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tkdslr

join:2004-04-24
Pompano Beach, FL
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Speakeasy

[Business] Commercial Users.. Beware Comcast's hidden contract t

Recently (Sept 2010), I tried to sign up with comcast and get a static IP for my home office. I run a web/ftp/email server for my consulting business/domain I've had for the last 8 years.

In order to get past the published $199 Install fees (1yr contract) one had to agree to a 3 year term. ok.. no problem..

Notes: I was one Comcast/AT&TBB/MediaOne's very first Cable modem users in the state of Florida.. Circa 1999->2001, when MO only had 3MBps partial T3 to service all of Florida. Essentially, I taught them how to run an ISP.

My first contact was by email.. to a previous CC business service rep I had talked & emailed several years prior, asking him if he had a similar deal.

Instead of getting a reply from the original rep, another called in his place.. Ok.. no problem, she offered a similar deal, and emailed me 3 page "Business Class Service Order Agreement" .pdf form filled in for 12/2Mbps starter service w 1 static IP for 54.95/mo for three years..

Ah... but what were hidden terms??

In the telephone conversation I asked her can I get out of the contract without penalty? For example, If my house floods in a hurricane(My backyard is a salt water sea level canal, 1/2mile from ocean), burns down, or I just sell the house and move. She assured me Comcast would waive the termination fees after I returned their equipment.

But I must sign up (by faxing in the agreement) by the end of the DAY she contacted me, or the deal is void (~20$/mo discount off of list price).

Down on page 3.. area titled "Agreement" paragraph 1.. was a sentence

"This Agreement shall commence and become a legally binding agreement upon Customer's execution of the SOA. The Agreement shall terminate as set forth in the Terms and
Conditions (»business.comcast.com/terms-condi···dex.aspx). "

Ok.. better download that agreement and find out what I really getting into. First check out the web page referenced. A few blurbs about not sharing the service outside of the premise and not running a server without a static IP. Ok, look down the page, hmmm, a link under the title "Current Agreement" titled "Services purchased after 5/3/09" turns out to be a 17 page .pdf document written by an attorney.

»business.comcast.com/pdfs/cbc_te···0409.pdf

P.S. Business to Business transactions don't have any consumer protections. What you sign is what you're stuck with.

Some highlights in that 17 page document.

Unless Comcast is physically unable to service your location, no mater what condition your structure is in. burned down, flooded out, you're on the hook for 75% of the outstanding contract. I.E. Up to $1442 in early termination fees, Whoa.. That's not what the comcast rep told me over the phone.

Also no guarantees of any specific performance what so ever. Another Whoa.. Comcast could give you a dial up modem connection and satisfy their side of the agreement. Ouch...

Routing? DNS? IP Filtering? More gotchas..

Ok, I talked to rep a second time on the phone and told her about my concerns. She agreed the contract was onerous, and that I would add a couple of sentences in an attempt to fix this wholly one-sided contract.

Ok, Time to fix this agreement with a couple of sentences in the Area for "General special instructions" on page 1.

First I replaced the rep's description of the service.
replacing "12mgbs down and 2 up" with

"12 Megabits/sec down, 2 Megabits/sec up business class internet connectivity."

And I added..

"Termination Charges: 75% early termination fees replaced by lump sum of $375, prorated over contract term. Early Termination fee waived if structure becomes uninhabitable, is sold to unrelated person(s), or customer relocates business to another property."

Specific Performance: Supplied Internet Link must be Suitable for Business Purposes with greater than 50% bandwidth availability, functional domain name resolution services(DNS), bi-directional internet protocol connectivity, and best effort routing, for at least 90%of the elapsed time, measured at ten minute intervals over any consecutive 30 day period.

I.E.. I'm not going be using the bandwidth 24x7. more like a few hundred MB a day. But 50% of promised bandwidth just has to be available 90% of the time to be used if and when needed.

Besides signing page 3. I also Initialed each page adding the date and respective page # of 3.

ok.. Scanned and Faxed that in just before 5pm.. Whew made the deadline.

The next day.. she calls me back and informs me that Comcast management won't agree to my terms.

End of story, and maybe a Warning to everyone else who is considering Comcast's business deals and/or verbal promises. Get it in writing!! Download and save a copy of everything, read it, understand it, before leaping into Comcast's one sided contracts.



gchris2203

join:2009-10-15
Lafayette, IN

Re: [Business] Commercial Users.. Beware Comcast's hidden contra

While it should obviously have been mentioned by the phone rep. It doesn't sound to hidden if its spelled out clearly in the contract. Anyone who doesn't read through contracts carefully doesn't need to be running a business in my opinion.

