by Mike Masnick

The Comcast Bundle Shakedown

from the looks-like-a-monopoly,-smells-like-a-monopoly... dept

I know about five people who used AT&T Broadband (now Comcast) as their cable modem service without also getting cable TV. As of last week, they're all subscribed to cable TV as well, thanks to Comcast's latest extortionary move. People complained about their new billing plans when they were announced a couple of months ago, but now that they're going into effect, people are accusing Comcast of "shaking down" its customers. The way the deal works is, if you have a cable modem, but no cable TV, you suddenly have to pay an extra 33% on your cable modem bill. Suddenly, you have incentive to sign up for cable TV as well. Of course, if Comcast weren't a monopoly, this wouldn't be an issue - but for many people they simply have no choice. That explains why all of my friends suddenly are paying for cable TV that they'll rarely (if ever) watch. Update: On a related note, a number of consumer groups are now publicly claiming that Comcast is gouging.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    MeV, Mar 26th, 2003 @ 1:45am

    Wasn't this sort of bundling illegal?

    I recall a recent FCC regulation that made various types of service bundling illegal. For example, if you wanted to get just HBO, you didn't have to sign up for Cinemax and Starz!. Isn't this the same thing? Why isn't the FCC tapping on someone's shoulder?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    supabeast, Mar 26th, 2003 @ 6:48am

    Not all Comcast customers/Competition

    Remember that in many areas Comcast service is franchised, and does not follow standard policy. In my area (Reston, Virginia.) cable internet was $60 a month and television was separate, and to compete with satellite and DSL, the local Comcast franchise started including cable TV with the internet service at *no* extra cost.

    Comcast might be able to play these games in DSL free areas, but it won't last as DSL and wireless service areas grow.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Greg Spira, Mar 26th, 2003 @ 2:26pm

    No Subject Given

    While Comcast does seem to be gouging a bit here, I do think it's perfect reasonable - and a smart business practice - to charge cable modem customers who don't have cable more. And I think providing cable modems to customers without cable almost certainly costs Comcast more. The presence of DSL should keep most cable companies from going overboard in the long run.

    I have Roadrunner, and Time Warner has always charged significantly more for folks without cable to get the service (though I think it's easy to avoid by ordering Earthlink over the same cable instead). And the more cable you get, the cheaper Roadrunner becomes. I ended up ording HBO and Showime on my cable for an additional $12 a month because it reduced by Roadrunner bill by a further $6 a month.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    JD, Mar 26th, 2003 @ 6:06pm


    What if I want Comcast cable TV but not internet service. Shouldn't there also be a difference there? I'm dusting off my 56K.... I don't play games anymore anyway, and just about everything requiring high speed will be regulated soon.... phppt

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Molly, Mar 26th, 2003 @ 6:53pm

    No Subject Given

    I've heard rumors that if you sign up for both cable and high speed, but then cancel your cable, you will still receive cable for free because of the existing infrastructure in place to provide you with high speed. I've never tried but I'm tempted. Anyone else ever have any luck with this?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Jay, Apr 14th, 2003 @ 2:02pm

    Comcast Pricing Policy

    Lots of people complaining about the Comcast pricing policy haven't compared Comcast's prices to DSL (~$55 - about the same price as Comcast price for cable modem without cable svc) for about half the speed. Comcast is simply offering customers a better price if they buy multiple services from them - I think that's called capitalism, not gouging, and people screaming about "no choice" actually have choices - they can go back to dialup, or try to get DSL service. Apparently, "no choice" actually means "no choice that I like"...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Marc, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 10:31am

    comcast monopoloy

    Currently, cable internet alone is $40 plus. And there's no alternative. Even DSL you have to get bundled with a phone line with bumps up the price by $13 or so bucks. Where my FCC? Or is it Comcast's FCC?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    David, Sep 6th, 2007 @ 5:33am

    Comcast misrepresentation

    I recently let a salesman who called my house talk me into getting the digital phone in a bundle along with my cable TV and Internet which I already had. He said I could get all 3 for $100 if I signed a contract. I asked if that was with my present cable setup and he said he had it in front of him and yes.
    I just opened up my bill the other day to find it jumped way up instead of going down. They gave me an expanded cable package and charged me for it. I called and they supposedly fixed it only to find I lost features that I had before. I called back and was told that what I had for a cable package wasn't covered in the $100 bundle but was in the $129 bundle. After fees this ends up being more. I got layed off in May, don't have a job, and find myself considereing cancelling my phone and cable all together out of a growing disdain because of how I was deceived.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    patricia harris, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 12:10pm

    comcast is the worst!!!

    They sure don't believe in customer service, I had an appointment today between 12:00 and 3:00. When they called I was on the other line, one beep later and I was left with a message my appoinment was cancelled and that I had to reschedule. I called to say I was home but was told sorry, no one was available before Monday. This was all within minutes, The service is horrible, the price to high, and no customer service. Excuse me now, I'm calling AT&T.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    michael dixon, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 10:18pm

    price changing month to month

    I paid my last cable bill in full 148.00 then I ask the clerk how much is my next bill, she said 178.00 dollars, Then I asked her why was my bill going up 30 dollars extra. She stated that when you pay late there is a late fee, I said I'm fine with that. She then stated that since you're not paying the advance bill on time that I would also be charged another late fee on the upcoming bill if I don't pay it on the due date. My bill has never been the same not even two months in a row. One month 169.00, next month 158.00.next month178.00 next month 148.00, what up with that. Anyone wanting to join me in a class action lawsuit contact Mike at questionsonlife@yahoo.com I'm tired of this folks don't be afraid of the truth, this is ridiculous

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    michael dixon, Jan 8th, 2014 @ 10:53pm

    flim flam

    there are at least 40 dollars of taxes on my bill a recovery fee of 22 dollars which is not required to be collected for that cost, so why am I being charged for what the government is imposing on their business and they are imposing that cost to the consumer when it is not mandated by the state , so we need receipts to show where that money is going since we all know bankruptcy is in the works so I guess their trying to collect all the money legal are otherwise, what they all get away money. by the way when I asked that young lady about why my bill jumping from 148 to 178 she stood looking a deer in a headlight because she had no answer, then she walked to the back and ask the bill whisperer what's the answer then she returned with those flimflam answers and you cant ever talk to a supervisor , they transfer you to a coworker and back to the original station you started with, This is called film folks, My additional tv service one month 22, next month 34, next 19 dollars flim flam folks, anybody feeling me it's time no more: questionsonlife@yahoo.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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