back to article 13,000 Comcast customers complain to FCC over data caps

More than 13,000 people have complained about Comcast's imposition of a new 300GB monthly data cap, a Freedom of Information Act request has revealed. The request was filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by the Cut Cable Today blog, and the response includes more than 2,000 letters about the cap that was …

  1. David Roberts Silver badge
    WTF?

    Router fault?

    Impressive if a faulty router can report usage when it is turned off.

    Unless of course it is the ISP end which is "faulty" - makes you wonder if they do proper monitoring or just run the meter regardless.

    1. toejam13

      Re: Router fault?

      Another article mentioned that Comcast had the MAC address of another customer's router associated with this guy's account. So it was a fat finger issue, not a router issue.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: toejam13 Re: Router fault?

        "....Comcast had the MAC address of another customer's router associated with this guy's account...." Which is not impossible. Many of the billing systems used by telcos will happily let you assign two or more MAC addresses to an ordinary consumer account because they wrote the software for business users which may have many routers and MAC addresses associated with one business account. Once it is in the billing database and classed as "good" data it takes an actual human being to go through and find the double entry - not likely if you have millions of subscribers!

        Another possibility is that the account had two MAC addresses because there was an original modem which was replaced, either due to a technical problem or a contract upgrade. In the case of a tech issue the original modem may have been repaired and re-issued to a new owner, and old modems that come back from upgrades may be re-issued to a new account. In either case the old modem's MAC address should be removed from the original owner's account, but if the MAC address is not removed from the original account the new user that got the repaired/re-issued modem would get their usage billed to the former owner (or Comcast might bill both owners!).

        My advice would be to query any bill for exceeding the cap even if there is a chance you might have actually used that much data.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: toejam13 Router fault?

          So Comcast are using data that they know to be incomplete and likely incorrect, and refusing to properly check it until the press get involved?

          Sounds like fraud to me.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Richard 12 Re: toejam13 Router fault?

            "So Comcast are using data that they know to be incomplete and likely incorrect....." You would have to show they deliberately used incorrect data, otherwise it is just an operational error. My own experience is that I have never come across a major database of any form that didn't have some incorrect "good" data buried away in it, and size just makes matters worse. Typically you relie on scripts to run through the data and validate it as using human eyes would take far too long and miht not actually detect the error anyway. The problem with incorrect "good" data is that you usually have no way of knowing it is wrong until someone external complains about it. The good news is it swings both ways - a friend (allegedly) got his Internet and TV free for almost a year because his provider forgot to update the modem number on his account after they swapped it.

  2. 404 Silver badge

    Yeah I'm here for the suspicious data use

    Damn fine idea! I'd love to hear the silence from Exede Satellite when faced with that one. I've sent logs, banned the kids from the network, switched out routers for the sake of those logs, spoken with corporate, had them out to replace the modem three times, transmitter/dish twice, and pretty much all they do is add data in one GB increments. Simply cannot be using 15GB* a month, I schedule everything to occur during unlimited data time from midnight to 5am, tight access control for the kids, and stern looks to outright WTF's at the wife over that damn FuckerBerg page of hers. They make it tough get through, there will be a lecture on data use, which I can quote verbatim before they do, before anything useful will get done.

    Brilliant. Unplug the damn thing.

    *Cry me a river, Comcast customers. I'm paying $90.90 a month for 15GB, then it's back to dialup speed until the end of the month unless you pay $10 a GB for more. Welcome to the bandwidth fuckyou game, it sucks.

    Quick edit: Yes, we're moving someplace with infrastructure if we can find the right sucker.

    1. lone_wolf

      Re: Yeah I'm here for the suspicious data use

      I saw the rate changes on the Exede website, it is ridiculous. I was lucky enough to sign up during a time that allowed me to get 30GB per month for $60.

      1. 404 Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Yeah I'm here for the suspicious data use

        We need to have a beer - how long ago? I've been with these guys since 2012, before that it was Hughesnet.

        1. RedneckMother

          Re: Yeah I'm here for the suspicious data use

          @ 404

          Hughesnet

          Err- "HughesNOT"

          (yes, I'm one of their current "victims" - I have NO CHOICE!)

