Gallery: UTStarcom's CES 2008 booth tour
Gallery: UTStarcom's CES 2008 booth tour
A reader from Vermont writes in to let us know that he accidentally discovered Comcast has been charging him a $3/month modem rental fee for a modem he owned, because Comcast claimed that due to poor record keeping, it had no way of distinguishing between Adelphia's modem renters and owners. This fee went on for months undetected because Comcast doesn't itemize such fees on their online statements, only on their printed bills. (Well yeah, because including such details online would waste ink...wait, what?) When our reader called Comcast to have the fees refunded, he was told he'd have to provide proof of purchase for his modem.
Here's his email. We think some of the dates may be a little off, so work out the chronology at your own peril.
First, a little bit of a back story. I signed up with Adelphia for cable internet service back in June of 2006. I went out and bought my own modem and service was fine.
Comcast bought out Adelphia, and that's when the trouble began. On 10/02/07 I started getting charged for leasing a modem (remember I have always owned and used my own). I wasn't given any notice of this, and the charge was not itemized in my online bill, only the paper bill. Since I was expecting a rate increase at that point, the additional 5% went unnoticed.
On 01/05/07 I noticed that I was being charged this fee and called up to complain and have it removed from my bill. What I was told when I called is what disturbed me the most. I was told that Adelphia offered a free lease program to its customers, a service that Comcast didn't have. The records, however, weren't good enough to determine who had the free lease program and who had their own modem, so they decided to just charge everybody and let the customers figure it out for themselves. I was also told that I needed to prove that I purchased this modem by presenting a receipt (on an 18 month old modem I could just have easily purchased off of Craigslist or from a friend).
I got angry at this point and was told by the CSR that an e-mail would be sent to the Billing and Research Department and they would "see what they could do for me" and I could expect a reply within 10 business days. I promptly filed a complaint with the BBB and on Monday received a call from somebody at Comcast. The charges were removed immediately, but who knows how many other customers out there are slowly having $3 a month stolen from them. I know the amount seems trivial, but it's how they treated the situation that got me fired up.
We're curious whether anyone has had to call Dell's tech support line in the new year—and if so, did they try to upsell you on unnecessary add-ons, devices, accessories, service plans, etc.? Because we got an anonymous email the other day from someone who claims he works as a Dell tech support specialist, and he wrote that "starting after the first of the year... we are now going to be required to sell you items that you don't need."
I work for Dell as a tech support specialist, starting after the first of the year, we are going to sell you stuff when you call in for Tech support on your system. Not only are you going to be requesting for tech to trouble shoot your system, we are now going to be required to sell you items that you don't need just to make more money for Dell Inc. it's not bad enough that you spent money on a system that is not working but also have to hear a sales pitch on products that you can find else ware cheaper on web or at a local store.A final funny touch: the email was signed "Tech support/Sales." Sadly, that sounds almost like a position someone would think was a good idea.
Let us know if you encounter any unusual sales pitches on your next Dell tech support call!
(Thanks to Tech Support/Sales!)
Gallery: Hands-on with the LimePC
Gallery: CES 2008 THX Booth
Well, at least he's being honest—Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson announced at CES today that the 2009 switchover from analog to digital television (still a year away) poses "one of the biggest risks our industry has," whatever that means. "The number of converter boxes that is going to be required could put tremendous pressure on us." Oh, you mean because you'll have to have them in stock? Interpretation: if you're going to need a converter box or two, you'd better plan on buying them elsewhere.
Target and Circuit City, on the other hand, were acting almost as if they're in the business of consumer electronics and looking forward to the transition as a selling opportunity. Weird.
Executives with Circuit City and Target agreed the digital TV transition is fraught with challenges.
But the transition presents opportunities as well, says Steve Eastman, vice president and general merchandising manager for consumer electronics at Target. The analog-to-digital switch will get people thinking about high definition and what technology is in their homes, he says.
Target plans to have converter boxes in stores by April.
Tony Blair will join JPMorgan Chase & Co Inc, the third largest bank in the U.S., as a senior advisor. We wonder if Countrywide is courting President Bush for a similar position in 2009. [Reuters]
Gallery: Butt-on with the ButtKicker