A Senate panel will investigate issues related to television providers’ customer service and billing practices at a June hearing where lawmakers will hear from companies including Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
“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,” said Sens. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillBiden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid Harry Reid, political pugilist and longtime Senate majority leader, dies On The Trail: Trump-inspired challengers target GOP governors MORE (D-Mo.) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Biden calls Intel's B investment to build chip factories a tool for economic recovery Lawmakers press Biden admin to send more military aid to Ukraine MORE (R-Ohio) in a statement. The two are the top lawmakers on the Homeland Security investigations subcommittee.
“For more than a year, we have conducted a bipartisan investigation of the largest cable and satellite TV companies,” they said. “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 hearing is set to take place June 23. Witnesses include representatives of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, its new owner Charter Communications, as well as Dish and DirecTV.
McCaskill said on Thursday afternoon she was hoping to bring more transparency to the way the companies handle their customer operations.
“Because they have not been subject to some of the same oversight and regulation, I think it’s been really confusing for consumers,” said McCaskill.
“Many of the business models in terms of what you pay, when your bill goes up and why, what is that on your bill, what do I have to have, and what’s this tier and what’s that tier. I’ve just gotten an awful lot of complaints from people about pay TV and lack of transparency in the customer relationship.”
McCaskill has been examining the issue since at least 2014, when she asked consumers to submit their complaints about their cable or satellite television provider.
Some pay-television providers have notoriously bad customer service. Time Warner Cable and Comcast both performed badly on a 2015 survey about customer service quality.