Customers pay a high price for privacy, and still don’t get what they paid for
RIO LINDA (CBS13) – Stepping outside onto her backyard deck, Kim Jason dialed 411 and waited.
“Rio Linda for a Kim Jason,” she said. Within seconds, she got not only her own phone number but her home address as well.
“And I’m paying for a non-listed phone number,” she said, hanging up, frustrated.
For the past 19 months, Jason has paid $1.50 per month on her Comcast bill because she didn’t want people to know where to find her.
“I’ve called them numerous times,” she said. “I paid for a service. I want my service!”
Companies are not* allowed to “include the telephone number of any subscriber assigned an unlisted or unpublished [phone] number,” according to Public Utility Code Section 2891.1.
But Mindy Spatt of TURN, The Utility Reform Network, said the law has no teeth and places no penalty to companies who break it.
“We do need fines and penalties when companies screw up as they did in this case,” she said.
Spatt said a simple mistake can put someone’s safety at risk.
“A woman who lives alone may not want her address listed,” she said. “A lot of people may not want their address listed.”
After CBS13 got involved, Comcast blamed the problem on a glitch but had it fixed within 24 hours.
“This was a highly unusual case,” a Comcast representative said in a statement. “We are taking internal steps to ensure that it does not happen again.”
The company credited back Jason’s “non published number” payments and gave her a free month of cable, internet and phone service.
Kim said she still has some other problems on her bill she’s working out, but she’s happy she finally has the privacy for which she’s been paying.
“I’ve tried and tried and tried and couldn’t get anywhere,” she said. “Thank you.”