Additional outlet fees on Comcast under new FCC Cablecard rules

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by slowbiscuit, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. Jan 7, 2012 #1 of 40

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL


    Are folks still getting charged an additional outlet fee for the 2nd or more cards, minus the credit? From the way I read the new FCC rules, Comcast can only charge to rent a card, they can't charge the service fee. But they still show the old rental fees of $0.00 for first card in device and $1.50 for second (for the old Tivo S3s that needed two cards) with no mention of card rental for additional devices.

    I recently added a card and they are charging me the outlet fee ($9.95) minus the $2.50 credit, but I'm not sure this is correct with the new rules. I know they're giving the credit for the first card since it's part of the package price, but I'm not sure about how the additional cards are supposed to be billed - the rule implies that you pay a rental fee and that's it.

    Getting this from, 3rd para:

    Use your own set-top box without extra charge. FCC Rule 76.1205(b)(5)(C). 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.
  2. Jan 7, 2012 #2 of 40

    nrc Cracker Soul

    Nov 17, 1999
    Living in a...
    Would they have the same charge if you rented their cable box? If not, then I don't believe it's permitted.
  3. Jan 8, 2012 #3 of 40

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

    May 6, 2002
    I suspect that is how they are getting away with it. The "additional digital outlet fee" includes a HD converter or one CableCARD. If you have your own equipment, such as a TIVO, they still charge the same amount but then give you a "Customer Owned Equipment" credit.
  4. Jan 8, 2012 #4 of 40

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2002
    Staunton, VA
    Hmm maybe that explains why Comcast *didn't* charge me an outlet fee when I added CableCards to our second S3 recently. They just charged 2x$1.50 for them when I was expecting an outlet fee plus at least 1 $1.50 CableCard fee (depending on whether the first was free or not on additional outlets too).

  5. Jan 8, 2012 #5 of 40

    mbates73 Hug Your TiVo 2Day

    Nov 4, 2010
    Alpharetta, GA


    I had this problem when I added my SiliconDust HDPrime tuner. It uses a m-stream cablecard and it showed up as $9.95. Its a mistake due to how the woman set it up at the comcast store i went to pick it up at. I called them and they fixed it. Make sure you dont get the $5 charge for making a change to your bill either - another lovely money making "opportunity" they are pulling.

    Now I have 2 TiVo Premier's and the Silicon Dust HDPrime - 3 cablecards and no boxes. My bill now shows $3 for the cablecards (2 @ $1.50 each). Then for some reason i get three of the $2.50 credits for customer owned equipment.

    Now I am paying $135.12/month for the double-play bundle (all HD cable + 12mbit download) the sports package and 3 m-stream cards.

    Hope this helps. -Matt
  6. Jan 8, 2012 #6 of 40

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    That's exactly what I did, add an SD HDPrime tuner. I'll have to call them and see if I can get the outlet charge removed and the $1.50 extra card charge added instead.
  7. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    Well I finally heard back from Comcast Exec Relations and they are insisting that the outlet fee is correct for extra cards. I disagreed and pointed out the the new rules require them to break out the card rental fee separately, but they only do this for the first card.

    So I filed an FCC complaint and referenced FCC rule 76.1205, but I doubt it will go anywhere. I'm now having to pay a net $7.45 for each extra card because of the outlet fee.
  8. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

    May 6, 2002
    While I abhor the "additional outlet fee", I don't think it is a violation of the regulation you cited. You are not actually paying for the CableCARD per se. You are paying for "Digital Additional Outlet Service with HD Converter". You are getting a CableCARD in lieu of an HD converter and a credit for the difference in monthly cost for a card vs. a box.

    With Comcast, the only time an actual separate charge for a CableCARD would apply would be if you had more than one card installed in the same device. The only TiVo that needs that is the TiVo 3 OLED.
  9. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    The real problem is that a) they don't apply a standard charge universally - just look at the threads here, it's all over the map, and b) they don't break out the card and STB rentals (for extra cards or boxes) separately on the rates per the FCC rules. All they say is that the first card is free and additional card in same device is $1.50. They do not give the actual rate for extra cards, and instead try to hide it in this 'outlet fee minus credit' junk so they can make more money on them.

    Comcast is different from every other cableCo in that they do not have a universal rental charge (say, $2-4) per card. This was the FCC's intent, not this bogus outlet fee junk (see second para here). If they are not going to apply this junk universally, they should be called out on it.
  10. a68oliver

    a68oliver Member

    Jul 15, 2000
    Another explanation for the rates being all over the place is that they have absorbed so many mom and pop systems with different billing systems.

    In my case, they have been incapable of billing my two cards in my Series 3 OLED correctly. They bill me for two cards instead of one additional card and one included in the outlet fee. When I complained, they could not figure out how to make the billing system work according to their published rate card. So for the last two years, I have gotten a $10/month credit. I was being overcharged only $1.99 (soon to be $1.50) and they gave me a $10 credit.

    Go figure.
  11. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    And that's exactly why they should be taken to task with the FCC - they alone do not charge the same rate for them uniformly as the new rules require.

    We really need more people to file complaints about this, and to reference the stories reported here. It's the only way to have even a small chance to get them to change.
  12. jadziedzic

    jadziedzic Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    My personal feeling is that the "additional digital outlet" fee is just a money-grab by Comcast, and I should be paying no more than the FCC-mandated $2-4/month for each CableCARD. I stated this opinion in the FCC complaint that I just filed. My local Comcast office (Nashua, NH) obviously does not agree with my opinion.
  13. james-ag

    james-ag New Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    I have proof! I got a customer rep to admit that the extra outlet charge of $8 is due to the cable card. this really looks like a violation of FCC 76.1205.
    I will not post the whole case because it contains personal information but you can reference case ID"6D4C6F36-FDBB-438E-B565-424BBF792A07".

