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Comcast coughs up refunds, revelations of service fee

Tuesday - 1/10/2012, 3:08pm  ET

Kate Ryan, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - In Montgomery County, Comcast now has to let you know that a repair might cost you.

Since 2007, Comcast has been charging customers what's called a "truck trip fee" -- anywhere from $19.95 to a current fee of $39.95 -- when repairs are made.

But after 85 Montgomery County customers in the last four years complained that the fee was a surprise to them, Comcast agreed to refund the money. And under the terms of a settlement with the county, Comcast now will have to alert consumers that they may have to pay the fee.

The reminder has to come once when the initial request for a repair is made, and again when Comcast makes an automated "robocall' to customers reminding them of the service appointment.

Comcast isn't the only company that charges consumers when a repair requires a home visit. Verizon charges up to $110 and RCN, another cable provider operating in Montgomery County, charges as much as $49.95.

Eric Friedman, director of the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection, says customers may not be on the hook for the fees in some circumstances. For example, if it's determined that the problem is with Comcast's equipment, the company may not tack on that "truck trip fee."

However, if customers have misused the equipment, or the wiring in a home is the issue, Comcast can assess the fee.

The agreement does not mean Comcast has violated any consumer protection laws.

For more information, follow this link.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)