Comcast mistakenly posted online the contact information of nearly 200,000 customers who paid the company a monthly fee to keep their phone numbers private.
In November, Comcast’s Xfinity unit found that the names, phone numbers, and addresses of customers who didn’t want to be publicly listed were posted on Ecolisting.com, the Philadelphia company’s online directory.
This isn’t the first time Comcast has mistakenly released customer contact information. In 2015, the company agreed to pay California $33 million to settle claims of accidentally publishing the names, phone numbers, and addresses of about 75,000 people who paid to keep the information private. In that case, $432,000 went to about 200 law enforcement officers, judges, and domestic abuse victims who said they faced safety concerns because of the leak, which lasted from 2010 to 2012, according to the Associated Press.
On Friday, Comcast said it fixed the latest error as soon as it was discovered, but by then the contact information had been online for less than a month, a company representative said.
Xfinity residential phone customers could pay a monthly fee to keep their phone numbers off Ecolisting.com and other directories. In Pennsylvania, Comcast charged $3.50 a month to not publish or share numbers; but the company is ending its directory listing service.
The cable giant shut down Ecolisting.com on Thursday to ensure that the issue didn’t happen again, and won’t share customers’ contact information with third parties, either.
Comcast notified affected customers in January and gave customers a one-month credit for the fee plus an additional $100 credit. The company said affected customers can change their phone numbers for free.
“We have corrected this issue for our identified customers, apologized to them for this error, and given them an additional $100 credit,” Comcast said in a statement. “We are working with our customers directly to address this issue and help make it right, and are taking steps to prevent this from happening again.”
Comcast said the error affected about 2% of its 9.9 million residential phone customers. The company declined to say how many customers were affected in Pennsylvania or New Jersey.
The mistakenly published numbers weren’t received by directories that license Comcast’s listings, but the company acknowledged in an online forum that customer information may have been taken from Ecolisting.com and could be available on online directories or other public sources.