Not getting what we pay for

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To the Editor:

An open letter to Brian L. Roberts, CEO of Comcast Corp.
First and foremost, thank you for keeping us all connected, wired, and moving forward while the vast majority of us are working and/or attending school from home. It’s remarkable the whole system hasn’t had a meltdown with all the added users. You, sir, and the company you run are truly too important to fail … no pressure. It’s a bit disconcerting to think that if for whatever reason, Comcast becomes overloaded, we would all collectively be “dead in the water,” back to twisted copper wire and landline phone calls of yore … the dark ages. It wasn’t that long ago that the qwerty sounds of AOL dial-up chimed in many Island homes. Without question, we have come a long way with internet speeds capable of handling huge files that would’ve timed out on a lesser network. Which brings me to the point … BLAST speed by Comcast.

As many of us have recently come to learn, BLAST speed by Comcast can be significantly less BLAST than bluster. If a vast number of people actually took the time to see if they were getting what they are paying for (300 MB speed) versus something else, a good number of budget-conscious households would realize they are paying for something they are not getting.

Today, everyone’s collective next thought would seem to be, “Well, that’s a class action lawsuit waiting to happen.” No, our immediate thought should be, Why isn’t it a CEO’s and the collective board of directors’ responsibility to ensure that if they are charging a customer for a service that they are NOT providing/getting and have promised to deliver, that management and the board would immediately take corrective action to protect the consumer and the integrity of the company (think Johnson & Johnson and Tylenol). If you are providing baby formula, Tylenol, or a public utility service, I can think of no greater duty in running a company than public safety and doing no harm while making a profit. It should also extend to fulfilling a promise to deliver a service that a customer has paid for.

These days, all too often, American business ethics are conveniently considered only after antitrust lawyers and the Justice Department become involved or class-action lawsuit lawyers pounce, and a sad, disappointing check for $23.07 is proffered to the consumer as a “remedy.” It is not a remedy, it is a service not provided, a looking the other way, a boondoggle for the legal profession, a collective waste of everyone’s precious time, and a rather minor symptom of larger corporate malaise and loss of faith.

“Thanks” to a recent Supreme Court ruling that determined that corporations are now considered “people,” it could certainly be argued that it’s high time someone at the corporate level start taking personal responsibility … or is that asking too much?

B.G. Langley
Edgartown