A reader from Vermont writes in to let us know that he accidentally discovered Comcast has been charging him a $3/month modem rental fee for a modem he owned, because Comcast claimed that due to poor record keeping, it had no way of distinguishing between Adelphia’s modem renters and owners. This fee went on for months undetected because Comcast doesn’t itemize such fees on their online statements, only on their printed bills. (Well yeah, because including such details online would waste ink…wait, what?) When our reader called Comcast to have the fees refunded, he was told he’d have to provide proof of purchase for his modem.
Here’s his email. [Note: since originally being posted, the dates have been corrected as per the OP's comments below.]
First, a little bit of a back story. I signed up with Adelphia for cable internet service back in June of 2006. I went out and bought my own modem and service was fine.
Comcast bought out Adelphia, and that’s when the trouble began. On 10/02/07 I started getting charged for leasing a modem (remember I have always owned and used my own). I wasn’t given any notice of this, and the charge was not itemized in my online bill, only the paper bill. Since I was expecting a rate increase at that point, the additional 5% went unnoticed.
On 01/05/08 I noticed that I was being charged this fee and called up to complain and have it removed from my bill. What I was told when I called is what disturbed me the most. I was told that Adelphia offered a free lease program to its customers, a service that Comcast didn’t have. The records, however, weren’t good enough to determine who had the free lease program and who had their own modem, so they decided to just charge everybody and let the customers figure it out for themselves. I was also told that I needed to prove that I purchased this modem by presenting a receipt (on an 18 month old modem I could just have easily purchased off of Craigslist or from a friend).
I got angry at this point and was told by the CSR that an e-mail would be sent to the Billing and Research Department and they would “see what they could do for me” and I could expect a reply within 10 business days. I promptly filed a complaint with the BBB and on Monday received a call from somebody at Comcast. The charges were removed immediately, but who knows how many other customers out there are slowly having $3 a month stolen from them. I know the amount seems trivial, but it’s how they treated the situation that got me fired up.
(Thanks to Keith!)