Protect Your Rights – Opt Out of the "Comcastic" Fine Print

This month, Comcast consumers in Maryland had a little pamphlet called "Arbitration Notice" quietly slipped into their cable bill.

All the legalese can be boiled down to one sentence: "You have 30 days to opt-out of being automatically enrolled in our arbitration clause, thereby forfeiting your right to settle disputes with Comcast in a court of law in a trial by judge or jury."

This unfair and stealthy move by Comcast strips consumers of their rights. Access to justice in the courts is a longstanding cornerstone of corporate accountability.  Arbitration, on the other hand, is a private system stacked in favor of corporations – and an arbitrator’s decision, even if it’s wrong or absurd, cannot be appealed on the merits. 

Comcast is not just bullying consumers in Maryland, whose deadline to opt-out is July 15, 2007.  They are forcing consumers elsewhere into giving up their rights.  The mandatory binding arbitration is now a fixture in the Comcast “Terms of Use”.

Here’s how to stand up to Comcast and its corporate bullying:

  • Opt Out: Go to Comcast’s online opt-out form and preserve your rights (Don’t forget to check the opt-out box!).  This will NOT affect your service.
  • Make Noise: Call up Comcast – 1-800-COMCAST (1-800-266-2278) – and complain that they are automatically enrolling customers into their arbitration clause.  Demand to be allowed to opt-out of the binding mandatory arbitration clause!
  • Tell a friend: email this post to friends and family.

You also can support the newly introduced legislation to ban the most egregious uses of binding mandatory arbitration clauses.  Be sure to tell us about your experiences with Comcast in the comments section below.