Comcast fined for unauthorized charges

Columnist Travis Adams

Columnist Travis Adams

Comcast corporation, the largest cable access company in the United States, was just handeda $2.3 million dollar fine from the Federal Communications Commission.
This is after thousands of Comcast customers complained about the corporation’s wrongful charging of services and programs without written consent.
The accusations range from DVR boxes to premium channels, which tack on a fees to each monthly subscription. This resulted in an average plan being10 percent to 30 percent higher for unauthorized consumer charges.
Comcast, who currently has up to 30 million subscribers nationwide, has seriously damaged the relationship with its customers, and has a sincere duty to them to make amends quickly.
“It’s basic that a cable bill should include charges only for services and equipment ordered by the customer, nothing more and nothing less,” Chief of the FCC Travis Leblanc said in a press release on Tuesday. “We [FCC] expect all cable and phone companies to take responsibility for the accuracy of their bills and to ensure their customers have authorized any charges.”
The FCC has implemented a strict five-year compliance plan requiring affirmative consent from Comcast customers before adding additional charges to equipment or services. The company will be subject to sending confirmation of new or changed services or equipment aside from the monthly bill.  
“We do not agree with the Bureau’s legal theory here, and in our view, after two years, it is telling that it found no problematic policy or intentional wrongdoing, but just isolated errors or customer confusion,” Comcast said in a statement directly following the sanctions. “We agree those issues should be fixed and are pleased to put this behind us and proceed with these customer service-enhancing changes.”
Just this past year, the FCC slapped AT&T with a $100 million fine for falsely advertising “unlimited” data plans to its customers. Pinning customers down to depend on full data coverage cannot be categorized as anything else than utterly criminal. In this particular case, these mogul corporations are dependant on our intent to scroll through social media for up to 90 hours monthly, or watch up to 120 hours of television per billing cycle, the grim notion that they are pursuing further ways to charge their customers is head scratching.
The particular problem is Comcast is digging for additive charges for individuals that haven’t expressed interest in premium networks such as Showtimen or HBO. This sounds like the salesperson is doing the customer a favor over the phone, however the buyer is unaware of the facthe or she is paying for loads of charges from these channels. This is a corporation capitalizing on its product by wrongfully exploiting its customers.
Realizing this is something any major corporation like Comcast can do to its subscribers, is daunting to the average consumer. Just look at the previous example of AT&T, the world’s second leading mobile phone provider in the U.S., false advertising unlimited coverage. Commercial marketing is exploiting us, and sadly making bank off of it.
Hopefully the FCC will keep a close eye on corporations like Comcast. Scams are certain to be on the horizon, and with this in mind, the responsibility falls on us to have a watchful eye out for situations like this.