Montgomery County’s Office of Consumer Protection (OCP), in collaboration with the County’s Office of Cable and Broadband Services, reached an agreement with Comcast regarding the charging of “truck trip fees” when an in-house service call is made by a Comcast technician to resolve a television, internet or telephone service problem.
Between March 2007 and September 2011 the Office of Cable and Broadband Services received, and resolved, 85 complaints in which subscribers alleged that a “truck trip fee” in the amount of $19.95, $29.95 or $39.95 was imposed by Comcast without prior disclosure or when such fee was not appropriate due to the nature of the repair.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Comcast will provide two forms of disclosure to subscribers. The first disclosure will be made by a live operator when subscribers call Comcast to schedule a service call. The second disclosure will be made in a recorded telephone call to subscribers in advance of the service appointment. These disclosures will notify consumers that a service call fee will be charged if the service problem is caused by the equipment owned by the subscriber or by the subscriber’s failure to use the equipment properly. Comcast has also agreed to pay $25,000 to OCP for consumer education. This agreement is not an admission that Comcast has violated any consumer protection laws.
“The number of ‘truck trip fee’ complaints has been decreasing as the County has been working with Comcast to resolve this issue,” said Mitsuko Herrera, Montgomery County Cable and Broadband Communications Administrator. “We believe that better consumer disclosure will further reduce the number of complaints.”
While most service problems are resolved by just calling Comcast, there are times when an in-house service call by a Comcast technician is required to resolve the subscriber’s problem. Comcast does not charge any fee for an in-house service call if the problem is caused by Comcast’s equipment. However, since February 2007, Comcast has charged a “truck trip fee” for a Comcast technician to make an in-house service call if the service problem is caused by the subscriber’s equipment, inside wiring, or the subscriber not using the equipment correctly.
Subscribers may file complaints against any of the cable franchisees by calling 240-773-8111, or by sending an email to the Office of Cable and Broadband Services at CATV.email@example.com.
The majority of the 85 complaints filed by subscribers alleged that Comcast either failed to disclose that a “truck trip fee” could be charged or that a “truck trip fee” was improperly charged by Comcast when the service problem was caused by Comcast’s equipment.
The County Council’s Government Operations (GO) Committee oversees the cable franchises in Montgomery County. “This is just one more example of the outstanding work done everyday by our Office of Consumer Protection,” said County Council Vice President and GO Committee Chair Nancy Navarro. “Consumers have a right to know about any potential fees before they schedule a service call. The GO Committee will continue working to make sure Comcast and other cable providers treat our residents fairly.”
For more information, call the Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636 or the Office of Cable and Broadband Services at 240-773-8111.
# # #