was an "Act of God". UPDATED
*Comcast has responded saying that they will be issuing credit on a case by case basis. The full statement is below.
What does that mean to you if you lost service during the hurricane, or still a week later don't have it? It means you'll be paying for the internet, the phone, the cable you never received.
I stumbled upon this while dealing with my own cable, phone and internet issues that left me without any service for six days and running.
When I contacted Comcast in the days following Irene I was initially told I'd be without service for a day and would receive credit for the loss. When I called two days later, I was told it would be two days, but I would receive credit. When I called six days later I was told they didn't know how long it would be and that when it was restored I would not be receiving credit for the lost service.
"Wait, you're telling me you're going to try and bill me for service I never received," I asked the customer service agent.
"We're not going to try. We will be billing you," he responded.
Another customer service representative verified the information with a supervisor, but sounded as incredulous as I felt when he came back to the phone.
The outage, he explained, is now considered an "act of god".
"I can't believe we're going to do this," he said.
He suggested I call back when the service was restored for credit.
"I can't believe we're not going to give credit," he said again, before telling me to have a nice weekend.
Update: Comcast's senior director of corporate communications responded to our request for comment, saying that what customer representatives, and at least one supervisor, were telling me last week is not true.
Here's their official statement about credits for customers impacted by hurricane Irene:
"In most cases, for customers who did not have cable service, it was a direct result of a commercial power outage. In a small number of cases, customers might not have had cable service even after power was restored due to more extensive damage caused by fallen trees, poles and/or flooding. In these cases, we will work directly with customers to issue credits on a case by case basis."
The spokeswoman added that the company has "re-issued information to our customer care representatives" to make sure they're telling customers the correct thing.