Latest Comcast Criticism: Pop-Up Ads to Buy Its Modems

The company says it's just performing a service.

It’s been a few weeks since we heard a complaint about Comcast’s business practices — in fact, the company has been lauded for hiring new customer service reps to help smooth out its relationship and reputation. But maybe it was only a matter of time.

The latest criticism? That the company is pestering Internet customers who don’t use its modems to receive service. Consumerist reports that one customer — identified only as “BB” — is even receiving pop-up ads while he browses the web strongly warning him to “upgrade” to an Xfinity-issued modem.

The ad reads:

Our records indicate that the cable modem, which you currently use for your XFINITY Internet service, may not be able to receive the full range of our speeds. To ensure you’re receiving the full benefits of your XFINITY Internet service, please replace your cable modem.

“It just feels invasive in a way I’m not comfortable with,” BB told Consumerist.

Comcast says it’s merely performing a public service, Consumerist reports: “A Comcast exec we talked to argued that this is not an attempt to upsell the customer on a new modem, and instead characterized the alert as an educational tool to let the customer know that their device may be nearing the end of its life cycle. They explained that while an older modem may work, it may also no longer be receiving necessary, regular software updates and bug fixes.”

And if you don’t want the message? Too bad. There’s no way to opt out. “It’s definitely offensive that the pop-ups continually bug you and require a workaround to avoid them,” PC World opined.

BGR was even more irritated: “So, if you save money by using your own modem and you have no plans to go back to paying Comcast a monthly fee to use theirs, these pop-ups will become a regular occurrence that you cannot prevent,” the site’s Zach Epstein wrote. “Oh, and for good measure, Comcast will inject these pop-ups into mobile browsers as well, so you’ll see them on your smartphones and tablets, not just your PCs.”

If you have your own modem and want to avoid Comcast’s ads, Gizmodo offers this advice: “Luckily, there are some simple technological workarounds for users: forcing your browser to use HTTPS with an extension (something that will make your browsing more secure anyhow) should prevent Comcast from getting its teeth into your webpages.”

Like what you’re reading? Stay in touch with BizPhilly — here’s how: