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Old 07-02-2012, 02:15 PM   #8551
billbillw
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I finally signed up for service last week. Signed up online with self install option (only $10) since already owned modem and planned to pickup cable cards from local office. House was already wired and connected.

Modem install was not tough, except online activation didn't work (surprise) and I had to make two calls to Comcast (1st one was disconnected after waiting for more than 20min). Had internet working Tuesday night. Had to wait for 'self install' kit to arrive on Thursday. Connected non-hd digital box. Did online activation. It went through, but surprise, channels didn't work. Didn't bother to call comcast because I planned on picking up cable card and giving them the POS non-hd box back anyway. Saturday morning, went to local office. Was worried about having to wait for a long time. Surprise (a good one this time). I was one of only 2 customers and didn't have to wait at all. Service rep said something about a note on my account to drop a new line or something and I said no, no need. She said that was why the cable box didn't work. She cleared that, took my non-HD box, grabbed a Motorola M-card, scanned it with a scanner (should help prevent errors eh?) and said the card was in the system and should work when I get home (of course, it didn't) and sent me on my way. In and out in less than 10 minutes.

Got home, installed card, went through guided setup, download channel list, etc, but channels were blacked out. However, a fairly quick call to the cable card activation line and things were all good. Took about an extra 15-20 minutes on the phone, much of which was waiting for my Tivo to reboot again (at the suggestion of the support rep). I won't know what type of billing snafus to expect, but with only one device for now, I wouldn't expect any problems, yet... once I get all 3 devices, I expect I'll be calling billing to make sure my discounts, etc. are applied.

So, 1 down, 3 to go (1 for TivoHD and 2 for my Series 3 OLED). I did the Premiere 1st.
Next week after we get fully moved in, I'll get another M-car for the TivoHD. Hopefully, it goes as smooth as this one. I won't be using the S3OLED until I complete my basement home theater, which could be a month or more down the road. That should be fun, having to activate two cards at once.
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Old 07-12-2012, 12:21 PM   #8552
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Comcast couldn't verify that I'd ever had cable service at my home (I think they bought out another provider here (Oakland, CA) and my service was LONG ago). So they need to come out to do the outside wiring.

That being the case, should I request they install the cablecards in the two TiVos I'm getting so that they can do it at the same time? is cablecard installation free?

Normally I'd do it myself, but I figure if an installer has to come out anyway....

Rob
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:31 PM   #8553
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Originally Posted by rob_gendreau View Post
Comcast couldn't verify that I'd ever had cable service at my home (I think they bought out another provider here (Oakland, CA) and my service was LONG ago). So they need to come out to do the outside wiring.

That being the case, should I request they install the cablecards in the two TiVos I'm getting so that they can do it at the same time? is cablecard installation free?

Normally I'd do it myself, but I figure if an installer has to come out anyway....

Rob
I doubt that would work. As difficult as it may be to believe, the people physically installing the cable probably know even less about CableCARDs than the idiot they normally send out. Plus, Comcast is unlikely to forgo an opportunity to lay an additional charge on you.
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:24 PM   #8554
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I doubt that would work. As difficult as it may be to believe, the people physically installing the cable probably know even less about CableCARDs than the idiot they normally send out. Plus, Comcast is unlikely to forgo an opportunity to lay an additional charge on you.
That's been my experience as well. The CC installation usually requires several phone calls by the tech to a number where someone tells them (sometimes erroneously) what to do.
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:41 PM   #8555
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So I call Tivo, and the very helpful staff tells me that they (Comcast) shouldn't charge me $8.75 for a second "HD Service" fee. There's a $10 fee for HD Service as an add-on to the package, but the second one was for another "TV" and was for "HD channels" and program guide, on demand, etc. But elsewhere in the cablecard info Comcast says if you go that way you only get "one way" cable and no interactive features.

So I was puzzled. If the fee is just to get the HD SERVICE it should be one time; the service is the service is the service; it's passive. I could see why they'd charge a second fee for INTERACTIVE stuff, since that means a load on their stuff; kinda like internet service. But they explicitly say it's only one way.

So I dunno whether I'm gonna have to pay that $8.75 or not. Any successful arguments I could use when I call back?
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:03 PM   #8556
lpwcomp
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So I call Tivo, and the very helpful staff tells me that they (Comcast) shouldn't charge me $8.75 for a second "HD Service" fee. There's a $10 fee for HD Service as an add-on to the package, but the second one was for another "TV" and was for "HD channels" and program guide, on demand, etc. But elsewhere in the cablecard info Comcast says if you go that way you only get "one way" cable and no interactive features.

