A Cautionary Tale

If I had known how desirable my Apple ID email address is, I would have put it up for sale.

After talking to Apple Support it appears somebody tried to have my Apple ID reset earlier today. Luckily, I set up two-factor authentication and set up an alternate email address for any notifications about altering my account.

More Comcast Fun

You just thought my issues with Comcast were in the past, right? I was concerned that the multiple people at Comcast Support who promised me that I would be fairly compensated for my outages and the billing would be correct would in fact be speaking the truth, but of cource since this is Comcast it isn’t that simple.
I’ve been tracking my Comcast account online through the “Customer Central” web site and as of yesterday it had the following posted at the very top of the page:

Total due $33.51

What would you think is meant by “Total due by 05/22/2012: $33.51” when you read that? Yep, that’s what I thought, too. However today I checked my bank’s online account system and see that Comcast’s AutoPay charged me for $93.51. Hmmmmm, that’s strange… it doesn’t match what it says it the “total due.” In fact, it’s off by exactly sixty dollars. Remember that number.

So I look at the account online and see a bunch of generic charges and credits — none are itemized to reflect what they’re actually for so there is no way to tell. At the bottom of the page is a section called “Pending charges” that lists a $60.00 amount, again with no way to determine what these charges are:

Pending charges

There is a link on the page to download a copy of my paper statement, but it was generated on 27 April and does not reflect any of the credits (and apparent charges) on the online account activity page. So I called Comcast billing support and got the BIG RUN-AROUND.

I first called in and got “Tommy” (OPID 19392). I asked him a simple question: “Why does the amount due listed on my online account page not match what I was actually charged?” I hoped that he could get access to specific itemized charges and credits that added up to $93.51 and tell me why the top of the page says $33.51 instead. Tommy didn’t understand, and I suspect people like Tommy are kept on to frustrate and confuse honest, hard-working customers who need specific information. He placed me on hold four different times for multiple minutes to “verify” something (he never said what he was verifying) and then he still did not appear to understand my original question. I asked him for his operator ID because I try to document all of my conversations with Comcast with specific names or ID numbers and he was very hesitant to provide me his ID number. I had not yelled, insulted or demeaned him during our conversation; I had only explained that I didn’t think he understood what I was asking about. I wanted to document the call, not file a complaint against him. Begrudgingly he finally gave me his ID number. I then asked him to escalate me to a supervisor so I could explain why question.

After over four minutes on hold somebody answered and quickly told me her name, but the person speaking apparently had a bad or malfunctioning headset because there was a lot of static whenever the person was speaking. I couldn’t even understand her name, and then when I explained that the static was preventing me from hearing anything she was saying clearly and was distracting me when I was trying to talk she said nothing. Eventually I asked that she call me back on the number on my account because the call quality was untenable. I hung up at the 21 minute mark. No one called me back.

I called back into the main support number again and was eventually connected to “Kenneth” (OP ID 33715). He seemed to sort of understand my question, but he wanted to explain to me the entire billing and statement process, which was not my original question. I point-blank asked him “Why is the number on the account page say $33.51 when I was charged $93.51?” He again wanted to walk me through the intricacies of my bill, when the statement is generated, etc. I again asked for a clear and current statement that itemized all of the charges that added up to $93.51 because that is what Comcast billed against my AutoPay bank account today, but he said that I did not understand what he was saying. I then asked him to escalate me to somebody who could provide me with the itemized list of charges and credits and he said “they will tell you the same thing.” I finally asked him, since I had now spent most of my lunch hour on the phone, to have somebody call me back to explain the charges specifically. I honestly doubt anyone will call, based on past performance from Comcast.

My biggest gripe at this point is that the only up-to-date information about my bill that I can access online says the total due on 22 May is $33.51 but Comcast took $93.51 from my bank account. If they cannot provide itemized documentation for the charges when I request it I feel they have committed theft. Until they they attempt to explain it to me I will tell everyone I know (including the investigative teams at the local TV channels) about Comcast’s despicably-low level of customer support and their THIEVERY.

Update 25 May 2012: I’ve just noticed that Comcast has not adjusted the amount I was charged and it was still $93.51 as noted in my bank’s online account info page:

When I access my Comcast online account page I see that I currently have a credit for $60.00 on my account, which jives with what I was told on the phone. It appears that Comcast cannot or will not remove the $60 charge for May and has credited to my account for June. Meanwhile, they have $60 of my money for a whole month that a) they do not deserve, and b) could not adequately explain. I won’t get my formal statement until the 27th so I STILL DO NOT have any type of itemized explanation of the amount I was billed on the 23rd of May. Again, unless they can explain to me in detail what they charged me for I consider it theft.

Update 2 for 25 May 2012: I had a voicemail from “Heather at Comcast Corporate Escalation” confirming that I had called and requested more information about my billing. She also told me what I had already gathered, that I was erroneously billed for a technician visit and something called a “HD Technology fee” (WTF does that mean) which accounted for the pending $60 charge. She said she had credited my account the $60 and it would appear on my next billing cycle. Way to call late on Friday afternoon before a long holiday weekend — that’s shows lots of guts.

