Sunday, June 01, 2008

FCC to expand probe on Internet cancellation difficulties

Although it has been long known that cellphone companies charge for prematurely ending service contracts, the difficulty of canceling cable and broadband Internet services has more recently attracted attention. Apparently, according to a story by Cecilia Kang in the May 31 Washington Post, the Federal Communications Commission is soon going to pay more attention to these problems. The story is called “Scrutiny of Phone Fees May Broaden to TV, Internet; FCC Hearning to Target Cancellation Charges”, link here. Hopefully, this investigation would scope in the repeated phone calls and time consumers have to make (and uncooperative customer service agents, who get paid to keep customers) .

There is, at least indirectly, a “neutrality” issue here. Some companies, especially Verizon, have become aggressive in offering combo plans for wireless (secured) Internet, fiber-optic cable (FIOS) Internet and phone, and both wireless and landline phone. Although it may be attractive and economical to switch to such a plan, coordination to cancel with piecemeal services from other companies may be cumbersome and may not happen at one time, enabling a smooth transition without disruption.

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