Comcast Customer Uses "Unlimited Service" Excessively, Gets Disconnected For A Year

UPDATE: Comcast responds.

Comcast asked Frank to cut back his unlimited internet usage. Frank was confused. He thought unlimited meant, well, unlimited. Frank was wrong. Very wrong.

Comcast replaced Frank’s faulty cable modem in November. Frank’s wife received a warning from Comcast in December. Their excessive internet required upgrading to a business account for an additional $10 per month. Maybe $20. The CSRs weren’t clear. Frank decided something wasn’t right and stopped trying to resolve the situation.

January 19, Frank tries to check his e-mail. No internet. No internet? NO INTERNET?! Frank’s wife calls Comcast. There’s a note in their account. They must contact Comcast’s Ministry of Love Network Abuse and Policy Observance Department.

Comcast accused Frank of downloading 305GB in November and 297GB in December. It’s Comcast’s policy to suspend any account that exceeds usage limits twice in any year. Doesn’t Comcast advertise unlimited use? What are the usage caps? Comcast representatives would only say “I’m sorry but I cannot divulge that information.”

Frank escalated the call until reaching the omnipotent Geovanny. The dialogue from his conversations with Comcast, inside…


Me: Can I please speak with a manager. I would like to escalate this and find a resolution.
Geovanny: There is nobody available. I’m the only one in the department and my word is final.
Me: I thought Scott was also part of the “Policy and Abuse Department”. So you have more than just one employee. I’d like to speak with whoever writes your checks.
Geovanny: It’s just me here.
Me: Even the CEO of the company has to account to somebody such as the board of directors.
Geovanny: As far as you’re concerned, I am the CEO
Me: I understood Brian Roberts was the CEO of Comcast? If a complaint was directed to him and the board they would need to take action in resolving this problem. We did not receive sufficient notification and your customer service was clueless to the problem with our account last month.
Geovanny: He would just bounce the complaint to me.
Me: I’m looking at the caller ID number. It says you are calling from 856-638-4000. Customer Service last month said I shouldn’t see an 856 number if it was a legitimate call from Comcast to my state.
Geovanny: We’re an up and coming department and don’t go through the normal Comcast lines.
Me: So how do I know it’s not some guy trying to gather information on me. Ever heard of identity theft??”
Geovanny: I don’t know. You should have taken the call seriously however.
Me: “You have to be kidding me”. People can spoof a caller ID phone number easily (I checked Google in December). So how can I take it seriously? I would have expected a letter or something.
Geovanny: We prefer to make a phone call to personalize the communication.
Me: That being said, how come Customer Service didn’t know of the problem with my account?
Geovanny: Customer Service doesn’t have access to our database.
Me: Why the @#$@ not?
Geovanny: It’s to protect our customer information
Me: Somehow I don’t feel very protected. Your customer service has access to my name, phone number, address and other personal information when we signed up. Your organization has failed miserably. Don’t you understand. I have no other options for internet without Comcast. Not even DSL is in the area? Had I known there was a
problem I would certainly have taken action.
Geovanny: There is nothing to be done now.
Me: In my research I’ve learned that Cox Communications had the same problems as you guys and in 2003 they caved in to customers demanding they post the bandwidth/data caps… and it will happen with you guys sooner or later.

Ok. Comcast won’t budge from its perch atop Mount Jerk. Dial-up is the only alternative, and let’s not kid ourselves. Dial-up is as viable as biking across the Pacific.

Frank did what we would do: call Comcast and ask to sign up! He got an ambitious frontline CSR, Ryan, who tried to arrange a business account. But that note from the Network Abuse and Policy Observance Department was a deal-breaker. Frank, a Senior Systems Engineer with seventeen years of professional experience, even offered to build a separate linux firewall to guarantee his traffic wouldn’t exceed usage limits, if only Comcast would say what they were. No dice.

Frank’s wife got ahold of Sarah, head of Comcast’s Ministry of Plenty Escalation Department. The February 1 conversation below:

