HOUSTON - Comcast has to pay a record $2.3 million fine after government regulators found it charged customers for things they never ordered.
The FCC reportedly began investing the cable giant after getting numerous complaints.
They say Comcast charged people for services or equipment they didn’t authorize. Some examples include charges for premium channels or extra cable boxes.
Comcast representatives released a statement about the settlement saying in part, “We acknowledge that, in the past, our customer service should have been better and our bills clearer, and that customers have at times been unnecessarily frustrated or confused. That’s why we had already put in place many improvements to do better for our customers even before the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau started this investigation almost two years ago.”
Even so, several customers told KHOU 11 News they are still seeing concerning charges on their account.
“When I see the fees, I’m like what is that? Do I have that service? I know I have four boxes but there are extra charges and I don’t understand what they are,” said Felicia Jackson. “I’m downsizing my plan, because I’m tired of paying too much. It’s like $200 a month.”
“We’ve been with Comcast a while and every month we’re calling them to find out where these charges are coming from and why are these charges here?” said Ron Bolden. “For instance, we got a $500 bill for four TV’s and the internet. That’s outrageous.”
In addition to the multimillion dollar fine, Comcast also has to implement a five-year compliance plan.
According to the FCC, Comcast will have to get consent from customers before charging for new services or equipment.
The company also has to send an order confirmation for changes separate from a bill. In addition, Comcast will have to offer customers the ability to block new services or equipment from being added to their account. Finally, Comcast will have to streamline the way it handles disputed charges.
Comcast’s full written statement:
“We have been working very hard on improving the experience of our customers in all respects and are laser-focused on this. We acknowledge that, in the past, our customer service should have been better and our bills clearer, and that customers have at times been unnecessarily frustrated or confused. That’s why we had already put in place many improvements to do better for our customers even before the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau started this investigation almost two years ago. The changes the Bureau asked us to make were in most cases changes we had already committed to make, and many were already well underway or in our work plan to implement in the near future.
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. We agree those issues should be fixed and are pleased to put this behind us and proceed with these customer service-enhancing changes.
Comcast representatives say customers involved with the FCC investigation should have been reimbursed already. Those customers previously reported problems with their bills.
However, people who still think they have been overcharged should contact Comcast at 1-800-COMCAST.