Everyone should know what your getting yourself into prior to agreeing to anything.
--
Look at it this way DSLR mods if it were not for people like myself your job here would be boring...your welcome



tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to tkdslr

You were wise to full read and understand the contract.
But it is unrealistic to expect comcast to allow individual addendems on each of millions of contracts. While the rep may have been hinting that comcast MAY release you from the terms, IF THEY CHOOSE TO should the service become unusable to YOU, the contract is designed to give them ALL the power/enforcability they need to recoup the cost of the "FREE" install.
Many business owners would pay the install fee and take the cost, againist taxes the first year, vs being locked in to an unfavorable contract for 3 years, IF they were unsure about the business survival, service viability/usabilty or their business insurance coverage. A great deal depends on your business type (LLC, sole prop. etc) your projected profitabilty, tax liability, AND liability for contract costs should you cease business BEFORE the end of the contract for any reason. (diasaster, health, business failure, bankruptcy, etc.)


RFarquhar

join:2006-03-04
Kingwood, TX
reply to gchris2203

I agree, always get it in writing. Just goes to show you can't really take anyone at their word. What really stinks is that most people assume that if you get the Business Class service you have a guaranteed level of service. From that contract it doesn't sound like it.

Although from my perspective, I was once a Business Class customer with TW, which Comcast now runs in Houston. When I was a customer with TW I always had 24 hours support (and not the level one support you get with consumer class service).

One time I had an issue and I called in to regular support. My line had major issues and I was getting horrible latency and pings. This happened to be on a Friday night around 7pm. The rep told me she would schedule a tech to come out next week, maybe by Wednesday she said.

I was like whoa! That is when I told her I was a business class customer and she said oh okay well let me get you over to business support and see if they can do any better. So I got transferred over and within about 2 minutes they had scheduled a tech to come out that night to fix the issue. I told them I could wait until the morning and by the next morning the tech came out and fixed the problem.

So I think the contract is there just for them to have an out. Even though it is totally one sided. I work for a Fortune Top 100 company and it is nice when I have to get deals for that job because we have lawyers too, and a company that size, and with that much potential future business, other companies are more willing to make adjustments like those you proposed.

Anyhow just thought I would share my two cents.



JohnInSJ
Premium
join:2003-09-22
Aptos, CA

1 edit
reply to tkdslr

When I signed up for three years, when I asked the rep he said:

"Read your contract, but basically if you move to a location where we can provide service, you can move your service there. If we cannot provide service that is the only way the contract can end before the term"

I then read the contract, and indeed it says exactly that.

Not hidden. Very standard business contract. May be a little more dense than your average residential customer is expecting.

If you look back at my business class posts here when people ask, I always point out the stiff ETF as something to consider.

And yeah, if you want T1 SLAs you are going to pay a hell of a lot more than $60/mo!
--
My place : »www.schettino.us



beachintech
There's sand in my tool bag
Premium
join:2008-01-06
kudos:5

1 edit
reply to RFarquhar

Not that I want to get in on your rant, but for what you are paying for Business class, NO PROVIDER is going to promise you 100% of anything for that price point, it just doesn't work out. Comcasts business prices are dirt cheap bandwidth. If you need that high of a reliability for whatever reason, co-locate your server or invest in a triple 9's connection.

Edit: Replied to wrong person, supposed to be for OP.
--
Tech at the Beach.
I speak for myself, not my employer.


tkdslr

join:2004-04-24
Pompano Beach, FL
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Speakeasy

I didn't ask for 100%.. I asked for just 50% to be available 90% of the time on a very long term average(30 days). I.E. They could be completely down for almost 3 days straight every month, and still meet that specific performance metric.

Note: Comcast contract has an out for failure to provide Specific Performance. But they never define SP, so the clause is meaningless.

I gave Comcast very flexible terms to meet using their existing network. But over the many years, I've seen just too much ISP evilness to leave it up to their good graces.

But in the end, Comcast's answer to my simple amendment was no.

I sent them one last email. Indicating that at some point in time Comcast business services must pick some sort of
measurable deliverable they can live with.

Maybe if they get enough flack from people reading my post, it might inspire Comcast senior management to rewrite their contract into something more balanced.



gchris2203

join:2009-10-15
Lafayette, IN

Well they already have plenty of folks signing up..I wouldn't count on them changing it because your not happy that it isn't enough in your favor.

Fact is you should not have any problems assuming the install is good. Your under the impression their going to leave you with a Dial up speed to your business and that just is not going to happen. Typically they take pretty good care of their business accounts.
--
Look at it this way DSLR mods if it were not for people like myself your job here would be boring...your welcome



JohnInSJ
Premium
join:2003-09-22
Aptos, CA
reply to tkdslr

said by tkdslr:

I didn't ask for 100%.. I asked for just 50% to be available 90% of the time on a very long term average(30 days).
My uptime with them has been.... hm. Lemme calculate that.