Me- Hello
S- I’m looking for Frank or Elizabeth
Me- I’m Elizabeth
S- This is Sarah from Comcast …
Me- Oh yes you called last night and I tried to call you back and left you a message.
S- I know, I had to leave early yesterday.
Me- Ok, So what’s going on?
S- Well we aren’t able to give you residential or business acct., but we can give you a commercial acct.
Me- What is that?
S- It would be a direct line for your own use connected to your house.
Me- Wow, how much would that be?
S- About $1700 to install and then about $1000 a month service fee.
Me- What the? Are you kidding me, we can’t afford that!!
S- Well that is your only option.
Me- Why not the business account?
S- You use to much to be eligible for those accounts and since you have a business that uses so much broadband, you need to have your own direct line.
Me- We have a very! Small business and have had it for 3 + years and never had this kind of usage as has been the last few months. That is a ridiculous thing to suggest and doesn’t make any sense. We have 6 children and a budget. This is outrageous and I can’t believe you would even consider suggesting such a thing. Would you do it?
S- No, I don’t need it and you have a business that apparently does use that much.
Me- Haven’t you heard anything that we have been saying as to our ideas of why the usage was so high. Like the spyware that my husband found on his machine that was piggy backing and downloading through our line. Also it isn’t a coincidence that the same month our modem was switched that the usage went through the roof. That would cause it if it wasn’t capped.
S- We have never had that happen before. It was checked and it doesn’t seem to be the problem and as to spyware you should be using an application to detect such things so you don’t have those problems.
Me- He does have those and it still can happen and did, and as to the modem I don’t believe you could have checked it, since it isn’t running right now and it is too much of a coincidence to ignore.
S- What is done is done, we can’t reverse it, but you can get the commercial line.
Me- No we aren’t going to do that. There is no way we could afford that. You are basically leaving us without any real options and that is unacceptable. We don’t have any other ways to get high speed internet and DSL isn’t in our area. But that doesn’t matter to you.
S- I understand how you feel but we can’t do anything about it.
Me- I don’t think you really do understand or you wouldn’t be doing this to begin with.
S- I am sorry you are having this problem, but you ignored the warning.
Me- Are we back to that again. As far as I am concerned you all are responsible for our loosing the internet acct. If the customer service had actually confirmed to us that there was a problem we would have looked into it and tried to resolve it last month. We wouldn’t have ignored it. We rely on internet a great deal. My husband needs it for work and we wouldn’t have wanted to jeopardize that.
S- We are sorry that the customer service didn’t deal with you properly and we are dealing with that. All the same you were called and you were given a direct number to call the abuse team directly.
Me- We tried with what we had and just got messages and so we tried to call customer service to help us. They told us it was probably a hoax and to ignore it. They should have had some kind of note logged in our acct. to confirm a problem. Based on what they told us, what were we to seriously think. Want to talk about confusing.
S- I can understand how you feel and they shouldn’t have said that.
Me- It seems to me that you all should take responsibility for your part in this mess. Your customer service should have given correct information to us. As a result you should be dealing with the result and be apologizing and trying to rectify the problem.
S- I understand how you feel, but we can’t do anything about it.
Me- You know thinking about it, when I did talk to the abuse team that they even had suggested a business acct. upgrade and based on what you are saying we wouldn’t have been able to do that either.
S- They shouldn’t have suggested that. Based on your usage the business acct. would have been to light for your use.
Me- So they gave us the wrong information too. So how can we be blamed for something you all are telling us. How are we supposed to know what to do?
S- Well you should have limited your usage for starters.
Me- We don’t normally use that much. We have been with Comcast for about 4 years and have always been doing the same thing, nothing has changed and now we have excessive usage. I just don’t see how that is possible. We need a residential or business acct. We will make sure we don’t go over our limits, whatever those may be.
S- I understand your dilemma. But based on recent history, you would be back to square one and we can’t take that chance of reversing the acct. and letting you back on to do the same thing again. You will have to wait til Jan 2008 to get reconnected.
Me- I don’t think you are getting it. Aren’t you caring at all about the predicament you have put us into? There is no way we can wait a year and you know it. That is nuts.
S- We apologize for your inconvenience, but you should have dealt with it.
Me- It seems to me we are just running this around in circles, not getting anywhere. So it doesn’t matter our reasons and no matter what I say nothing will change your mind. Is that where we are at?
S- That is right, we can’t help you at this time.
Me- (Looooooonnnnnnngggggg pause, trying to keep from crying). I finally say, well I guess there isn’t anything left.
S- I’m sorry.
Me- I’m sure you will be. Bye
S- Thank you and have a nice day.
Me- (mumbling and rolling my eyes) yeah right.

No unlimited internet. No explanation. We’d be pissed, too.

In twelve months, Frank can submit an “application for reconnection.” But only if he agrees to abide by Comcast’s Terms of Service.

It’s not as if Frank’s relationship with Comcast is completely severed. Though he’s still without precious service, the business account Ryan created just sent Frank the first, of what we expect will be many, bills. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Comcast Broadband Dispute

Comments

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  1. yahonza says:

    Unbelievable.

    I’m an attorney, and I would really like to see their advertisements at the time Frank signed up, and the contract(s) he signed. I just can’t see how they think they can get away with this.

  2. Scuba Steve says:

    I don’t think an ISP has used “unlimited” in an advertisement since the dot.com bust.

  3. xbillybobx says:

    I just got the same call today. All they will specify is that you must “drastically” reduce your usage.

  4. royal72 says:

    not that i’m a fan of comcast or any other of the wonderful companies we share our thoughts about on here, but i understand their position. it’s lot of bandwidth for the average residential customer, however they’re the idiots who specified unlimited service. if that’s not what you’re selling than you can’t advertise it as such. honor what you sold and if that means you get screwed for some extra bandwidth, than that’s your own fault comcast.

  5. grant0 says:

    I agree that that is a ridiculously large amount of bandwidth, but if it was caused by an unavoidable virus, well there’s not much you can do about it. Besides, if you advertise that you are receiving unlimited bandwidth, you should be able to download as many TERAbytes as you want, not get cut off at a couple hundred GB.

  6. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Hmm, that’s kind of like “Verizon’s unlimited” wireless data plan where they suspend your account and accuse you of downloading porn if you use too much bandwidth.

    Either it’s unlimited or it’s not.

    I, too, would like to see the contract. I suspect it’s purposely vaguely worded to make people think they have unlimited service when they really don’t. Of course, since Comcast won’t say, it’s really hard to tell. Yet another case of corporate smugness when the company knows they have no competition and almost no regulation.