    Below is the section of the case that is of importance.

    • Marnelli > Total of $9.10 is to be removed.
    • James > ok great that helps
    • Marnelli > Now let us move to your next concern.
    • James > Ok so the additional outlet fee is related to the cable card
    • Marnelli > Yes, James.
    • James > I would like you to also remove the other Digital Additional Outlet Service fee. However leaving the cable card.
    • Marnelli > May I know why, James?
    • Marnelli > That is related to cable card.
    • James > yeah and it should not be
    • Marnelli > When I remove the cable card, one digital additional outlet is also removed.
    • James > I know thank you
    • Marnelli > As what I have mentioned they are related.
    • James > That is in violation to the new fcc rules
    • James > FCC 76.1205
    • James > I know you may not be able to do anything about this.
    • James > I would like you to forward this transcript to your management. I know comcast is just a company trying to provide a service. Their practices of all these hidden charges is just not right.
    • Marnelli > Let me try to remove the additional outlet of $8.00 and please check if your cable card is still working.
    • James > ok thank you.
  14. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

    Oct 17, 2003
    It is unbelievable how these charges can vary from town to town. I have 2 m-cards, one in each of my TiVos. My charges are:

    Cablecard: $0.00
    Digital Additional: $6.30
    Customer Equip. Credit: ($2.95)
    So my total charge is $3.35 per month
    Digital Additional is described as "Outlet Service Charge with Cablecard, Includes Customer Owned Video Equipment Credit".

    So, they say that the Digital Additional includes the credit, but then they list the credit again. Makes no sense, but I ain't complaining.

    I also got a notice that the fees are changing next month, whereby the Cablecard fee (second card in device) will go from $2.50 to $2.15, and the Customer Credit will go from $2.95 to $2.50.

    So I expect that my charge will go up $0.45 per month. We'll see.
  15. morac

    morac Cat God TCF Club

    Mar 14, 2003
    I'm currently using 4 cards, 2 in my S3 (OLED), one in a Premiere and one elsewhere. I'm getting a $2.50 credit per card for all 4 cards (total $10). I'm also not being charged for any of the cards (though technically I think Comcast can charge for the 2nd card in the S3).

    I'm not being charged any additional outlet fees. Comcast did add a "Additional Outlet" fee back in June last year, but I convinced them to remove it when I pointed out that their rate card says that fee applies to outlets with a "Digital Converter with HDTV
    capabilities". I told them I only have one HD digital converters and that was covered by the "HD Technology Fee" ($9.95) . That fee was waived when I had their Triple Play package, but it came back when I dropped their voice service.

    Basically I've never been charged additional outlet fees since I got Comcast at my address a little over 8 years ago.
  16. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    I heard back on my FCC complaint via a call from the same local Comcast Exec Relations specialist that I talked to before when I called corporate. She, not surprisingly, repeated the same line that the outlet fee was correct. I told her that the rate sheet does not state that cards were part of this, and that the only line items for the cards were 'first card in device is free' and 'second card in same device is $1.50'. Going by that sheet, you could make an argument that all cards are free (and many have, and have gottem them for free).

    I'm supposed to email a scan of the 2012 rate sheet for the ATL to her, but it will go nowhere I'm sure.

    All we can hope is that if enough complaints are filed, somebody at FCC will take notice. She certainly didn't care about all the reports of widely different pricing around the country, but I asked her to escalate this to corporate anyway.
  17. zalusky

    zalusky Well-Known Member TCF Club

    Apr 5, 2002
    Cupertino, CA
    I was looking my bill in the SF Bay area recently and it apparently breaks down as:

    Digital Outlet Fee $8.00
    User Owned Equip Credit $-2.50
    First two cable cards are free - subsequent cable cards $1.10

    So I have two Elites and one S3 and as a result I have 4 cable cards and have to pay for 2 * $1.10

    versus each Digital Outlet gets a free cable card. Anybody else see this?
  18. tmesser

    tmesser Member

    Apr 12, 2003
    Naperville, IL
    I have gone in circles with Comcast on this issue since September 2007, when I bought a TiVo HD to add to my CableCARD-enabled HDTV. This is when I first ran into the "Additional Digital Outlet" garbage. My TiVo HD with two S-Cards was treated as the primary outlet (free+$1.50), but then I started incurring an additional outlet fee for having a card in my TV, even though "the first card in a device is free." Now I have a Premiere, TiVo HD and the TV, and I get fees for the latter two - recently increased to $8.95/month!

    I have pretty much given up. I'll file an FCC complaint and cite the new rules, but I think I'm wasting my time. Comcast thinks they're covering their butts with the new "Customer-Owned Equipment Credit," and I fully expect to get the same response from Executive Care that I have been getting for years.
  19. MikeAndrews

    MikeAndrews Registered abuser

    Jan 17, 2002
    As I posted elsewhere Comcast is charging me a digital outlet fee and CableCARD fee for each of my 5 cards, in only two TiVos - for $38 a month.

    It will stop. I'm canceling.
  20. irandsert

    irandsert New Member

    Mar 22, 2004
    I went to Comcast yesterday to discuss my bill. I just have one TIVO Premier and I was getting charged a CC Fee of 1.50, an additional outlet fee of 9.95, and an HD Technology Fee of 9.95.

    They removed all of the fees except the HD Technology Fee. When I asked what happened they said they just needed to be removed.

    Someone with a CC HD Box (not a DVR) has to pay this HD Technology Fee as well. You would think since we own are own box this fee would be less, but that isn't the case.

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