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The Almighty Buck Businesses Communications Network Television The Internet United States Technology

Comcast Charges $90 Install Fee At Homes That Already Have Comcast Installed (arstechnica.com) 141

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Based on our tests, signing up for standalone Internet or TV service on Comcast.com often requires payment of a $59.99 or $89.99 installation fee, depending on where you live. (The fee was $60 in two Massachusetts suburbs and $90 at homes in Houston, Texas, and Seattle, Washington.) In cases where the $60 or $90 fee is charged, the fee is required whether you purchase your own modem or rent one from Comcast for another $11 a month.

The installation fee might be charged even if the home you're buying service at has existing Comcast service, and even if you order Internet speeds lower than those purchased by the current occupant. That means the fee is charged even when Comcast doesn't have to make any upgrades at the house or apartment you're moving into. Internet speed makes no difference, as the fee may be charged whether you purchase 15Mbps downloads or gigabit service. You can avoid the installation fee by purchasing certain bundles that include both TV and Internet, but the fee is often mandatory if you buy only TV service or broadband individually. The $60 or $90 fee is also charged when you buy phone service only or a "double-play" package of phone service and broadband.

Comcast Charges $90 Install Fee At Homes That Already Have Comcast Installed

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  • Monopolies, yay! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @07:24PM (#56617784)

    Gonna rape you now!

    • What you said sounds like a Family Guy bit. I'd see Peter doing the bit.

    • by doccus ( 2020662 )

      Gonna rape you now!

      Insightful? ...really?

  • by Tangential ( 266113 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @07:24PM (#56617790) Homepage
    They do this because.they.can.
    • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @07:55PM (#56617914) Journal

      Comcast sucks. They do several things that suck.

      As someone pointed out below, they didn't charge him any more when his install out in the country cost Comcast far more than $90. They *could* charge $75/hour for installation. When customers ask how much the installation will be, Comcast would say "it depends". As I found out with my business, customers HATE that.

      In my business I found out that customers would rather pay $75 than $50-$125. They really don't like it when the cost is "it depends". They especially wouldn't like paying $180 for installation when it turns out their house is a pain in the butt to run wires in, but they aren't overjoyed when it turns out their house is easy and it's only $50. They'd rather know up front.

        Even if a house had service before, the cabling and connectors may not be up-to-date, they may be corroded, have too splitters to work with current speeds, etc. So "already had service previously" doesn't mean installation isn't needed. "Already had service before" means "it depends". Comcast sucks in a lot of ways, so if I wanted to complain about Comcast I wouldn't focus on them making the pricing consistent and predictable as the problem. There are much better things to complain about with Comcast.

      • by antdude ( 79039 )

        It's not just Comcast. :(

      • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday May 16, 2018 @05:10AM (#56619256) Journal

        Thanks for pointing out that just because "it had service" doesn't mean it was GOOD service,it makes sense to test the lines. With my cableco they charge a $60 fee but they always sent out a guy who tested the lines to insure it had a good signal, replaced any lines that were frayed or which wasn't testing into spec, he even called for a bucket truck and replaced the entire line from the apt to the pole because he found the line had several bad spots and was having signal drops.

        So if they are charging the fee even if nobody comes out or if they had tested that address very recently? Yeah I can see getting pissed about that, but if they actually send out someone who actually runs tests and insures you get the service you pay for? I don't see that as an issue and its better to have everything check out than to be paying for service that is erratic.

    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @09:51PM (#56618352)
      And they can only because your local government granted them a monopoly. The cable companies aren't natural monopolies. Your local government gave them the power they enjoy to screw you over.

      When I lived in the outskirts of Boston, my city voted to allow a second cable company to provide service. The day before the competing service became available to customers, the original cable company dropped the prices for all their Internet plans by $10/mo, implemented a 50% speed increase across the board at no charge, eliminated all installation and service change fees, and switched from requiring a multi-year subscription to month-to-month after just 6 months.

      You don't need to wait for net neutrality legislation or court decisions, which could take decades, if it ever happens at all. All you need is to convince your local city council to vote to introduce competition, by allowing a second (or even third) cable company to provide service. They created this mess, they can fix it.
      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        So the second company couldn't compete and went out of business or at least never expanded into the market that was already served by a company that was willing to lower its prices for a while to maintain their monopoly.

