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Catfish

join:2004-02-19
Hickory, NC

[HSI] Fighting Modem Lease charge

How many Charter customers have recently been charged the $5 modem lease charge when you own your modem. Every month I have to call and have it removed. The last rep was kind of a smart A and asked if I still had my receipt for the modem. I'm so tired of wasting my time calling to have it removed for it to just show up again. This time the rep told me they would investigate it. What does that mean? Have they not already? Why would they have put it on there in the first place? I have always owned my own and replaced it once when it went out. I guess I need to look for my Best Buy receipt.

I was told there are a lot of these "Investigations" going on right now. Geez, why does it have to be so hard. Is anyone else going through this?


GreyWolfSC

join:2009-08-31
Greenville, SC

The onus should be on Charter to prove that you have their equipment they're charging you for, not the other way around.


gcasc

join:2001-12-19
Flowery Branch, GA

1 edit
reply to Catfish

Started with me this month. Like you, they asked me for a receipt. I save a lot of things, but I doubt I have a Best Buy receipt from more than five years ago. Their own modem quit at that time and I bought a new one. Later I returned their unit to the local office.

I had discussed it with them in December and I was told that it was fixed and I "definitely would not be billed" in January, but today they seem to see no record of that.

They indicate they have sent a form to the "equipment department" and advised me to contact them again in a week to see if "they have determined that I own my own equipment."

By my estimate, they have burned up at least $50 of their time so far to collect $5.

I tend to agree with GreyWolfSC on this one ... I wonder what they'll say if I ask them to see their receipt?

UPDATE: Giving credit where credit is due, Charter apparently completed their research, refunded the charge, and I can see my account now specifies I have a customer-owned modem. So I'm happy to report my issue resolved.


Catfish

join:2004-02-19
Hickory, NC
reply to Catfish

I had the same thought about asking to see their receipt. What bothers me the most is the fact that i have never leased my modem from them. Either their system for tracking this kind of stuff is really screwed up or they are trying to dig out some extra revenue by tacking on this $5 per month charge. Just about everyone I know on Charter has had this charge just start showing up at some point. Its like they hope you just don't see it, as I'm sure many do not, and they get an extra $5 per month from a lot of people.


motorcycle_r

join:2009-03-07
Alpena, MI
reply to Catfish

They only way I got that permanently fixed was to go into the local office.



mmainprize

join:2001-12-06
Houghton Lake, MI
Reviews:
·Charter

2 edits
reply to Catfish

Ask them to show you a work order where they came to your house and installed the modem, with that SN and MAC address.

Because that is the record they should be using.

I took an old cable box back to the local office and got two new style boxes a few years back. The lady gave me a receipt, I did not look close until some time later i find them charging me for a modem. I looked at the receipt that the charter local office gave me and it also listed my cable modem.

I called up and told them i owned this modem and did a self install three years ago. Then told them to check there records because they will not find any trip to my house where they installed one.

I have never seen that on my bill since then.


Axekick

join:2005-05-01
Saint Louis, MO
reply to Catfish

A few months ago after they raised my mothers rates I went to her house to phone them and renegotiate some type of contract for her. In doing so I first checked her most recent bill and they had been billing her a modem lease for over 3 years that she owned her own modem, I purchased it.

When I brought it to their attention they tried to play dumb and offered to "get back in touch" and I was adamant about having it rectified at that very moment or cancel. They removed the charge from her bill and refunded either 9 or 18 months of what they had over billed. They said the bill was her responsibility and they could not refund the full amount. I raised hell about it but it never got me any more money out of them. The refund was deducted from her following bill and was what they offered to reimburse her.

They know whose modem it is and if not you can read the serial number from it to them and they will know it is not theirs.


Catfish

join:2004-02-19
Hickory, NC

AxeKick,
I am beginning to believe this type of billing practice is by design and not by accident. This happens too frequently and to too many people, much of whom do not notice it or understand the bill and just keep paying the bogus charge. Come on Charter, its not that hard to keep track of and you know it. Charter has access to all the MAC addresses on their network so there is no reason for this to ever happen since MAC addresses are unique. Maybe I should call the state Attorney General and have them investigate this. Again, it just should not be this hard to keep track of with today's technology. And Charter IS a technology company!



cork1958
Cork
Premium
join:2000-02-26
reply to Catfish

Personally,
I think most companies do this in some way or another, with all their stupid little items!

