Hey Comcast, Where's My Missing $5,800?

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Comcast owes Cathy Coffey $5,800. Why is it taking so long to refund her?

Question: I overpaid Comcast by $5,800 after I switched to satellite TV and forgot to cancel autopay. Earlier this month, a representative promised me a refund within 10 days. But so far, I've gotten nothing except a runaround.

Comcast will not return my phone calls or emails. I have not been allowed to speak to a supervisor and, frankly, only get return calls from reps saying they will look into it. They also do not leave direct numbers for me to return these endlessly unproductive calls. They send emails saying they tried to call, but I am not staring at my phone all day waiting for them to call, and would be happy to call back.

As a 30-year-plus executive of a major media company with significant cable, television and other holdings, I resent Comcast's public commitment to customer service. It does not translate to their employees and their attitudes towards the customer. Or in my case, former, and never again, customer.

To add insult to injury, for some reason my latest statement indicated that Comcast owes me a thousand dollars less. I would appreciate a real response followed by prompt action. Can you help? -- Cathy Coffey, Woodstock, Ga.

Answer: Comcast owes you a full refund, of course. But I would be patient. After all, you forgot to cancel your autopay and didn't notify the company about the problem for many months. What's a few more weeks?

Truth is, companies don't just cut refund checks without doing their due diligence, and the process can take time. The bigger the company, the longer it can take.

Clearly, Comcast was giving you the runaround. After the normal channels failed to yield the desired result, you could have appealed to a Comcast executive. And, failing that, you could have asked me to help -- which is what you did.

Here's how I see it: Yes, you need to monitor your bank account carefully to avoid being billed $5,800. But Comcast needs to put systems in place that will allow for a prompt refund. I understand a little foot-dragging, but you'd been waiting nearly a month when you contacted me, and that's more than enough. You were giving Comcast an interest-free loan, and that's not right.

This case ended with a lot of drama. After a week of back-and-forth -- and following repeated threats by you to take your case to social media and other consumer advocates -- Comcast overnighted a check to you. You received it just as I finished writing this story.

Christopher Elliott specializes in solving intractable consumer problems. Contact him with your questions on his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google or sign up for his newsletter.