Comcast Corporation has agreed to pay a financial penalty of $2.3 million to resolve an investigation into charges that it billed cable TV customers for services and equipment that its customers never authorized.
The Communications Act as well as rules of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prohibit cable providers from using so-called “negative option billing” practices, in which consumers are charged for services or equipment that they did not affirmatively request. According to numerous complaints received by the FCC, consumers claimed that they were billed by Comcast for services and equipment upgrades that they never requested or had specifically declined. The complaints resulted in a formal investigation into the company’s practices by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau.
According to the FCC, the $2.3 million settlement to be paid by Comcast is the largest civil penalty assessed by the FCC in connection with the practices of a cable operator. In addition to the record payment, Comcast has also agreed to implement a rigorous, five-year long compliance program to prevent such practices from occurring in the future, as well as the option for consumers to block the addition of new services or equipment to their accounts.