Comcast - Comcast Digital Voice requires unwarranted rental fees.

Posted on Wednesday, December 9th, 2009 at 3:06pm CST by 29351867

Product: Comcast Digital Voice

Company: Comcast

Location: 395 Gateway Drive
Pacifica, CA, 94044, US


Category: Other

I noticed a recurring $5 charge on our Comcast Digital Voice bill for "Modem Rental". I started a live chat with Comcast over these charges, who stated that "The digital voice requires the use of a phone modem hence you are charged for it, " and , for Comcast digital voice subscribers there is an automatic phone modem rent." I asked why I couldn't use my own modem, and she said that "all digital voice modem [sic] will have to be rented from Comcast". We had been using Comcast's services for 11 months, but had always used our own old and cheap modem, not theirs; in fact, I'm not even sure when the Comcast modem arrived. (we have a lot of telecom equipment lying around). I asked for a contract or service agreement to see if we had agreed to this unnecessary equipment, but both my original rep, Rosemarie, and her supervisor, Paul Francis could not supply this. After over an hour, when it was clear that there was neither a technical nor contractual reason to force consumers to use a Comcast modem, the rep continued to hold that their modem was necessary, because it had a battery backup in event of a blackout. While I could see some value in that, whether I pay $60 per year for this service instead of using one of my two cell phones or using my neighbor's traditional land line is my decision, not Comcast's.

Finally, after literally over three hours of back and forth and threats to report to the FCC, Comcast changed their tune and told us to return the modem for the rental charges to stop. I doubt any other consumers would have the three hours to spend battling Comcast (my past experience as a consumer advocate probably helped), and I bet that all of their Comcast Digital Voice customers are thus getting ripped off every month as well. Sixty bucks times (I'm guessing a million?) customers is a lot to collect for a service that has no benefit. I hope a class action in California is filed soon to recover the 60 million Comcast is overbilling consumers for this "necessary equipment." If you need the transcript of my chat, feel free to contact me.


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763b7431, 2009-12-23, 08:56PM CST

I totally agree with you sentiments. I have the same problem.I spoke with a supervisor called Theresa this evening and had the same response. In my case it was even worse. The technician took my wireless modem when he installed their modem. I asked what would happen if I cancelled theservice and I was told that I had to return their modem because it could not be used with the other services such as AT& T, etc. She volunteered to give me a $40 credit which is the minimum range of any new modem. No one explained to me the extra charges for either the modem or the so called " additional Outlet which I do not need and now plan to return. Theresa was not very pleasant and did not do much listening. She said there was no way the could now find my wireless modem. My bill was more than $100 more than that for the prior month and all I wanted was to add the phone service. She mentioned the bill was prorated through 11/23 but I had paid the prior bill in full and this ran from 12/01/09 through 12/31/09.

I would certainly be happy to join the class action suit and may even file a suit on my own since the technician even took many of my A/V cables with him.

e05509b9, 2010-05-23, 01:32PM CDT

I just received my bill, rather upset when I saw the amount. First tme using Comcast and it sure has not impressed me. I was told it would be 99.00 for the year, nothing stating there would be extra charges. I had a competitor of yours down in the East Bay received many more channels including Encore,Starz,We, Etc. for 116.00 a month. I never did have a chose if I wanted your voice mail or leave it on my voice machine. What is the service activation? I understood it all to be free since they quotoed me it to be 200.00 and something usually but because I was a new customer it would be free.

I being a Senior I will not be able to pay this amount since I am on a fixed income.

I need a response to this bill.

77f7a247, 2010-06-04, 11:21AM CDT

I too questioned the recurring $5 'GATEWAY Equipment Fee' charge on our bill, but our charge was filed under our 'Comcast High-Speed Internet' in-lieu of your 'Digital Voice'.

When we signed up with Comcast, we went with their bundled services (phone, internet and cable), and was informed there would be a recurring $5 monthly charge for the use of their GATEWAY ROUTER. It was made clear to me that the only way to avoid this charge was to purchase our own router. Being that all of this was new to me, I chose to utilize their router.

Years have past, and this week I replaced it with the intention of returning their Gateway router to no longer incur the $5 GATEWAY equipment fee. So, this morning, I contacted Comcast to find out where I needed to return their router and inform them of my intentions. That's when Leah informed me that the $5 charge is for the use of their " ARRIS MODEM" not their "GATEWAY ROUTER" (even though the charge is clearly listed as 'GATEWAY Equipment Fee' and filed under Comcast High-Speed Internet on our bill). Leah said the router was free, and that the charge was for their Arris Modem (required for the DIGITAL VOICE). And, like you, I heard the same reasoning as to why I couldn't use my own modem. Oddly enough, our charge isn't filed under 'DIGITAL VOICE'!

Apparently, they will find a way, any way, to charge you an additional $5 monthly charge! Whether they file it under 'Digital Voice' or 'High-Speed Internet'! I'm sure if I cancelled my internet service, they'd just list the fee under digital voice.

Leah's only concern was that I "change the way I look at it (the situation" (her words). Not that Comcast contradicts themselves, but that they graciously let me use their GATEWAY router for free, and that I am paying for the use of their modem (which is required). And, that I am not paying any undo fees. I clearly told her that I thought that explanation was BS and that how it is listed on their bill does not support her explanation! She eventually stopped trying to convert me into believing this is a good thing.

I too hope a class action is filed against Comcast, in California and in Colorado.

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