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.


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Comments on “Hiding Comcast's Exclusivity In The Fine Print”

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10 Comments
Yakov (profile) says:

Satelite

I lived in a building where tenents could have satelites on the roof. There were no problems for years, I mean over a decade, then the building got sold, and the owner chose to make a deal with someone — don’t know and don’t care and he sent out letters that if everyone doesn’t remove their dishes he will sue. I moved out. Last I knew the buildings in the comples were about a third empty. Suits the a-hole right. Telling people what they can and can’t do after the fact is crummy, threatening them with a law suit is well — I guess American. Good luck renting that crap hole for 1300 bucks again.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Satelite

I lived in a building where tenents could have satelites on the roof. There were no problems for years, I mean over a decade, then the building got sold, and the owner chose to make a deal with someone — don’t know and don’t care and he sent out letters that if everyone doesn’t remove their dishes he will sue

Hmm. Satellite is actually a different issue, and the FCC rules are clear that a landlord CANNOT stop you from putting up a satellite. So that landlord’s action was illegal.

WirelessGuy says:

The Fine Print is everything

Contracts today are way too long and way too complex for their own good. I guess this is what you get with all the lawyers trying to justify their existance.

I used to do things for product design on 10 page requirements. The last one was 1,200 pages. And if someone can really tell me the difference between “Best Efforts” and “Reasonable Best Efforts” I would greatly appreciate it.

Sanguine Dream says:

I know...



I used to do things for product design on 10 page requirements. The last one was 1,200 pages. And if someone can really tell me the difference between “Best Efforts” and “Reasonable Best Efforts” I would greatly appreciate it.

The “Reasonable” is thrown in there as a loophole. That’s it. Imagine.

An exterminator agency says we will give our “Best Efforts” to protect your house. Then termites move in and eat the house. You can sue because they didn’t fulfill their garuntee. Now if they say we give out “Best Reasonable Effort” and the termites eat your house then they can say they only garunteed a reasonalbe attempt to clear your house of termites and they would claim that within reason they did everything they could.

Its the same with all contracts. They are so bloated with awkward wording in order to cover every possibility. And give how lawsuit happy most of america is these days I really can’t blame anyone for making a super long winded contract.

Liberal_NOT says:

Blame it on the liberals, they want be on all sides (unless you’re a Christian of course, then you’re illegal), my way your way his way her way and everything is good. Everything is ok, whatever you do is fine. The lawyers love this and have etched it into everything.

I digress, did I mention I hate liberals and their it’s all good attitude? Personal responsibility, not anymore, join John Kerry and you can be on all sides…. I digress again…. sheeeesh

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