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Thursday, February 9, 2006

Strange Billing Occurrences

Sheesh, Bright House Networks has got to be running one of the most retarded customer billing systems on the planet. I think I’ve gotten my recent issues solved, but I’m still not sure I understand it completely. Admittedly, this blog entry is probably more for my benefit than yours. I just needed a venue to try and spell everything out so I can understand it.

Apparently, my troubles started with the bill that was due December 31. Keep in mind that I’m paid monthly, not bi-weekly like most people. Because of this, any bills that are more than a couple of ten dollars I generally have a hard time dealing with until after my direct deposit goes through. My payday is the 25th or the first business day after. Even though the office managed to make the December payday the last business day prior to the 25th, because I was out of town for the holidays, I didn’t manage to get back and work through my bills until the first week of January.

My normal due date for Bright House is the last day of the month. Statements are run on the first business day of the month. Since Bright House did not receive my December payment on time (though still within the grace period), my January bill ran showing a past due balance. To compound the problem (and I admit this was entirely my own fault), I procrastinated at the end of January and didn’t get that month’s bills worked out until February 3. So I’ve had two Bright House statements in a row showing two months’ worth of amount due.

Coincidentally, the first statement showing a balance due was also the first month of Bright House’s new billing system that produces different-looking statements. The due date on these statements was showing as the 21st of the month. I really don’t know if this has always been the policy or if it started in January, but what I finally found out is that the due date automatically backs up 10 days if a customer has an overdue balance showing. Don’t know why, but it just does. The catch-22 for me is that I’ve now got to get the full amount due to Bright House before the next due date before it can reset back to the last day of the month. But remember, I am paid on the 25th and it’s tricky for me to pay my larger bills before I get my salary (yes, I have a lot of services on Bright House, so it’s not a tiny bill). So if I don’t manage to take care of it, I might perpetually receive statements showing double what I really owe.

Wait, this gets better. Another snafu of that December bill was that Bright House tried to charge me $6.99 for a Premium On Demand movie that I never purchased. I called to get it credited and they told me the new amount I owed. Dummy me, I didn’t check their math, and they only credited me for half that amount…sort of. The January bill actually showed the full $6.99 credited amount, but when I called tonight, their system reported I still owed the half amount of three bucks and change. Tonight’s call—during which I asked to be elevated to a supervisor—finally (I think) cleared that up.

Now, for the grand finale—and this is the sole part that earned this entry a Rant category. There’s a very dangerous precedent in Bright House’s billing system. When I picked up the HD cable box with the digital video recorder, I opted to not pick up a second remote control since I was keeping my standard recorder box to put in my den, and the remote is the same for both systems. The guy at the counter where I picked up the box simply made that notation and moved on, failing to tell me one tidbit of information—that I’d still see the monthly charge for the remote!

Now, we’re only talking about 31¢ for an extra remote, and the supervisor I talked to tonight credited my account that amount for each month since I picked up the HD box in October. The problem is not a meager 31¢. The problem is that their billing system (so they say) cannot bill for a cable box without a remote, even if you choose not to take one! The dangerous precedent is apparent when you ask what would stop Bright House from coming up with more services for which they would have to charge regardless whether you receive them?

! ! ! ! !

So, they’re sending me out a second remote, coz I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay even a few dimes for something I’m not benefiting from. I guess the old one will just sit unused next to the box in my den. I hope I don’t misplace it.

I know this was a very long spiel. The meat of the message here is to advise any Bright House customer to scrutinize their bill every month and don’t just blindly pay it. Sure, that’s good advice for any service you regularly pay for, but it’s easy to be lax on Bright House bills.

Don’t be lax!

» Posted by ALBj at 08:08 PM (ET)
Category: Journal, Rant


I could see my cable service doing that. Luckily for me, I’m happy with the set package that I have and I’ve never had something placed on my bill accidentally, so my bill is the same amount each month. To avoid not getting it paid on time, I set up an automatic payment for it and make sure I always have enough in my checking to pay for it. Now don’t get me started on T-Mobile not calling me for 3 months after my credit card expired and instead just let the charges build up. They took care of it, but what a pain in the rear.

» Posted by Queue
February 10, 2006 12:16 AM

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