So you want to cancel Comcast. You’re probably dreading it (and with good reason.) You might remember the story of Ryan Block, whose attempt to cancel Comcast went viral when Comcast just… wouldn’t let him cancel.  Maybe you’ve even read one of the many horror stories we’ve compiled of people trying to deal with Comcast. (Here’s a fun new one: Comcast refused to cancel service for an 86 year old woman after she had to move to a nursing home after a stroke.)

Well, have no fear. You can cancel Comcast. You can cancel it today and you can cancel it without waiting on hold for hours. Whether you’re technically cancelling Comcast or Xfinity, we’re going to walk you through a foolproof way of cancelling your service.

Updated 04/24/19: There are a lot of details to keep track of when you’re figuring out how to cancel Comcast, but for those of you looking for a quick and easy guide, here goes:

How To Cancel Comcast

  1. Call Comcast Retention at 1-800-XFINITY
  2. Have An Excuse (like moving) Ready
  3. Be Firm, but Stay Friendly on the Phone
  4. Make Sure to Return All Your Comcast Equipment
  5. Call Comcast Back and Double Check on Everything

Okay, so now you know the five steps of how to cancel Comcast. Interested? Let’s dive a little deeper and make sure you don’t miss anything.

1. Speak to Retention

Cancel Comcast Retention
The most important first step is making sure you’re talking to the right people.

First things first, speak to the retention department. There’s no one phone number for the retention department, but if you call their main number (1-800-XFINITY or 1-800-COMCAST or really whatever is on the bill), just answer the menu by telling them you want to cancel. Their menus can be confusing, but don’t be discouraged. Don’t talk to billing. Don’t talk to technical support. Don’t say you’re transferring service to a new address. All of those will take you to the wrong (often overseas) department. Just say “Cancel Service.” That’s all you want: “cancel service.” If you want help, you can look at their phone trees (or skip the process entirely) by using GetHuman.

Once you get to to a person, ask them if they’re with retention. If they’re not, ask to get transferred. Literally nobody else will be helpful. Okay, good, you’ve said you want to cancel your xfinity service, you’re speaking to the Comcast retention department, now what?

2. Prepare Your Excuse

Moving and Cancelling Comcast
The surest way to get Comcast to let you cancel is to say you’re moving.

Say you’re moving far, far away from Comcast. In 2015, The Verge leaked a Comcast employee manual that gave the reasons why you can cancel service. Comcast made them take down the manual, but we caught that list of reasons why you can cancel Comcast before it was taken down. Here they are, presented to you in all their glory:

Save Attempt is Not Applicable in the Following Scenarios

  1. Customer is moving in with an existing Comcast customer (CAE must verify Comcast services active at new address)
  2. Customer is moving to a non-Comcast area (CAE must verify by looking up zip code)
  3. Account holder is deceased / incapacitated
  4. Temporary / seasonal disconnect and Seasonal Suspend Plan is not available in their area
  5. Natural disaster
  6. Customer doesn’t know what address they’re moving to

Most of these are out: playing dead doesn’t work so well, moving in with somebody else raises all sorts of questions, they’ll probably notice if you claim you’ve been hit by a tsunami in Ohio, and they have seasonal service plans pretty much anywhere. But saying you’re moving to a non-Comcast area is the secret to cancelling your Comcast service.

Personally, I recommend saying you’re moving out of the country. You can do like Ken did and say you’re moving to England.  Or, have a little fun with it–Timbuktu, Pulau, Liechtenstein–feel free to make up whatever you want. Just make sure you’re moving out of Comcast territory. Saying you’re moving to Philly isn’t going to work. The important thing is that if you tell Comcast you’re moving somewhere they don’t service, they’re not going to fight you.

It’s tempting to tell the rep all the reasons you’re actually cancelling your Comcast/Xfinity service. They charge too much and their speeds are too slow and your TV went out last week. But if you tell them that, they’ll offer a discount and a speed upgrade and a tech visit, but you’ll be back at square one. Pick your story and stick to it. The rep you’re talking to isn’t the reason you got charged too much and you’re better off swallowing your complaints and sticking to the plan.

