Viewers respond to Comcast cable box story



Posted on October 5, 2010 at 11:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 5 at 11:38 PM

"It was very life changing for sure," says Nancy Ovantes.

She was a victim of the LynnView apartment fire this past summer. She lost all of her possessions, including her cable box. Still, Comcast charged her $80 for that and $30 for a modem. She, like many other victims didn't have renter's insurance.

"If I was given the chance, I would return the equipment, I just couldn't," she said.

Comcast's policy is clear in its customer agreement. You are leasing their equipment, so you are financially responsible if it's lost or destroyed.

"If we don't charge them for unreturned equipment, it just doesn't come back," said Comcast spokesman Steve Kipp.

Comcast waived its policy for the victims of the LynnView fire.

I asked you to send me questions about the return policy and I would ask them to Kipp.

Stuart asks: "Why do you have to lease a box instead of buying one outright?"

First, some background. There are other options like a cable card, which is a card you can put in your TV. No box required. Or you can get a 'Tru2way TV', which is a cable box you can own.

However, leasing does offer some flexibility.

"When that technology changes, we can take that box, swap it out with one that's more advanced. So, they can get continually upgraded on the technology," said Kipp.

From a Twitter user: "Can't Comcast claim that on their own insurance policy? It's their equipment, right?"

Well, sort of. Comcast only insures it when it's in their possession. Kipp says it's too costly to do it otherwise.

"In fact, it becomes so expensive that, literally, the cost of the insurance is probably going to be more than the cost of the box," said Kipp.

I've got a question: Why can't customers get a policy and pay a couple bucks a month for it?

"When we looked at that question, that was an interesting possibility. That's something we might just look into," said Kipp.

Opinions were evenly split between those who thought Comcast should waive the charges and those who say the residents should pay up.

One other interesting piece of information. Andrew McVicar from State Farm tweeted me saying, "For an avg. Of $15/mo, renters insurance would cover property and liability losses."

Good idea. For around the cost of a month of HBO, you can insure your belongings. Think about it.