  7. Motor_Head says:

    Okay, let me summarize:
    1. Comcast calls and says they have gone over the “limit”, please call us back.
    2. They try to call back, but it seems shady, so they call regular CSR who tells them it is shady, and not to worry.
    3. They drop the matter.
    4. One month later they are without internet, and cannot have the spiggot turned back on. There is no record of them being told the call was shady.

    There is more, but that is what it boils down to. Let this be a lesson for all consumerists: Document every call with a CSR, get their ID # and their name.

    Also, when someone calls from Comcast…it is always shady. Just accept the shadiness of it all.

    /shady.

  8. facted says:

    grant0: While I agree with the overall principle that the if a company offers “unlimited” service, it should be unlimited, I don’t agree with the “unavoidable virus”. No virus is unavoidable. If you run some decent protection on your computer, you save yourself (and the whole internet) a lot of problems including the flood of spam and DoS attacks that are happening all the time. Too many novice computers users are being used as zombie machines, and people need to start taking care of that. This seems like an interesting way to start…

  9. wishlish says:

    It isn’t just Comcast that does this. In 2004, my internet connection from Cablevision was suspended for over a week because my upload rate was too high. I was using BitTorrent, and because I had uploaded at over 20 kbps for a 24 hour period, I was suspended. I now keep my upload speed under 12 kpbs for torrents, and they haven’t suspended me since.

    I live in a duplex, and our downstairs neighbor found that DSL didn’t work well with the wiring in the house. So it’s either Cablevision or dialup. It’s incredibly frustrating dealing with Cablevision. I’ve been lied to numerous times by them. But until FIOS is rolled out here, I don’t really have another option.

  10. pdxguy says:

    Sad story and another reason (as if I needed any) to NOT have my Internet connection with my cable provider (which, in my case, is unfortunately Comcast).

    An option I used years ago, when DSL was not rolled out to my area, was residential ISDN. Can be about $100-125 a month but obviously cheaper than $1000 per month. Speedwise it’s between dial-up and DSL. Might want to check into it.

  11. Karl says:

    I see four potential ways to deal with this:

    1. File a complaint with the government agency that regulates them.

    2. Try to go after them directly, especially if they really promised unlimited Internet.

    3. Find a neighbor without Comcast Internet, convince them to sign up for it, and use their modem. You can either share the connection with WiFi, or simply move the modem. As far as I know, because of the broadcast nature of cable modems, Comcast can’t easily tell where the modem is plugged in, as long as it’s in the same neighborhood.

    4. Bend over, lube up, and sign up for the business account.

  12. rafter_1979 says:

    I received the exact same call from comcast back in October. I am a graduate student writing my dissertation away from campus. So I must upload and download huge datasets all the time. Moreover, I have to run models on remote servers that take a long time. Comcast called and said my household was in the top 1% of the distribution of download volume. They then told me to either upgrade to a business account or reduce my usage. I asked by how much I needed to reduce it, but the guy wouldn’t tell me any figure (the mean or modal usage; by how much I needed to reduce my usage; etc.). Now my dissertation is behind track, and I have to go back to CA to run my models and work with my data on-site.

  13. Paul says:

    Another possibility: contact your local Utilities Board (or whatever it is called where you live). Local government can be surprisingly powerful and effective, if you talk to the right people.

    Many cities have a Utilities Board which regulates utilitites in the area. These boards serve as a check on the companies (often monopolies) which provide essential services such as water, gas, electricity and (nowadays) internet. They can have fairly broad powers and their members are often pretty accessible, making it possible for you to have your case heard without jumping through too many hoops.

  14. Ran Kailie says:

    They should really look into DSL resellers, not Verizon but covad resellers like Speakeasy, they tend to cover areas that Verizon doesn’t or won’t. Or Satellite internet through Direct TV, its a bit more but coverage is basically everywhere and its high speed. Comcast is a horrible company.

  15. krunk4ever says:

    He mentioned he doesn’t have DSL, but has he considered other alternatives such as Satellite, Cellular, or even WiMax (if it’s available).

  16. AdamJacobMuller says:

    I’ve actually consistently used more than 300GB/month of bandwidth for at least the past year (geek here with MRTG :), i’ve not gotten as much as a single call from Comcast regarding over usage of bandwidth. I’ve already used ~120GB this month (In+Out). I used nearly 5TB of bandwidth in 2006. Hopefully this isn’t some new policy that Comcast is going to be expanding, my job requires me to have internet access 24/7, and DSL opportunity in my area is quite limited and FIOS is not here yet :(.

  17. snazz says:

    well, i definitely wont ever subscribe to comcast…

  18. Anonymously says:

    They’ve been doing this for years now.

    “Stop going over the limit!”
    “Ok, what’s the limit?”
    “We can’t tell you, but trust us, you’re over it.”

  19. Charles Duffy says:

    Find your contract. See what it provides for by way of termination and arbitration clauses. Take them to small claims (if you can) or arbitration. And absolutely, contact the relevant regulatory authorities.

  20. Michael says:

    From a 2004 article on Comcast’s “unlimited” internet service:

    A senior Comcast technician, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing his job, said letter-triggering usage is typically about 100 gigabytes a month, though it varies from city to city.

  21. In the Chicago area where I’m from any above average user avoids comcrap like the plague anyway. I have a friend who uses WOW (wide open west) which is owned by Ameritech and he uses about 450 gigs per month and has an 8 meg down connection. Not once have they bitched about his service.

  22. jamner says:

    This may be similar to unlimted minutes on a cell phone contract. If you look at the fine print you are limited to apprx 3000min per weekend. A weekend theoretically only has 2880min in it so you are covered. This was explained to me that the phone companies equipment is designed to count minutes so it is simpler to set the minute level very high for unlimited instead of trying to setup an actual unlimted minutes situation. Phone companies & internet service providers buy and sell pipe space by the unit ( minutes or gigs) so they have to track what is being used and control the “abusers”. However if you advertise unlimted you should be ready to provide it.

  23. natch says:

    Cal your congresscritter. They should help you with this if they have even half a brain and realize how the Internet is a basic service like water and power.

  24. Tree says:

    I didnt read any of the links in this story, only the actual story on this page and it looks like this account was being used to run a business. Most unlimited plans are specifically for home use. The second call transcripts clearly state that:

    QUOTE:
    Me- We have a very! Small business and have had it for 3 + years and never had this kind of usage as has been the last few months.

    Running a business with a residential account is enough to be canceled no questions asked, let alone using that must bandwidth while trying to slide by unnoticed.

  25. Old-Scratch says:

    Facted: *no* virus is “unavoidable”, unless you use Linux or Mac; Windows is so completely riddled with holes that they find new ones every time you blink; and Vista will be no different, with over 90% of existing malware able to run on Vista out of the box.

    The real problem here, folks, is that Comcast is liable for what they have done. They promised “unlimited” service, and then pulled some shenannigans on them to force them into higher pay brackets. And the treatment they recieved from “customer service” was absolutely shameful, and the entire company needs to be taken to task for it.

    Call the Comcast corporate headquarters, and demand to speak to the CEO. If that fails, call the state Public Utilities Commission and file a complaint; if THAT fails, call the local media and embarrass the living crap out of them.

    The key to making Comcast live up to theri promises, is to never accept anything less than your service back AND an apology; and to remind them that YOU are the customer, and that it’s YOUR money that enables them to stay in business–yes, yours is a small amount, but if people get wind of this, they will leave your company for those that treat their customers better. And THAT is a valid threat.

    And, in the meanwhile, to Frank and Elizabeth: call your local phone company (the one that owns the actual copper in the street), and run yourself a T1 line. If you negotiate a decent deal, you can get away with about $300-$400 per month; AND, since it is a business, **you can deduct those expenses off your taxes every year**.

    Good luck, please keep us posted.

  26. Keter says:

    Check to see if another “national” ISP sells their service THROUGH Comcast. For example, Earthlink sells through TimeWarner (RoadRunner). It usually costs a few dollars more for an equivalent package…BUT with a premium service you have a much better chance of getting bandwidth priority and better customer service.

  27. ord2fra says:

    Would they be in violation of the city’s franchise agreement? I would definitely contact the city council or the municipal group that is in charge of the franchise agreements.

  28. Kripto says:

    Yet another reason to not go with comcast. I used to use them and in my apartment complex there was a problem with the cable junction. My internet connection consistently and constantly went down. (Like an intern at the White House) I called Comcast many many many times complaining. They made me drive the modem to their billing site to exchange it with a new one, when I called they would tell me to reboot the damn thing. After about 9 months of this, when I was finally fed up, I called them one last time and insisted that they come out with a cable technician to check the wiring.. I told him it really seemed like a physical connection problem.. Well he checked and found the problem. A rodent had eaten most of the way through the outer jacket of the coax at the box.

    I thanked him for his work and promptly called Speakeasy and Coved for a DSL line.

  29. North of 49 says:

    anyone want to bet that the second CSR was using a script?

  30. faust1200 says:

    Nothing that Comcast does surprises me anymore. This truly sucks. The “everything is final, theres nothing you can do” attitude is totally infuriating. It’s as if they are punishing this customer. The only good thing about this is that it will help Comcast win the worst company of the year award.(which I nominated)

  31. scottso says:

    As a couple of others notes, you should contact your city, county, or whichever legislative body governs the charter for Comcast in your city. Specifically, contact one of your elected officials – someone who has to run for office – they love to help out with issues like this.

    I did this once when I had a problem with Comcast in DC (they would not fix my broken Internet connection), and a VP at Comcast called me personally within several days and got things fixed up very quickly.

  32. elgringo says:

    My wife and I had a similar fiasco with American Express a few years ago. We tried to escalate, but kept getting the run around. My wife made a spreadsheet, highlighting our interactions, and where American Express made the mistakes.

    She looked online for the name of the VP of customer service.

    She found out what city the VP’s office was, called local 411 and got the phone number.

    Called the that office and said, “Hi, this is Ellen, I need (vp’s name)’s fax number please.”

    She faxed the office the 7 pages of spreadsheet, info, etc…

    We got a call within an hour from a representative, who personally took care of the issue.

    It was resolved in less than 3 days, along with an apology from the VP’s office.

    The customer is king. Sometimes, the king just has to do a little social engineering to get what they want. :)

    Otherwise, FedEx the complaint to the VP of customer service. Overnight usually get some attention at companies.

    Worst case scenario, is Satellite. You can get decent speeds (with satellite lag) for about $100 a month if you sign an 18 month contract.

  33. juri squared says:

    solareclipse2:

    Unfortunately, even in Chicagoland, sometimes Comcast is the only game in town. Granted, I live pretty far out, but you’d think Aurora would be a large enough city for competition. Unfortunately, we’re in the Comcast-or-dialup boat, and we didn’t get Comcast until 2003 or so.

  34. junkmail says:

    I never thought I’d say it, but God bless Cox Cable…

  35. Legodude522 says:

    I have the same problem with Optimumn Online!

    Link to blog post- http://tinyurl.com/2sdbqo

  36. bdude says:

    This happened with a big company here in Australia, they had to give customers a credit on their plans and change their name from Unlimited* to Liberty

  37. LAGirl says:

    “As far as you’re concerned, I am the CEO”

    mmmmmm??? anyone else find this oddly familiar?…

    “I am the manager of all of Customer Service. There is no one higher than me that you will speak with.”

    perhaps our good friend, Michael Jandreau, the asshat @ Lycos, is moonlighting at Comcast under an assumed name?

    have you looked into Wi-Fi broadband offered by some of the cell phone companies? our office is located in an industrial area in LA. when we first moved there, i was shocked to find out that there was no DSL or cable available. we suffered with dial-up for about a year, until i realized that we could get Verizon Broadband Wi-Fi. the EVDO PC card was about $50, after rebate. costs $60 per month if you have Verizon cell phone service, $80 per month w/o.

    speed is comparable to DSL. the card will provide internet access to whichever computer you use it with. unless…you do like i did and get a Kyocera KR1 router, which enables wireless broadband to ALL computers set up for Wi-Fi.

    http://b2b.vzw.com/broadband/bbapccard.html

    http://www.kyocera-wireless.com/kr1-router/

    good article on Kyocera router:
    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1967038,00.asp

  38. myptofvu says:

    Last year my 15 year old got mixed up in the vicious cycle of downloading ring tones on his phone.

    After numerous attempts to get them to stop billing me and many deceptive tactics on their part…my cell bill was rising. I screamed. I cried. I registered a complaint with the FCC.

    I explained how I probably wasn’t the only sucker being bilked and how after numerous attempts to get them to help they weren’t helping (blah, blah, blah)….. Within 24 hrs the cell company called me, refunded my money, apologized, (it was like they found Jesus).

  39. Jesse in Japan says:

    600 gigabytes in two months? Man, that’s a lot of porn!

  40. r3m0t says:

    Over in the UK, Force9 (damn their evil souls) slow down my house connection to a level so low that if one person is downloading a file nobody else can even browse the web at a reasonable speed. That happens after 3 or 4 GB of peak-time (4pm to midnight) usage in a month.

    You lucky (american) bastards.

  41. r3m0t says:

    I, er, forgot to mention. Here when “unlimited” is advertised, the small print says “fair usage policy applies.” (in addition to the usual “terms and conditions apply.”)

    Of course, the fair usage policy never has any actual numbers.

  42. OwenCatherwood says:

    Here’s an explanation I found through some internal boards:

    Comcast monitors the network in your area and if there is an exuberant amount of bandwidth being consumed on your node, Comcast will pick out the bandwidth hogs on that node and warn them to decrease their usage or sign up for a higher tier of service.

    So basically, there is not a limit on how much bandwidth you are allowed to use and we recommend that you use the Internet for what you want without worrying about bandwidth restrictions. If your usage is found to be excessive and degrades others connected to your node, you will be given a warning first and then asked to reduce the usage within the next 30 day cycle. If usage is decreased to a nominal level, no further action is taken against the customer. But if the excessive use is continued, the account may be suspended for a few months

    Or, in other words “don’t worry, there’s no bandwidth limit that you need to adhere to unless you are exceeding the bandwidth limit”

    Here’s the relevant section of the terms of use:

    Network, Bandwidth, Data Storage and Other Limitations

    Comcast may provide versions of the Service with different speeds and bandwidth usage limitations, among other characteristics, subject to applicable Service plans. You shall ensure that your use of the Service does not restrict, inhibit, interfere with, or degrade any other user’s use of the Service, nor represent (in the sole judgment of Comcast) an overly large burden on the network. In addition, you shall ensure that your use of the Service does not restrict, inhibit, interfere with, disrupt, degrade, or impede Comcast’s ability to deliver and provide the Service and monitor the Service, backbone, network nodes, and/or other network services.

    You further agree to comply with all Comcast network, bandwidth, and data storage and usage limitations. You shall ensure that your bandwidth consumption using the Service does not exceed the limitations that are now in effect or may be established in the future. If your use of the Service results in the consumption of bandwidth in excess of the applicable limitations, that is a violation of this Policy. In such cases, Comcast may, in its sole discretion, terminate or suspend your Service account or request that you subscribe to a version of the Service with higher bandwidth usage limitations if you wish to continue to use the Service at higher bandwidth consumption levels.

    In addition, you may only access and use the Service with a dynamic Internet Protocol (“IP”) address that adheres to the dynamic host configuration protocol (“DHCP”). You may not configure the Service or any related equipment to access or use a static IP address or use any protocol other than DHCP unless you are subject to a Service plan that expressly permits otherwise.

  43. drax says:

    Being Irish our first reaction is always to fight, why not use some information guerilla tactics. C’mon people help Frank and Elizabeth, enter this fight and contact the following;-

    Comcast Press Room: Press and Analyst Contacts
    http://www.cmcsk.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=147565&p=irol-contact

    This page lists contacts by region so it is best to write to the rep in your region complaining about the treatement of this couple. It would be nice also to copy that email or letter to your local politico, tv, radio and newspaper, plus upload to hubpages, reddit, digg, your blog…

    Stephen B. Burke is the President of Comcast Cable Communications. He lives in a small village called Haverford, PA. There are three Burkes in Haverford, one or all of them are probably related to him;-

    M Burke (610) 649-4746
    3300 Darby Rd,Haverford, PA 19041
    T Burke (610) 789-1276
    12 Shawnee Rd,Haverford, PA 19041
    Frank Burke -(610) 520-9926
    7 Barrister Ct,Haverford, PA 19041

    He serves on the Board of Directors for JP Morgan and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. You can be sure he will not like this issue bleeding into his home town or either of these organisations;-

    the Hospital Public Relations and Communications Dept are on 267-426-6050

    JP Morgan are a much more juicier target, here is their extensive media contact page
    http://www.jpmorganchase.com/cm/cs?pagename=Chase/Href&url

    or if anyone owns stock, the investor info pg..
    http://investor.shareholder.com/jpmorganchase/

    ..one could take the approach as a shareholder that Burke’s presence on the Board is bringing JP Morgan into disrepute, it is almost worth buying some stock for this purpose..

    Change comes at a price, if you want change things you have to fight, if other posters would like to take 30 minutes of their time like I have and add some more intelligence to this then a fully blown campaign could be in existence in 48 hours…

    I would bet that a small group of people could force a retraction from Comcast in about 10 days. Contact me directly at
    com.or.con.cast@gmail.com if you like a fight :-)

  44. Papa K says:

    This reminds me of TimeWarner – I have road runner and no email because they say I’m sending spam. Spam from an email I’ve never set up because they never authorized it. Then they send me to another company who tells me TimeWarner is telling them I’m spamming, even though TimeWarner said they are the ones that told them I was spamming.

    So I got gmail instead. And a corporate email address. So I guess fuck time warner, too.

  45. redhatnation says:

    Folks — Did anyone catch the fact that the Comcast customer is running a business on that cable connection? I’m all for fighting the big company — but in this case — when the customer *admits* to running a business for 3+ yrs on a residential connection, they should get no sympathy. Comcast finally caught up with them.

  46. JuliusJefferson says:

    They’re just trying to intimidate him into upgrading his account.

    It really doesn’t make any sense… besides laying the wire, these companies have very few expenses. Do they lose money when the customer uses more bandwidth than they’re supposed? Unlikely.

  47. LAGirl says:

    here’s something interesting i found today:

    “After hearing yet another story of someone hitting the “invisible wall” on Comcast and getting the boot for a year, as a valued Comcast customer (I pay one of my scripters Internet bill, so the account is in my name) I decided to see what Comcast support officially had to say about the issue. I made up a story about a friend that had been booted off, and after a few minute wait to get into chat, the below transpired.”

    the Comcast analyst admits, “it is possible to be cut off from your Comcast connection for using above normal bandwidth. While I am not able to locate a cap, I have been informed that it is around 200 Gigabytes in a month. I have also been informed that service can be ‘cut’ with no notice for issued like this.” he also says that they don’t post the limit to prevent abuse. WTF???

    here’s a link to the full chat:
    http://www.techbasic.net/comcast/comcast.png

    does this make any sense to you? sure doesn’t make any sense to me. seems like false advertising to offer ‘unlimited service’, but have a secret bandwidth limit.

  48. formergr says:

    Holy crap, that second CSR was a giant a-hole! I would have been crying out of frustration by the end of that phone call too. “Yes, everyone you’ve talked to here has given you incorrect information. Sorry about that, but we’re still going to fuck you over.”

  49. superbmtsub says:

    I’m assuming some of you dont understand the meaning of the words “taking care of your computer”. If TimeWarner or somebody says that you’re sending spam, maybe you are. Make your computer go through some grueling scan work via either Norton/Symantec or McAfee fullscans (NOT BOTH). Then use trendmicro.com’s free online scan. Then run Spybot Search Destroy. You’ll be amazed how much crap you weed outta your pc. Now, if that doesnt do it, jus format your harddrive and start over. Cuz if you have spyware on your PC, your bankaccount is not safe and neither is your identity.

  50. JimK says:

    I was terminated twice in the last 4 years for overage, once for 120GB in a month (that was 2001) and in 2003 for 240GB in a month. Since then I have tried to stay under the 100GB recommendation by the tech from 2003.

    BTW, AT&T (formerly Yahoo/SBC DSL)? I’ve downloaded 400GB in a month for two or three months in a row and no complaint from them at all.

  51. ElizabethD says:

    Next time, get a Mac!

    (giggles)

  52. orielbean says:

    If I remember correctly – the way that they are figuring bandwidth depends on how dense your network is in your physical neighborhood. You could live on a street w/ all non-computer users and so your usage would not be a big deal. But the opposite could be true – if there are 3 BitTorrent or Kazaa users on the same node w/ Comcast, the cap could be much lower.