Installed 4/2009
Downtime* since install: 2 hours
Uptime @ rated speed: .999%

I think you would have been OK.

*misnomer. I noted poor performance, called business class support @5pm (weeknight) Tech arrived at 6:30pm modem swapped and service restored to full speed by 7pm.

Let us know who you find who will agree to your terms at less than $60/mo. Seriously.
--
My place : »www.schettino.us

nysports4evr
Premium
join:2010-01-23
kudos:1

said by JohnInSJ:

Uptime @ rated speed: .999%
.999% huh? I would call and complain... :P


JohnInSJ
Premium
join:2003-09-22
Aptos, CA

yep, 99.999 - the first two are pretty important.
--
My place : »www.schettino.us



beachintech
There's sand in my tool bag
Premium
join:2008-01-06
kudos:5
reply to tkdslr

Show me any service provider that would provide that kind of promise for what you are paying..

You won't find one.
--
Tech at the Beach.
I speak for myself, not my employer.


PerfectCode

join:2009-06-12
Portland, OR

1 edit
reply to tkdslr

Just throwing this out there, but I recall someone on here posting that you can terminate service with no ETF if you give them 60 days notice?

Is this accurate?

PS: John has it good down there! :P



L Supreme
Premium
join:2004-06-05
Lowell, MA

said by PerfectCode:

Just throwing this out there, but I recall someone on here posting that you can terminate service with no ETF if you give them 60 days notice?

Is this accurate?

PS: John has it good down there! :P
No that's not accurate

rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit
reply to tkdslr

Im surprised you even expected comcast to accept them terms. As written ide guess that if they did and a hurricane wiped out half of florida. As written comcast would be on the hook for all your lost expenses even tho a hurricane was at fault. Them expenses would have been all lost income and could have cost comcast a fortune. Thats exactly what you could have sued comcast for had they accepted them as written. A t1 contract would have what you want and of course about 10 times the price at a tenth of the speed. A t1 is also going to spell out what damages you are entitled to if they fail to meet the QOS. Something you failed to do.


tkdslr

join:2004-04-24
Pompano Beach, FL
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Speakeasy

said by rody_44:

Im surprised you even expected comcast to accept them terms. As written ide guess that if they did and a hurricane wiped out half of florida. As written comcast would be on the hook for all your lost expenses even tho a hurricane was at fault.
Sue Comcast for lost expenses, is that a trick question? Failure to provide Specific Performance, merely allows one to break the contract withoul penalty per paragraph 4.2(b).

I.E. So one can seek out alternate access without double paying, or sitting on non-useable connection.

Nothing in my clauses adds in extra damages. 13.1 specifically covers disasters. Note: Comcast adds in ... "Except that Customer's obligations to pay for Services provided shall not be excused."

As for expenses.. Their business service is a just a static ip address above their 2nd lowest class retail service, which is selling for no contract 43$/mo.


gchris2203

join:2009-10-15
Lafayette, IN

1 recommendation

said by tkdslr:

said by rody_44:

Im surprised you even expected comcast to accept them terms. As written ide guess that if they did and a hurricane wiped out half of florida. As written comcast would be on the hook for all your lost expenses even tho a hurricane was at fault.
Sue Comcast for lost expenses, is that a trick question? Failure to provide Specific Performance, merely allows one to break the contract withoul penalty per paragraph 4.2(b).

I.E. So one can seek out alternate access without double paying, or sitting on non-useable connection.

Nothing in my clauses adds in extra damages. 13.1 specifically covers disasters. Note: Comcast adds in ... "Except that Customer's obligations to pay for Services provided shall not be excused."

As for expenses.. Their business service is a just a static ip address above their 2nd lowest class retail service, which is selling for no contract 43$/mo.
I am still not understanding how or why you ever thought Comcast would accept your ammended contract...they do not need you as a customer that bad. You either agree to their terms of service or you find a different provider that suits you.

As others have said what your asking for is more along the lines of a T-1 connection and as others have said that costs considerably more.

Its recognized that business accounts need to work and that downtime could cost that business money. So the business account costs more but also includes are quicker resolution time if you do have troubles. (Excluding a natural disaster of course)

I am not sure why your under the impression everyone is out to get you or that their trying to sucker you into a contract only to give you dial up speeds. Business class accounts tend to get the all star treatment. The best techs, solid installs, business support telephone numbers and 4 hours time to repair in the event that you have a problem.

