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Old 05-13-2014, 08:47 AM   #1
NatasNJ
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Comcast (Philly) charging digital access fee for cablecard users?

I just started getting charged a Digital Access/Outlet fee for using cablecards.

Here is the breakdown I have been told.
For the past year I was not being charged for any equipment or Access/Outlet fees. Now I am being told the following:

First Cable Card is $0 and no Digital Access/Outlet fee since this is servicing my first box. (I should also get a customer owned equipment credit of $2.50)

Second Cable Card is $0 and a $9.95 Digital Access/Outlet fee (As well as a 2nd customer owned equipment credit of $2.50)

Is this correct? They are charging me the equivalent of a HD box fee to use my own Tivo? Really? I can't find any documentation online about how outlet charging works.

So if I plugged in a 3rd outlet to a TIVO with no box (Not even sure you can do this anymore) would that cost me $9.95 as well?
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:22 AM   #2
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Yep, I have been billed that way for years and years. It repeats on and on for each new outlet, which is part of the appeal to upgrade to a Roamio and a mini.
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:35 AM   #3
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Wow...

Thanks. Will have to break out the cost for a Roamio & Mini after selling my Premiere & HD boxes.

I so want to break away from Comcast but if I go Directv I lose Tivo and still need COmcast for Internet. Ugh..
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:56 PM   #4
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When it was time to renew my yearly contract I was able to get a few free things. I dont pay for any of the cable cards in my tivo and they included the tivo outlet fee as part of my package.
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:05 AM   #5
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As always with Comcast card billing, YMMV. They have no universal pricing for cards even within the same area, and FCC complaints should be filed if you are getting hit with the outlet charge.
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Old 05-14-2014, 07:28 AM   #6
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How do you file an FCC complaint.

I can't find in the Comcast pricing guide any details about their charging policies when it comes to Digital Outlet charges for 1st, 2nd, etc... outlets.
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Old 05-14-2014, 08:38 AM   #7
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You can file online. While it may keep them busy for a while, it will eventually be closed as the DO policy has been generally accepted as not breaking their rules on cc. I filed years ago, but I think its good to keep them apprised that the charge is in bad taste.
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Old 05-14-2014, 08:41 AM   #8
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As always with Comcast card billing, YMMV. They have no universal pricing for cards even within the same area, and FCC complaints should be filed if you are getting hit with the outlet charge.
Yea, as stated, within the same area is can be sketchy. I have friends in our area who are being charged $9.95 outlet fees as well. I used to be charged the $10 "outlet fee" with a $2.50 "equipment credit" (for each one). However, I stumbled upon a certain Comcast rep in my local office who was basically able to get my TiVo cable cards on my account for $1.50 each per month. I now have 6 cards on my account at this price ($9/month).

The killer part of it too is I am STILL getting the $2.50 equipment credit for 5 of them as well. So basically I am paying about $9 in cable card fees, but am getting $12.50 in credits each month. Therefore, Comcast is basically paying me $3/month for having the cable cards. Hence the reason I have also not worried about two S-cards in a Series 3 when I could technically have an M-card in it. Makes NO SENSE and go figure. Add this along with the fact that TiVo Xfinity OnDemand just became available in my area and works GREAT on all my Premiere boxes and I'll take it all while I can.
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:22 AM   #9
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The fee you're being charged is a I understand their tariff local to me. The default case is when the customer uses Comcast equipment, so you have to think in those terms to understand the fees. Service includes first box, additional outlets require additional boxes which are charged ~$10 a pop. Using a cable card gets you a discount of a couple of dollars per outlet with a cable card rather than a box but there should still be a fee per outlet after the first one.

It's not uncommon for Comcast to neglect to charge for additional outlets but that doesn't make it something that the FCC should act on when they do begin charging for the additional outlet. Here we get a rate card in our bill around once per year but I'm sure you could request one - the fees are laid out clearly on the rate card.
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Old 05-14-2014, 10:24 AM   #10
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The fee you're being charged is a I understand their tariff local to me. The default case is when the customer uses Comcast equipment, so you have to think in those terms to understand the fees. Service includes first box, additional outlets require additional boxes which are charged ~$10 a pop. Using a cable card gets you a discount of a couple of dollars per outlet with a cable card rather than a box but there should still be a fee per outlet after the first one.

It's not uncommon for Comcast to neglect to charge for additional outlets but that doesn't make it something that the FCC should act on when they do begin charging for the additional outlet. Here we get a rate card in our bill around once per year but I'm sure you could request one - the fees are laid out clearly on the rate card.
So if you rented 3 Comcast STB's.
They would not charge you for the 1st outlet since that is included in service.
But they could charge you $9+ per STB, AND $9.95 outlet fee for boxes 2 & 3?
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Old 05-14-2014, 11:06 AM   #11
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It's not uncommon for Comcast to neglect to charge for additional outlets but that doesn't make it something that the FCC should act on when they do begin charging for the additional outlet. Here we get a rate card in our bill around once per year but I'm sure you could request one - the fees are laid out clearly on the rate card.
Yes, it is because the rental cost should be reasonable and uniform within a given area under the new card rules, but with Comcast it almost universally isn't. That's the basis for the complaint, the outlet beef is secondary.