    That is why you don’t get a static ip; the company finds it easier to reassign resources regularly based on how each node is performing. It is also why there is not set limit – the limit is based on the total capacity of each node divided by the # of users.

    This is unsubstantiated on my part, but definitely would explain all of the different observations in this thread – one guy dl’ing 400gigs and never hearing a peep, but he switches ISP and got capped at 120gig.

    And the fact that the CSR’s have no info on it – it is probably a different cap depending on the area and so it would look really bad to say that Boston’s cap was 100gig a month and East Bum’s cap was 500gig a month, even though both nodes or pipes have the same 100 TB capacity per month. Verizon is smart enough to not give that info out to the low level CSR’s who might blurt it out while getting cussed out by you, and so only the techs and the abuse group get to see what you did compared to the rest of your pipe / node / neighborhood.

  53. Chaluapman says:

    With all of the new movie downloading services coming out, I wonder how ISP will deal with the increased bandwitdth. Each movie is between 700MB to 1GB, depending on the quality.

  54. ronaldscott says:

    Chaluapman, how many movies are you expecting people to watch? If you watched 2 movies a day that’d only be ~60GB.

  55. flamaest says:

    With netflix, you could hit this peak seeing they now have plans for watching 48 hours of DVD quality video.

    Combine that with surfing, minor bit-torrent, IPTV shows like diggnation or dl.tv, youtube, trailers, XBOX 360 gaming traffic and XBOX/ITUNES movie dowloads, blah blah etc… You could start to hit 100-200GB GB easy.

    People will start increasing their Dl’ing and the networks are going to have to get used to it, it will only get worse over time.

    2 cents,
    F.

  56. flamaest says:

    I calculated how much a regular legitimate user who loves media could use today:

    Format:
    Source: detail, usage per month.

    Netflix: 48 hour plan at 1GB p/hour, 48GB p/month.
    ITUNES: 4 1-hour shows p/day at 100MB p/show, 12 GB.
    XBOX 360: HD movies: 20 per month, 4GB p/movie, 80 GB.
    Torrents: Legal IPTV / media; 300mb per day, 9GB.
    IPTV: direct download per week: 1GB, 4GB.
    surfing: 300MB per month, 0.3GB.
    Gaming: 2GB per month, 2GB.
    Trailers: 1 GB per month, 1GB.
    Youtube, 1GB per month, 1GB.

    My total per month would come to 156Gb per month. I consider this to be the average techno-geeks media-junkie usage patterns. This is today. Big-corporate wants you to consume and pay for product and media, just as long as it’s on their terms, WTF?

    As more and more legitimate media gets put on the I-net, my usage will increase, comcast better get used to it or make room for someone who can provide my with the media I am willing to pay for.

    3 cents,
    F.

  57. Greg L says:

    The easy way to fix is this to call your mayor or whoever runs the city/township/village you live in. Cable is a franchised industry, and if you squawk enough to whomever controls the franchise, they can push on Comcast to do what’s right here. The issue is that they advertised an unlimited service. (OK.) Turns out it isn’t unlimited (OK, I suppose, although deceptive in its own right.) Then they won’t tell you what the usage cap is, or permit you to reactivate service at all (NOT OK.) Most franchise agreements I have read (which is not a fun job) specifically stipulate that service MUST BE MADE AVAILABLE to everyone living within the franchise area. Generally this only applies to basic TV service, but you may have gotten lucky and found out that you live in an area where that applies to all services.

    Seriously – call your politicans and raise a stink. You might be able to get this fixed.

  58. u235sentinel says:

    yahonza, You can reach me at u235sentinel@gmail.com. I’m interesting in exploring what options are available. I’ve been in contact with several other people whom Comcast has shut off their HSI both in the Salt Lake Valley and other states.

    Next week I’ll be addressing the City Council of West Jordan and presenting them with my story. At this point I’m not willing to allow Comcast to abuse me and other’s any further. I’m pushing utopianet.org for Utah starting with my city. We’re speaking to as many neighbors as we can to attend.

    Competition has a tendancy to make mega corps become less abusive and arrogant.

    I hope we can connect. BTW, Thanks for all the support!

  59. SuccessLab says:

    First off, I am not a techie, so maybe I am oversimplifying this.

    However, I see this as very similar to a credit card. If, all of a sudden, my credit card usage was unusually high, I would expect: my account to be frozen AND to be contacted immediately via all contact information given in my account: all phone numbers, in writing, and via e-mail. I would also expect that if my card was declined before I received the previously mentioned notifications, that I could reach any CSR for the credit card and they could say “your account has been temporarily suspended due to unusual activity, so let me transfer you to our ??? department”.
    Shame on Comcast for treating a trouble-free customer of 3.5 years like a criminal instead of working to resolve the problem, which sounds like quite a few people riding out on his wireless after he got the new modem and possibly reset everything to default passcodes.

