D.C. Man Sues Comcast Over Error That He Claims Cost Him $26,000

ComcastBy Abby Ellin

In June 2010, Marc Himmelstein called Comcast (CMCSA) of the District LLC to cancel his cable and high-speed Internet services in his Northwest Washington, D.C., home, Courthouse News reported.

Comcast told Himmelstein he was due a refund of $123.19. The company's equipment was removed from Himmelstein's home, but a modem was accidentally left behind, and Himmelstein was charged $220, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Sept. 6, 2012.

Himmelstein, the CEO of National Environmental Strategies, a D.C. lobbying firm, had no idea that he still had the modem, or that he owed Comcast a dime. He learned about his "debt" in August 2010 when he called Comcast to ask about the $123.19 refund.

He was told that as soon as he returned the missing modem, the charge would be removed. That is exactly what Himmelstein did, and he contacted Comcast "on at least three occasions," according to the court filing, to make sure it had received the modem. While Himmelstein didn't receive a written notice, he was informed Comcast had fixed the error, and that his refund was en-route, the filing states.

Except it wasn't. Not only did Himmelstein never receive the $123.19 refund, he had no idea that the $220 charge had been forwarded to Credit Protection Association, and that in December 2010, CPA had reported the late charge to three national credit-reporting agencies.
Himmelstein is not the only unhappy Comcast customer who has experienced difficulties with the cable service. There is an "I Hate Comcast" Facebook page, along with an anti-Comcast blog set up in 2009, targeting Comcast.

Himmelstein said he learned about the credit reporting filing in the spring of 2011, when he tried to refinance his mortgage with Citibank (C), and his credit report showed that his account was in arrears thanks to the Comcast charge. According to the claim, "because of this outstanding debt, Citibank required Himmelstein to pay an additional $26,000 (1 percent of the value of the mortgage) for the same loan." He paid it.

Himmelstein and his lawyer, Matt Finkelstein, of Bethesda, Md., filed a breach of contract claim and negligence against Comcast in D.C. federal court. They have also sued the Credit Protection Association for negligence and violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Himmelstein is seeking to recoup the $26,000 that Citibank required him to pay to refinance his mortgage, attorney fees and the $123.19 credit he was owed when he first closed his account, which he has still not received.

On Oct. 22, Comcast filed a motion to dismiss all charges. Last week, District Judge James Boasberg partially dismissed claims for constructive fraud and a "bad faith" breach of contract.

"The accounting mistakes made by Comcast in handling Himmelstein's account – while unquestionably frustrating – do not raise an inference of bad faith sufficient to state a claim for breach of covenant," Boasberg wrote.

But Boasberg refused to dismiss the negligence claim against Comcast because, he wrote, unresolved questions remain about the company's duty to Himmelstein.

Both Comcast and Himmelstein declined to comment to ABC News. CPA did not return phone calls from ABC News.

See more stories on ABC News


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

What Is Your Risk Tolerance?

Answer the question "What type of investor am I?".

View Course »

Investor’s Toolbox

Improve your investing savvy with the right financial toolset.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

18 Comments

Filter by:
subhababu

Emails are so much better

March 21 2013 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
virginmrq

this guy is an idiot on many counts.
#1 when you go to get a mortgage,check your credit reports and make sure everything is in order.
#2 dont do anything by phone.emails are so much better,even better than writing a real letter my snail mail
#3 who on God's green earth would pay $26,000 for a debt owed of $221?
this makes no sense at all.
what a maroon.

December 19 2012 at 8:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to virginmrq's comment
stuart100s

Read it again, he didn't pay 26K for a 221 debt. Quit calling other people vile names. It makes you look like an ........... well, you know how it makes you look.

December 19 2012 at 10:17 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Rich

Stupid is as stupid does. Comcast doesn't owe him $26000 for the decision he made to go ahead and refi his loan. He should have put the loan on hold, gotten the issue with his credit report fixed and then gotten the loan. But when the bank told him about the issue, he saw dollar signs that he get not just that $26K back but more besides.

December 19 2012 at 7:07 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Calvin

Good luck Marc,I'm rooting for ya.

December 18 2012 at 9:31 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
jeff

I personally have made certain comcast never steps on my property. We have standard trespassing complaints against their solicitors, and I have removed their cable from my home. As they refused to remove a hanging cable, I tied it to my truck bumper and yanked. Amazing, when 78 houses go out, they fix the problem.

December 18 2012 at 8:46 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jeff's comment
Calvin

WTG jeff !

December 18 2012 at 9:34 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
jbrian922

I really hate comcast as well but in my area it's my only option and they know it they took away a package that I had when I signed up (which they said would never change) and basically made me upgrade so they can get $30 more out of me a month! I can't wait until I move so I can switch to someone else.

December 18 2012 at 5:20 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Smitty

I just plug my cable wire into a wall outlet once a month. Makes me feel good watching them try to fix all the blown boxes

December 18 2012 at 1:41 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
tomjet529

$26000 cable bill? WOW thats a LOT of PORN!

December 18 2012 at 12:43 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mccglf

People can talk about Walmart, etc all they want. Comcast is the absolute worst company there is to try and do business with. Perpetual automated answering....poorly trained staff and ridiculous charges. THE WORST.

December 17 2012 at 11:13 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
John

any idiot who has comcast or time-werner deserves any and all screwing , poor service and unbridled vicious serve they get...

HEY ALL YOU JERKS GET RID OF BOTH OF THE ABOVE AND ENJOY LIFE!!!!!!!

LET THE LIBERALS HAVE THESE PIG-VOMIT COMPANIES--RUN DONT WALK AWAY---HAVE YOU READ THE WALL STREET JOURNAL-----AGAIN THEY ARE BOTH THE WORST IN CUSTOMER SERVICE AND ANYTHING ELSE YOU CAN THINK OF--GET RID OF THEM--AND TELL YOUR FRIENDS

December 17 2012 at 10:26 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply