Comcast modem rental

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potato
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Comcast modem rental

Post by potato » Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:12 am

I've seen people ask about Comcast modem rentals before here, so I thought this might be of interest.

Background for those who have not heard of this issue: Comcast charges $7 a month for modem rental, which is $84 a year. You can buy a new, brand name, DOCSIS 3.0 compatible, cable modem for about $100, and a used and/or off brand and/or older spec modem for less than half that. So this is a bad deal.

But if you do so, be sure to keep the receipts. I say this because when I moved to a new apartment in April, Comcast starting charging me rent on the modem that I had bought a year earlier at Fry's and that I had been using all along in the old apartment. They now want me to not only pay rent but also return it when I cancel service unless I can show original purchase receipts.

This is, of course, totally outrageous, but I'm not here to tell you that Comcast is an annoying bureaucracy; you already knew that. I just wanted to say that as a practical matter, even though it's totally outrageous that you'd have to prove to Comcast that you own your own modem just because they unilaterally made up the fiction that you are renting it, saving the receipts is probably the easiest way to prevent this sort of trouble.

mbres60
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by mbres60 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:03 am

Thanks for the tip. One question though.... are you talking about an internet modem or a modem for telephone service?

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magellan
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by magellan » Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:40 am

potato wrote:I just wanted to say that as a practical matter, even though it's totally outrageous that you'd have to prove to Comcast that you own your own modem just because they unilaterally made up the fiction that you are renting it, saving the receipts is probably the easiest way to prevent this sort of trouble.
Your advice to save the receipt is good. But if you picked up a modem from comcast you would have had to sign an equipment receipt and the burden of proof is definitely on them to produce that signed receipt. Based on some quick googling, cases of this seem to be very common, but Comcast seems pretty quick to issue a refund once you call them on it.

Here's a recent case from comcast's support forum that has some good info on how to get it corrected.

Jim

gatornick79
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by gatornick79 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:09 am

I definitely agree with you on the subject of not renting the modem, and I have also had Comcast try and charge me for my own modem.

To slightly change the subject, I just got a letter from them saying I should buy a new Docsis 3.0 modem for optimum speeds. Has anyone done this, and is there a big difference from an old modem to the new one?

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linuxuser
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by linuxuser » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:48 am

gatornick79 wrote:I definitely agree with you on the subject of not renting the modem, and I have also had Comcast try and charge me for my own modem.

To slightly change the subject, I just got a letter from them saying I should buy a new Docsis 3.0 modem for optimum speeds. Has anyone done this, and is there a big difference from an old modem to the new one?
http://www.cablelabs.com/cablemodem/primer/

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Kuckie
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by Kuckie » Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:13 pm

Attached is a link to approved Comcast modems: http://mydeviceinfo.comcast.net/

For Internet and Cable TV only customers (No-phone) an excellent DOCSIS 3.0 modem is the Motorola SB6121 selling for $86 on Amazon and also at Costco. I have had the older SB6120 for years and it has worked flawlessly. The SB6121 is simply a cosmetic redesign.

For Phone service included customers (Comcast triple play), my sympathies, as the only approved modems are the Arris brand which sells at varying prices up to $180 at Amazon, and you must insure that you obtain the exact model listed, as many are incompatible with your Comcast VOIP. Probably the safest is to check what modem models are being rented at the local Comcast office and then try to obtain the same model elsewhere.

DOCSIS 3.0 modems support the latest specifications including highest speeds plus IPv6 (future internet specs), but they will not automatically increase your normal lower speeds limited by the cable company. (IE. If you have Comcast Performance spec speed you will still have Comcast Performance spec speed.) However, this will future-proof your connection abilities.

For Internet and Cable TV only customers, Installing your own modem is easy: Copy the MAC address, and other info, listed on the modem data plate, (Note a MAC address is not related to Apple or Mac.), Connect the modem and power on, Attempt internet access, then call the Comcast number which appears on your screen, giving them your MAC address. You will be connected in a few minutes. Finally return your rented modem, keep your receipt, and most importantly check your next bill to see that the modem rental charge has been removed.

thebogledude
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by thebogledude » Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:43 pm

The burden should be on Comcast to prove that I purchased my modem, they would have to have some type of signed rental agreement on record to prove that I rented the modem from them.

dad2000
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by dad2000 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:01 pm

Comcast did the same thing to me... that is claimed that they owned my modem.

And while I agree that the burden should legally be on them, it still ends up being a burden to the customer. They simply bill you for it, and leave you tangled in a web of bureacracy to get it cleaned up. In the interim, they threaten to shut off your cable if you don't pay. And while you can file complaints with consumer agencies, it just takes up more of your time.