  • to see them finally realizing the error of their ways.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why do people have their panties in a twist over this? Every other service has a service initiation fee. Power? Yep. Water? Yep. Trash? Yep. Phone? Yep. ...
    If anything happens, they'll just rename it from "connection fee" to "service initiation fee."

    Did you think you were going to get something free out of this?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @07:38PM (#56617850)

      I recently moved. None of those had an initiation fee for me. The only one which would have had a fee was phone, which I couldn't care less about because I don't have an landline anymore.

      Stop being an apologist.

    • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @07:42PM (#56617864)

      I've never been charged an initiation fee for power, water, phone, internet or trash.
      The closest think I've had to pay is a refundable bond for power when I was younger. Understandable as I had never had a power service before and it's paid in arrears for actual power used.
      Sometimes internet/phone packages come with minimum 12 or 24 month terms, but those usually give you something in return, like free modem or discounted monthly fee. Upgrading to fibre cost me a 24 month term, but in return I got free install, including connecting the fibre to my home and a termination device. Also got a free router to handle the gigabit connection that retails for over $200.

      Things are much better when wholesale is separated from retail, breaking the monopoly and eliminating the capital required for competitors. I could have bought my internet service from literally dozens of providers.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rogoshen1 ( 2922505 )

      Typically when companies or people generate money out of thin air, it's because they're fucking someone. It seems skeevy, because it IS skeevy.

      Not sure why any consumer anywhere at any time would defend the practice.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Fees for no service rendered. Suspend license to operate in state.

  • ... and gaze out at the horses.

  • Is there something on the roof of these Comcast Customers? Maybe they have to point at the hidden room just over the mountainside. Can Comcast dunk into the estate system in this manner? Totally against the death tax though. Long live Fiber.
  • Take your business elsewhere, problem solved.

    Comcast deserves every amount bad press they get. But this story is just vapid. It's not as if the fee is hidden. Anyway, it can probably be reversed or excluded by ordering the services over the phone instead of online.
  • The dishonesty of pretending it's actually for installation is irksome, but if it's up-front and people are willing to pay...

    Disclosure: I'm gouged by my cable company, and I have nobody to blame but myself.

  • nt

  • When we had Comcast installed last year the scheduled day they were supposed to install was the afternoon of Easter Sunday. Unbeknownst to Comcast, our house, on a rural county highway, had never been wired for cable before. The hookup guy ended up escalating the install until eventually there were three trucks of installers involved. We didn't pay any more than the ordinary default, even though I asked for the service entry to be at an entry point that ended up being on the exact opposite corner of the hou

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As a shareholder, I say fees are too low, here are some suggestions:

    -Early Payment Fee
    -Fee Payment Fee
    -Fee Payment Fee Recovery Fee
    -Fee Payment Fee Recovery Fee Surcharge
    -Fee Payment Fee Recovery Fee Surcharge Levy
    -Fee Payment Fee Recovery Fee Surcharge Levy Premium
    -Disconnection Fee
    -Reconnection Fee
    -WiFi Test Fee
    -Bandwidth under-utilization fee
    -Bandwidth over-utilization fee
    -Packet prioritization fee
    -Packet de-prioritization fee
    -Third-party DNS Fee
    -Paper bill Fee
    -E-Bill Fee
    -Credit Card Payment Fee
    -Check Pa

  • This a really sleazy move! I think I smell a class action lawsuit!
  • by MrLint ( 519792 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @07:45PM (#56617876) Journal

    So my landlady died, and her son (my boss at the time) took over. And all I wanted to do was to change the billing name. TW tried to tell me i had to pony up like $60 for a (something), and then tried to claim it was a state law. Of course that was a full on lie and I called the NY PSC and they straightend that out. This suprises me not at all.

    • Comcast got me $15.95 for an internet connection kit.The tech said there would be no internet access until this kit (piece of velcro, length of coax, and a splitter) were installed. I already had a cable modem; everything was working before this junk arrived. Guess I was lucky.
    • by Jaime2 ( 824950 )

      Spectrum (in a region where the infrastructure was recently obtained via acquisition of Time Warner), recently charged me for an install in a house that previously had cable. They never showed up for the install - the connection in the outside box was still not hooked up. However, I simply screwed the loose ends together and everything worked great.

      Two lessons here: first, the Install is super easy and there is certainly no special skill or tools necessary. Second, they never planned on actually doing any w

  • by FuegoFuerte ( 247200 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @07:50PM (#56617894)

    First, never sign up for a Comcast service online, ever. Always call or go to a store location.

