Comcast Bill Increase After S3 dual cablecard installs - how did you get it resolved?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by kuntilanak, Oct 5, 2007.

  1. Oct 5, 2007 #1 of 27

    kuntilanak New Member

    Oct 5, 2007


    Hi I know that this topic has been discussed all over the forum. But I think it is useful to have a separate thread.

    My story (probably similar to many of you):
    I have a Tivo S3 with 2 cable cards for a while now. This month new charges suddenly showed up in my bill 2x $7 HDTV service charge and $6.99 additional outlet charge. I have been paying the normal $1.95 for all this time (I also have digital classic pkg). Like many of you I called and chatted with Comcast CSRs, but unfortunately with not much luck.

    CSR said someone requested the new HD service in Sept. At the time I lost all my signals (both TV and internet), apparently because Comcast was upgrading system in my area (Sunnyvale, SF Bay area, CA). I called to get techical service not to get new service. I tried to explain and said tat they need to let customer know/explain before slapping charges. I decided at this time that the effort to speak with these useless idiots is just not worth my time. If my community permits I would have jumped ship and get another cable service or Satelite + DSL.

    I am not going broke paying these extra charges, but
    I am still bitter with the way they treat me (and many others I guess) . I feel they disrespect and insulted our intelligence.

    So please post your experience and share what has worked to resolve this unfair charges issue. (starting from calling CSR, corp, local consumer advocacy group, FCC, or FTC). I am wondering if we can escalate this issue collectively too to the FCC and FTC. I know several class action/customer collective petition to the FTC started from forums like this where consumers unite.

    Thanks all
  2. Oct 5, 2007 #2 of 27

    fredct Member

    Nov 15, 2004
    What do you mean 'if your community permits'?

    Did you know you have the right to have a satellite dish as long as its installed in a place that you control (i.e. not a common roof, but a balcony, or inside, or such), and nobody can stop you?


    Now I know that satellite isn't the most compatible option with TiVo (unless you have standard def and a satellite box with a 'data' port in the back for serial control), but if I were you I'd tell Comcast and tell that that if they don't fix your billing right now you're going to satellite. If they don't, start the process.

    If that doesn't get some movement, nothing will.
  3. Oct 5, 2007 #3 of 27

    kuntilanak New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Thanks for the reply.

    About the satellite, I live in a semi high rise apartment that is not facing South. :( I guess I should have said "if my situation permits"

    Yes, I chatted with Comcast CSRs 2x and once on the phone. I mentioned once "Do you know I have a choice of switching to satellite and DSL?" The CSR just said "yes, you have the right to do so." I just decided that it's not worth my time and effort to try speaking with them anymore.
  4. Oct 5, 2007 #4 of 27

    cmaasfamily New Member

    Jan 26, 2006
    I am not proud of this, but hopefully my shameful story adds to the collective understanding of the problem. Don't judge me too harshly!

    I have been paying about $10 more per month to Comcast than I should since the time of installation of my S3. They added 2x$6.99 additional digital outlet fees - but no cablecard or other fees (HD for example). My best guess is that nets out to about $10. (For calrity, there was no additional digital outlet at all, the TV itself already had a cablecard so it was adding 1 net cc to an existing "additional" outlet.)

    Everything is working smoothly so, while my resentment smolders, I have been unwilling to take on the hours of anguish and suffering at the hands of idiots (and inevitably even higher charges, and possible days of reduced service and/or waiting on service techs to show up) trying to straighten it out. Past experience with Comcast has served as powerful aversion therapy.

    I am taking it from the man every month just because it is less painful than standing up for my rights. Shameful, but we are legion.
  5. Oct 5, 2007 #5 of 27

    davezatz Funkadelic

    Apr 18, 2002
    Fairfax, VA


    cmaas, I feel your pain. I hesitate to call in sometimes in fear the situation will get worse. (I've lost channels before, billing has changed, other random stuff.) I was trying to watch South Carolina/Kentucky last night in HD (HD cable box), but ESPN wasn't coming in on the bedroom TV. Instead of calling for help, I watched the living room TiVo instead and hope the situation will resolve itself on its own in the next few days.
  6. Oct 5, 2007 #6 of 27

    ah30k Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2006
    This is how I solved my Comcast billing problems: . I know this solution does not work for everyone and my sympathies are with you.
  7. Oct 5, 2007 #7 of 27

