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Lawsuit Over $7 Comcast Modem Fee Dismissed
Judge Insists Plaintiff Wasn't Specific Enough
by Karl Bode 09:23AM Friday May 10 2013
A federal judge this week refused to grant class action status to a Comcast customer complaining that Comcast failed to inform him about the fact the company charges a $7 modem rental fee (unless users buy a modem). Most of the complaints about the fee were dismissed back in January, the Judge insisting that the plaintiff wasn't specific enough about which markets saw misleading Comcast marketing in relation to the fee. Despite an amended complaint with more detail, the Judge still found the complaints not specific enough for a class action suit:
quote:
The [first 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," Armstrong wrote. Diacakis added more details about his personal contacts with Comcast representatives in the second amended complaint, but Judge Armstrong said this version still failed to add additional facts about Comcast's marketing practices.
Comcast has been on a winning streak when it comes to consumer issues and allegations of anti-consumer behavior. The company also saw fortune smile their direction when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Comcast's favor after locals alleged the company violates antitrust rules by running a predatory monopoly in Philadelphia and Boston. The conservative majority in that case similarly claimed consumers weren't specific enough in their claims of wrong-doing for class action status.

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cork1958
Cork
Premium
join:2000-02-26

The winning streak

Wonder how much it cost Comcast to continue their winning ways?!

How specific can you get about them, or any other cable company in smaller towns, NOT having a monopoly?

Here, it's Charter with the monopoly.
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FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

1 recommendation

Re: The winning streak

said by cork1958:

Wonder how much it cost Comcast to continue their winning ways?!

How specific can you get about them, or any other cable company in smaller towns, NOT having a monopoly?

Here, it's Charter with the monopoly.

Contrary to popular opinion, a monopoly is NOT illegal. Only specific actions taken to abuse monopoly power are illegal. And proving those has a very high hurdle in the courts.
»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly
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fg8578

join:2009-04-26
Salem, OR

1 recommendation

said by cork1958:

Wonder how much it cost Comcast to continue their winning ways?!

How specific can you get about them, or any other cable company in smaller towns, NOT having a monopoly?

Here, it's Charter with the monopoly.

The lawsuit wasn't about Comcast being a monopoly. The lawsuit was about Comcast's alleged misleading marketing practices. Without specific evidence, it was basically a "he-said, she-said" situation. I don't know about you, but if someone sued me strictly on the basis of claims he could not substantiate w/o evidence, I certainly would hope the court would dismiss it.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·MegaPath
Actually this isn't true. I can provide you video and HSI over the Charter network without using them directly. different prices and all. Charter does allow 3rd party video providers and HSI providers. The same with TWC, Comcast, MediaCom, Cox and alike. It's just who you know and what to ask for.

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

1 recommendation

They should see the same fate as Ma' Bell

It will be a good day when Comcast is broken up like Ma' Bell and forced to allow competitors on their lines and divest from their content producer holdings. Too bad US District Court Judge Harold Greene is no longer around (he broke up the phone company). Comcast is clearly a case of Antitrust.

As for Comcast, they should be sued over charging rent on modems that are owned by customers.
InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
kudos:5

3 recommendations

Re: They should see the same fate as Ma' Bell

said by IowaCowboy:

It will be a good day when Comcast is broken up like Ma' Bell

What good did that do? Individual Baby-Bells maintained effective monopoly status over their respective territories and most of them came back together as AT&T.

The first-mile access business is a natural monopoly just like power, waterworks, natural gas and roads. That's why it is nearly impossible to get companies to compete. In places like HK, most of the access infrastructure is co-owned by multiple network operators - one wire for everyone, which I believe to be the most cost-effective approach - I doubt HKBN could afford to offer 1G for ~$35/month if they had to overbuild.

PaulHikeS2

join:2003-03-06
Fitchburg, MA
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 recommendation

said by IowaCowboy:

It will be a good day when Comcast is broken up like Ma' Bell and forced to allow competitors on their lines and divest from their content producer holdings. Too bad US District Court Judge Harold Greene is no longer around (he broke up the phone company). Comcast is clearly a case of Antitrust.

As for Comcast, they should be sued over charging rent on modems that are owned by customers.

There is no similarity between Comcast and Ma Bell.
My understanding is that Ma Bell was a publicly funded monopoly.

Why do you use Comcast if you have such animosity towards them? Because they are the best provider in the market I'm guessing. Your animosity should be directed at the companies with lousy service in your area (Verizon) or those comanies that offer competing cable service in Mass but don't want to service your area (RCN).

If Comcast charges for customer owned modems, I agree with you. Assumming your not referring to an isolated, individual billing error. I wasn't aware of any such practice.
--
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Chris 313
Come get some
Premium
join:2004-07-18
Houma, LA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·Vonage
·Comcast
·Comcast Digital ..

1 recommendation

Re: They should see the same fate as Ma' Bell

said by PaulHikeS2:

said by IowaCowboy:

It will be a good day when Comcast is broken up like Ma' Bell and forced to allow competitors on their lines and divest from their content producer holdings. Too bad US District Court Judge Harold Greene is no longer around (he broke up the phone company). Comcast is clearly a case of Antitrust.

As for Comcast, they should be sued over charging rent on modems that are owned by customers.

There is no similarity between Comcast and Ma Bell.
My understanding is that Ma Bell was a publicly funded monopoly.

Why do you use Comcast if you have such animosity towards them? Because they are the best provider in the market I'm guessing. Your animosity should be directed at the companies with lousy service in your area (Verizon) or those comanies that offer competing cable service in Mass but don't want to service your area (RCN).

If Comcast charges for customer owned modems, I agree with you. Assumming your not referring to an isolated, individual billing error. I wasn't aware of any such practice.

Comcast has a major history of charging rent for customer owned modems or firmly claiming that customer equipment as their own, going back years. There have been multiple reports on this site alone.

PaulHikeS2

join:2003-03-06
Fitchburg, MA
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: They should see the same fate as Ma' Bell

said by Chris 313:

said by PaulHikeS2:

said by IowaCowboy:

As for Comcast, they should be sued over charging rent on modems that are owned by customers.



If Comcast charges for customer owned modems, I agree with you. Assumming your not referring to an isolated, individual billing error. I wasn't aware of any such practice.

Comcast has a major history of charging rent for customer owned modems or firmly claiming that customer equipment as their own, going back years. There have been multiple reports on this site alone.

So you are citing individual billing issues, I'm thinking. If they were charging for owned modems as a matter of policy, I would agree. They're a big company, so there will be lot's of examples of individual billing issues. That doesn't excuse them at all, but I don't agree with a lawsuit - just a refund when a billing error is brought to light.
--
Jay: What the @#$% is the internet???

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

Re: They should see the same fate as Ma' Bell

Or another solution would be to separate the delivery of Internet from content like in the '90s where the phone companies delivered the data "packets" to a third party ISP as opposed to Comcast acting as an ISP. Similar to what they did to the electric industry in Mass, separating the delivery (incumbent poco) from generation (third party company).

The ideal system would be where Comcast's responsibility ends at the CMTS and goes to third party ISPs (customer choice) from there so Comcast could charge a data access fee (regulated by state DPU) and the third party ISPs could charge whatever they want (competitive pricing).
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.
Happydude32
Premium
join:2005-07-16
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Re: They should see the same fate as Ma' Bell

Actually the ideal solution would be to let Comcast do what they please with the infrastructure that they built, upgraded and own. I really don’t know why you spend so much time dreaming about something that will never happen. The whole idea of a cable provider being the carrier and letting other companies resell is not only completely asinine and it would be nightmare from a support point of view. And what companies out there are jumping at the chance to resell cable services?
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chip89
Premium
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH

Re: They should see the same fate as Ma' Bell

How is it insane when it's working in Canada and they rent lines for a fee but they charge lower prices (Teksavvy)

chip89
Premium
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH
Reviews:
·Cox HSI

1 recommendation

That's how it's in Canada with Rogers and Bell they have the lines but company's like Teksavvy can use the lines with thir own network. I wish Teksavvy would come down here especially that they are less than 50 miles from me (that's the distance from Cleveland to Canada) You can even get roaming charges from Canada if your downtown on a nice day!

Chris 313
Come get some
Premium
join:2004-07-18
Houma, LA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·Vonage
·Comcast
·Comcast Digital ..

1 recommendation

said by PaulHikeS2:

So you are citing individual billing issues, I'm thinking. If they were charging for owned modems as a matter of policy, I would agree. They're a big company, so there will be lot's of examples of individual billing issues. That doesn't excuse them at all, but I don't agree with a lawsuit - just a refund when a billing error is brought to light.

And what would you call it when it happens on a monthly basis?

PapaMidnight

join:2009-01-13
Baltimore, MD

2 recommendations

said by Chris 313:

said by PaulHikeS2:

said by IowaCowboy:

It will be a good day when Comcast is broken up like Ma' Bell and forced to allow competitors on their lines and divest from their content producer holdings. Too bad US District Court Judge Harold Greene is no longer around (he broke up the phone company). Comcast is clearly a case of Antitrust.

As for Comcast, they should be sued over charging rent on modems that are owned by customers.

There is no similarity between Comcast and Ma Bell.
My understanding is that Ma Bell was a publicly funded monopoly.

Why do you use Comcast if you have such animosity towards them? Because they are the best provider in the market I'm guessing. Your animosity should be directed at the companies with lousy service in your area (Verizon) or those comanies that offer competing cable service in Mass but don't want to service your area (RCN).

If Comcast charges for customer owned modems, I agree with you. Assumming your not referring to an isolated, individual billing error. I wasn't aware of any such practice.

Comcast has a major history of charging rent for customer owned modems or firmly claiming that customer equipment as their own, going back years. There have been multiple reports on this site alone.


PapaMidnight

join:2009-01-13
Baltimore, MD

1 recommendation

said by PaulHikeS2:

Why do you use Comcast if you have such animosity towards them?

Lack of any other choice but dial-up, satellite, and 3G/4G. Neither of those are valid options if you ask me. Comcast it is.
dfxmatt

join:2007-08-21
Evanston, IL
there are a ton of similarities with comcast and Ma Bell.

take a look at how they both do business deals such as noncompetes which stifle competition.

if they were not similar, they wouldn't do the same strategy: Stifle everyone else.

JimMcCoy

join:2011-08-20
Jacksonville, NC
"forced to allow competitors on their lines "

Why? Its Comcast's lines. What your suggesting is nationalization of the lines and that's wrong.

And helping their competitors out... What business does that?

fg8578

join:2009-04-26
Salem, OR

1 recommendation

Re: They should see the same fate as Ma' Bell

said by JimMcCoy:

"forced to allow competitors on their lines "

Why? Its Comcast's lines. What your suggesting is nationalization of the lines and that's wrong.

And helping their competitors out... What business does that?

Telcos were required for years by the FCC to lease out their DSL lines to competitors.

If you think about the bandwidth advantage of cable modem (over coax) vs. DSL (over twisted-copper-pair), it is mind-boggling that the market leader with the bandwidth advantage was able to keep its bandwidth to itself, whereas telcos with much smaller bandwidth were nonetheless required to share their meager bandwidth with competitors.

Nothing wrong with that picture . . .

skuv

@juniper.net

Re: They should see the same fate as Ma' Bell

Telcos were required of that because they didn't pay to build out most of their network. AT&T was government funded before they were broken up in the 80's.

Comcast and other cable companies built out their networks with investors money, not government money.

Not even the same situation here.

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

"forced to allow competitors on their lines "

Why? Its Comcast's lines. What your suggesting is nationalization of the lines and that's wrong.

And helping their competitors out... What business does that?

What I am saying is they should be forced to lease access to their lines at cost to competitors like the phone companies had to do after the Bell divestiture. If we can do it to Ma' Bell, we can do it to Comcast as the two have very similar anticompetitive behavior.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.

skuv

@juniper.net

Re: They should see the same fate as Ma' Bell

And the person you're replying to's point still stands.

Comcast paid for those lines. AT&T did not before they were broken up. Their build out was paid for by the Federal government.

That is why all the ILECs were forced to share their lines with CLECs. Because they basically received them for free.

Comcast and other cable companies built out their networks with investment money and money they've made on operations.

Not the same situation.

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

Re: They should see the same fate as Ma' Bell

said by skuv :

And the person you're replying to's point still stands.

Comcast paid for those lines. AT&T did not before they were broken up. Their build out was paid for by the Federal government.

That is why all the ILECs were forced to share their lines with CLECs. Because they basically received them for free.

Comcast and other cable companies built out their networks with investment money and money they've made on operations.

Not the same situation.

And a lot of broadband deployments are being publicly funded.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.

skuv

@juniper.net

Re: They should see the same fate as Ma' Bell

said by IowaCowboy:

And a lot of broadband deployments are being publicly funded.

Funded by local bonds that are repaid over time is NOT the same as the government flat out paying for building out AT&T's original infrastructure.
Happydude32
Premium
join:2005-07-16
kudos:1
1) There has never been any serious talking about breaking Comcast up

2) There is no need to break Comcast up

3) Comcast does not have near national penetration like AT&T did

4) What benefit would breaking up Comcast do for someone like me who lives in Upstate NY hundreds of mines away from the nearest Comcast head end?

5) Comcast has 22 million out of the 100 million pay TV subscribers the last time I checked. Your new beloved DirecTV has almost the same amount, are they a ‘monopoly’ too?

6) Why should cable companies be forced to share the infrastructure they built?

7) If your half brained plan ever came to fruition, which it never will, what incentive would existing or new providers have to jump into the market?
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megarock

join:2001-06-28
Catawissa, MO
Reviews:
·Charter

...

Soon as I saw the words 'conservatives' it was clear the corporation would win even though they are directly responsible for making sure they have no competition to speak of and screw consumers any chance they get. Conservatives fully support that because Comcast has $$$.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA

As it should be

So long as you have a buy-out option, this is not an issue for the courts.

krystal

@comcast.net

Don't ya ever read the bill lol

I don't understand why people send money on services and never read the d*mn bill lol.
ski93

join:2005-02-14
Northwood, NH

Monopoly

Last time I checked Earthlink, Juno and Netzero and a few others have open access partnerships with Comcast. So your not forced to use Comcast directly, if the cable modem service works well for you.

Probitas

@teksavvy.com

treat them like they behave

They act like utilities, so regulate like utilities. Problem solved.