A Dumb Typo Saw Comcast Penalize the Wrong Guy For Heavy Data Usage

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When a programmer from Tennessee returned home off vacation, he found Comcast hassling him for using 120GB of data while he was away from home. But it turns out that a simple typo in Comcast’s records was what saw him copping the blame for someone else’s data habit.

In a very thorough explanation posted to Paste Bin, the programmer—who’s going by the name Oleg—describes the saga in some detail. Essentially, his story describes how he was bewildered by the rate at which Comcast claimed he was chomping through data: 120GB during his vacation, 50GB in a single day, that kind of thing.

Oleg says that he’s “not a high-bandwidth user... I am not a gamer, and I do not stream anything beyond the occasional Youtube video.” In fact, he even took a 6.5 day vacation from using broadband to see how Comcast’s figures changed when he didn’t use his connection. During that time he relied on a tethered phone. At the end of the experiment he’d only used 8GB of cellular data; the Comcast counter claimed he’d used 66GB, even though his router was unplugged.


After a series of what sound like incredibly maddening telephone conversations with Comcast, he eventually found out the problem. Speaking to Ars Technica, Oleg explained that “[i]t turns out their system had my modem MAC address entered incorrectly, there was an off-by-one typo that was hard to see so they were counting data from some modem who knows where.” In other words, a dumb typo saw him being charged for data that had nothing to do with him whatsoever.

During his investigations, Oleg was apparently told by a Comcast employee that its data meters are “94.6% accurate”—so this may not be an isolated case. Luckily for Oleg he was a programmer, but others might not have the same technical skills to fall back on. If the same thing happens to you, though, it’s clearly worth fighting Comcast for a proper explanation.


[Paste Bin, Ars Technica]

Image by AP