Com­cast broke its word to cus­tomers by charg­ing for dig­i­tal adapters

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.