Cable, phone and Internet subscribers have been complaining about questionable billing practices by their telecommunication services providers for years. On Wednesday, February 3, six senators from the U.S. Democratic Party sent a letter to Chairman Tom Wheeler at the Federal Communications Commission finally asking about the telecommunications oversight and regulations agency’s role in dealing with these claims.
As pointed out by a few sleuths at the Laidlaw & Company forum on Wall Street Oasis, senators Ron Wyden, Al Franken, Bernard Sanders, Edward J. Markey, Jeffrey A. Merkley and Elizabeth Warren, the FCC received a high number of complaints in 2015 about errors in service provider billing. Television-related billing complaints took up more than 38 percent of all complaints to the FCC. Internet-related billing complaints were more than 30 percent. In many cases, complaints were about “accidental” instances of over-billing, continued billing after a customer ended a service and/or returned rental equipment, rental billing for customer-owned equipment and repeat calls to fix billing errors months after initial complaints. Comcast was mentioned specifically in all examples. In a statement released to the press after the letter was published, Comcast explained that it’s attempting to fix its customer service to reduce billing errors.
The senators also mentioned that a lack of competition in various geographic areas has forced many customers to continue getting critical services like phone and Internet from companies that have repeatedly failed them. Wheeler has yet to respond to either the senators’ letter or Comcast’s statements.