By Kurtis Ming

It’s really something walking through Janice Rablin’s home.

She’s “70-something” — though the feisty senior won’t tell you just exactly how old she is — and she has pictures that go back just as far.

So if you’ve shared a laugh with her in that time, there’s a good chance your picture is on a wall somewhere in her house.

And there’s a good chance that picture is hanging near one of her many pictures of Perry, her husband of 56 years.

When Perry developed Alzheimer’s, Janice said it was a rough transition. He eventually entered an Alzheimer’s care unit.

“[I didn’t think] there would be a time when I’d have to take his name off [bills],” she said.

To keep her records straight, Janice thought it’d be a good idea to change the couple’s half century of accounts and bills from his name into her own — but one there was one bill she couldn’t get changed: her Comcast phone bill.

“I’m just trying to make things as simple as possible,” she said.

The company told her she needed to physically bring in proof of Perry’s hospitalization to the nearest Comcast office.

In this case, that was about 50 miles away in Chico.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” she said. “I’m the one that’s writing the checks.”

What’s more, Janice said she can’t drive.

“It would be more of a mess if he passed on,” she said about the account. “If something happened to me, then it would be on the kids.”

So what does it really take to change the name on an account?

“It doesn’t always comport with what people want,” said Gary Almond of the Northeastern California Better Business Bureau, adding that these policies are meant to combat identity theft and they often vary from company to company.

“It really is up to each carrier, to what extent that they’re going to go to,” he said.

A number of phone companies, including Verizon, SureWest, Wave and Frontier, told CBS Sacramento that changing the name on the account is an easy fix done via phone or fax.

Janice said she’d faxed documents to change the name on other accounts, but said Comcast insisted it had to be done in person.

A Comcast representative confirmed this policy, saying it may be easier for a customer to cancel service and then subscribe under a new name.

Janice didn’t think much of that strategy: “We’re building mountains out of molehills here!”

After CBS Sacramento got involved, Comcast said it would make a “special exception” to it’s policy for Janice, but said most customers will still have to bring in paperwork to get a name change.

“Our normal policy for changing the name on a telephone account due to an ill spouse requires that appropriate documentation (such as a power of attorney) be presented in person,” said a representative. “Given the special circumstances that prevent Mrs. Rablin from appearing in person, we worked with her behind the scenes to change the account to her name and quickly resolve the issue.”

“I’m glad it’s over,” she said, “but I sure feel like I had to eat a lot of crow in order to get this problem solved.”

Comments (4)
  1. Mary says:

    I, too, was given this information. My husband passed away and I was able to change everything to my name over the phone EXCEPT Comcast! Not customer friendly and very disturbing.

  2. still kicking says:

    Here’s an idea in cases like that. Just stop paying the bill. That will get their attention real fast. I certainly understand the concern over identity theft but this is not a case where someone could be trying to get credit in another person’s name. These are bills to be paid. If someone wants to steal my identity to pay my bills that works for me. I’ll even let them come over to watch Comcast TV with me and provide the beer and chips.

  3. Ariel says:

    Comcast’s customer service stinks, period.

  4. Mike says:

    yet another reason why Comcast sucks and SureWest rocks…

Leave a Reply