So I was puzzled. If the fee is just to get the HD SERVICE it should be one time; the service is the service is the service; it's passive. I could see why they'd charge a second fee for INTERACTIVE stuff, since that means a load on their stuff; kinda like internet service. But they explicitly say it's only one way.

So I dunno whether I'm gonna have to pay that $8.75 or not. Any successful arguments I could use when I call back?
Personally, unless you have some of their HD equipment, I don't think they should be charging the fee at all. But it is a monthly fee. This is yet another case of Comcast playing fast and loose with the rules and trying to get away with charging what ever they can.

If you look at their rate card, they have a rate for the package, the package includes HD channels, it says you may need equipment to receive the HD channels (which you have with your Tivo 3s and/or 4s). There is nothing on the package fee page that indicates you have to pay an additional fee to receive the HD channels.
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:59 PM   #8557
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So...here's what Comcast emailed me in regards to the question of what fees there were:

Quote:
If you choose to use a CableCARD device instead of
using a Comcast digital converter, you will typically only be able to
receive one way digital cable channels and will not be able to receive
On Demand, pay-per-view and the interactive programming guide.

Rob, please be advised that CableCARD ready devices can be purchased at
retail stores, but the CableCARD, which is provided by Comcast, is
necessary to activate the video service is available through Comcast.
The CableCARD can be provided as part of a professional installation or
self-installation.

The first CableCARD in a retail device (e.g., TiVo devices or CableCARD
equipped televisions) is free to Comcast customers. If a second
CableCARD is needed for the same device (i.e., TiVo Series 3 boxes), the
cost is $2.50 for the additional card. Again, this ONLY applies to a
second CableCARD in the same device.

In order to receive the HD service, subscribers must have an HDTV
television set, an "HDTV Ready" television set or an "HDTV Compatible"
television set. Aside from that an HD capable box is needed to decode
the HDTV signal.

Additional Fee to receive HD service is HD technology Fee around $8.95.
This charge is for the whole house, regardless of the number of outlets.
This charge ensures that every outlet in your home with an HDTV and
Comcast HD equipment receives all the HD channels associated with your
package.
So I shouldn't be charged an additional $8.75.

Rob
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:36 PM   #8558
lpwcomp
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Quote:
Additional Fee to receive HD service is HD technology Fee around $8.95.
This charge is for the whole house, regardless of the number of outlets.
This charge ensures that every outlet in your home with an HDTV and
Comcast HD equipment receives all the HD channels associated with your
package.
This paragraph is a load of bull.
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:47 PM   #8559
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Originally Posted by lpwcomp View Post
This paragraph is a load of bull.
Why? It says with Comcast HD equipment.
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:53 PM   #8560
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Why? It says with Comcast HD equipment.
Still bull. The HD content goes to every outlet. They are charging you over and above the cost of the equipment rental for nothing.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:12 PM   #8561
tulipox
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Buy a cable card?

Can you buy your own cable card instead of paying whatever fee Comcast chooses to charge you? Looks like they can be purchased for $15 on Ebay.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:28 PM   #8562
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Can you buy your own cable card instead of paying whatever fee Comcast chooses to charge you? Looks like they can be purchased for $15 on Ebay.
NO BECAUSE you they need to Authorize it and that will cost you
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Old 08-03-2012, 04:19 PM   #8563
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Originally Posted by rob_gendreau View Post
SAdditional Fee to receive HD service is HD technology Fee around $8.95. This charge is for the whole house, regardless of the number of outlets. This charge ensures that every outlet in your home with an HDTV and Comcast HD equipment receives all the HD channels associated
with your package.
I have been told that the "HD Technology Fee" is for their HD settop box. So you shouldn't be paying that. You should get a credit for using your own equipment. You do have to pay a fee for each additional CableCard after the first. I suggest the chat rather then calling them, they seem to know what they are doing. You can check what your Customer Owned Equipment credit should be here.
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Old 08-03-2012, 06:08 PM   #8564
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I have been told that the "HD Technology Fee" is for their HD settop box. So you shouldn't be paying that. You should get a credit for using your own equipment. You do have to pay a fee for each additional CableCard after the first. I suggest the chat rather then calling them, they seem to know what they are doing. You can check what your Customer Owned Equipment credit should be here.
At least according to their website, the only time you should have to pay a fee explicitly for additional CableCARDs is if it is the second card in the same device. They will charge you an "additional digital outlet fee" for each fully capable digital STB past the first one, which includes a TiVo.

Be prepared to fight them on this. Most of their CSRs, both chat and call center, are clueless. And their system treats CableCARDs as STBs.
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Old 08-03-2012, 06:28 PM   #8565
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Originally Posted by lpwcomp
At least according to their website, the only time you should have to pay a fee explicitly for additional CableCARDs is if it is the second card in the same device. They may charge you an "additional digital outlet fee" for each fully capable digital STB past the first one, which includes a TiVo.

