(CN) - Federal regulators fined Comcast $2.3 million on Tuesday for charging customers for things they never ordered, including access to premium channels and extra cable boxes.
The Federal Communications Commission said the fine is the largest it has ever levied against a cable operator.
It comes after a two-year investigation that started after customers complained they were being charged for equipment or services after that specifically said they did not want them.
The FCC said in addition to these complaints, they also heard from scores of Comcast customers who said they tried to rectify the problem themselves, but were kept on the phone for hours by customer service personnel who were no help at all.
Going forward, Comcast will be required to clearly ask customers before charging them for new services or equipment and to make it easier for customers to fight erroneous charges.
In a statement, Comcast said it is working to improve customer service and that the issues identified by the FCC stemmed from isolated errors or customer confusion.
"We have been working very hard on improving the experience of our customers in all respects and are laser-focused on this," Comcast said. "We acknowledge that, in the past, our customer service should have been better and our bills clearer, and that customers have at times been unnecessarily frustrated or confused. That's why we had already put in place many improvements to do better for our customers even before the FCC's Enforcement Bureau started this investigation almost two years ago. The changes the Bureau asked us to make were in most cases changes we had already committed to make, and many were already well underway or in our work plan to implement in the near future.
"We do not agree with the Bureau's legal theory here, and in our view, after two years, it is telling that it found no problematic policy or intentional wrongdoing, but just isolated errors or customer confusion. We agree those issues should be fixed and are pleased to put this behind us and proceed with these customer service-enhancing changes," Comcast added.
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