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I signed a 24 month agreement for internet service while living in Atlanta. A month or two into the contract, my wife formally accepted a contract for a position 800 miles away (expensive move). We flew out to the new area, shopped for homes and purchased one (normal life).

When we moved into our new place I called the service provider to transfer our service to our new home. Unfortunately, at that time the company stated they do not service our new property address (fwiw - my account is paid in full and good standing for services used). ...Long story short a few weeks later I get a notice for an early termination fee.

I've been fighting this for 2+ months now. I've spent hours with countless phone reps and getting the boilerplate, "these charges are valid due to termination of service." I stated in many words I didn't terminate the contract, I asked for my service to be transferred to my new address." I asked the question in a few different ways and the service rep states, "moving to avoid a service charge is not valid."

I asked a phone rep manager, "how can a customer be held responsible for where a service provider provides service?" The answer given was, "to avoid ETF you should call [us] before purchasing a home."

This seems unreal, unjust, and possibly unconstitutional. Am I crazy? How is it that "blah blah blah big company" can place their interests above a citizen's choice of where to live (school district, neighborhood, etc.)?

Am I off base for thinking that I did not terminate the service? On the contrary the service provider terminated the service by not continuing to provide service for my account.

Here's the only copy of the service agreement I could find: AGREEMENT FOR RESIDENTIAL SERVICES

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    I expect they'd argue that the agreement was only that they'd provide service to the originally specified address, and that they're happy to continue to do so, and you're the one that no longer wants service at that address. I don't see anything in the agreement that promises to allow any sort of transfer. – Nate Eldredge Aug 20 '18 at 1:19
  • Hi @NateEldredge, nor do I see anything in the contract that provides a link to a coverage map. My question remains, how can a customer be held responsible for something they weren't given? – jetsquared Aug 22 '18 at 16:38
  • My point is that the contract doesn't commit them to ever provide service anywhere other than the original address. The fact that they're willing to move service to a new address without fee, provided that it's in their service area, is just them being nice - the contract wouldn't even require them to do that. Even if you just moved next door, they could say "tough cookies, you can either keep paying for internet at a house where you don't live, or you can pay the termination fee". – Nate Eldredge Aug 22 '18 at 16:52
  • @NateEldredge I appreciate your insight, which would make sense; however, Comcast promotes and advertises free moving all the time. Your comments and user6726's answer definitely give me additional information as to how to fight this. – jetsquared Aug 22 '18 at 17:33
  • I would look carefully at the fine print on those ads... – Nate Eldredge Aug 22 '18 at 20:41
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This is actually pretty standard. You have a contract with a business to provide some service, and you get a bargain on the price of the service as long as you stay with them for some period, such as 2 years. You could get the 'pay as you go' option which doesn't have a termination fee, but that costs more if you are sure you can commit to what you signed up for, for that period. So it's not that you can't terminate the contract, it's that you can't just walk away from your obligation (what they call a "minimum term agreement"), cost-free. The early-termination fee is part of the cost of moving.

You have to look in the Legal Agreements & Contract part of Account Details on your account to get the specific agreement that you are bound by. Generally, you are subject to that fee, unless the subscriber dies, or is in the military and is shipped out. You can also transfer your service from area to area – I assume you either are moving to an area without Xfinity service, or you elected to not use Xfinity in that location.

It is legal for a business to put their business interest above that of a customer, even in the case of regulated "utilities".

  • Thank you for the answer. It seems unfair to expect the customer to know all the places they provide service. I was never given a map for all of the places they provide service as part of the silent "you can't move to a place we don't service" agreement. I could definitely see being liable if I was given a coverage map before agreeing. Their has to be some accountability on their end, no? How can they put in place a policy without disclosing all of their abilities? – jetsquared Aug 22 '18 at 16:35
  • They aren't free to operate wherever they want on a long-term basis, so you have to ask about a specific location at a particular time. Such a map would reasonably be taken to be a commitment, which in fact they can't make: this is why you have to call with a specific address, to see if service is available. – user6726 Aug 22 '18 at 17:07
  • Purchasing a home based on the availability of a service provider is nuts. As to them not being able to operate anywhere at any particular time is a great point. But to that point, by not even moving they could stop servicing my current address. I guess they'd charge me for that too. – jetsquared Aug 22 '18 at 17:43

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