    Second, when they bring up the installation fee, say "no, this is going to be a self-install, and I already have cable from the curb to my house, and I know it's already connected in the box. I don't need anyone to come out."

    The $90 fee is supposed to cover the guy coming out to the curb to connect your particular cable to the splitter hanging off the main line in the distribution box. If you don't already have that cable connected (even if your house is wired for cable), you really do need the guy to come out (unless you know how to open the box, and which cable is yours, and you have the tool to reach in the security collar to connect it... and I don't advise telling Comcast if you do have all those things). If you're the type who likes to open your own cable box and connect your house, I would do that first, and then simply tell Comcast that you know it's already connected (maybe you asked the Comcast guy to confirm it when he was out hooking up your neighbor's cable... *wink*).

    They'll waive it pretty easily if you can convince them you know your stuff and don't need a guy to come out. If you fail the first time, talk to a different person or ask for a super. They'll get it done, and be a lot more competent about it than CenturyLink.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      First, never sign up for a Comcast service online, ever. Always call or go to a store location.

      Thanks for telling us how this worked in the previous century grandpa, always good to know that, but this is useless advice now. I know because I have tried to call Comcast and you can't. They only do new sales via a chat window on the internet. I've never seen a Comcast store location. They are not AT&T. They have a few of what I guess you could call Service Centers where existing customers can in theory go to - maybe - but I don't know if it's even possible to buy their service that way. Given

      • Don't be a condescending little prick. Ten seconds of googling shows that there are a several hundred Comcast stores around the US (look up Xfinity). I personally have spoken to Comcast reps on the phone over the past year. Your mileage may vary.
      • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
        I've called Comcast many times and been into one of their Indianapolis storefronts to pick up my own equipment and self install.
    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      First, always check online for the better deals. The stores and calling can't provide those. You might get $30/month for a year instead of $50/month if you order online.

      Second, after you order online, they'll need to schedule your appointment so at that point you'll be locked into the better rate AND you'll get to talk to a real person. At that point you can let them know you're all good, or maybe they'll just waive the setup fee.
  • They've tried to do this to me every time I moved - 4 times since 2000. I always managed to get them to waive or refund it, though it took a LOT of back-and-forth calls and e-mails before they would. I'm sure they made it hard on purpose.
  • by tempo36 ( 2382592 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @07:58PM (#56617924)

    Last time we upgraded service with Qwest the billing/support folks insisted that we needed a new modem and that a technician HAD TO come out to our house.

    When the tech arrived he had our same exact modem and looked at us like we were crazy for having him there. We stood there while he called up the office and told them to cancel the charge for the visit and to, essentially, "push the button" to change our service as we'd requested. We thanked him for his time and we didn't get charged.

    Had we not had a great tech or if we hadn't been paying attention, you absolutely better believe Qwest would have charged us for the "visit."

    This isn't unique to Verizon, it's shitty telecom/internet behavior all around.

  • Damn! I came real close to getting suckered into a new deal. Comcast called offering me a huge bump up in internet speeds, cable TV, for two years for the same cost (or close). There would be an early termination, but at least the bill wouldn't jump up until after the contract expires. The deal was too good to be true. I decided to sit on it for awhile....

    Now I know why, because they're profiting off the mandatory installation fee. FUCK THEM!! Sooooo glad I didn't go through the deal. But it was so tempting

  • I am pretty sure Comcast could demand from subscribers to give their CEO a free blowjob and get away with it. Sure nbody forces them to do it, but if they don't and there are no alternative ISPs, no internet for them (which nowadays means not being able to even get a job). Something something unregulated natural monopolies.
    • I'm failing to see how no Comcast means no Internet. The public library offers Internet access at its branches during normal operating hours.

      • I am failing to see how anybody could do their taxes online or write a CV from a public library terminal. And if you are this kind of person, hogging library terminals for hours to do personal business instead of quick internet research, you are an inconsiderate person.
  • by RubberDogBone ( 851604 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @08:14PM (#56618010)

    Just moved into a new apartment and we have Comcast preinstalled in the place. There's a couple of outlets. Because I am not stupid, I own my own cable modem and SHOULD be cable to connect up, agree to pay them, and off I go.

