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Comcast Still Faces Cable Modem Fee Lawsuit
Case May Move Forward After Clarification
by Karl Bode 09:12AM Tuesday Jan 17 2012
Last week a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against Comcast by a plaintiff who claims Comcast sells broadband service without disclosing the fact that the subscriber may need to pay to rent a modem. "The [amended complaint] fails to specify when or where Comcast advertisements were viewed, the content of those advertisements, or which of them in particular Plaintiff relied upon," the Judge ruled at the time. The lawyer in the case is now calling the ruling a good thing, insisting that once the plaintiff highlights specifically where and when Comcast failed to inform them about modem rental fees, that the case will be allowed to proceed. Comcast currently charges a $7 a month modem rental fee unless subscribers buy their own modem.

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cooperaaaron

join:2004-04-10
Joliet, IL

No fee...

for me, ever since I known that I can purchase my own modem and avoid the fees...

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: No fee...

said by cooperaaaron:

for me, ever since I known that I can purchase my own modem and avoid the fees...

When the fee was $3/mo, a case could be made for leasing a Comcast CM. But as they kept updating it to where it is now $7/mo it became a no brainer to buy one. The payback period got to be a year or less.

Cabal
Premium
join:2007-01-21
Until they start rolling out a $7 cable modem "support fee" for those who own their own modems. It won't be long, other ISPs are already starting to do it.
--
Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Islamic religion?

rms1k

join:2001-05-10
Naples, FL
For me, renting the modem is like insurance . I live in SW FL. We have tons of lightning strikes here on a regular basis. Modems seem to be very sensitive to voltage spikes even behind all the crap that says your protected against lightning strike voltage spikes. I usually replace my modem on average 2 times a year. Never a question on why it broke or any extra charges other then the rental portion of my bill. I don't know what they cost to buy right now, but for me it's cheaper to rent and get a no questions asked replacement on the spot. Comcast does take care of it's customers in that respect. And the speed......I would need a T-3 DSL to keep up with what I'm getting.
mogamer

join:2011-04-20
Royal Oak, MI

Still better than many others.

At least Comcast allows people to use their own modems. There are plenty of other ISP's that don't and force you to rent from them.

As bad as Comcast seems to people (I don't have Comcast, btw), there are service providers who make them look good.

FormerSucker

@mellon.com

Re: Still better than many others.

There is no way that Comacast ever looks good! I dump them over four years ago and haven't looked back. Goodbye Comacast!
mogamer

join:2011-04-20
Royal Oak, MI

1 recommendation

Re: Still better than many others.

said by FormerSucker :

There is no way that Comacast ever looks good! I dump them over four years ago and haven't looked back. Goodbye Comacast!

You've never had U-Verse then. You're stuck using their totally crappy modem/routers. And as an added bonus you get what is probably the worst hd pq today!
ajwees41
Premium
join:2002-05-10
Omaha, NE
said by mogamer:

At least Comcast allows people to use their own modems. There are plenty of other ISP's that don't and force you to rent from them.

As bad as Comcast seems to people (I don't have Comcast, btw), there are service providers who make them look good.

cox doesn't who does?
Mele20
Premium
join:2001-06-05
Hilo, HI
kudos:5

Re: Still better than many others.

said by ajwees41:

said by mogamer:

At least Comcast allows people to use their own modems. There are plenty of other ISP's that don't and force you to rent from them.

As bad as Comcast seems to people (I don't have Comcast, btw), there are service providers who make them look good.

cox doesn't who does?

