U.S. Senators blast cable industry’s so-called customer service

“U.S. senators blasted Comcast, AT&T, Charter Communications, and Dish Network over millions of dollars in pay-TV billing overcharges, promotional pricing, bill haggling, and other loathed customer-service practices during a hearing here on Thursday that included officials of those companies,” Bob Fernandez reports for The Philadelphia Inquirer. “The hearing aired the findings of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which reviewed 93,000 documents and spoke with dozens of company executives over the last 13 months. Senators said the companies should simplify bills, be more transparent, and refund overcharges. Time Warner Cable and Charter, two cable giants that recently merged, faced the harshest criticism on billing overcharges. According to one of the committee reports released Thursday, 40 percent of Comcast customers who called with problems with bills could not resolve them on the first call in December 2015.”

“Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, the committee’s ranking Democrat, who had pushed for a public hearing for two years, said she had been personally frustrated with charges on her pay-TV bill and told pay-TV executives testifying Thursday that ‘nobody knows how get the lowest price from you guys . . . I think the secret sauce is to get really mad,'” Fernandez reports. “Ohio Republican Rob Portman, the committee’s chairman, said the inability of Time Warner Cable to refund overbilled charges amounted to a ‘ripoff’ for consumers. He repeatedly returned to the issue through the two-hour hearing, noting that 44,000 Ohio residents had been overcharged by Time Warner Cable in 2015. According to a committee estimate, Time Warner Cable and Charter will overbill customers nationwide $7.2 million this year.”

Fernandez reports, “Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said the nation has many other big problems, such as the projected trillions of dollars in deficits for Social Security and Medicare, and questioned the importance of Thursday’s topic, noting, ‘We need to keep this hearing in perspective and not get carried away.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Smart move by the senators: They finally found somebody U.S. citizens hate more than them.


  1. When you eliminate oversight, when you vote to dismantle consumer protection laws, when you let an industry that is essentially a monopoly created by sweetheart deals with Republican backed legislatures, you end up with this.

    1. Early in the Obama administration, Democrats controlled the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Nothing could stop them from doing whatever they wanted. Fixing the monopoly problem wasn’t a high priority for them, was it?
      It probably got Hillary a lot of donations to her tax-free, bribe collection agency — The Clinton Foundation.

      1. This canard never gets old. The Democrats controlled the Presidency and the Congress their first two years and supposedly did nothing of importance during that time, except for the Affordable Care Act and pulling the economy back out of recession, while saving the Detroit auto industry. Yes, they could have forced gun legislation through during this period, but some higher priority issues got in the way. And, a naive Obama actually thought he could negotiate and reason through lower priority issues with the Congress later. Unfortunately, however much he tried, he met a recalcitrant opposition party that refused to do literally anything that didn’t enhance their own power or keep government minimally functioning while they waited to retake the presidency to effect their greater agenda later.

      2. Nothing could stop from doing what they wanted? Apparently you are completely unfamiliar with the rules by which The Senate and the House operate.

        This type of failure of oversight has no relevance to who the majority party is at any given point in time. There are no term limits and money is unfettered, anonymous and comes from all directions. Have you ever heard of lobbyists, PACs and special interests groups and all the creative ways they funnel money to all members of Congress? You think this is particular to one party or the other?

        Those clowns can have all the hearings they want and say all the nice things they want, but thy will never vote/pass legislation to fix any of this because they ALL are playing the same game. Stop being fooled by what flavor sauce is sprinkled on the entree. Smarten up. The idea Hillary is engaged in anything they all haven’t done and are doing is absurd. You are naive and blind.

  2. Ah, they’re so nice, trying to help us out with our cable bills while the fleecing of America goes on with everything and anything from healthcare/pharmaceuticals, energy/oil, government programs/wars, and the list goes on… It doesn’t mean that the ripoffs perpetrated by cable or internet providers should not be addressed, but here it’s more of a red herring and a distraction than anyone in the government watching the back of the working people…

    1. And every time you vote more morons in.
      You do know that the primaries are there to weed out any candidate with an ounce of common sense or moral fibre don’t you? The press, who lack both qualities, see to it that any such person is vilified and sidelined.

      You know the irony?
      The same people who will downvote this comment for daring to mention morality are the same ones who are complaining the loudest about ‘monopolies created by sweetheart deals…’ etc.

  3. Don’t see Comcast mentioned. They billed us for 2 boxes when we only had one. When I caught it they couldn’t determine how long that occurred. Check you cable bills!!

    1. Yes, Xfinity/Comcast tried the same 2 box billing with us too. After I disputed it, they took it off, but then suddenly I had a brand new $10 per month, HD Programming fee, which had never been on the bill for the first 7 months, and which was nowhere in the original contract. The representative “graciously” gave me another 12 months of “free” HD programming.

      But Google fiber is on the horizon in our city, so hopefully, things will change.

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