    Haha not so fast. The cable isn't hot. They've disconnected it in the wiring closet downstairs, so a tech HAS to come out to do nothing more than plug in the line. All of about 30 seconds of work.

    There is no reason for this. There is no analog signal on the line any more. You have to have Comcast cable box or a cable modem they recognize by MAC to get service. Or probably a cable card device. But it has to be a device they on record. You get nothing plugging in a regular TV.

    So there is no functional reason to disconnect the lines like this Except. They make $60 off the installer visit that doesn't need to happen.

    Why? Because they can. Because they know the only other 'option' is AT&T DSL which tops out at the BLAZING speed of 768kbits Yes. The fastest DSL I can get is 768. And AT&T has the audacity to offer DirecTV over IPTV on that POS line AND wants a lot of money for it too.

    Comcast's speeds and rates are much better. But that installer has to show up. For nothing.

    I am currently using an LTE hotspot in what is a very bad cell signal area. But what I can get this way is unlimited, faster than AT&T and cheaper. I'll cope.

    • There is no reason for this. There is no analog signal on the line any more. You have to have Comcast cable box or a cable modem they recognize by MAC to get service.

      So there is no functional reason to disconnect the lines like this Except. They make $60 off the installer visit that doesn't need to happen.

      Ingress from unterminated connection is reason enough to disconnect.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Ohh, there is a GOOD reason for this. Many areas the cable hasn't gone totally digital and they still have analog channels that would be FREE if they didn't disconnect the cable. Even if they have converted the plant to fully digital, there is still a GREAT reason to do this... it's called RETURN PATH NOISE. If a cable isn't connected at the other end, it functions as an "open" in the system and can be a source of ingress noise into the cable plant. They could roll a truck out and have someone install a hig

  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @08:46PM (#56618166)

    Signing up for Comcast at a new apartment. Selected "use my own modem", because I still have the DOCSIS 3.0 modem I used the last time I had Comcast service. It let me skip the modem rental fee, but the website didn't allow me to not schedule an appointment to have a "professional" install it, nor skip the $90 fee that would entail. I picked up the phone and got it sorted out - apparently the previous tenant didn't schedule to disconnect their service, so the system insisted someone needed to go out and uninstall whatever was there. The service rep was able to sort it out for me, but I imagine a lot of people wouldn't bother picking up the phone and waiting on hold listening to badly-bandlimited Vivaldi for five minutes.

  • Maybe a little off topic, but I find this story sort of sums up Comcast's competence at logistics ... I have a relative who moved into a rented house and ordered Comcast CATV+Internet the day they moved in. The installer showed up a day or two later, got everything hooked up, and they were all set. About a week later, the CATV and Internet went offline. After spending a bunch of time on the phone talking to customer support they learned that Comcast prioritizes connection work orders over disconnect work
    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      They are a communication company that can't even communicate with themselves. I have literally had a "support tech" telling me there was no outage reported in my neighborhood the moment a comcast bucket truck stopped at a pole nearby and set up. I casually asked one of the guys on the crew and he told me an amplifier had failed and the whole street was out.

      Even though I told the "support tech" the situation was handled, sure enough a guy rolled up a week later "to fix my internet".

      • GTE, which was bought out by Verizon, was even worse. I switched a land line to ISDN service with the same company, years later I found out there were unpaid long distance charges that posted to the old account after I paid the closing statement that were showing up on my credit report because they couldn't find me to bill me for them. I was still at the same address, and still had (ISDN) service through the same company... but they couldn't find me to send me a bill!
  • by sootzuit ( 5415594 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @09:01PM (#56618216)
    Verizon did the exact same thing to me. I had a fiber ONT in my room from the previous tenant, and I told them I already had fiber installed, and I already had my own wifi access point, and all I needed was a single CAT5 cable or really any connection type for just one internet device. Just give me the FIOS modem and I will plug it in. They still charged me a $90 "installation fee", which was separate from the "sign-up fee". They also tried to get me to verbally authorize a recurring $140 monthly payment for TV, internet and phone service which I explicitly told them earlier I did not want, that I only wanted basic internet. I was also told that after the 12 months of my initial contract, the price will automatically go up after that, by $20-$30 per month, and there is nothing I can do about it unless I cancel my service. So, while Comcast sucks ass, the competition (Verizon) were really sleazy and definitely charge unnecessary fees.
  • Upgrade your service, and there's usually a fee for such things!
    Never mind if you're a long term/loyal customer or not.