  60. Istas45 says:

    I have oversea tv and our only cable company is Comcast(unfortunatly they took over for Adelphia)I can not run those service via dialup,DSL or satelite. I am guarntied 3 mgbts and more thats what I am paying for. I can run my tv for maybe 4-5 hrs a day then my speed goes down drasticly, I’ve contacted Comcast for the past 2 month w/out results. I am as angry w/them due to their lack of response and empty promises. I’d need at least 2mgbts. I understand how that couple feels. As long as there is no competition they can do w/customers whatever they want. I did already complained to my mayor etc. Not much there. But I did send this site to him now, plus our newspaper, I posted it on myspace too. But it will take lots of ppl to beat the giant.

  61. droppedD says:

    Really, is it too much to ask for your six kids to just cut back a little bit on their BitTorrents of porn?

  62. Broo2 says:

    Comcast did the same thing to me, but they would never tell me exactly what I did wrong- only that I was using an ‘unacceptable’ amount of bandwidth and 99.99% of the other comcast users do not have this problem. I tried for quite some time to get a definition of ‘acceptable usage’ and they would never give me info- they just kept using the 99.99% reference.

    I canceled (actually they did, so there were no contract cancellation fees) and went with DSL; I have been using BellSouth 6Mbps DSL for over two years now with the same usage and there have been no complaints from Bellsouth.

    If Comcast doesn’t have the network to support what they offer, they should get out of the game – or at least give an honest contract.

  63. spdickey says:

    For all you cry babies saying “no one ever told me about a cap.”

    Ignorance of a policy is not an excuse for violating a legally enforceable agreement. Even if the agreement sucks, the company is within its rights to enforce if. And according to the terms of the agreement, Comcast can change it at anytime WITHOUT NOTICE TO YOU other than posting it on their website.

    You can see the current Comcast TOS at http://www.comcast.net/terms/use.jsp
    it it states “You shall ensure that your use of the Service does not restrict, inhibit, interfere with, or degrade any other user’s use of the Service, nor represent (in the sole judgment of Comcast) an overly large burden on the network.”

    So if you use to much, you are toast. Sorry.

  64. DLWhore says:

    I had the same experience in 2003.
    CC: “You must comply with our bandwidth limits!”
    ME: “How much should I limit my usage to?”
    CC: “We cannot disclose our bandwidth limits.”

    Comcast should offer “abusers” a throttled account option, like 128Kbps for a month, as a last resort.

    Fortunately I had competative services in my area. Since being cancelled for exceeding the double-secret bandwidth limit, I’ve switched to DSL and then to low-end FIOS. Verizon has had no problem with 0.9 TB/Month. (They must have a *real* network). However, I wouldn’t be surprised if this were to change when they roll out IPTV…

    Ironically, four years after also cancelling Comcast cable and phone services, I still get monthly bills for $0. It’s like they’ve never lost a customer before…

  65. u235sentinel says:

    spdickey says:
    You can see the current Comcast TOS at {snip}

    So if you use to much, you are toast. Sorry.

    U235SENTINEL’S RESPONSE:

    Uhhh… Are you a consumer? Purchase anything in the last few years perhaps? Car? House? Clothes? Yes? Do you know what you are purchasing when you put money down or send a check? Do you know what you are purchasing when you join Comcast and order HSI?

    I believe that’s the heart of the issue. You are sold a product (6 meg pipe) and told not to use it. If you have an 8 Meg pipe, you can’t use more than 7% of what you purchased. Is this resonable?

    The answer is apparent. Your copy/paste response is inadequate.

  66. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Similar issues with newsgroups. They’ll tell you your usage (usually), but won’t say what the cap is. At least they quit counting downloading message headers as ‘usage.’

  67. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Actually now, I don’t even know my newsgroup usage. I log onto their site with my primary account to find out my ‘current’ usage, and I get the message “The feature that you have tried to access requires that you sign in to Comcast.net using your Primary user name and password.”
    What stellar service! Thank goodness for Comcast.

  68. Craysh says:

    @FLAMAEST
    And those numbers are asssuming that you’re the only person using the internet.
    I have 3 techno geeks in my house >.>

    @ISTAS45
    That’s because your neighborhood is on the same network as you are. DSL is a direct line to the office while cable internet is shared by everyone near you.
    So when a lot of people log on, they’re using the same bandwidth as you are.

    @DROPPEDD
    The point here is, why stop at a mysterious bandwidth limit? Why not deny users of VoIP traffic that they don’t provide, or IPTV unless it’s through them, or redirect your [www.google.com] link to [www.yahoo.com]
    Because we pay for “unlimited” and unfettered access to the internet, and we _SHOULD_ make a stink when they decide to screw their customers in any way shape or form.

  69. jerkius says:

    time warner customer here. i download ALOT. constantly deleting, updating, redownloading, ect ect. ive never been warned once about my internet usage. ive gotten an abuse letter once or twice regarding emails i send, but thats about it.

    ive had time warner service since roadrunner was launched. never once gotten a letter regarding downloading/uploading.

    look into sprint mobile broadband. i have it for work, runs me 76$ a month. i get 200-400k down usually, 30-50k up when i need it.

  70. olduvai says:

    This sounds like adequate grounds for a False Advertising lawsuit, perhaps coupled with a few others.

    Besides, 305GB is not an “unacceptable” amount.

  71. BrandonW says:

    @jerkius:

    That’s good to know! I’m moving at the end of the month to a different area that uses TW. I was planning on getting their 12M package as there’s going to be 10 internet ready devices in the house and a lot of usage. Thanks!