Be prepared to fight them on this. Most of their CSRs, both chat and call center, are clueless. And their system treats CableCARDs as STBs.
Fixed that for you. There are a number of people, myself included who pay no additional outlet fees with multiple cards.
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Old 08-03-2012, 06:29 PM   #8566
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I wish I had talked to the person who talked to you.

In several conversations with comcast, I have been repeatedly told that the HD Tech fee is for the service, not the equipment. I have not been successful in getting that changed, since I've never been able to find anything in writing saying otherwise. They do seem to goof up billing, and I wouldn't be surprised if those that aren't paying it should be...

I am having trouble even getting the $2.50 credit. They referred me to their "local" office, even though their calculator online for my zip says I get it. And they charge me $1.10 for the second card in different machine, free for the first one. The language I see on the web site is open to different interpretations, and it really sounds like the people I contact I just skimming the web site themselves.

Aren't these guys required to have a written statement of fees and charges? I don't have a contract, so it can all be oral, but what a lame way to run a business.
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Old 08-03-2012, 07:43 PM   #8567
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I'll also mention that for awhile Comcast was waiving the HD Tech fee if you had their triple play package. I don't know if that's the case anymore since I no longer have their phone service.
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Old 08-04-2012, 04:21 PM   #8568
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I'll also mention that for awhile Comcast was waiving the HD Tech fee if you had their triple play package. I don't know if that's the case anymore since I no longer have their phone service.
I do not pay a HD Technology fee and I have never had triple play. Just TV and Internet.
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Old 08-04-2012, 05:40 PM   #8569
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I only have TV (w/two Tivo CableCARDS) and don't pay an HD Technology fee.

Comcast billing is like a box of chocolates.
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:38 PM   #8570
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Aren't these guys required to have a written statement of fees and charges?
Yes they are. I get one in the mail at least once a year with my bill. If you can't find one, go into their office and ask for one.
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Old 08-04-2012, 08:06 PM   #8571
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The HD Technology fee is there on the printed tariff, just as you'd expect. No hint of what it's for or who is supposed to be charged the fee, though.
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:54 AM   #8572
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If you think you have fees you shouldn't be paying send a note from the link at the bottom of this page. It has been the most effective way to deal with issues that I have found.
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Old 08-06-2012, 11:25 AM   #8573
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Been there, done that, got nowhere with Exec Relations on the bogus A/O fees for cards, even when I could show that only some areas get hit with those. You'll likely find the same for the equally bogus HD Tech fee in those areas where it's charged.

Bottom line is their card billing is wildly inconsistent and they really don't care, nor does the FCC.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:14 AM   #8574
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Been through 2 billing cycles now and I think I made out on the lucky side. They automatically added $2.50 equipment credit for each of my two Tivos, and there is no AO or HD fees. However, they are charging me $1.50 for each of my cable cards which should be free. At this point, I am not going to complain. We will see what happens when I add my 3rd Tivo soon. It is an S3 OLED, so it will need two more cards. I'm hoping that doesn't trigger the AO fees.
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:12 AM   #8575
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Yep, you won the card lotto here in the ATL. Well, at least until you add the S3 then I guarantee you will have AO's.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:40 AM   #8576
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Cable card activation in S.E. Michigan

I live in Brownstown Michigan using Comcast from Taylor. I have two TiVo's with an M-card in each one. I just ordered a new Premier 4 and I will have it this Wednesday. I plan on disabling one of my TiVo's and transferring the cable card to my new Premier. Does anyone know if I can just call to pair/activate the card in my new TiVo or do they have to do a truck roll in my Taylor Michigan area?

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Old 08-20-2012, 08:30 AM   #8577
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I live in Brownstown Michigan using Comcast from Taylor. I have two TiVo's with an M-card in each one. I just ordered a new Premier 4 and I will have it this Wednesday. I plan on disabling one of my TiVo's and transferring the cable card to my new Premier. Does anyone know if I can just call to pair/activate the card in my new TiVo or do they have to do a truck roll in my Taylor Michigan area?
It's Comcast, so YMMVW (your mileage may vary wildly).

In principle, you should be able to transfer the CC to your new box and receive all your authorized non-subscription channels without re-pairing the card. However, the card must be paired to the specific box in order to receive subscription channels as well as VOD services. Again, in principle, you should be able to get the card re-paired with a simple telephone call to Comcast, but it's been a crapshoot for many of us.