In my case, their continued sloppiness eventually led to the matter getting cleared up. I cancelled the "rental", refused to return the cablemodem to the local office because it was inconvenient, and set up an appointment for their technician to come to my house to disconnect and reclaim the modem. Their technician didn't show up during the required time window. I demanded a credit for their no-show (you've probably seen the ads for this policy), which ended up offsetting the 3 months of rental charges I incurred. I never returned the calls to reschedule the appointment, and it eventually dropped out of their system.

While this wasn't the cleanest way to resolve the matter, anyone who has dealt with Comcast can understand that it's not worth your time trying to get it solved the right way.

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magellan
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by magellan » Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:52 pm

Kuckie wrote:For Internet and Cable TV only customers (No-phone) an excellent DOCSIS 3.0 modem is the Motorola SB6121 selling for $86 on Amazon and also at Costco. I have had the older SB6120 for years and it has worked flawlessly. The SB6121 is simply a cosmetic redesign.
I got the docsis 3.0 upgrade letter from Comcast a few weeks ago and got the SB6121. I think my old modem was 8-10 years old, so I got my money's worth out of it.

The upgrade was very easy. I was able to register the new modem online with my laptop without using the phone. I think this varies by region, but when I tried to browse the web with the new modem, I was automatically redirected to the modem registration page. I just needed the modem ID and some account info and filled in a form that activated it. It couldn't have been much easier. If you're on electronic billing, you might print off your last statement to have your account number handy.

Now the bad news. I didn't have any noticeable problems, but after a week I checked the modem's logfile and saw several 'Cable Modem Reboot due to T4 timeout' messages. They were happening about once a day.

I did some googling and checked my modem signal levels and they were right on the edge of what (online) people said were the limits. Apparently, new modems use something called QAM-256 modulation, which allows very fast transfers, but reportedly is a tad more sensitive to lousy connections than older modems. In my case, I went from a modem with an uptime of nearly a year to one that reboots every day.

I thought maybe the modem was bad, but decided to poke around at my cable wiring first. Comcast had installed a data splitter as the first thing on the incoming cable. The data side went right to the modem (in the basement) and the other side went to 2 more downstream splitters feeding TV outlets that I mostly don't use. I didn't suspect these splitters because they were downstream of that first data splitter. Well, everything is analog in the end, and apparently what's downstream did matter. When I reconfigured things to use one splitter feeding just the 2 active TV outlets, the modem reported a much stronger signal and the daily reboots have stopped.

Good thing for google and the Internet or I would have exchanged a good modem and/or payed Comcast $50 for a truck roll to tell me the problem was my inside wiring.

Jim
Last edited by magellan on Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Kuckie
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by Kuckie » Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:53 pm

To slightly change the subject, I just got a letter from them (Comcast) saying I should buy a new Docsis 3.0 modem for optimum speeds. Has anyone done this, and is there a big difference from an old modem to the new one?
You will see NO difference between the old DOCSIS 2.0 modem (normally installed by Comcast) and the newer DOCSIS 3.0 devices, unless you are using the Extreme 50 or higher speeds which very few people are. If your current modem is working fine and you are using normal speeds, (Comcast Performance or Blast, check your bill) stick with that and ignore Comcast's letter. However if you are buying to replace a rental than a DOCSIS 3.0 modem would be a good choice.

Here is a link to Comcast approved modems where you can find out what devices are compatible with your Internet speed.
http://mydeviceinfo.comcast.net/

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magellan
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by magellan » Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:02 pm

Kuckie wrote:You will see NO difference between the old DOCSIS 2.0 modem (normally installed by Comcast) and the newer DOCSIS 3.0 devices, unless you are using the Extreme 50 or higher speeds which very few people are.
I'm not sure what docsis version my old modem was, but I went from just under 15Mbs downstream to around 25Mbps with the new SB6121. My old modem was very old though. In truth, I was surprised to see the 100mbs Ethernet port on it.

I haven't noticed any difference with web browsing or Netflix streaming. It worked great before and it works great now.

Jim

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Kuckie
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by Kuckie » Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:14 pm

I didn't have any noticeable problems, but after a week I checked the modem's logfile and saw several 'Cable Modem Reboot due to T4 timeout' messages. They were happening about once a day.
That should not happen. Your downstream TV splitter may have either been defective or most likely was receiving interference from an old connection and passing it upstream. Passive splitters work in both directions.

