You. Comcast, TWC, Charter, DirecTV, Dish. Get in here and explain yourselves – Congress

Telcos to be grilled over 'deceptive' internet services

The US Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has called on the nation's cable and satellite providers to testify about their customer service failings.

Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Rob Portman (R-OH) said that they have requested that executives from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter, DirecTV and Dish come to Washington, DC, and explain the consistently poor reviews their organizations receive every year from customers.

Though the hearing will focus on TV service, the testimony will also almost certainly touch on internet service as well, as many of the companies bundle their ISP services with TV and phone service. The committee has been investigating the customer service problems for more than a year.

"Consumers in every corner of the country share common experiences about fending for themselves against customer service and billing practices by TV providers that are at best confusing, and at worst deceptive," the senators said in a joint statement.

"We believe our hearing will be a big step forward for consumers, allowing them to understand how their TV providers really work and make informed decisions about their video service."

The hearings will take place on Capitol Hill on June 23rd and testimony from the companies will be streamed live. The committee plans to conclude its investigation later this Fall. The Senate is not the only government organization looking to hold the service providers' feet to the fire for their terrible reputations among the American public.

Earlier this week, the New York State Attorney General sent an open letter to Time Warner Cable, taking the telco to task for failing to deliver on the services it advertises and telling the cable giant that it has "earned the miserable reputation it enjoys among consumers." ®

PS: The cable companies are keeping themselves busy by threatening to sue the FCC over what they call "overbuild" conditions imposed on Charter with its Time Warner Cable acquisition. The industry-funded American Cable Association reckons the FCC's stipulation that Charter expand into underserved areas will bring competition that will hurt ISPs already in those markets. As such, they have filed a petition asking the FCC to remove that stipulation from the merger approval.

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