But of course if what their offering will not work for you..its a good thing you live in America and have the choice to take it or not. If you choose not to.. move on with your life.
--
Look at it this way DSLR mods if it were not for people like myself your job here would be boring...your welcome

tkdslr

join:2004-04-24
Pompano Beach, FL
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Speakeasy

said by gchris2203:

I am still not understanding how or why you ever thought Comcast would accept your ammended contract...they do not need you as a customer that bad. You either agree to their terms of service or you find a different provider that suits you.
My purpose was to warn fellow potential Comcast business users to the possible verbal misrepresentations they may encounter, and the negative aspects of Comcast's electronically delivered (.pdf on website) contract terms.

When asked in writing to stand behind verbal and inferred representations promising to deliver business class internet service, they failed to do so.


JohnInSJ
Premium
join:2003-09-22
Aptos, CA

said by tkdslr:

said by gchris2203:

I am still not understanding how or why you ever thought Comcast would accept your ammended contract...they do not need you as a customer that bad. You either agree to their terms of service or you find a different provider that suits you.
My purpose was to warn fellow potential Comcast business users to the possible verbal misrepresentations they may encounter, and the negative aspects of Comcast's electronically delivered (.pdf on website) contract terms.

When asked in writing to stand behind verbal and inferred representations promising to deliver business class internet service, they failed to do so.
Do you have a recording of this misrepresentation, because I didn't receive any misinformation when I ordered business class?

Do you have any examples of internet service providers who accept unrealistic modifications to their terms of service on their low-end offerings?

I'm sorry, but I'm not seeing the issue. Pay for the install if you want a shorter term, or month to month.
--
My place : »www.schettino.us


gchris2203

join:2009-10-15
Lafayette, IN
reply to tkdslr

said by tkdslr:

said by gchris2203:

I am still not understanding how or why you ever thought Comcast would accept your ammended contract...they do not need you as a customer that bad. You either agree to their terms of service or you find a different provider that suits you.
My purpose was to warn fellow potential Comcast business users to the possible verbal misrepresentations they may encounter, and the negative aspects of Comcast's electronically delivered (.pdf on website) contract terms.

When asked in writing to stand behind verbal and inferred representations promising to deliver business class internet service, they failed to do so.
That may have been the purpose of your post but I was talking about the agreement you wrote up then expected them to agree to.
--
Look at it this way DSLR mods if it were not for people like myself your job here would be boring...your welcome

tkdslr

join:2004-04-24
Pompano Beach, FL
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Speakeasy
reply to JohnInSJ

said by JohnInSJ:

Do you have a recording of this misrepresentation, because I didn't receive any misinformation when I ordered business class?
Florida requires both parties to consent to a phone recording, recording without that permission is a felony.

But, this forum dslreports, is the court of public opinion and fortunately standards of evidence aren't nearly as high.

Besides, Comcast has several clauses that don't allow verbal modifications, but that didn't stop the CSR from making those verbal promises.

As for your lack of due diligence, that's strictly your problem.


JohnInSJ
Premium
join:2003-09-22
Aptos, CA

said by tkdslr:


As for your lack of due diligence, that's strictly your problem.
I read my contract before signing... unless you mean the OP...

My point is all we have is what he claims, and nothing more. For me, the process was exactly like every other business service requiring a contract. It wasn't hidden or secret, and was exactly as I have posted here numerous times.

"Don't go for the long contract unless you understand the terms of the ETF."

The OP is being absolutely unreasonable.
--
My place : »www.schettino.us


gchris2203

join:2009-10-15
Lafayette, IN

said by JohnInSJ:

said by tkdslr:


As for your lack of due diligence, that's strictly your problem.
I read my contract before signing... unless you mean the OP...

My point is all we have is what he claims, and nothing more. For me, the process was exactly like every other business service requiring a contract. It wasn't hidden or secret, and was exactly as I have posted here numerous times.

"Don't go for the long contract unless you understand the terms of the ETF."

The OP is being absolutely unreasonable.
He is the OP lol and yes he is being unreasonable
--
Look at it this way DSLR mods if it were not for people like myself your job here would be boring...your welcome


JohnInSJ
Premium
join:2003-09-22
Aptos, CA
reply to tkdslr

Oh man... too late in the day my bad.

1,$s/he/you/g
--
My place : »www.schettino.us


willzzz

join:2007-05-23
SE MI
reply to tkdslr

You can get similar style Comcast-like bandwidth and even higher of MetroE with FE/GE/10GE and up through a Tier 1 or bundler but believe me the cost would be *ALOT* higher for like 4 hour MTTR, etc. Oh and build-out costs. Comcast offers pretty good reliability for internet connectivity with good peering and blend leveraging that large customer base allowing them to negotiate lower costs in IP transit and peering. Also I believe the contract you signed with Comcast doesn't include for credits for downtime? Or does it? It's not a-lot anyways.