• Report: #623227

Complaint Review: COMCAST

  • Submitted: Wed, July 14, 2010
  • Updated: Fri, July 30, 2010

  • Reported By: JoMo — Merced California U.S.A.
Internet United States of America

COMCAST Deceptive Business Practices, False Advertising, False Statements - LYING TO CUSTOMERS , Internet

*Author of original report: RESOLUTION - DTA's WORKED, BY GOD!

*Author of original report: Confessions and Magic Modem Tricks

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Comcast Cable is currently moving SEVERAL of the basic-tier channels, such as A&E, TOON, NICK, DISN, TRU, TnT, SPIKE, FX etceteras to a "digital format". As I understand it, this is being done so that bandwidth can otherwise be freed up on the system for things like higher speed internet, phone service and other services. I get that part of it. What I DON'T GET is why Comcast Cable is LYING to its customers! To wit:

This morning, several channels that WERE in analog format were suddenly missing from my service. In their place was a full-screen message, prompting me that, if I was seeing this message, it meant that I was not ready for the digital transition, and that I would need to contact Comcast to request "equipment". Now, I am seeing this message on a Sharp Aquos 42" with ATSC/NTSC tuner, which means that my television HAS a digital tuner, and IS able to receive digital channels. So, I contacted Comcast via on-line chat...

The direct, simple question was posed; Is Comcast simply moving those channels to digital signal, or are they ALSO ENCRYPTING the channels? The representative told me (and I can PROVE this, I retained record of the conversation!) that the channels were simply being converted to digital, and NOT encrypted. (LIE!) I asked him (Jefferson was his name,) that, if this was true, that I would be able to still receive these channels on BOTH of my Sharp DTVs! I informed him that what he was telling me simply was NOT the truth. He informed me that to receive the channels, I would need a cable box for each television. Then...

His response was to copy/paste a canned explanation of the 2009 FCC Digital Transition Mandate. As anyone can tell you, the 2009 FCC directive ONLY APPLIES to "over-the-air, broadcast" stations. The REASON for this is that analog broadcast stations take up THREE frequencies: one for audio, one for video and one for chromatic data. The FCC directive had NOTHING to do with Cable systems and providers, leaving it up to THEM (Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, et al.) to decide when and how to apply digital standards. But I digress...

I informed him that I in fact, HAVE an FCC license AND an FRN, am A+ Certified in PC maintenance, and have installed C-band satellite systems with both Houston Tracker AND EchoStar descrambler / receivers. I further informed him that the ONLY difference between the cable box and the Sharp(s) was a DESCRAMBLER! PROOF that they ARE encrypting the channels!

I then informed him that what I needed him to tell me was that I could get 2 more cable boxes (which I SHOULDN'T need if Comcast weren't LYING!) at NO CHARGE. His response was that there would be a small fee for each box. BOVINE SCATOLOGY!

I then CALLED Comcast, and went through this entire system of lies, mis-direction, sleight-of-hand tricks and ignorant deceptions yet again, not only with the CSR but also with her SUPERVISOR. In the end, I got her to agree to the two extra boxes at no charge, which she stated she would annotate on my account. As I am currently out-of-town, I will have to wait until TOMORROW to get to their offices to get the equipment. Tonight, I have no HIST, no A&E, no TRU, NONE of the channels that I'm paying their arses for and enjoy watching. (I smell a small credit in the near future...)

Comcast and their Xfinity upgrade can kiss my lilly white arse. They've been caught in an outright LIE. They said NOTHING about scrambling or otherwise blocking these basic-tier channels, only telling us that they were "going digital". Any REASONABLE person would conclude that, if they already owned a DTV, that they'd be all set already. If someone starts a class-action, I want IN!!

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/14/2010 04:31 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/comcast/internet/comcast-deceptive-business-practices-false-advertising-false-statements-lying-to-cust-623227. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Author of original report


AUTHOR: Jomo99 - (USA)

Will wonders never cease! I received two DTA boxes from Comcast (this is AFTER explaining the previous day's fuster-cluck to the nice gal at the counter!), and installed each one. Seems I am getting MORE channels through the DTA than I was getting straight wire.

What this means on the TECHNICAL side, I'm not sure. I SUSPECT that yes, the channels ARE scrambled, but that the DTA has circuitry to unlock those signals on this end. However it works, I'm a happy camper. Situation resolved, Comcast took care of business.


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#2 Author of original report

Confessions and Magic Modem Tricks

AUTHOR: Jomo99 - (U.S.A.)

UPDATE: I finally got Comcast to admit (after FOUR contacts!) that the basic-tier channels have indeed been scrambled! (A MIRACLE!) However, there's a caveat! Those "free boxes" that they agreed to? I checked back to ensure that the notes had indeed been entered on my account for tomorrow's foray to the local Comcast offices. Turns out that the SUP that I spoke with earlier signed me up for two DTA boxes! (More "sleight-of-hand", "abracadabra!")

DTA's are a Digital Transport Adapter box. (Basically stands for "Digital to Analog".) No descrambler present in these, folks! Now, I had informed her from the OUTSET that the televisions in question were equipped with digital tuners. Now, (long drawn out) W H Y would I want or need to use a DTA on a digital tv? In addition, she did this, KNOWING that it would not solve the issue. She did this just to appease me, figuring again that I was just some ignorant "Joe Schmoe" from PoDunkee, USA. CAUGHT AGAIN, COMCAST!!

The FOURTH CSR, I chatted with on-line. This ("Marnelli" was the name,) CSR was the one that admitted that the channels had been scrambled, but only after being pressed about her statement that tv's with Qam tuners were "no longer supported". (Codespeak for "SCRAMBLED"!) Yep, dat's rite! Dis joe schmoe dun noe's him stuff! yuk yuk!   OH, I almost forgot! During this confessional, at the point where we were discussing the differences between DTAs and "cable boxes", we reached a point where she just wasn't getting the idea of lost channels. Suddenly, my cable modem magically resets, knocking the entire chat session off-line. Now, I'm not going to directly ACCUSE Comcast of the "digital ditch" on the chat session per se, but I DO find that quite a..."conveniently-timed outtage".

At this point, I feel I DESERVE some recompense. All I'm asking for is to get the channels back on my DTVs that I had before today's Mongolian Fuster-cluck. No more, no less, and not have to pay one red wheat penny more.


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