TWC will not allow you to buy your own modem ....UNLESS you live in certain divisions. In Hawaii, we have NEVER been allowed to buy our own modems. I have always hated this policy as I like Surfboards and Oceanic TWC has not had any since 2005. They give out crap modems currently. I have a Surfboard 5100 from back in Jan 2005 that I rent from them, but I'd like a newer Surfboard...but they have none and won't let me buy my own. Comcast customers are lucky in this respect. TWC gets around the advertising part by claiming that the modem is "free" which is BS ...the rental of the modem is INCLUDED in the monthly fee for internet service.
--
When governments fear people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. Thomas Jefferson

DrDrew
That others may surf
Premium
join:2009-01-28
SoCal
kudos:15

1 edit

Re: Still better than many others.

said by Mele20:

I have a Surfboard 5100 from back in Jan 2005 that I rent from them, but I'd like a newer Surfboard...but they have none...

What modem is TWC giving out with Wideband or Extreme tiers in your area? Many TWC divisions are giving out Motorola SBG6580 modems with Wideband or Extreme tiers, since they require DOCSIS 3 modems for those tiers.

Otherwise, the Moto 510x is the latest NON-DOCSIS 3 modem that Motorola makes. Everything newer from Moto, is DOCSIS 3.

TWC allows customers, in all but a handful of areas, to use their own modem for tiers other than Wideband and Extreme. With Wideband and Extreme tiers it's the opposite situation, only a handful of areas are allowed to user their own modems, with the majority being required to use TWC issued DOCSIS 3 modems.
--
If it's important, back it up... twice. Even 99.999% availability isn't enough sometimes.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Eh?

I've been a Comcast broadband subscriber since 2002 and they have always made it pretty clear that you have to pay a monthly fee to rent the modem. How would a claim to the contrary have any merit?

Hopefully Comcast can get back its legal fees from an obviously very lazy plaintiff.
--
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.
Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink

Re: Eh?

I guess you never lived near a Circuit City Store. They were constantly offering an incentive to sign up for HSI, provided by various ISP's through their store. They offered customers that signed up, a free Motorola modem through a rebate, and six months of performance level service for $19.95 per month. The only hitch was that the customer was required to maintain service for 120 Days. The best deal was in December when Circuit City also offered a $100.00 Circuit City Gift Card to the new subscriber.

I have owned my own modem since 2002 when Adelphia announced they would be charging a $5.00 per month modem rental fee for the modem they supplied. Unfortunately I had to purchase my own modem in 2002 because the deals referred to above were only offered to new customers and I already had service from Adelphia. I moved to Central Florida before Adelphia was purchased by Comcast and I was able to take advantage of the Circuit City special deal as a new subscriber.

According to my abacus if you paid an average of $6.00 per month for a modem for ten years or 120 months you paid $720.00 + tax for the equivalent of a Motorola Surfboard 4200 modem that you could have purchased in 2002 for anywhere from $79.95 on sale with a rebate to $129.95 at full retail price.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: Eh?

I agree with you about how owning a modem is the best option but how does any of this support the claim that Comcast was lying about the modem rental fee?
--
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.

TF2_Dude

@comcast.net

Re: Eh?

The case isn't Comcast lying about, it's about Comcast not disclosing the modem rental in their ads.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: Eh?

said by TF2_Dude :

The case isn't Comcast lying about, it's about Comcast not disclosing the modem rental in their ads.

I'm all for the costs of mandatory fees being disclosed up front and being included in the amount of the advertised price, but the modem rental fee for residential users is optional.
--
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.

TF2_Dude

@comcast.net

Re: Eh?

said by pnh102:

said by TF2_Dude :

The case isn't Comcast lying about, it's about Comcast not disclosing the modem rental in their ads.

I'm all for the costs of mandatory fees being disclosed up front and being included in the amount of the advertised price, but the modem rental fee for residential users is optional.

I know that, you know that, but does the plaintiff know that? Either way, that is what this case is really about is Comcast not disclosing that in the advertising.
jcremin

join:2009-12-22
Siren, WI
kudos:2

1 recommendation

Re: Eh?

said by TF2_Dude :

I know that, you know that, but does the plaintiff know that? Either way, that is what this case is really about is Comcast not disclosing that in the advertising.

So should all car ads put a big notice that you need to have a driver's license in order to actually drive the thing? Seems like just another worthless "money grab" lawsuit.

Bugger

@rr.com

Re: Eh?

You do not need a license to drive your new car, you need a license to drive it on public roads. It is more like buying a car for the advertised price and realizing that the engine is not included and costs extra.

You cannot get access to the internet without a modem. Comcast should either include the modem in the advertised cost or disclose IN READABLE FONT that the required modem is extra.

Disclosing the full cost of products and services should be a fair business practice and if corporations do not play fair then the gov't should step in and slap them around until they do (or throw them in jail since they are now considered people).
jcremin

join:2009-12-22
Siren, WI
kudos:2

Re: Eh?

I get it... I really do... But really?

It seems to me that the rest of the hidden fees are a lot more important of an issue. Sure, when you are signing up, it should be clear to state "cable modem required for service" but if the issue is that it doesn't say it in an advertisement, it will just be another thing that gets lumped into the fine print that nobody reads anyway. They can't simply include the cost into the advertised price since it isn't mandatory if you own your own modem, but the rest of the fees are always going to be there.

I would consider it a valid lawsuit if Comcast were trying to "bait and switch" using deceptive advertising and trying to trick people into thinking it wasn't necessary to have a modem, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Just seems to be a frivolous lawsuit by someone on a power trip who is making a big deal out of something that 99.9% of the people consider common sense, or at least understand when it comes time to actually sign up for the service.

Customer protection is usually a good thing (when done properly, that is), I just think there are much bigger fish to fry.

not

@comcast.net

Re: Eh?

The modem rental fee isn't included in the business class service either, so your argument is moot. Fact is, Comcast tells you they'll give you Internet for $xx.xx/month with NO info about additional charges (that aren't taxes) or equipment rental fees for either residential or commercial. This is done so that they can show the lower price and then just tack on extra costs for stuff you don't need. Take business class for example... you didn't used to have to pay for their SMC pos modem. I had a business customer a long time ago that had Comcast in their office and had their own modem on a business plan.

This is nothing more than people getting sick and tired of companies just coming up with things to start charging you if you use them because they're trying to inflate their own bottom line, nothing more. I support anyone who's tired of getting nickle and dimed to death and wants to do something about it. It's what changes the minds of large companies... power in numbers.

Imagine how ticked off you'd be if you go to the gas station tomorrow and find that they're going to charge you extra for utilizing their pumps to get the gas out of their tanks and into yours. It's not like they give you any other option, but since it's something they finally thought of charging for just to make an extra buck, they saw it as a good business practice. Same thing here, just another company and another aspect of their product.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Eh?

Well on residential, it's not a mandated fee.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
Yeah, we did that in '03. A few TB of data later, and countless speed increases later, it's still cranking.

This case is just nonsense, as you can opt to buy your own modem. AT&T's U-Verse fee, however, I could see, as they require you to rent your RG, since it's a highly specialized piece of hardware.
axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC
Reviews:
·Comcast
The lawsuit is about the advertising, I believe. This seems equivalent to all those other hidden fees like "regulatory recovery fee". I assume those hidden fees have already successfully been defended, so I'm not expecting too much from this lawsuit.

I do think every fee should be disclosed. The advertisements should list the maximum price one would pay without upgrades.
Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink

Business customers should get on the lawsuit bandwagon!

Comcast just just changed their terms of service. The change requires business customers to pay a rental fee for a modem even it they own their modem. Apparently Comcast provided business customers that did not purchase a modem, an SMC SMCD3G-CCR modem for $7.00 per month. Customers that already purchased their own modems are screwed. More Cable Industry nothing for something.

See this thread:
»[Business] Comcast's $7 Cablemodem Fee

I wonder how long it will take for Comcast to pull the same crap on residential subscribers.

anonme

@comcastbusiness.net

Re: Business customers should get on the lawsuit bandwagon!

