Sunday, November 25, 2007

Comcast stupidity...

Some time ago, I forewent several posts on Comcast Corp's decision to limit bandwidth, and basically censor the internet. I can't help sharing this gem of a Comcast experience.

I have been having some difficulties with my cable service recently. I have been on the telephone several times, technicians come out to review the infrastructure, we change connections, and nothing seems to solve the problem. One time, while on the phone with a service associate, I made reference to how the cable company wasn't upholding its end of our contract for services. The associates response, which left me dumbfounded, stated very specifically that no contract existed. This was confirmed by her supervisor, who told me he wouldn't get into a semantical argument with me about whether a contract exists. I was, and continue to be, amused by the situation. I think their legal department needs to be reeducated on some basic legal principles.

Just for the purpose of clarity, a common law contract has several basic elements. There must be an agreement between the parties (basically an offer and acceptance of that offer), the parties must have an understanding about the agreement (basically a meeting of the minds, aka mutual assent), and the parties need to exchange this thing lawyers like to call consideration (basically money or goods). With this situation, Comcast provides a service which they offer for a certain price. I agree to pay that price, and do so regularly. As a result, Comcast is obligated to provide this service for as long as I hold up my end of the bargain and continue to pay. What's even more interesting is they regularly issue paperwork that contains the "terms" of use, which explain in poorly drafted language what a user may or not do with the service.

To be clear, saying that no contract exists is idiotic. Clearly, an agreement for services exists. Unless Comcast bought a congressional representative to push a statute voiding the existence of these contracts, the law will likely support the existence of service contract on behalf of Comcast and their subscriber. The situation was too funny for words.

No comments: