Pay Us $0.00 Or We’ll Cancel Your Broadband – Adventures in dysfunctional broadband billing

It would be interesting to see what Comcast would do if you sent them a check for $0.00 … would they try to cash it?

Gizmodo notes that several Comcast customers are apparently being told that they need to pay their outstanding balances of $0.00, or they face having their broadband connection disconnected. The website also posts the complaint of a Charter Communications customer who actually did have their broadband service terminated for failing to pay their $0.00 bill. These kinds of errors aren’t that uncommon, and you’ll often see them in other sectors outside of telecom. One user has an explanation for the billing phenomenon:

It happens because your bill has sub-cent values in it. What happens is your bill comes out to $90.521, which is printed as $90.52, and you pay $90.52, but your account balance is actually $0.001. Most companies ignore this (remember the old “fractions of a cent” bank interest?) and just round the bill to the nearest cent. But companies like Comcast and others often collect the total and then put in a line item like “Bill rounding” every so often to keep things “even”.

On a positive note, one impacted Comcast customer says the company gave them a ten dollar credit for the inconvenience of being threatened for having no (or virtually no) balance.
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