In the response from my complaint Comcast corporate ack'ed to the FCC that it was an issue they were working on (consistent card billing), but nothing really has changed in the year and half since I filed. And nothing will if people don't keep complaining - every other provider that I've seen mentioned here has a standard rental fee and Comcast doesn't.
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:14 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by NatasNJ View Post
So if you rented 3 Comcast STB's.
They would not charge you for the 1st outlet since that is included in service.
But they could charge you $9+ per STB, AND $9.95 outlet fee for boxes 2 & 3?
No, each outlet fee includes the STB.

So if you had 3 STBs:
1 @ included (free) + 2 @ 9.95

If you had 3 TiVos
1 @ included + 2 @ 9.95 - (3 @ 2.50 or so COE discount).

EDIT: If Comcast has a higher fee for a HD box, there probably is an additional HD fee per outlet (for all 3 outlets). This fee should not be charged for a TiVo, IME.
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:30 AM   #13
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...able to get my TiVo cable cards on my account for $1.50 each per month.

I actually have been able to get my TiVo cable cards from Comcast at only a straight $1.50/month each too. I have 4 of them and no outlet fees are on my bill either. I guess it really is hit or miss for each Comcrap customer
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Old 05-15-2014, 08:02 AM   #14
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I actually have been able to get my TiVo cable cards from Comcast at only a straight $1.50/month each too. I have 4 of them and no outlet fees are on my bill either. I guess it really is hit or miss for each Comcrap customer
I was getting 2 cable cards for $0, no outlet fees (but only 1 $2.50 credit). Then I picked up a digital HD box to order a PPV and the guy told me no rush to return it since it was free for my account. So I kept in around for future PPV (Since Comcast seems unable to order PPV via Tivo Cablecard) Then they realized I had the box and said they had been charging me wrong and added the outlet fees, etc...

BS....
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Old 05-15-2014, 08:11 AM   #15
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I actually have been able to get my TiVo cable cards from Comcast at only a straight $1.50/month each too. I have 4 of them and no outlet fees are on my bill either. I guess it really is hit or miss for each Comcrap customer
In Montgomery County, Maryland, our cable cards were free, no outlet charges, and we got a $2.50/month rebate for user-owned equipment! (The $2.50 credit is only the past year or two, but everything else had been the case for 8 years or so.)

A couple of months ago they "reviewed" our account, and are now charging $1.50 per cable card (we have 5 including 2 S-cards) and $9.50 for an outlet fee per card (both after the first). They admitted it was their fault, and in the letter informing us, also gave us a $30/month credit for a year, basically splitting the cost increase for a year. (They then a couple of months later had to give us the credit by some other mechanism, because their system wouldn't allow a monthly credit for an extended time.)

So there's no question they want their additional outlet fees!
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Old 05-15-2014, 08:18 AM   #16
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A card fee in addition to the outlet fee? Are you paying more or less than if you had their STBs rather than Tivos?

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Old 05-15-2014, 08:32 AM   #17
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I'll still be paying less, even after the $30/month ends. But not a whole lot less.

I'll be doing a whole-scale revamping of everything in a month or two and we'll see what I end up with. I can now add FIOS, and will probably go with one of FIOS or Comcast for home office internet, and the other for non-business (probably a triple-play).
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Old 05-15-2014, 09:37 AM   #18
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So here is how my bill looks vs using TIVO or COMCAST STB.

1st BOX or 1st CableCard for TIVO BOTH FREE and no outlet charges.
(Though I should be getting a $2.50 credit for the CableCard)
So for 1 BOX users Tivo & Cablecard wins out by $2.50/m.

2nd BOX or 2nd Cablecard. In Philly the Cablecard is FREE with $2.50 credit + Outlet fee of $9.95.
The HD COMCAST STB is $9.95 and no outlet fee. (Why their box doesnt cover outlet fee but Tivo Cablecard does is beyond me and hence my gripe)
Tivo saves you $2.50 over Comcast box.
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Old 05-15-2014, 11:53 PM   #19
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There's a reason the STB fee is identical to the outlet fee...
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Old 06-01-2014, 11:57 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by NatasNJ View Post
So here is how my bill looks vs using TIVO or COMCAST STB.

1st BOX or 1st CableCard for TIVO BOTH FREE and no outlet charges.
(Though I should be getting a $2.50 credit for the CableCard)
So for 1 BOX users Tivo & Cablecard wins out by $2.50/m.

2nd BOX or 2nd Cablecard. In Philly the Cablecard is FREE with $2.50 credit + Outlet fee of $9.95.
The HD COMCAST STB is $9.95 and no outlet fee. (Why their box doesnt cover outlet fee but Tivo Cablecard does is beyond me and hence my gripe)
Tivo saves you $2.50 over Comcast box.
In both cases, it is an outlet fee. It includes a box, thus the $2.50/mo credit for using a TiVo instead.
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