Customer Sues Comcast, Claims Company Got Him Fired after Complaint about Bill

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Conal O’Rourke (photo: ABC News)

Conal O’Rourke of San Jose was pretty upset during his numerous conversations with Comcast over a year’s worth of screwed up bills and let them know how he felt in no uncertain terms. But that was nothing compared to how he felt after the cable provider called his employer and got him fired.

At least, that’s the “simple and chilling” story he told in the lawsuit he filed against Comcast last month in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Comcast, the country’s No.1 cable company, is currently seeking to merge with Time Warner Cable, the No. 2 company.

O’Rourke claims he was overcharged for services, denied free premium services he had been promised and eventually sent equipment he didn’t order, for which he was charged $2,000 after signing up for Comcast television and Internet service in February 2013. His name was also misspelled as O’Kourke, making it difficult for him to communicate with Comcast.

O’Rourke met with a Comcast assistant manager in May 2013 and was assured the initial billing problem would be cleared up. It was not. He left a voicemail for the Comcast employee in August 2013, but never heard back.

O’Rourke tried to cancel his service in October 2013 but was wooed into staying with Comcast by the promise of a free DVR, three months of free Movie Channel viewing and an end to his billing woes. That didn’t happen.

About a month later, Comcast shipped 12 unordered random pieces of equipment to O’Rourke and charged him $2,000. He returned the equipment in December and met with a Comcast agent and her manager to discuss the ongoing billing mistakes. He followed up with a letter in January to the manager detailing the status of his complaint.

In February, O’Rourke’s bill was sent by Comcast to collections for being two months overdue. It was not. O’Rourke said the collections agent he talked to agreed that the account was not overdue and the next day O’Rourke contacted the Comcast controller’s office and tried to talk to Comcast Senior Vice President Lawrence J. Salva, the company’s chief accounting officer about the problem. O’Rourke didn’t get through to Salva, but suggested to an underling that perhaps he would file a complaint with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. The board is a non-profit corporation established by Congress, which oversees accounting practices of public companies.  

That didn’t go over real well.

O’Rourke said he immediately received a call from a senior executive at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), where he worked, who said Salva had called to complain that O’Rourke had invoked PWC’s name in an attempt to bully Comcast. O’Rourke claims he never mentioned where he worked.

PWC provides consulting services to Comcast and Salva used to be a former partner there, according to the lawsuit.

PWC fired O’Rourke two weeks later after one telephone interview with his company’s Human Resources department and ethics investigator.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Man Sues Comcast, Claims ISP Got Him Fired over Billing Dispute (by Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica)

Comcast Sued by Customer Who Claims Company Got Him Fired (by Chris Matyszczyk, CNET)

Conal O'Rourke v. Comcast Corporation (U.S. District Court of Northern California, San Jose Division)

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