          :)

  3. lone_wolf

    Data Cap

    I highly doubt any of the US ISPs are not using this as a revenue generator.

  4. Geoffrey W Silver badge

    Comcast is losing revenue because of all the users, of which I am one, dropping their overpriced and over bundled cable TV services. They have to make it back some how and no doubt feel justified since we are using their internet to watch TV instead of paying them to watch it. Think I will be joining the complain-a-thon too, and checking my actual usage against their alleged usage.

  5. RNixon

    Comcast without a cap.

    I have Comcast with no data cap atall - I have business class service.

    The reason I have business class is that there weren't any wires run on my street. Residential wouldn't install; Business was willing to waive the install fees in return for a three year phone/internet contract.

    I pay considerably more than residential customers for the same speed, but I get a different call center with far less hold time when I call, priority over residential customers if I need a service call, my traffic is theoretically QoS'd over residential traffic, and I can run servers.

    There wasn't any BS involved, either. The business sales team didn't even try to upsell me. The only 'extra service' they even asked about was, 'Do you need a static IP?'

    All the Comcast Business people I've dealt with seemed to feel the Comcast Residential people were morons. It's almost like an entirely separate company.

    I also got a letter in the mail of written apology when my service was out for half an hour during the workday, which rather surprised me. (I hadn't even called to complain. It went out, I checked their site on my phone, saw an estimated restoral, and went about my day.)

    So yes, I pay about a hundred bucks a month for 16/3 internet and unlimited landline phone, but given that the options were this, satellite crap, or AT&T could get me ISDN for $700 a month (or an Nx6 T1 for $2719.60 per month), it beats the alternatives! Though once my contract is up I'll drop the phone.

    1. L05ER

      Re: Comcast without a cap.

      i had this exact same experience at time warner during one of their "we're going to test 'metered pricing' (caps) in your area".

      paid about $20 more a month than residential, but i got almost yearly speed upgrades... 4x the upstream... network priority (net neutrality be damned!)... business support... and free install with a contract! they asked about other services on the first sale... but never again.

      i kind of want it again now... dropped it during the recession to save 340/yr :D

  6. matchbx
    Unhappy

    Yep... I figured half as much

    This confirms what I've said in the past.... The comcast executives sit around in the board room and figure out way to gouge their customers for more money. They are greedy pieces of human flesh.

    1. tempemeaty

      Re: Yep... I figured half as much

      And a greedy '''waste" of flesh...

      I no longer believe in them being "human".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Holmes

      Re: Yep... I figured half as much

      "The comcast executives sit around in the board room and figure out way to gouge their customers for more money" .... while this may be true, isn't it the purpose of *ANY* executive in a capitalist society?

      Dodgy metering is plain fraud and should be criminal investigation, not exactly the same as plain corporate greed.

      I find it funny when people talk of greed about banks, corporations, individuals .... I have never heard anyone in any company say "we shouldn't increase our prices, our customers pay enough even though they are now using more" or "I don't think we've paid a fair amount of tax this year, ask HMRC/IRS if they will take another 20,000".

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Yep... I figured half as much

        They can't. They have this thing called "fiduciary duty." Also, in a competitive world, nice guys finish last. You take what you can when you can get it or someone else leaves you hungry.

  7. Mikel

    Comcast?

    I remember them! We fired them ages ago. Thanks for the update.

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Re: Comcast?

      Some of us don't have much choice. I don't want to move off our mountain and into some grubby city full of grubby people so its either Comcast or a satellite service. Quality of life or decent internet...sigh...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More Monopoly Shenanigans

    The major ISP monopolies are getting bolder and bolder in how they want to add tolls to the internet they believe they have the right to gate-keep, while most of them take advantage of corporate welfare by getting to use public sewers for free to lay most of their cable.

  9. ma1010 Silver badge
    Devil

    Toxic Company

    There are few organizations that can compare with Crapcast for sheer balls and total corruption. The only organizations that come close to them are the government and the mafia. And I think the Mafia could learn a thing or two from them.

    They've been victimizing my sister for years, failing to provide her TV service for 1-5 days in a month and refusing to pro-rate the bill for the outage. They're the only high speed internet available where I live, which is why I have an ADSL connection.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Toxic Company

      Comcast has a laundry list of consumer violations yet the government agencies entrusted to protect consumers such as the FTC and FCC have failed to even slap Comcast's hand for such violations. It's clear that those with the gold make the rules in the U.S. and consumers are the ones who get raped.

  10. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Coincidentally, I dropped Comcast this past Summer....

    Doesn't sound like I will be going back...

    Dirtbags...lazy-ass dirtbags....

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Data caps are just a small problem by comparison

    It's a lot worse than many think

    Comcast has been illegally blocking legitimate international e-mail sent to U.S. Comcast customers for over two years costing businesses millions of dollars in lost revenue while making it impossible for many Comcast customers to communicate with friends, family or businesses as a result of Comcast's global blocking of all e-mail from hundreds of legitimate international ISP servers, including some of the largest ISPs in the EU and Australia. Less than 1% of Comcast U.S. customers know that their legitimate international e-mail is being blocked.

    The FCC and FTC is fully aware of the illegal global e-mail blockage by Comcast and they have done nothing to stop it. It appears it's going to take media reporting of this consumer fraud and a class action lawsuit for hundreds of millions of dollars to restore proper e-mail service to all U.S. Comcast customers and punish Comcast sufficiently so that they never perpetuate such outrageous consumer fraud again.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Data caps are just a small problem by comparison

      I think it's even worse than that. Remember that Comcast is not only the biggest cable company in the US, with exclusive (usually by way of owning the cables) access to many markets, they also own NBC, one of the "big four" broadcasters in the country, so they have tremendous business leverage with Congress. What better threat to rural Representatives that are raising a stink than to pack up and leave their constituents in the lurch, knowing that when it comes to utilities, the incumbent always has the advantage due to the high upfront costs needed just to get started, especially in very rural areas where the nearest upstream connection is some distance away.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Data caps are just a small problem by comparison

        IMO Comcast and our elected officials should be held accountable for the rape and pillage of consumers by Comcast et al. If the FTC and FCC refuse to perform their responsibilities replace these incompetent, apathetic politicians with someone who cares about the U.S. and the populace. Chronic violation of law by these cable and telcos is simply unacceptable and most stop.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Data caps are just a small problem by comparison

          All fine and dandy. But how do you force the issue?

  12. Mike 16 Silver badge

    I'm surprised

    That Comcast didn't come down on him with a ton of bricks. The Terms of Service expicitly forbid monitoring ones own traffic, so how could he possibly know? Yes, unplugging the router would _seem_ to be a legitimate test, but I'd bet Comcast's lawyers could get a tame judge to agree it was essentially monitoring.

    Sadly, I am only half joking. I have done a similar experiment, disabling WiFi and unplugging all downstream devices from my router, only to see the traffic LEDs still perking up a storm. Trusting ElReg to not reveal my true identity to Comcast...

  13. fearnothing

    I had a similar issue with an ISP in Belgium; they stated my usage was 3 times what my pfSense box was telling me. I called bullshit, but the extra €20 wasn't worth the time trying to fight, given my poor French and the fact that I was leaving the country shortly.

  14. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    These mixups happen

    I ran into problems with my local cable company until I cancelled internet service (I won't name names because a) they use the same billing software as several other cable cos. anyway, it's just an example of technical snafus gone wrong rather than malice and b) They don't have much competition in virtually any market they're in anyway).

    I kept getting my cable internet service shut off for complaints (from whoever) about torrenting. They said I was should also be receiving notices in the mail but I did not. Long story short, I got shut off several more times while running absolutely no torrents, finally got a printed letter in the mail (with a handwritten address with 2 digits in my address swapped, crossed out by someone else and the correct address written on it.. probably why I never received the previous 2 notices.) This listed files, times and IP... the files were things like wrestling videos I would have never watched, and it was not my IP address (the IP doesn't change often but one of the logfiles logged the IP address when it did.) In fact the IP on the printout was for a different market.

    I'm just saying, I'm not surprised to find there are problems when they suddenly start measuring data usage and assessing overage. 66GB when the cable modem's unplugged is pretty bad 8-)

  15. anniemouse

    COMTRASH is one company i really want to see BANKRUPT

    i will toast the day COMTRASH files for bankruptcy

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