Comcast broke its word to customers by charging for digital adapters
Published as a public notice in your Sept. 21, edition, the Charles County Commissioners will conduct a public hearing concerning the proposed renewal of Charles County’s cable television agreement (franchise) with Comcast on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m. at the Charles County Government Building. Comcast customers should take due notice and plan to attend.
In the spring of 2009, Comcast cable TV customers were notified of network enhancement that would require subscribers to install a digital converter or digital adapter equipment. Up to two adapters were provided at no additional cost. With no notice nor fanfare, bills arriving at the end of February 2013 began showing monthly charges of $1.99 per adapter being issued by Comcast in perpetuity. In February 2015 charges increased to $2.99 per adapter and in January 2016 were increased again to $3.99 for each. Initially, we were told we could have this equipment at no additional cost and we were never informed that there would be monthly rental charges. How outrageous!
The identical equipment can be purchased new by the same manufacturer for under $20 per adapter. Comcast will not permit customers to use their own equipment nor will they sell their equipment outright to their customers.
I have lodged a complaint with Comcast, the Federal Communications Commission, Charles County Government, State Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton (D-Charles), Town of La Plata and filed a formal complaint with the Office of the Attorney General for the state of Mar yland Consumer Protection Division. I’ve been advised to notify the local franchise granting authority who negotiate these agreements in order to seek resolution.
Continued billing for equipment that was promised at no additional cost constitutes an illegal attempt, in my opinion, to raise revenue, possibly in the form of fees to avoid paying taxes, and should be refunded with interest to all customers. Comcast should be fined for this egregious behavior as well. Charles County officials hoping to make part of the negotiations the expansion of high-speed internet access into the most rural areas need to evaluate past business practices of Comcast in dealing with residents and resolve them first. If Comcast is unwilling, the county should negotiate with another cable provider. And the length of any future franchise agreement should not exceed three to five years. Residents appear to be receiving a (double) crossed signal from Comcast that no digital adapter can correct. Customers should not be expected to wait 15 years, which is the current length of this agreement, in order to seek redress of their grievances. Michael J. Runfola, La Plata