Charter has been known for this though.
--
The Firefox alternative.
»www.mozilla.org/projects/seamonkey/



matt314159
Premium
join:2006-01-18
Hesperia, CA
Reviews:
·Charter
reply to Catfish

The problem I have with this is that they should have a list of mac addresses that they OWN. Any OTHERS should be considered customer-owned. I don't see how it should be so hard for them to figure out. It's got to be the most simple database you could ever devise. When they purchase the modems, log in the macs, those belong to Charter. For the life of me I can't see where their "confusion" comes from.



mmainprize

join:2001-12-06
Houghton Lake, MI
Reviews:
·Charter

I would think it goes something like this.
The problem comes from poorly training CSR (customer service REP) and software. Each time you change to a new package or promo, the software they are running must not hold these setting and by default reset to charge for the modem. So if the CSR don't take the time to correct the before and after setting you end up with a modem charge.

No one is looking for if you own a modem or not until you call in to complain.


Axekick

join:2005-05-01
Saint Louis, MO
reply to Catfish

Catfish I cannot think of any logical explanation for it repeatedly happening other than it being intentional.

The woman I spoke with rudely informed me "well your mother is responsible for reading her own bill, she is an adult."

I said: "she's elderly, nobody can interpret everything on your bills without cross referencing all the bogus charges."

she replied: "well, I can, I read and understand all of my bills"

I said: "really, then explain to me what the "franchise fee" is?

Charter: "it's some sort of government tax, I'm sure"

Me: "you're sure that it is some type of government tax? - yet
you just claimed you fully understand all of your bills. It is
not a government tax but rather an add-on tax imposed
by Charter."

Charter: "that's what i said, some type of tax"

Me: "Jesus Christ.. you people are unbelievable, that is not what
you said. You said some type of GOVERNMENT tax."

Obviously continuing that was pointless and I didn't continue to rub her face in it needlessly. But it was after doing so that she agreed to refund the modem rental fee for "as long as they are authorized to do so." I did protest the partial refund but to no avail.

I've never accidentally billed anyone for anything that was not legitimate and have operated my own business. If something is removed from your computers billing software, such as a cable model fee, then it would require someone to physically add it back into the computer that calculates the bill for it to suddenly return. That simply couldn't occur by accident.

I would file a complaint if I were you, I often do the same regardless of if I think it is going to change things. Those too lazy or too complacent to do so are only encouraging businesses to continue to add bogus fee's and rip them off further.


Fermi4

join:2005-03-08
Minneapolis, MN
reply to GreyWolfSC

Bottom line, to protect yourself you need to get a receipt of return when the equipment is turned over. The best way to do this is to go to the local Charter office, hand it to them in person, and don't leave without getting a receipt. That's what I have done with Comcast. The way Charter has screwed up our bill 5 out of 5 months we've had service, I will be sure to do this when I buy my modem soon.


no1g8r

join:2005-05-05
Lawrenceville, GA
reply to Catfish

I went through this with Charter last year. I dug through my records and saw that they had been charging me the $5 monthly fee ever since I had to change out a dead modem (that I owned) to a new modem (that I owned) in June of 2008. I didn't catch it until January of 2009, and it took several calls over the course of 3.5 months before I finally found someone who could reverse it for the entire amount, including taxes. By the time they reversed it they were reversing something like $70.

They went through the whole "provide a receipt" thing with me, at which point I automatically said "transfer me to a supervisor" and explained that it was mine and that I didn't have a receipt, I was able to pin-point the occasion when it got flipped (when I called to have them change the authorized MAC address on my account, which activated the new modem) and that the operator at the time was the one that was at fault.



kyo

@charter.com
reply to Catfish

Your only hope is to go to the local office. I am recently unemployed thanks to Charter. Aside from looking for any reason to let go of people from their local offices and dispatchers, they are auditing everything, which includes the modem leases. Charter is using the mistake as a money grab. The modem audits actually started at the end of 2009 (I know since I've been one of the people who had to go through the modem reports). If you have a modem that is mislabeled in the system as a rental, local office employees are instructed to add the modem lease charge. The call center cant do anything. They'll send whats called a kms form to the local offices and they usually just get closed. You might get a call or voicemail telling you to prove the modem is yours, but thats about it.

You're caught between a rock and a hard place. Who has a modem receipt from however many years ago? And an even better question, why did thousands of modems get added into the system as rentals when they were never charter's property? Its a huge mess. Your best bet is to go to the local office and plead your case. The rep will cave in...and I'm speaking from personal experience. Believe me, its not just annoying to the customers. My co-workers and I have been dealing with it for months. And this isnt the first or the last time that Charter has dumped a huge mistake on the local office. Oh the joys of having angry customers walk in and take out their frustrations on you.. Thats one thing I wont miss. But for what its worth, you can have the problem resolved. Just go into the office and plead your case. And remember, you will get better results if you are polite and patient. I hope this helps someone.