I have been using a Motorola SB6120 for years with no problems except for one time when Comcast changed one of their outside High Level Area Amplifiers. The change caused the internet to go out at least several times a day. Comcast acknowledged that their signal was low but within limits, and also tried to charge me for home service inside wiring, even though they fixed nothing. They stated the modem should be moved closer to the cable coming into the house to avoid inside attenuation even though the modem has never been moved in years. (Isn’t it amusing how the problem always seems to be with the user and his/her equipment, and never their fault? Like, how often does house wiring go bad?) My configuration was a 2 way splitter, one output directly to the modem and the other output to another TV splitter to allow the strongest possible signal to the modem. Since Comcast refused to pursue the problem on their end, my solution was to install a Motorola Signal Booster 4-Port Cable Modem TV HDTV Amplifier with Active Return Cable Modem Boost (available on Amazon.com. This boosted both the upstream and downstream signals which fixed the problem completely until about 6 months later, when I was contacted by Comcast stating that the return signal coming from my house was very high and would I allow them to do an inside check, at no charge this time. (Apparently they replaced their Area Amplifier once again as others were also complaining about weak signals). I explained to the Service Tech, the reason for the Signal Booster and he agreed, but stated that the new measurements, using both their test equipment and that of my SB6120, showed the new signal to be much stronger than in the past and that the Signal Booster was no longer needed. He disconnected it and since then I have had no further problems.
Good thing for Google and the Internet or I would have exchanged a good modem and/or paid Comcast $50 for a truck roll to tell me the problem was my inside wiring.
Never let Comcast fix anything unless it really needs fixing. Most Service Techs will try to replace an old connector or splitter with a shiny new one, even though it is not needed and then list their work on the service sheet, which will result in a service charge. Have the Tech state on the sheet that No Wiring Defects were found or something similar.

Here is a useful link on performing a signal and reliability check for those using the Motorola SB6120 or 6212 modem.
http://www.cabletvamps.com/Info/cable-m ... levels.htm

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daytona084
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by daytona084 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:42 pm

dad2000 wrote:Comcast did the same thing to me... that is claimed that they owned my modem.
Same with me... If I recall correctly, at the time, I was using my own modem, and it was a brand that Comcast had never offered. That helped my case.

I think the first burden of proof is on Comcast to show that they provided a modem. If they actually did supply a modem at one time in the past, then the burden of proof is on the customer to prove that it was returned.

I don't think that showing a receipt for a purchased modem proves anything. Anyone can go out and buy a modem.

gd
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by gd » Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:04 pm

When trying to replace my rental broadband/voice Arris modem with a purchased modem a few months back, I was warned by Comcast that if I tried to use a bootleg modem that was an unreturned rental (e.g. the eBay route), they would refuse service and demand its return as stolen property-- a reasonable position, by itself. However, I never did find a source of legal Comcast voice-capable eMTA modems, although I did manage to get so wound up I got a posting describing my efforts deleted by mods. Anyone who knows a current way to purchase legal eMTA (Comcast voice-capable) modems, I'd like to hear it.

mbres60
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by mbres60 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:43 pm

wjwhitney wrote:
dad2000 wrote:Comcast did the same thing to me... that is claimed that they owned my modem.
Same with me... If I recall correctly, at the time, I was using my own modem, and it was a brand that Comcast had never offered. That helped my case.

I think the first burden of proof is on Comcast to show that they provided a modem. If they actually did supply a modem at one time in the past, then the burden of proof is on the customer to prove that it was returned.

I don't think that showing a receipt for a purchased modem proves anything. Anyone can go out and buy a modem.
My local Best Buy sells one. Problem is that the Comcast rep who they have there often says she can't sell it because she has to do some "chat" with someone in the Philippines and the system is "down". This happened to us probably at the beginning of July. Two weeks later we were back in the store. Guess what? the system was still down. It has now been probably 3 weeks since we were there. Haven't been back so I don't know what is going on. Sounds to me that there is no incentive to get it back up! We also never asked how long it had been down.

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daytona084
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by daytona084 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:12 pm

mbres60 wrote:
My local Best Buy sells one. Problem is that the Comcast rep who they have there often says she can't sell it because she has to do some "chat" with someone in the Philippines and the system is "down". This happened to us probably at the beginning of July. Two weeks later we were back in the store. Guess what? the system was still down. It has now been probably 3 weeks since we were there. Haven't been back so I don't know what is going on. Sounds to me that there is no incentive to get it back up! We also never asked how long it had been down.
Say what? All you do is plug in the modem, call 1-800-comcast and tell them the mac address of the new modem. No need to "chat" with anyone in the Philippines.

gd
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by gd » Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:20 am

wjwhitney wrote: Say what? All you do is plug in the modem, call 1-800-comcast and tell them the mac address of the new modem. No need to "chat" with anyone in the Philippines.
If this refers to normal internet, all you do is first buy a suitable modem, then call Comcast as above. If it's internet/telephone, you apparently must buy the modem from their rep at BestBuy. If they don't feel like selling it to you, for whatever the reason, you aren't going to have one to plug in.

