Take a closer look at your monthly Comcast bill. The smart money says it includes a "Modem Lease Fee." Every month Comcast bills most of its unsuspecting Twin Cities customers an additional $10 to rent the modem they need to use its service.
Ten bucks a household adds up fast. Companies like Comcast pull in nearly $20 billion each year in modem rental fees. It's largely profit, seeing how the rental fee covers the cost of a modem many times over during the life of a contract. Adding insult to injury is the possibility of paying hundreds of dollars more in penalties should you be late mailing it back when you cancel your service.
There's a fast way you can remedy this: Buy your own modem. Units such as the best-selling ARRIS Surfboard can be had for well under $100. Its compatible with service from just about every internet provider in the country, including Comcast/Xfinity. However, it won't work with fiber services like Verizon FiOS.
But customers outsmarting their providers continue to be the exception rather than the norm, according to Consumer Reports spokesperson James McQueen. Most simply aren't aware they have a choice.
"Being able to have the option to buy your own router versus renting one is not something your cable company is simply going to volunteer," says McQueen. "It's been our experience consumers can purchase a high-quality router for a one-time charge for less than $100, and it's a much better deal than paying monthly rental fees in perpetuity.
"This is one of those things where consumers should be aware that if you're able to rent something, more often than not it's a much better deal to own instead. It's that simple."