REDWOOD ESTATES (CBS 5) – A growing number of doctors, therapists and other professionals are now charging clients who fail to show up for appointments, but what can you do if you get stuck waiting for a delivery or repair and the person doesn’t show up?

Anya Orr’s internet service stopped working the day after Christmas. Admittedly, not the best time of the year to have a service problem. But the Redwood Estates resident says it took her four days and dozens of calls for her to finally get through to a service representative.

“The first thing you hear is that they have a high volume of calls,” Orr told ConsumerWatch. She said she’d hang up after waiting ten minutes or more.

When Orr finally did get someone from Comcast on the phone, he was in the Phillppines. Orr said he made an appointment to switch out her modem the following day, but no one showed up.

“Not only did nobody come, nobody even bothered to call me,” she recalled.

It was an expensive hassle for the single mom, who works in retail, and stayed home from work to wait.

Comcast’s Customer Service guarantee promises customers a $20 credit if a service person is late or doesn’t show. But California Law goes a big step further. Civil Code Section 1772(a) allows customers to collect up to $600 in damages if a repair or delivery person fails to show up within an agreed-upon four hour window. That is, provided the company that sent the repair person has 25 or more employees. To collect, customers will have to sue in small claims court and prove how much the no-show actually cost them in terms of wages, or other losses.

“This puts pressure on the companies to live up to their commitments,” said law professor Robert Talbot of the University of San Francisco Law School.

Talbot said companies are allowed to change plans, but they are supposed to inform the customer.

“If they try to reach the customer and the customer isn’t available, there isn’t any liability,” Talbot continued.

After ConsumerWatch contacted Comcast, the company sent a repairman to Orr’s house the next day. Company Spokesman Bryan Byrd admits the company did “drop the ball.” He also apologized and said Orr would be receiving a credit for $20 and the cost of two months of internet service.

Comcast Statement:
We apologize for any inconvenience Ms. Orr experienced. We have resolved the issue with her modem and also have credited her account. Comcast is committed to providing all of our customers with a consistently superior experience.”

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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