Whether you are an unfortunate Comcast victim, er… customer or not, this post should still be of interest, because Comcast isn’t the only ISP with a history of erroneous modem rental fees.
In the past, I have provided guidance on how to replace a Comcast modem with your own, which is the best way to get rid of your Comcast modem rental fee. If you haven’t yet done this with Comcast (or your ISP), don’t hesitate. Comcast raised modem rental fees to $10 per month ($120) per year in late 2014, which means we’re about due for another modem rental fee increase sometime soon. Comcast is already making an estimated $1B+ per year from these fees – don’t be a victim that adds to that ridiculous number.
Additionally, I recently discovered, that Comcast is using your leased modem as a public wifi hotspot (at your expense)! Here is how to opt out of Comcast using your modem as a public wifi hotspot.
Replacing a Comcast owned and leased modem with your own is incredibly easy (check my link above for instructions), and will save you $120 per year. Not to mention, it is immensely satisfying to deny Comcast that extra $120 per year. Doing so requires a relatively small up-front investment and minimal technology know-how. And getting rid of one less fee gives you more leverage to negotiate your Comcast bill lower in other areas.
However, even if you’ve made the wise move to your own modem to avoid Comcast’s sting, it turns out Comcast might make a sneak attack on you anyways.
6 prominent U.S. Senators (including Bernie Sanders, Liz Warren, and Al Franken) signed a letter sent to FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler asking the FCC to investigate Comcast for erroneous modem rental fees charged randomly even to customers who own their own modem and returned Comcast’s modem, after hearing complaints from a large number of customers.
Many Comcast customers (myself included) sign up for autopay and might be completely missing unjustified fees. At the same time, trying to break down a Comcast billing statement is like reading a foreign language. It’s so difficult that The Consumerist put together a guide to understanding your Comcast bill.
And the big sticking point for me is something I’ve written about before and was alluded to in the letter from the Senators:
“55 percent of consumers only have one high-speed broadband provider. This lack of competition…has led to some troubling and questionable customer service and payment practices by the few corporations consumers have to choose from.”
Damn right! Comcast’s customer service sucks, they know it, and they almost take pride in it. It’s funny what happens when a little competition (or even the threat of it) is injected into a market that Comcast has a virtual monopoly in. Here’s to hoping that Google Fiber goes nationwide sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, don’t help Comcast strengthen their stronghold – get rid of your Comcast-leased modem and frequently check your bills to make sure you don’t have any erroneous modem rental fee charges for a modem you own.