ALl of my business customers here in NH just got hit with the new $7/month fee. Comcast had always advertised that the modem was included with the service. Guess they suddenly felt like they needed to increase revenue. As far as I know, you cannot purchase a business gateway to use with their service and avoid the $7/month. This is more than a nickel AND dime combined!
b10010011
Whats a Posting tag?

join:2004-09-07
Bellingham, WA

The only problem I have had with owning my cable modem is...

Whenever there is a service outage of any kind Comcast always blames my modem and will not compensate my bill.
BigVe

join:2005-07-15
Gulliver, MI

Come on people

Get with things and buy your own modem(s).I have been a silent part of 2 lawsuits and the highest amount i got out of it was my last check.A LOUSY 6 cents.Who do you think get all the money in lawsuits? Sure isn't the consumer

newview
Ex .. Ex .. Exactly
Premium
join:2001-10-01
Parsonsburg, MD
kudos:1
Reviews:
·DIRECTV
·Comcast

Charged even if you own your own modem

What particularly irked me about Comcast was the two times a modem rental fee showed up on my statement even when I owned my own modem, and have owned my own since I subscribed to Comcast HSI back in 2005.

Once the modem rental fee shows up, you have to PROVE to them that you own your modem for them to remove the fee and reimburse or credit your account, so I HIGHLY advice that you keep that receipt for your modem purchase, since Comcast apparently keeps no inventory records indicating what modem Model# / Serial# / Mac Address# is their property and which are not.

What a scam.

IamBeneath

@clearwire-wmx.net

Re: Charged even if you own your own modem

"Scam" is right.

Comcast *requires* their employees to be dishonest about modems.

Cable Modems that have *ever* been used (and then canceled) on their service in the past are flagged as such on the system, with the name of the previous account holder. If you try to sign up for service again under a different name or let a friend have your modem after you switch ISP, comcast employees see that the name is different and are required to tell you that comcast owns the modem ("we own that modem, you have to pay rent or buy your own"). They usually get away with this because you picked up a used one and have no idea who owned it before.

I used to love the service and always told my friends & family to get comcast... I even went in with them when they signed up so that's how I started noticing this pattern. Even modems that I personally bought at retail stores (then canceled and tried to start new service a year later) weren't safe from this corporate policy of deception and theft.

you have to jump through hoops to get the used modem registered, and be adamant that you know firsthand that the modem never belonged to comcast. Of course if it says "comcast" right on it there is a pretty good chance that it does belong to them but not 100% guaranteed. Comcast does bill the user for unreturned equipment and they do *not* take the hardware out of the system if it gets paid off.

Be careful because if you admit you bought it from a stranger or second hand store they are trained to repeatedly insist that it belongs to comcast as an unreturned rental. (even if the model number proves otherwise: a few modems say right on them retail version, or if you bought it used but the original box and store receipt came with it)

I apologize for my nonstandard approach to Grammar and Punctuation. I rarely surface to share my relevant experiences in a textual manner but this seemed important to share.

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

I've always owned my own modem

Ever since I upgraded from Dial-up in 2001, I've always owned my own modem with my first one being a Toshiba PCX 1100U. The only time I've rented modems is when I was forced to rent them such as Digital Voice or when D3 came out. I've been through many different modems (SBG 5100, Linksys WCG 200, Motorola SBG900, SBG 6120 and the PCX 1100U, which was my first modem).

My current modem is a purchased Arris TM722G which feeds my voice and data. I bought it at Best Buy.
--
All of my CPE (including my EMTA) is customer owned. The only Comcast owned equipment in my house is the CableCards in the two TiVO boxes I own.

Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

Not optional if you use Comcast's phone service

Since you can't buy your own EMTA (at least Comcast support told me I could not), if you subscribe to Comcast's "Digital Voice" service, the $7 is mandatory. That's one of the reasons I dumped their phone service.
--
The Comcast Disney Avatar has been retired.