When cable rates seem to keep going up, the last thing Kristin Schroeder and her mother want to see is an unexpected fee on their Comcast bill.
Schroeder said the new fee left her feeling angry, “Like they have you over a barrel basically.”
It's a small charge - just a buck-99 for use of this DTA digital adapter. So what's got Kristin so upset? When Comcast gave her the box, it was free. This summer that suddenly changed.
“He never said that this is going to change in the near future and you'll have to rent all of them,” said Kristin.
We told you about these boxes in 2009. It was part of a digital upgrade Comcast announced. Back then you got two boxes for free. Here's the deal now, everyone is required to have at least one cable box. But those with the digital starter package and above could face charges for extra DTA boxes.
I wanted to know how many people will have to pay this new charge. Comcast said that information is private. I asked how many DTA boxes are out there. They say that’s a secret too. Comcast is only authorized to tell me that they have 1.1 million customers in the state. Let's say 10 percent of them have a single DTA box at a 1.99 month. That's over $2.3 million each year.
"It's the principle of the thing because that adds up," explained Schroeder.
Comcast is required to notify all customers of a rate change at least 30 days in advance. That they did. Steve Kipp with Comcast said the company is slowly rolling out the fee to Washington customers. He said the money will cover expanded services. And the company feels it's a small price to pay for all the upgrades it’s providing. Kipp's bottom line, it's a good deal for everyone.
“They get better picture quality with all digital, we'll deliver services, more channels, faster internet speeds. So that's the good news," he added.
Comcast said by this fall, the fee change will reach all of the affected customers. You can file a complaint with your city or county government. They will have a department that handles cable complaints.