$4 to pay bill over the phone with a real person...
, Comcast started charging customers in many markets an additional $1.99 fee if they wanted to pay their bill at the local Comcast office. While $2 may not be a huge amount, the move annoyed many people in principle. Comcast employees at the time justified the added cost by arguing that the additional manpower required needed to be offset by an additional fee.
Now The Oregonian
reports that Comcast, in addition to the yearly rate hike, has started charging customers $3.99 extra to pay their bill over the phone through a live operator. Humans will still help you with other issues for free. You can also, of course, still pay your bill for free if you're willing to use the company's automated systems:
Theressa Davis, a Comcast spokeswoman, pointed out there are still several ways folks can pay bills for free. Customers can pay online, visit the company's service centers throughout the city or mail bills. They also can inquire about their bills and -- if they ask -- be transferred to the computerized operator before they're be billed for the call.
Comcast isn't alone in the practice of charging extra for human contact. We know that Time Warner Cable and Charter also charge extra to pay a live person at a payment center in many markets. Keep in mind that many companies won't take your payment in person at all. Can we expect a future where you have to pay extra for technical support that doesn't consist of a robot reading a first level support script?