We recently came across a post by Seth Clifford, a blogger whose parents' house in New Jersey was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy and is still in danger. In this time of climate change, when humans no longer know waht to expect from Mother Earth, it can be comforting to have a few solid truths on which to rely.
In this case, however, that solid truth isn't comforting at all. From Seth:
She was trying to explain to them that they stood to lose the entire house in an explosion and that the authorities were having trouble even reaching the area to cut the gas to prevent this. She mentioned that she wouldn’t be able to return the cable box and equipment because the storm had basically destroyed the area, and the house was perilously close to being destroyed completely as well.
Comcast’s reply to her?
We’re very sorry, but the price of the equipment will be charged to your account if you’re unable to return it.
That’s right: in the middle of a natural disaster, the worst our area has seen in decades, at a time when my parents have already lost one house and stand to lose the other, as well as everything in it (remember, it’s not a rental so it’s fully furnished and they live there for part of the year – there are family keepsakes, antiques, and the like) – at a time like this, Comcast has essentially told my mom “tough shit”.
We only wish that reporting this story was shocking, surprising, and rare but it isn't. Unfortunately, we see reports like this on a regular basis. Responses are also usually scripted and go something like this response to the Consumerist, which requested a comment:
We have already reached out to apologize for adding to his parents’ difficulties and to ask for his parents’ contact information so we can call to personally apologize and assure them that we are handling the equipment without the need for them to do anything further. Please know we are working with our teams to ensure we handle all customer calls on a case-by-case basis with sensitivity to the devastating effects Hurricane Sandy had on so many of our local communities and residents. Again, we are of course notating his parents account to ensure they are not charged for equipment they can’t return.
Without the Consumerist to intervene, let's hope they are not compelled to wade through flood waters dressed in fireproof gear. Once again, Comcast lives up to our pitifully low expectations - way to go!