DWILKERSON
Premium
join:2010-03-24
Tuscaloosa, AL

1 edit
reply to Catfish

I'm having the same problem with Charter so I'd like to add my voice. I have no idea how long they've been charging me for my modem. I was upgrading my service and purchased ANOTHER modem (Motorolla Docsis 3.0 capable) and was looking at my bill, and saw the lease fee. Tried calling. Went to the local office--who all say that without a receipt, there's nothing they can do.

I think a class action suit is in order, because I realized not only is Charter defrauding countless customers, but others are doing the same thing as well.

Edited to add, I contacted the BBB about this, and found a lawyer online inquiring about these fees, asking folks to contact him. This is one case where I wouldn't mind lawyers getting fat on Charter.



Meechigan

@charter.com

Post the lawyers contact info please. I have the same issue!



Jerm

join:2000-04-10
Richland, WA
kudos:2
reply to Catfish

Front page worthy discussion?

Just for what it's worth, I have a SB4100 that I purchased from a member here YEARS ago for $10.

I too got hit with the $5 fee, didn't notice at first, and had no luck on getting them to refund anything but the current month.

Then just a few months ago it happened all over again. Since I stopped auto-pay and now use my bank to send them an EFT on MY terms it was easy to catch.

What a scam...


newton14
Premium
join:2010-04-04
Reno, NV
reply to Catfish

Same problem here in NV. Even though I own my own modem, Charter started charging me a modem lease fee "out of of the blue," back in 2009. I had the charges removed, and things seemed to revert back to normal.

Oh, but silly me for thinking things were normal again. Because I have paperless statements + auto-bill to a credit card, I never really look at my monthly invoices. Well, lo-and-behold, it turns out that Charter stopped the erroneous billing for only a couple of months, and then reinstated the modem lease fee, which they continued to bill me for almost a year. The only reason I detected this is because I logged into my Charter account to update my credit card expiration date and then noticed the reinstated lease fee when I took a look at a recent pdf statement.

I visited the local Charter office, where the pleasant CSR took care of the problem in about 5 minutes. What I find appalling, though, is that the CSR said that the computer system already showed that my modem was "customer owned." I can only conclude that Charter is deliberately and maliciously engaging in financial fraud. This fraud is crying out for a class-action lawsuit. I really hope some attorney/law firm pursues this matter to the fullest.

I am one pissed off customer.

P.S. - My modem has already rebooted 3x today. Sigh.



psafux
Premium,VIP
join:2005-11-10
kudos:2
reply to Catfish

Your modem needs to be in the billing system as a device otherwise it gets audited and shut off. Someone (at the local office more than likely) accidentally added your modem to Charter's inventory database instead of adding the modem to the equipment screen as a placeholder (a 'fake' device that lets auditors know the equipment SHOULD be provisioned but tells Charter the device is not owned by them). Reps can add placeholders but cannot touch (add/remove/modify) the actual inventory database. That is a local office/engineer/admin access.

So. When your modem is added to Charter inventory, the reps literally can't do anything about it except notify the LO about it and credit your bill for the rental fee.

If the local office disagrees and believes the modem IS theirs, nothing changes and repeat ad-nauseam.

If you have a local office near you, stop in. You can speak to the people that control that database directly.

If they don't believe you and you have no way to prove the modem is yours, you may be SOL though.



gzt7d8
Aliens live amongst us
Premium
join:2001-07-13
Swartz Creek, MI
Reviews:
·Charter
reply to Catfish

I just went through a similar situation but it appears my experience is much better. I purchased my own modem,called and had it provisioned and the tech mailed me the prepaid Fed Ex box to return my leased modem. I tracked the shipment and when it was delivered, downloaded the scanned signature.

My current billing still had the modem lease, but I called today and credited my bill and affirmed the future billings would not contain the lease charge.

I suppose time will tell, but I'll give them the benefit of doubt at this time.

Sorry I don't have any perils of wisdom, other than to say keep copies of receipts, conversations, names and times if you ever have to call back, again.

Greg
--
"It's not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."
Charles Darwin


CharterDylan
Premium
join:2009-01-29
Chesterfield, MO
kudos:18

If there is anyone being charged for a modem that they own please post in the Direct Forum with the following information so we can take care of it.

