February 03, 2016

Senators Press FCC on Unauthorized Equipment Fees Charged to Consumers

Senators Ask How FCC regulates Overcharging Cable and Internet Companies; Seek Data about Overcharging and Erroneous Fees; Billing is #1 Consumer FCC Complaint for Internet and TV

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Al Franken, D-Minn., Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., today asked Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler about the unfair payment practice of charging consumers equipment fees they do not owe and what the FCC is doing to protect consumers.

Last year, more than 30 percent of consumer complaints to the FCC about Internet service and 38 percent of complaints about TV service were regarding billing. Billing was also the category with the highest number of complaints for both Internet and TV service.

“We are troubled upon hearing complaints of consumers being charged the modem rental fee after they have returned the rented equipment to Comcast or being charged the rental fee having never rented a modem in the first place. Not only are the majority of customers using automatic payment systems and may not personally authorize every erroneous charge, many consumers report having to call and remedy this problem throughout several billing cycles,” write the senators.

“Given the power big corporations have over American consumers, the need to stop unfair billing practices and ensure affordable cable and Internet services for all Americans is all the more important.”

The senators ask if and how the FCC regulates erroneous fees, how many unauthorized charges the FCC is aware of, the number of consumer complaints about erroneous equipment fees and what, if any action, has been taken about such complaints.

A copy of the senators’ letter can be found here.


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