Government

State Investigating Comcast's Overcharges

d22d22417d64124ec6d4_f3e1edac3fa93b28caf2_comcast.jpg
d22d22417d64124ec6d4_f3e1edac3fa93b28caf2_comcast.jpg

TRENTON, NJ – You may be paying more than you should for cable television service.

The state Board of Public Utilities is investigating to what extent Comcast overcharged its New Jersey cable customers for the most basic level of TV service.

Comcast spokesperson Jennifer Bilotta said the company is cooperating with the investigation.

Sign Up for E-News

Comcast’s headaches began last year when it hiked the cost of its “limited basic” television package by 47 percent for some customers. It raised the price by adding a $9.95 “High Definition technology fee” to the price of the $21.10 package, but didn’t file any notice of the price increase with regulators.

Prices posted to the Comcast website didn't reflect the new fee, either.

The price increase came as authorities have been easing cable TV regulation for years. The Federal Communications Commission has not regulated any rates since 1999, according to John Reinert of the state’s Board of Public Utilities, of which the state’s Office of Cable Television is part.

The state continued to regulate the rate of basic service for all municipalities until December, Reinert said, although the rate in some municipalities – such as Raritan Township – continued under regulation until March.

But regulated or not, some customers couldn’t get the $21.10 package listed on the Comcast website. In response to a complaint filed with the BPU, Comcast wrote to a customer in December, “The High Definition Technology fee is a standard fee billed to customers who possess High Definition equipment to enable access to high definition service.”

The company maintained that stance as recently as May 14, when it agreed to waive the fee for one customer as a “service discount” for a limited time. Bilotta said Comcast has since issued a credit for those overcharges.

The company says only a small percentage of customers receive the “limited basic” package and is taking steps to correct the overbilling. That includes improved training for the company’s customer service representatives.

According to Reinert, the company can generally charge whatever it wants for the service, provided it gives 30 days advance notice to the BPU.

Bilotta said that in addition to the BPU investigation, Comcast has launched its own inquiry into the overbilling. She didn’t know how long that process would take, but said any customer who has been overcharged will automatically receive a credit on their bill for the excess. She encouraged customers with questions about their billing to phone the company's toll-free customer service for clarification.

Customers who aren't satisfied with Comcast's responses can file a complaint with the BPU. Complaints can be filed online at the Office of Cable Television website or by calling 800-624-0331.

The “limited basic” package mostly includes only the broadcast channels, listed below. The chart was provided by the BPU.

1

2/802*

WCBS

CBS

 

2

4

WNBC

NBC

 

3

5/805*

WNYW

FOX

 

4

6/808*

QVC

HOME SHOPPING

 

5

7/807*

WABC

ABC

 

6

8

TCN

COMCAST NETWORK

 

7

9/809*

WWOR

UPN

 

8

10/561/795

WXTV

WXTV-41-UNIVISION

 

9

11/811*

WPIX

WB

 

10

12/812*

WHYY (GENERAL) **

PBS

 

11

13/813*

WNET

PBS

 

12

14/798

WNYE

WNYE

 

13

15/799

WPXN ION

ION

 

10

16

WTFX (GENERAL) **

WTFX (GENERAL)

 

14

17

WPSG (HILLSBORO)

WPSG (HILLSBORO)

SHARED CHANNEL

14

17

WLIW (LONG HILL)

WLIW (LONG HILL)

SHARED CHANNEL

15

18/806*

HSN

HOME SHOPPING

 

16

19/804*

WMBC

WMBC - 63

 

17

20/565/796

WNJU

WNJU

 

18

22/129/800*

WFUT

WFUT

 

19

23/129/800*

WNJN

WNJN

 

20

25

WRNN

WRNN

 

21

26/1217

C-SPAN

C-SPAN

 

22

27

ED TV

EDUCATIONAL TV

 

23

28/810*

WLNY

WLNY

 

24

29

ACCESS

LOCAL ACCESSS

 

25

51/291/1318

EWTN

EWTN

 

26

88

HSN 2

HSN 2

 

27

98

SHOP NBC

SHOP NBC

 

28

99

JEWELRY

JEWELRT TV

 

29

199

C-SPAN 2

C-SPAN 2

 

30

251

WASA-LD

WASA-LD

 

31

280

COMCAST COMMUNITY

COMCAST COMMUNITY

 

32

281

ACCESS

LEASED ACCESS

 

33

287

DAYSTAR

DAYSTAR

 

34

294

THE WORD

THE WORD

 

35

295

INSPIRATION

INSPIRATION

 

*HD channels

** shared channels

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

South Brunswick-Cranbury

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_7a493aa70537d9c4811f_south_brunswick_july_19_mets_flyer_2018

Thu, July 19, 11:00 AM

South Brunswick Public Works & Utilities Building, Monmouth Junction

South Brunswick Emergency Blood Drive - Pair of ...

Giving Back Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_0a79b254f45583c80861_048

Wed, August 22, 8:30 AM

American Legion Post 253, Spotswood

Bus Trip to AC Air Show

Giving Back Other

Sat, October 27, 12:00 PM

East Jersey Old Town Village, Piscataway

Revolutionary War Encampment

Arts & Entertainment Education Food & Drink

South Brunswick and Cranbury Police Blotter

August 9, 2017

Sponsored by Reilly's Collision Center in Monmouth Junction. Click here and scroll down for the latest updates and alerts from South Brunswick and Cranbury Police.

See the most recent messages from South Brunswick Twp Police Department, powered by Nixle.

Nearly $900K Bid Received for Construction of New New Brunswick Park

July 12, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Only one company submitted a bid to build a new city park on land where three abandoned houses once stood.

A-Tech Concrete of Edison submitted a bid of $897,316.25 to construct a park on Welton Street, near Drift Street.

This was the only bid that city Purchasing Department received before the deadline this morning.

New Brunswick demolished three abandoned home on the ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

New Brunswick Picks Committee, Law Firm to Move on Abandoned Houses

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Abandoned properties in urban areas cause a range of problems, from fostering criminal activity to creating public health hazard and generally diminishing the quality of life.

That is from the opening statement of an ordinance that the city council passed in 2016 calling for establishment of a list abandoned properties and how New Brunswick can renovate or remove ...

17 Fascinating Facts About Rutgers Athletics

July 10, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - For all the critics of the athletics program at New Jersey’s largest public university, there are more than a dozen reasons to cheer for successes of the sports programs and teams on the playing fields, in classrooms and beyond.

Here are 17 on the field and off the field things this took place this past academic year at Rutgers University:

1. Rutgers had four ...

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey

July 12, 2018

How often do you read TAPinto?  Have you downloaded the TAPinto APP?  These are a few of the questions for readers in our 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

We want to hear from you!

The survey will take less than five minutes to complete and will help TAPinto better serve you. 

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

Thank you.  We appreciate your support and ...

Golf & Canasta/Mah-Jongg/Board Game Classic on July 22

The Daniel Pearl Education Center (DPEC), an East Brunswick-based charitable organization that sponsors a wide range of community outreach programs, is hosting its Golf Classic on Sunday, July 22 at the Cranbury Golf Club. There will also be an afternoon of games: mahjong, canasta and board games. Golfers will compete for the Classic championship and will also vie for prizes: an automobile for a ...

As Seen on TV

Source: Just when you thought the deal could not get any better, just wait, there’s more…call now and your order will be doubled… “As seen on TV,” Sam Burlum review some of the most successful infomercial campaigns and why they did so well.

We have all experienced at some point in our lives, while flipping through the television channels, that moment when ...