Is anything really free these days? If you’re being offered a service or product for free, you should ask yourself, what’s the catch? In the case of Comcast’s most recent offering, consumers quickly realized that, like in life, nothing at Comcast is free.
Last month, to compete in the streaming video market, Comcast announced, with great fanfare that it will make Xfinity Flex available to internet-only customers for free. Comcast customers can buy and rent shows and movies directly through the box which would allow Comcast to control the TV-watching experience of its customers who don’t pay for cable. Comcast’s plans to launch its own streaming service at a cost of $10/month next year ties into this because having control over customers streaming box could help generate subscriptions after launch.
However, it was soon discovered that there is, indeed, a catch to this “free” streaming box. In typical corporate giant fashion, Comcast didn’t disclose one important detail: it will give this box to internet-only customers who also rent a modem and router from the company for an additional $13/month.
This is simply not stated in the Comcast announcement on their site. A quick look at Comcast’s Flex site illustrates misleading statements like, “now included with internet”, “bring your streaming together with Flex at no additional cost” and “Enjoy Flex, on us.” But the checkout process says something very different: as part of signing up, a customer must “select our xFi Gateway modem + router at checkout.” So, in fact, customers are paying a $13/month rental fee.
Pressed on this further by The Verge, Comcast responded that this cost would be dropped, the box would be offered entirely for free and that customers can use their own router and modem. However, they have not done so yet.
Misleading statements by wireless, internet and cable providers are nothing new. Consumers often pay much more than what is advertised by their service companies. Chances are, your monthly bills are full of hidden fees and charges that you never knew existed. Send your bills to Billshark and we will negotiate your rate so that you never have to overpay again.