Gustie13
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by Gustie13 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:16 pm

Has anyone done this with wireless internet from Comcast? The modem rental is what they charge $7/mo for, the wireless router is free, but I'm wondering if I buy my own modem will they then make me start paying for the wireless router (or charge me for it).

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linuxuser
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by linuxuser » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:44 pm

Gustie13 wrote:Has anyone done this with wireless internet from Comcast? The modem rental is what they charge $7/mo for, the wireless router is free, but I'm wondering if I buy my own modem will they then make me start paying for the wireless router (or charge me for it).
If they want to charge you for the wireless router, return it and buy your own.

partner
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by partner » Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:37 pm

Gustie13 wrote:Has anyone done this with wireless internet from Comcast? The modem rental is what they charge $7/mo for, the wireless router is free, but I'm wondering if I buy my own modem will they then make me start paying for the wireless router (or charge me for it).
I own my own modem and Comcast sent me the free router.

Bill Bernstein
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by Bill Bernstein » Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:54 am

Interestingly, the same thing happened to me: I've been a Comcast customer on and off for several years, and the last time I stopped their service they tried to charge me $100 for a modem I had bought 5 years before--this in spite of the fact that they had never, of course, charged me a rental fee to begin with.

I now see from the above reports that this is probably systematic behavior, which does not surprise me.

Bill

l2ridehd
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by l2ridehd » Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:32 am

Comcast is the worst company in the world to deal with. Their customer service is horrible, their business practices suspect and they will not own up to their problems. They offer an appointment guarantee that they advertise and tout how great they are. They raised my bill by $9.95 a month because they said I had their DVR recording service. I did not. They then claimed I had the box that supported DVR recording so the charge was valid. I told them to come get the box and remove the charge. They made an appointment to pick it up and replace it with another box. They never showed. So I asked for the appointment guarantee. They refused. They made a second appointment and arrived an hour late. I asked for it again and again they refused. I get my next bill and they tried to charge me for picking up the box they originally installed in error. I deducted my two $20 credits for my missed appointments, deducted the service call charge and paid them the difference. They sent a late charge on the next bill. They will collect that money when hell freezes over and not before.

Even there satisfaction surveys are rigged the way they ask the questions. They don't allow you to answer the way you want. I will find an alternative to them some way some how. I just can not stand the way they do business. If I was a mutual fund manager I would never own their stock. Some time some company will develop a technology that allows you access to TV and internet and Comcasts business will crumble. People will leave in droves if there is anything available that even remotely comes close to providing a level of service for that product set. I for one will be cheering their demise.

Gustie13
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by Gustie13 » Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:55 pm

linuxuser wrote:
Gustie13 wrote:Has anyone done this with wireless internet from Comcast? The modem rental is what they charge $7/mo for, the wireless router is free, but I'm wondering if I buy my own modem will they then make me start paying for the wireless router (or charge me for it).
If they want to charge you for the wireless router, return it and buy your own.
That would mean another few months before I earned my money back on the $7/mo savings since currently the router is free :D
partner wrote:
Gustie13 wrote:Has anyone done this with wireless internet from Comcast? The modem rental is what they charge $7/mo for, the wireless router is free, but I'm wondering if I buy my own modem will they then make me start paying for the wireless router (or charge me for it).
I own my own modem and Comcast sent me the free router.
I'll probably give it a shot and see if they try charging me.

KyleAAA
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by KyleAAA » Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:03 pm

They did this to me, too! They tried to charge me rent on my own modem. They even quoted the MAC address to me over the phone, saying it was one of theirs. Well, of course they would have my MAC address. That doesn't prove anything. The last time I moved, I made the installation guy make a note in his file that I had provided my own modem. Unfortunately, I didn't save my receipt. I have already had my service moved two or three times so I still occasionally get a phone call from them asking me to return my own modem to them. I just tell them it's mine, I bought it, and to please take me off their list. They say they will and I don't hear from them for a while, but I inevitably get another call eventually. I hate, hate, hate Comcast.

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ejvyas
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by ejvyas » Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:18 pm

Comcast email address we_can_help is very helpful for any charges/billing/promotion related question.

