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I just spent 2 hours with Comcast for a erroneous bill issue. In the end, it went my way, the charges I questioned were not supposed to be on my bill. They had a mis-communication.

My question is, can I bill them for my time since this was their problem? Has anyone ever tried this?

I want to bill them for the hourly rate I typically make (from what it says on my pay stub).

I'm probably wasting my time, but I want to make a point. Is this valid?

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4 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Did you have an agreement with the company, in advance, that you were performing a service for them at a stipulated rate? Else, your "work" was pro-bono, charity, free, whatever you want to call it. Too bad, so sad.

On the other hand, if you did suffer demonstrable damages as a result of their error, you could try and pursue it in court, but, 2 hours of your time? ... good luck with that ;-)

Your best bet is to ask for some kind of credit, if you're willing to put a bit more time into it and talk to the right people at the company. But you might get nothing. While a credit isn't cash, if you were to continue using their services, it's something, and some companies make it a practice to offer credit to satisfy a long-time customer's complaint.

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Makes sense, I figured this would be too easy :-) –  Matt Feb 23 at 23:58
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When calling companies about their errors, I usually close the call with the question "How can I get compensation for the costs I made during this call?". Almost every company I ever dealt with have some kind of department for this which can help you get a compensation. Most of the time they will refund at least your phone bill for the call. Sometimes they are willing to compensate you further.

I explicitly ask them “how to get a compensation” and not “if I can get a compensation”, this way you let them know that you are aware that you can get a compensation. Worst case scenario is they tell you it's not possible, in which case you can trust them on that. Best case is they redirect you to the right department to get it sorted immediately. I noticed when asking “if I can get a compensation”, the answer is usually no.

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Interesting answer. I no longer get an itemized phone bill. But it would be a great way to show the time involved. –  JoeTaxpayer Feb 24 at 15:35
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It's certainly not unheard of for customers to ask for and sometimes get payments for time they have to waste getting a company to correct their errors.

Here's an example for a utility from the UK (around $3k), and another involving a telecom company in New York State (over $5k).

I did send an invoice to my bank a long time ago for the time I spent getting them to correct an error (this was back in the days when fixing a problem involved writing letters on paper). It was only a token reasonable amount, but they immediately paid.

Having said all that, I think it's unlikely you'd be able to reach a person at a company like Comcast who has sufficient authority and interest in doing the right thing for a customer, there are just too many layers. But no harm in politely asking (in writing) -- if it doesn't take up too much time!

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Matt, the last article I wrote, 'Dear Citizens' was a letter to my bank. It described how I opened an HSA, funded it, but even after the check cleared, was unable to operate the account. The punchline was that for a week, the bank pointed their finger at the third party bill pay provider, who in turn said the bank rejected the payment request. The funds were not cleared, and for whatever reason took 7 extra days.

I spent no less than 4 hours cumulative time trying to resolve this matter. No one returned a call that was promised or sent an email. I was angry, but kept my cool on the phone, and once I saw the payments working, decided to write about it and cut it loose.

No, you will not collect for your time. Imagine if we could all bill the doctors that habitually ran an hour late. Not going to happen.

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