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    Jan 31, 2002
    Comcast doesn't charge me for any of my 6 cablecards. I have no idea why but I'm not going to tell them. For my Series 3 boxes connected to Comcast I convinced them that I really only have one outlet and I am splitting it myself and somehow that stopped them from charging me an outlet fee for each box. so I don't pay anything for my 6 cable cards and only pay one outlet fee that covers three series 3 boxes in 3 separate rooms and one Comcast HD STB. My bill fluctuated the first 3 months and then finally this what I ended up with after calling them after each messed up bill. Now the bill has been consistent for 7 months.
  8. Oct 5, 2007 #8 of 27

    kido New Member

    Aug 17, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Accepting bad service only benefits Comcast. It sucks, but the reality is that if they do not learn to support CableCARDs driven by customer demand, we will all be leasing their crappy equipment at $15 per month in 10 years time.

    The steps I took to navigate this mess was to first determine what I should be paying. Look at your bill and determine what charges are equipment charges and what are service charges. Call Comcast to ask if you are unsure as you are entitled to know what each item on your bill represents. Service charges should be pretty simple. Basically, just the cost of your cable package. As far as I know, Comcast does not charge for HD service. If a channel is in your package, then you should also receive the HD version, if it is offered in your area. Double, triple, quadruple check that any HDTV charges are not actually HD STB equipment charges, then do it again with a different CSR if they insist you need that to receive HD channels.

    Once you get your service charges in order, deal with the equipment charges. Write down all the equipment you use from the cable company and their locations. This should include all STBs, CableCARDs, leased DVRs, cable modems, etc. With this, figure out how many equivalent "STB"s you have using this formula:

    1 STB = 1 DVR = 1 CableCARD = 2 CableCARDs in TiVo

    There is a lease fee and an additional outlet fee for each of these equivalent STBs, but the fees for the first STB is waived when you have a digital package. If you are unsure, post the list of all the equipment you have and your package I am sure other members will help figure out the cost.

    After all this, call Comcast until you get someone who can deal with CableCARDs and billing at the same time. If you only deal with billing, they may very well remove an item from your account causing it to stop working. Be nice and ask them to explain any additional outlet fees and HDTV fees and which piece of equipment they correspond to. Refer them to Comcast's FAQ on CableCARDs which they can get to if they do a search on "CableCARDs" from Comcast's website. If it doesn't seem that you are making progress, don't necessarily blame the CSR. It seems Comcast has some bizarre software that limits frontline CSRs from being able to make changes for CableCARDs, plus they probably only encounter CableCARD issues very rarely. Just ask to be transferred to a CableCARD specialist. Eventually, it will probably work out.
  9. Oct 5, 2007 #9 of 27

    rmassey Damn, these are fun!

    Sep 5, 2002
    Good advise, but what a royal PITA. Why-o-why can't CCast get it together and have the same prices for all customers in all regions? I had D* for five years and I could predict my bill each month with compete accuracy. What the heck is wrong with Comcast?

    I seriously think they design a billing system, differetn pricing and lack of CSR training to confuse and discourage customers. People just give up and overpay for services. It really makes me just want to never do business with Comcast at all
  10. HamDoc

    HamDoc New Member

    Sep 22, 2006
    I wish I could get this straightened out. I have 1 STB and 2 cable cards for tivo series 3. I get charged for 3 HD equipment and 2 Digital A/O service. The tech that came out told me I was being charged for 5 things, but the CSR says I am being charged for 3 HD equipment and 2 cable card services(not equipment). I pay $30 now, where I used to only pay 12.95

    It sux.
  11. kido

    kido New Member

    Aug 17, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Comcast owes you money. You should pay only 1 Digital Outlet plus about $1.50 for the 2 CableCARDs in your TiVo. That's it. Make sure the CableCARDs are listed in their system as TiVO Series 3 CableCARDs. On my bill, it shows up as "T3ddvrcards $1.50". They may need to hunt for that option. If you are paying anything over $10 per month for the TiVo, something is wrong.
  12. jcthorne

    jcthorne Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    I resolved similar overcharging issues with comcast by purchasing a TivoHD, an OTA antenna and returning all TWC/Comcast equipment to the nearest diservice center. Result was far better picure quality, nearly $100/month reduction in my bill and great satisfaction in a decision that was too long in comming. TivoHD made it possible. The S3 was just too expensive to pull this off.

    Thanks Tivo!

