Comcast Fined $2.3 Million for Improperly Charging Its Customers
The company allegedly charged customers for equipment or services they never ordered
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ordered cable giant Comcast to pay $2.3 million for wrongfully charging customers for equipment and services they did not order.
FCC officials say it is the largest civil penalty ever imposed on a cable operator.
Federal regulators ordered the company to pay the fine after investigating complaints from Comcast customers claiming that they had been charged for equipment like set-top boxes and services like premium channels even after they had specifically rejected offers from company representatives for these things.
This practice is known as "negative option billing" and is illegal under federal law.
"It is basic that a cable bill should include charges only for services and equipment ordered by the customer—nothing more and nothing less. 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," said Travis LeBlanc, chief of the Enforcement Bureau at the FCC.
Comcast agreed to make it easier for its customers to know what equipment and services are on their account, as well as to simplify the process of disputing charges.
The company acknowledged 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," but defended itself in a statement claiming that the regulators "found no problematic policy or intentional wrongdoing, but just isolated errors or customer confusion."