Also, be aware that Comcast's CC fees have been all over the map, even within a given service area. I had two S3HD's that I swapped out for two Premieres earlier this year. When I had trouble getting one of my CC's re-paired (the other one was re-paired correctly), it took a truck roll and central office intervention to get the issue untangled. In the process, they changed my billing structure and now, instead of paying $1.50 for two CC's, I'm being billed $9.95 for "digital service." I'm working on getting this deceptive (and probably illegal) billing corrected, but know that you may be subjected to similar tactics if you are not already being soaked. (FCC cablecard rules state specifically "Your cable operator may charge you to lease a CableCARD or tuning adapter, but may not charge you an additional service fee for using your own digital-cable-ready television or set-top box. ")
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:56 PM   #8578
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I'm working on getting this deceptive (and probably illegal) billing corrected, but know that you may be subjected to similar tactics if you are not already being soaked. (FCC cablecard rules state specifically "Your cable operator may charge you to lease a CableCARD or tuning adapter, but may not charge you an additional service fee for using your own digital-cable-ready television or set-top box. ")
It's been stated before, but Comcast does have some wiggle room with this law because of the wording. It says they may not charge an additional service fee for using your equipment, which technically they aren't doing. The fee applies to "everyone" (*), including users of rented equipment, so technically it's not an additional fee applied to users for using their own equipment. Without clarification from the FCC on this, I feel Comcast can continue to interpret the law that way.

(*) - I put everyone in quotes since Comcast applies their twisted logic to some people and not others. The do apply that logic to all users of rented boxes/DVRs though, which is the underlying argument.
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Old 08-20-2012, 02:07 PM   #8579
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It's been stated before, but Comcast does have some wiggle room with this law because of the wording. It says they may not charge an additional service fee for using your equipment, which technically they aren't doing. The fee applies to "everyone" (*), including users of rented equipment, so technically it's not an additional fee applied to users for using their own equipment. Without clarification from the FCC on this, I feel Comcast can continue to interpret the law that way.

(*) - I put everyone in quotes since Comcast applies their twisted logic to some people and not others. The do apply that logic to all users of rented boxes/DVRs though, which is the underlying argument.
Yes, the phrasing of the regulation does give them some "wiggle room", but I still think they are in violation in a number of ways, amongst which are:
  • At least here in the ATL, they added the ADO charge to my account the day I picked up the CableCARD even though I waited for at least a month to install and activate it.
  • It is nowhere near obvious that you will incur this charge for using a CableCARD, thus not making it clear what the true monthly cost is.
  • IMHO, they are deliberately understating their equipment costs, thus reducing the amount of the "user owned equipment credit".
  • They do not automatically give even the reduced credit. You must explicitly request it.

One of the problems here is that their accounting system does not distinguish between one of their boxes and a CableCARD. Since it does distinguish between a full cable box and a DTA, there is no logical explanation for this except as deliberate obfuscation.
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Old 08-20-2012, 02:27 PM   #8580
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It's been stated before, but Comcast does have some wiggle room with this law because of the wording. It says they may not charge an additional service fee for using your equipment, which technically they aren't doing. The fee applies to "everyone" (*), including users of rented equipment, so technically it's not an additional fee applied to users for using their own equipment. Without clarification from the FCC on this, I feel Comcast can continue to interpret the law that way.

(*) - I put everyone in quotes since Comcast applies their twisted logic to some people and not others. The do apply that logic to all users of rented boxes/DVRs though, which is the underlying argument.
I agree with you to the degree that laws and regulations can be interpreted and applied in a number of different ways, but the wording and intent of the FCC rules (which, not incidentally, were vetted with the Telco's prior to publishing) are crystal clear: In order to promote the development of CableCARD-enabled equipment, Comcast is prohibited from imposing fees designed to inhibit or discourage or otherwise penalize its customers who wish to use their own third-party navigation device in lieu of Comcast's proprietary equipment. By billing me as if I were renting a Comcast digital converter box when I have elected not to do so, that is precisely what they are doing. And the duplicity is evident in the billing methodology. They removed the line items for the two CC's from my bill (as if I did not have this Comcast equipment in my possession) and substituted the line item "Digital Service" @ $9.95 per month. Clearly, this is an attempt to circumvent the rules and, as you put it, claim that they are not imposing an "additional" fee since there is no fee being assessed for the CC.

I think it is beyond dispute that billing customers who are using TiVo in lieu of a Comcast STB as if they were renting Comcast equipment is a violation of the FCC rules; after all, if one has to pay the same fee to Comcast for their DVR or STB whether or not it is being used, how does the average customer justify purchasing his own equipment? Whether the craven FCC will react against the well-heeled interests of the Telco's is an entirely different question, and not one I would like to wager money on. But I am a pretty tenacious and reasonably well-informed consumer and intend to pursue the case until an equitable solution is reached.
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