Hiding Comcast's Exclusivity In The Fine Print
from the here's-a-$100,-don't-read-the-contract dept
The idea that cable companies or telcos might work with apartment buildings to secure exclusive access to all the units in the building are nothing new. It’s a practice that has been done for quite some time. The San Francisco Chronicle has an article today noting that AT&T is upset about this practice, even though it’s done similar deals itself. What they really seem upset about is that Comcast beat them to it in many places in California. California law says a building owner can’t do this for traditional telephone service, but just about any other service is fair game. It’s not clear why regulators should step in here, either, if it’s a mutually agreed upon contract, where everything is upfront. However, that’s where things get a little questionable. Comcast’s contracts bury this ten-year exclusivity in the fine print, surrounded by tons of legalese. They then have a “plain English” version that doesn’t bother to mention the whole exclusivity part. Finally, they tell building owners that they’ll give them a $100 gift card if they return the signed contract “unaltered.” Again, though, it seems that the real response to these practices is to make it more well known that this is happening — and have tenants make it clear to building owners that they want more choice.