Name:
Phone Number on Account:
Contact Number:
Best Time To Call:
Email:
Address:
MAC:

»/forum/charterdirect

Thanks!


markopoleo

join:2003-04-02
Bonne Terre, MO
Reviews:
·Charter

Don't get hopes up, Charter official policy is to only allow refunds for "3 months worth of charges".

They view it as something you should of told them before hand, even if you called in to put own modem on system, you have to mention you own it or they just assume its Charters.


KoRnGtL15
Premium
join:2007-01-04
Grants Pass, OR

They can break policy. My father was charged at one time for 8 months. We got the credit back for all 8 months worth.

said by markopoleo:

Don't get hopes up, Charter official policy is to only allow refunds for "3 months worth of charges".

They view it as something you should of told them before hand, even if you called in to put own modem on system, you have to mention you own it or they just assume its Charters.


Syr13057

@rr.com
reply to Catfish

My ex owned a modem. Time Warner Syracuse walked off with it during a service call then began billing for a replacement. I had a hell of a time getting them to pay for their mistakes but eventually they did.



psafux
Premium,VIP
join:2005-11-10
kudos:2
reply to markopoleo

said by markopoleo:

Don't get hopes up, Charter official policy is to only allow refunds for "3 months worth of charges".

I have never once heard that policy. The refund policy is explicit about very few things. PPV's and ordered movies/events among them.


gzt7d8
Aliens live amongst us
Premium
join:2001-07-13
Swartz Creek, MI
Reviews:
·Charter
reply to CharterDylan

I think I'm ok. I called the toll free number and reported it and I feel good that they will credit my account and make sure it doesn't get charged again.

If, however, the April statement shows me otherwise, then I'll post to the direct forum.

I have no issue to wait and see.

Greg
--
"It's not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."
Charles Darwin



CharterUser

@charter.com
reply to Catfish

I've been fighting Charter for some time now on the modem issue. I went into the local office about 7-8 months ago and they removed the charge. (I showed them my receipt when I bought the modem in '03--Charter bought WAVE cable in '08 and WAVE bought Avenue Cable in, what, '04-'05)

Anyway, after I stopped into the local office with receipt in hand and they credited my account. Then, about Nov-Dec. '09 the "lease" charge appeared again. I called Charter this time. Again, the billing rep said that this would be credited to my bill--but it didn't show up on the next bill. What would you do at this point? They said an investigation would be necessary. (no joke) So, I called again and the supervisor said I should go into the local office. I, patiently, talked to the same person I spoke to 7-8 months ago. (it was a beautiful day and it was hard to get too upset. ) She said that she would send the cable modem receipt back to HQ and call me with the results.

So, I started thinking (where's Ralph Nader when you need him) and the quality of my customer experience. And what about all the seniors who aren't aware or the people just too busy deal with the headache of Charter's billing. Or the fact that the TV reception isn't that great on occasion or the Internet goes out like it did last night for 12-16 hours. Antenna is starting to look promising. And I used to use DSL for a long time for Internet. My neighbor has DirectTV and loves it. Fortunately, we have choices.

So, I'm writing this to add my name to the sad saga of Charter users with annoying complaints. I have never had this bad of a customer experience before with WAVE or AvenueCable. It seems like the wheels have fallen off of this cart in terms of customer satisfaction with Charter. Not just Charter, but other companies too--Toyota, HP.

Well, I'm hopeful this will get resolved, but in the meantime I'm looking at other options. Anyone know of good resources for HD antennas and installers? Is there anything else but DSL for broadband for home use? Thanks.


fvoip

join:2006-03-30
US of A
reply to Catfish

They did this to me. Seem to take over a year to fix. This included having charge removed & refunded only to have it show up later. I managed to find receipt for the modem which I'd had for 4 or 5 years on the account. There was no sweetness in winning the fight. Only wasn't forced to pay for the months I disputed. The disputed amount was more than the modem cost...

Having the receipt was lucky, I can't believe that most will have it...also this should never have happened as they should be able to tell from MACs what's theirs. Not that they ever provided Linksys AFAIK....


markopoleo

join:2003-04-02
Bonne Terre, MO
Reviews:
·Charter
reply to psafux

said by psafux:

said by markopoleo:

Don't get hopes up, Charter official policy is to only allow refunds for "3 months worth of charges".

I have never once heard that policy. The refund policy is explicit about very few things. PPV's and ordered movies/events among them.
That is what they kept offering me online and when i called in. I stopped by local office to see about a credit and that is when the lady behind counter told me that they only do up to 3 months worth of accidental modem charges.