Mudpuppy
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by Mudpuppy » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:19 pm

If by chance my cable company tries to pull anything, I have enough redundant copies of the receipt to prove my modem is not theirs. Besides the paper receipt, I have a digital scan of my receipt on the computer, plus I also took a legible picture of the receipt with the cell phone that stays stored on there. The computer files are also backed up to an external drive that I store at work.

ataloss
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by ataloss » Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:46 am

I got the rental modem with the install then turned it in to comcast when I bought my own. So I have a comcast receipt. Isn't that more convincing than a receipt that I bought a modem?

zoltar7
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by zoltar7 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:31 pm

Thank you for this thread. It prompted me to take closer look at my Comcast bill and notice that they've been charging me a modem rental fee for over a year.

Unfortunately, they'll only credit back six months.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:19 pm

Kuckie wrote:
To slightly change the subject, I just got a letter from them (Comcast) saying I should buy a new Docsis 3.0 modem for optimum speeds. Has anyone done this, and is there a big difference from an old modem to the new one?
You will see NO difference between the old DOCSIS 2.0 modem (normally installed by Comcast) and the newer DOCSIS 3.0 devices, unless you are using the Extreme 50 or higher speeds which very few people are. If your current modem is working fine and you are using normal speeds, (Comcast Performance or Blast, check your bill) stick with that and ignore Comcast's letter. However if you are buying to replace a rental than a DOCSIS 3.0 modem would be a good choice.

Here is a link to Comcast approved modems where you can find out what devices are compatible with your Internet speed.
http://mydeviceinfo.comcast.net/
I also have received a letter and several calls from Comcast about upgrading my modem to DOCSIS 3.0. I called back and asked if I had to prepare for an upcoming change or to improve the current connectivity; and they said it was the latter. As my modem and connection work fine, I am ignoring DOCSIS 3.0 for now.

Your message confirms that I decided well. Thank you,

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

mediahound
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by mediahound » Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:47 pm

My horror story with Comcast:

Back when I had Comcast, I decided to purchase my own compatible cable modem from Best Buy figuring I could always sell it on eBay and re-coup part of the cost when I wanted to upgrade to another model or if I canceled Comcast (which is true).

I do not think it's smart to rent the modem.

Fast forward to a few years later when I canceled the service. They stated that I never returned the modem to them and claimed they had provided one to me, which they never did and also could not prove with any documentation.

I provided them full documentation of my prior bills which clearly stated 'customer owned modem' yet for six months, they harassed me claiming I had their equipment and wouldn't return it and threatened to turn it over to a collections agency, etc.

I finally had to threaten them with legal action and then some bigwig in the company got involved and got it taken care of.

I'm so glad I have an alternative ISP in my area to Comcast. I believe Comcast is scamming customers.

Based on my experience with them, I would never recommend them if you have any other choices.

Rupert
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by Rupert » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:27 am

Comcast just perpetrated their modem rental scam on me as well. Two months after signing up for service the $7 modem rental fee suddenly appeared on my bill. I, like many previous posters, bought my own modem and never saw, touched, or installed a Comcast modem. This is definitely a scam. It happens too often for it not to be on purpose. The excuses offered by their customer service people are worthless. The excuses offered by their "customer care" people are slightly better but still weak. They always blame it on the technician who set up the service. Consumers need to start reporting this to every regulatory agency we can think of. I intend to report it to my state's attorney general's office, the FCC, and the FTC's new consumer protection bureau.

mediahound
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by mediahound » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:35 am

Rupert wrote:Comcast just perpetrated their modem rental scam on me as well. Two months after signing up for service the $7 modem rental fee suddenly appeared on my bill. I, like many previous posters, bought my own modem and never saw, touched, or installed a Comcast modem. This is definitely a scam. It happens too often for it not to be on purpose. The excuses offered by their customer service people are worthless. The excuses offered by their "customer care" people are slightly better but still weak. They always blame it on the technician who set up the service. Consumers need to start reporting this to every regulatory agency we can think of. I intend to report it to my state's attorney general's office, the FCC, and the FTC's new consumer protection bureau.
If your state has a public utilities commission, make sure to report it to them as well. For California, it's here:

http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/puc/cec/e_complaint/

nitpar
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Re: Comcast modem rental

Post by nitpar » Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:11 pm

I used to be a Comcast customer and paid through the nose. I cut the cord for almost a year now, but heard that Comcast has now instituted a $2 per call charge if the customer calls them for any question. So first they will put a scam charge of $7 on your bill for modem rental and if you call, they will put an additional $2 on your next bill (in addition to the $7 modem rental). WOW !!

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