    Free at last! Tivo has made me free at last!
  13. Canoehead

    Canoehead TiVo since 2004

    Sep 12, 2006
    In Hudson County New Jersey, they claim that they have no way to bill for the Cable Cards other than as Digital Outlets. So the first card is my "included" outlet and then they charge mne a full $8 or so for the 2nd one (ie the 2nd card). I have spent hours with those *******s on the phone and cannot get it changed. I have faxed them pages from Comcast's own website to the contrary - they point to small print at the bottom that says these prices may not apply to all regions. Frankly, except for one installer who actually did the ccards and was a great guy, I could watch the rest of them burn and wouldn't even piss on them to put the flames out.

    FIOS - Hurry Up!
  14. ah30k

    ah30k Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2006
    Canoehead's response reminds me of a news article I saw. Comcast ranks below Haliburton in the ranking of respected companies. That just about sums up how how bad they really are.

    When I left them for Verizon they didn't even care. Three months later I start getting mailers that they want me back. Yea, right.
  15. oldnacl

    oldnacl New Member

    Mar 23, 2007
    I had a similar experience with Comcast and my Series 3 which led to my returning the S3, eating (for a while) my 3 yr prepaid subscription and canceling everything I had with Comcast. I switched to DSL, got $125 rebate from AT&T for dumping Comcast and a $10/month lower bill for internet service. I cannot see any speed difference. After a month, I returned to Comcast, went to a different field office and picked up a SA DVR for $11.95 a month. After a few months of SA abuse, I bought a TiVo HD, went back to the same office I visited for the SA DVR and ordered cable cards, installation and retuned the SA. SUPPOSEDLY, my charge should be $4.00/month now (the TiVo is my only outlet) and they gave me a digital STB for on demand service whis is SUPPOSED to cost me nothing (according to the CSR I spoke with). What my next bill will show is anyone's guess, but I'm slightly hopeful.
  16. MScottC

    MScottC Well-Known Member

    Sep 11, 2004
    I, like CanoeHead, also live in Hudson County (Jersey City). And had the exact same issue. I own one TV (plus cablemodem) Every month, I'd get my bill with a 2nd outlet charge of $7. And every month I'd call and ***** and quote the Comcast CableCard Fee FAQ on which states

    There is no charge for the first CableCARD that you use as it is already included in the primary outlet fee. If you have a multi-card device on the same outlet (i.e. TiVo Series 3 or two Digital Cable Tuners connected to the same personal computer), you will be charged an additional regulated fee of up to $1.91 for the second CableCARD.

    And every month, the CSR would credit me about $5. The argument was always, "we don't have that $1.91 charge on our system." Different CSRs would find different ways about the issue. Finally after 6 months a CSR found a way to authorize the "2nd outlet" yet hide the charge completely. So now I'm not being charged for anything but ONE outlet.

    You really just have to keep harrassing them over and over again, and for me, it is NOT about the $5 month, it is about the principle of not letting them get away with their crap.
  17. JTYoung1

    JTYoung1 Member

    Aug 13, 2006
    Here in Jacksonville, FL I had to contact the person at City Hall that handles disputes with Comcast. She put me in contact with the director of a group at Comcast called the Advanced Resolutions Team. Apparently the director of that team was the only person who understood my problem and was able to fix it since I had previously spoken to another jackass on that team who was rather rude and unprofessional. After my conversation with her, I think she was going to talk with her team about how to handle problems such as mine rather than blowing the customer off.
    She even went so far as to give me her direct phone number if my problem was not fixed when I got home from work.
  18. cheerdude

    cheerdude Reed & Juliet's CPA

    Feb 27, 2001
    Las Vegas, NV
    I get charged $ 5.99 x2 for "Digital Service A/O" which I would assume are for each of my Cable Cards. Does this mean that I am being overcharged by Comcast for my 2 CableCards? (I already have a Digital Cable Box (not HD))
  19. drcos

    drcos HD where available

    Jul 20, 2001
    Venice FL
    Yes you are and so am I. Our system supposedly is 'not properly set up' to authorize the cards without the bogus fees.
    I need to call and ***** because now I am having a signal strength issue as well which causes my cards to lose channels in the channel map.

    I wish Verizon would hurry up with that cable, getting close now (supposedly next year).

    The biggest problem is that if it wasn't for the billing crap and the intermittent problems, this would be pretty good as we have 25 HD channels (including TBSHD for the baseballs).
  20. ah30k

    ah30k Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2006
    Yes, your first CableCARD should be free if the TiVo is your only digital box or, in your case, the full digital A/O fee if you already have a box. So you have no errors on your first CableCARD. The second CableCARD in your TiVo should be no more that $1.91.

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