Stuck with Comcast? If you can’t or don’t want to cancel entirely, we can help. We negotiate with Comcast to get you a better rate without losing any service, guaranteed. Try our free savings calculator to find out how much we can save you! How much can I save?

3. Stay Firm and Be Friendly

Be Friendly When Cancelling Comcast
The Golden Rule: The way you treat the rep when cancelling will reflect the way they treat you.

Comcast will try every trick in the book to keep you around. They’ll offer you a better deal, they’ll offer to move the service with you, they’ll offer free HBO and free internet upgrades and free home phone. They’ll tell you that you can get a better deal with a contract. They’ll try to get you to call back and cancel another day. Don’t listen to them. Politely and firmly tell them you want to cancel, but remember to be nice about it.

The Comcast rep you’re talking to holds your fate in their hands. They can shut off the service too early or just stop sending bills and keep charging you until you get sent to collections. If you’re nice to your retention rep, they’ll set up cancellation on the right day, send out boxes for the equipment, and tie everything up with a bow. If you’re rude, they can make your life miserable. The next step is preparing for either.

4. How to Return Comcast Equipment

(without getting unreturned equipment fees)

Returning Comcast Remote Equipment
Always be careful when returning Comcast equipment. A remote stuck in the couch can cost you.

One of the most dangerous parts of cancelling service with Comcast is how to the return Comcast equipment. Whether you’re returning a modem, digital adaptors, or even a remote, Comcast will charge you if you don’t return it the way they want. Unreturned equipment fees are the bane of any Comcast cord-cutter. And they would much rather charge you than have that old remote back. There are countless stories online to back that up.

First things first, ask Comcast what equipment they have on file as you owning and write it down. Write down the serial numbers they have on file. If you listened to us, you probably already bought your own modem but beware. One of Comcast’s favorite tricks is to have unreturned equipment on the account. You may have forgotten that last year they signed you up with “free” TV service that came with a digital adaptor you put in the back of a closet somewhere. Once you have a list of everything you need back, document, document, document.

You can return equipment one of three ways: in a prepaid box, at a Comcast store, or at a UPS store. Take photos of all the equipment, including serial numbers. If you’re putting them in a box to send back, take photos of them in the box. If you’re taking them to a Comcast store, you can find one here and then take a picture of them on the counter. If you’re dropping them at a UPS store, take a picture.

No matter what, get a receipt. Then, take a photo of the receipt. Keep records of everything. There’s a good chance that they mess something up and the only way to contest it is evidence. Get them to send you emails about the cancellation, get them to give you a tracking number, have someone at the Comcast store give you their ID number. The more evidence you have, the better. That brings us to the final step: confirming everything went through correctly.

5. Call back to confirm the cancellation

cancelling comcast call
The most useful thing you can do after you’ve cancelled Comcast? Make sure you cancelled Comcast.

The most important part of cancelling Comcast service is confirming that you’ve actually cancelled the service. Once everything is done, call Comcast back and ask them the status of the account. Ask them if there is any outstanding balance. Ask them if there is any unreturned equipment. Ask them if your service is completely cancelled. If you aren’t told that it is, get them to finish everything up and then call back again.

If you’re not cancelling the service entirely, call back anyway. If you’re just cancelling TV or phone service, but keeping internet, they won’t give you a good deal on the first call. They’ll tell you that you can only get discounts by keeping TV. If you call back a month later, all of a sudden they’ll have all sorts of new deals for you. Plus, you might find out they didn’t cancel your TV at all. Always call Comcast back to double check.

You Cancelled Comcast!

You cancelled Comcast!
Congratulations on cancelling Comcast!

Congratulations! You’re a rare breed. It’s not easy to cut the cord, but if you follow those (not so easy) steps, you’ll be all set. Call retention, say you’re moving out of the country, stay firm and be friendly, return all the equipment, and double check everything. If you do all of that, you might just get out of the clutches after all. If you’d rather just negotiate a lower rate with them, you can always have BillFixers do it for you. Either way, you can breathe easy knowing you’re free of the worst company in America.

You’re being overcharged by thousands of dollars. We negotiate for you to get you a better price on your monthly bills. You’ll keep all your same services, but we’ll get you a better price for them. Start saving now!

Ben Kurland is one of the Co-Founders of BillFixers.