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Ever had an outrageous cable bill? You start with a regular bill that later balloons into a mortgage payment and you wonder what happened. Maybe that issue is what has caused cable company Comcast to have to pay the largest civil penalty ever placed on a cable company in the history of the Federal Communications Commission.


Comcast has agreed to pay a $2.3 million fine to settle a case of illegal billing practices.  Apparently, customers started seeing trumped up charges on their billing statements and complained to the Comcast and to the Federal Communications Commission.

Those Comcast customer complaints prompted an investigation by the FCC into Comcast’s billing practices.  It was soon uncovered that customers were complaining about being billed for services and equipment that they never ordered, or declined.



 In a press release Travis LeBlanc, chief of the FCC’s enforcement bureau, said, “We expect all cable and phone companies to take responsibility for the accuracy of their bills and to ensure their customers have authorized any charges.”



Travis LeBlanc FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief
Photo Source: Marcus-Spectrum.com
 
According to UPS there is a practice called “negative option billing”, that puts billing issues on the customers who them have to fight the charges and obtain a refund. You would be surprise to know that this illegal activity is also carried out by some phone companies and is called “cramming”.
 


Brian Roberts CEO Comcast
Photo Source: Astroman.com
 
In addition to paying the $2.3 million fine, Comcast also has to take proactive measures to make sure this sort of issue does not happen again.  Comcast must initiate a five-year compliance plan requiring the company to get appropriate consent before adding services or equipment to a customer’s bill. Additionally, Comcast must send customers a separate statement clearly outlining any new products or charges.
 
 

 

 

Source: UPI





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