So, Comcast, you’ve already told me the original issue was not in any of the cable or equipment on my property yet you’ve billed my twice for technician visits at $50 each and some mysterious “HD Technology fee” even though the problem was caused by a damaged trunk cable in the alley? And you’ve bungled the billing where I cannot even determine what these charges are and your representatives are unwilling or unable to explain it to me? Oh, you’ve managed to charge me for items that were not appropriate for the problem anyway and took the money from my bank account? You’ve now issued a credit to my account but you’ll go ahead and keep my $60 for another month until the next billing date?

I’d be in jail if I did this to somebody. What a crock. After the weekend when I’ve had a chance to calm down a bit I’ll be finding a new broadband provider and canceling my TV and internet service as I don’t appreciate being overcharged and robbed.

I’m So Lucky

I’m glad to have people looking out for me, especially the guys who realized my sat-nav/stereo head unit was approaching six months old. After returning home from a fun St. Patrick’s Day in downtown Denver I turned in early-ish. About 2:30 AM I was awakened by the sound of my vehicle alarm and looked out the window next to the bed just in time to see a car speeding away from my truck. Yep, I had been hit again. Might even have been the same guys as last time, too, based on the speed and manner of the robbery.
Oops, they did it again

To make matters worse, the weather-predictors say that we should expect light rain overnight tonight. In the past I’ve had the window replaced the following morning after the crime. This time it’s Sunday and there is apparently not a single glass shop open in the Denver metro area today. I improvised with a large sheet of plastic and some duct tape (I knew my Okie upbringing would come in handy some day).

Another crappy day

Wednesday night was boring. The dogs and I watched some television (including another Rockies’ loss) and went to bed about 11:45 PM. A typical weekday night. All was well.

I awoke to the sound of my truck’s alarm sounding. I grabbed my glasses and my phone and headed outside. My neighbor Kevin from across the street was already outside too, headed towards my truck. “They were fast!”


I was the victim of a “smash ‘n’ grab” — my vehicle had been staked out and then in the dark of the early morning the thieves pulled along side my truck, smashed the window and made quick work of prying the dash apart and pulling my sat/nav head unit out. Kevin said he heard the alarm and saw a car speeding off down the street but didn’t get a description or plate number.


I called the police and since it was after-the-fact it took a while for an officer to arrive. The officer took my information and gave me the all-important report number that the insurance company will want. I was wide awake at this point and laid on the couch for a few hours trying to doze off. Even late-night programming could’t knock me out. I finally went under around 6 AM but quickly woke up so I could start cleaning.

The safety glass is great if you’re in the truck in an accident but it’s a bitch to clean up. There was shattered glass everywhere on the street, in the front seats and the back, in the cup holders, in the bits of the gear shifter, and almost everywhere else. I cleaned up the large pieces and cleaned off the driver’s seat so I could drive over to the car wash and vacuum out the remaining glass.

My insurance company did dispatch a glass service company to replace the window today. I have to visit the drive-in claim center early Friday morning with my receipts for the stereo to get my estimate for repair work and replacement of the sat-nav. Hey, at least it will be Friday of a three-day weekend, right?


Well that’s a bummer

Here in Denver we had a winter storm roll through early yesterday morning that didn’t dump a lot of snow but enough that I had to shovel. My heavy gloves were in my truck and yesterday I grabbed them out of the back seat. I did notice that a couple of books that normally are in the seatback pockets were on the floor but I had a passenger back there on Saturday so I didn’t think anything of it, nor was I suspicious when I noticed that all of my gloves were on the back seat and not in the front center console storage where I normally keep them. Wasn’t anything abnormal enough to get my attention.
Today I got in the truck to clean the snow and ice off so I wouldn’t have to deal with it tomorrow morning in -20 ° F weather. In the front seat I immediately noticed my XM Skydock was missing, although the antenna cable was still in place. I quickly noticed papers sticking out of the glove box and several items on the floor and I realized that I had been robbed. No windows were busted so I assume I forgot to lock the doors Sunday evening. I do this sometimes if I am unloading stuff from the truck. I’ve taken an inventory and so far I am missing:

Luckily, the thief didn’t notice the storage bins under the back seats where I keep all of my first aid and winter survival gear (first aid kit, ropes, leather gloves, Gerber multi-tool, collapsable shovel, and much more).

I called E-470 to report the transponder as stolen. They verified it had not been used this year and told me they would list it as stolen so if it is used it will be sent straight to the Colorado State Patrol along with the photo of the offender’s license plate.

So I learned a lesson and it didn’t cost much too much. I have to make a better effort to remember to lock the doors every time I get out of the truck, and I have to remember there are scumbags who roam my neighborhood at night looking for unlocked vehicle and house doors. I hope somebody catches the douchebag.