    And they wonder why so many people want to just leave it alone...

  • That means the fee is charged even when Comcast doesn't have to make any upgrades at the house or apartment you're moving into.

    It doesn't matter.... it's not like the fee is unfair or large compared to the monthly rate -- it is STILL going to require Comcast employee labor to update records in their system to get your service up and running, and you can consider some of the install fee to help recover some of the customer service employee labor costs that are common for service setup for many people.

  • Watch your statements. Next thing you know nice little charges appear. I've always owned my cable modem. Every so many years a monthly rental fee will show up. Used to be $8, now it's like $11.

    Soon, calling tech support will cost you $50/call.

  • Here's a news story from the end of last year - Comcast: Loss of cable television subscribers accelerates [usatoday.com]. I am sure that this has absolutely nothing to do with the billing practices described in TFA. Nope, unh-uh, not at all, not one bit, nothing to see here folks, these things are totally unrelated.

    • Not just the billing practices... the noise on their tech support line was so bad I couldn't understand what anyone was saying. (The accents didn't help either.) Uh, you're a COMMUNICATION company, and you don't know how to hook up usable phone lines?
  • There are three boxes to be used in the defense of liberty.
    We've already tried the soapbox.
    The ISPs bought the ballot box out from underneath us.
    Only one left to try is the ammo box.
    • So... you're suggesting we should _shoot_ the Comcast technician when they come out to install cable?
  • The USA has always been scam-heavy going all the way back to patent medicine travelling shows. Dare I say that we're used to it by now. We know our government is corrupt, and we know that we aren't the generation that made the country great. I actually want a better country, but as always, the 10% gets what the 90% will accept. Comcast would gladly give up the top 10 percent noisiest, most demanding customers, and their monopoly means we have nowhere to go. Our politicians are on the take, and are hold
  • Case in pont in my house there was an old fiber optic installation. A phone company technican came to install the new router that had a 100BASE-LX instead the old router 10BASE-FL port, different connectors and anyway the fiber had to be checked for damage. In this case, as you can guess the problem was becaus my house was used for an early FTTH installation in the 2000s, so the technology they are use, Ethernet is different if compared with newer installation (GPON).
    For PSTN the day a line is deactivated
  • Correction, <sarc> Shocking! </sarc>
  • Last time I signed up to internet (not in the USA) I didn't only NOT have a sign-up fee, but I also didn't pay anything out of pocket for the hardware they gave me, and on top of that I had a 50% discount on the service for the first 4 months.

    It's called competition.

  • Cell phone providers literally don't need to lift a finger to activate new service, yet they routinely sock people for $50.

    • T-Mobile charges you $25 for a new SIM card every time you activate service, even if you already have a T-Mobile SIM card.
  • by GWBasic ( 900357 )

    So?

    I just had a Comcast install, and it cost under $30. The guy came to my house, and told me that we had 10 techs for 10,000 households. He (the installer) needs to make money for the service visit.

    Comcast offers a free "self install" if the wiring is already there. They will either ship your equipment, you pick it up yourself, or you provide your own. I didn't do it because I needed the tech to bring the wire into the house from the curb.

  • My experience with Comcast was they let me do a self-install, but the self install didn't work so they sent out a technician and charged me. The first time, the wires run to the newly built house were bad. The second time, reinstalling in the same house, there was no reason for it not to work. The other weird thing about Comcast: they really don't care whether or not you return the cable modem when you terminate service, and when I did put it all back in the original box a return it, they immediately took i
  • After self-installing over the phone, my internet was working but Comcast a week later started calling me every day to send a technician to "complete the installation". Finally they just show up to my place. I watch the guy do absolutely nothing and point blank ask him if I'm going to be charged for this. He says no. Sure enough I get billed $60 installation fee. I called Comcast and explained what happened, and they took the charge off right away. Still, it rubbed me so wrong I haven't used them since. Sw
  • Comcast are assholes.
  • I moved recently and wanted my RCN connection transferred to my new place. RCN insisted that a technician needed to come and hook up the cable.

    This made no sense to me at all as I know they can do this remotely once the modem from the previous apartment was connected. Sorry no. So the guy came and pretended to do some 'stuff' for a few minutes, made me sign and then left. The charge? $50. Ridiculous.

    So I called them up and asked for a refund. I'm a long time customer, pay on time and all of that. Surprising

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