Comcast has been overcharging customers, and the FCC has come to the rescue. Well, maybe that isn’t the whole story you need to know.
To say that the American public is addicted to technology and entertainment would be an understatement. So, when a large corporation like Comcast is found to be guilty of unfair business practices, it obviously makes headlines. Savvy consumers who subscribe to their services have known for a long time now that it is important to keep tabs on the bill. Usually it’s sufficient to just keep an eye on the monthly total and check the source of even small increases, but it is important to simply periodically check it.
In a perfect world, the apps used by many Comcast customers to pay their bills would make it easy to view an itemized bill. It doesn’t. If the company was really consumer-friendly, the website would be intuitive and well-organized. It isn’t. The issue of added services and hardware wouldn’t be hard to find on either the app or the website, if Comcast didn’t intend to try to make money from consumers being less-than-vigilant in their dealings with them. Apparently, the FCC thinks Comcast fully intended to overcharge customers, and sent that message with a $2.3 million price tag.
That would be great, if it wasn’t fine that will be swallowed up by the government. It is. The FCC is demanding that Comcast make it easy for customers to request and receive refunds for overcharges, but time will tell how well that works out. For now, Comcast is promising to be better to customers.
With the advent of multiple entertainment options, from streaming subscription services off cable for premium channels, to services like Hulu and Netflix, competition is getting steeper for cable. Beyond cutting the cable, the obvious upside to these options is that consumers absolutely must make the choice to buy them.
In case anyone is wondering whether or not the FCC really is out there fighting for consumers, it’s important to remember that there was supposed to be a vote on abolishing the monopoly on cable set boxes – it’s been delayed. Maybe the FCC is trying to make it clear that they are prepared to fine cable companies like Comcast up to the very last moment?
If you’re tired of being held captive to the cable, there’s no shortage of information on alternatives out there. Just keep in mind when it gets into the realm of governmental regulations – like from the FCC – that means there may be a battle on the horizon over the nature of the content that you can find via streaming services. For the most part, they’re not under the control of the FCC now, which means no ratings or censorship of bad words, among other things. While it might seem great for the FCC to push cable off the top of the home entertainment mountain, it’s best to keep unintended consequences in mind. As with anything else, less government – more fun.