Montgomery County Warns Its Residents About Comcast's Unfair Arbitration Clause

Montgomery County, MD, also known as the county that fined Comcast $12,281.84 for not answering the phone quickly enough, has issued a press release warning consumers to opt-out of Comcast’s unfair arbitration clause.

Boy, they are mad! From Montgomery County:

The Comcast Arbitration Notice – which was sent out without County approval – attempts to change the terms of the subscriber agreement and limit subscriber rights. The subscriber’s best protection is to “opt out” of the policy within 30 days from the date of receipt of the bill.

“We are concerned about this Arbitration Notice because it uses a negative option technique to deny consumers the opportunity to affirmatively accept the change in their service agreement with Comcast,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett. “Vendors should not change the terms of service without first receiving the consent of the consumer, and the fact that Comcast has not done this is disturbing.”

“The County Council has always been a strong advocate for consumers and there should be no exceptions with the cable industry. It is important that customers know and exercise their rights,” said Marilyn Praisner, President of the Montgomery County Council.

“Comcast’s unilateral action to change the subscriber agreement, with an artificial 30-day deadline, is simply anti-consumer,” said County Council member Duchy Trachtenberg, Chair of the Management and Fiscal Policy Committee. “The Management and Fiscal Policy Committee continues to scrutinize Comcast’s performance, but in this case, we already know what urgent action needs to be taken. To preserve your legal rights, go online to www.comcast.com/arbitrationoptout and opt out now.”

Consumerist doesn’t like arbitration clauses, because a recent study by the Christian Science Monitor shows that arbitrators rule for the companies that are responsible for their paychecks a disproportionate amount of the time. We think opting out is good advice.

Don’t mess with Montgomery County!

County Advises Comcast Customers to Opt Out of “Arbitration Notice” to Protect Rights [Montgomery County, MD via US PIRG]
(Photo:cmorran123)

Comments

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  1. gorckat says:

    I just signed up with Comcast in Baltimore County (moved out of my old provider’s area, whom Comcast was buying, anyways) and have heard nothing aboiut this yet…maybe I’ll opt-out anyways :P

  2. Cowboys_fan says:

    I wonder how much lobbying money it will cost Comcast to have that statement retracted. I’m guessing somewhere arounk $100k.

  3. MoCo says:

    Too bad that the citizens in Montgomery County can’t also opt out of funding the illegal alien shadow government of Montgomery County called “CASA De Maryland”.

  4. myrights says:

    I emailed our mayor’s office (Western MA) and while I am glad that I got timely responses, the answer was basically- “They can do this if they want”.

    I wish I could unilaterally change the terms with a company if I decide that something is better for me.

  5. sleze69 says:

    I tried using the opt-out function online but it wouldn’t accept my account number “format”. Would someone who was successful please put the correct format in a comment?

    Also – Something happened to the comsumerist website and the article pages aren’t displaying properly in Opera.

  6. Piquant1 says:

    The same notice was sent out in Connecticut and wondered if I should opt out. According to Comcast, I only have to the end of this week to decide. :-(

  7. adminslave says:

    That’s MoCo baby! My hometown!

  8. jgkelley says:

    @sleze69:

    Same thing happening to me. Can’t figure it out.

  9. AdmiralNelson says:

    @Sleze69

    I have the same problem with it complaining about my account# format.

  10. ArtDonovansDrunkenLovechild says:

    Ahh.. The Peoples Republic of Maryland. No smoking, no trans fats, no illegal alien enforcement. Now the county council is spending time and MY TAXES on telling people how to deal with businesses. Maybe next they will waste time impeaching the Prez (Oh, wait, the idiots in Tacoma Park already did that)

  11. Dont Know Me? You Are Me. says:

    I just opted out successfully. For those having account number problems, I logged into my account at comcast.com and used the “view bill” feature to copy and paste my account number into the opt-out form. I can’t tell you how it varies from the paper bill because I don’t have one handy, but the account number I used successfully had no spaces or dashes.

  12. Buran says:

    @MoCo: Why would we want to get rid of a government that’s on our side for once?

  13. animeredith says:

    Boy, I love MoCo sometimes. :)

  14. atonse says:

    @ARTDONOVANSDRUNKENLOVECHILD

    Seriously — I’m all against government meddling BUT, in this situation it is completely warranted. The infrastructure that companies like Comcast and Verizon use are heavily subsidized by county governments, and YOURS and MY tax dollars.

    So it is fully within their scope to extend their regulation, especially with utility companies.