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In front of Time Warner Cable protesting Internet Overcharging in 2009.

Stop the Cap! believes consumers can make a difference in the fight to stop Internet Overcharging schemes like usage caps, usage based billing (UBB), and the other Internet Overcharging schemes which come without justification and exist only to fatten provider profits.

Here are are some tips to help you fight back:

1.  Read Stop the Cap! regularly for updates on the latest developments in the fight against Internet Overcharging.  You cannot fight what you do not know about.  Providers often sneak usage caps and other pricing tricks into the fine print and customers only learn about them when they receive their first warning letter or bill with “overlimit fees” on it for “excessive broadband usage.”  We are tracking dozens of providers and while most are not engaged in this kind of ripoff pricing, things can change.  If possible, please make a contribution using the PayPal Donate button to your right.  We are a 100% consumer-run organization and are totally supported by contributions from people just like you.

2.  If your ISP has notified you in intends to limit your broadband usage or implement some sort of usage-based billing scheme charging you based on your usage, call your provider right away and let them know you consider these kinds of schemes unacceptable as a customer.  You are already paying a substantial amount of money each month, much higher than the global average, for service the company now wants to limit.  Let them know you will begin researching alternative providers right away and you are prepared to take your business elsewhere over this issue.  Do not expect them to relent at this point — just go on record letting them know this is unacceptable to you and will cost your business.

3.  If it is impossible for you to change providers, still make the call and let them know you will downgrade your service over these Internet Overcharging schemes.  Explain there is no point in subscribing to a premium speed tier if the company intends to limit it.  What is the point of owning a Ferrari if you can only drive it around the block once a month?

4.  File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.  While it is unlikely to directly result in an end to these pricing schemes, it will provide the executive customer service department of your provider with some insight that customers are prepared to challenge these pricing schemes.  Many providers work hard to retain good ratings with the BBB — ratings that will be tarnished with an upswing in consumer complaints.

5.  Write your federal elected officials.  They are the ones most directly responsible for establishing legislative roadblocks that could derail provider plans to further monetize broadband service in North America.  See our sample letter below.

United States: Visit Congress.org to obtain the names and contact information of your member of Congress and two senators.  You can call any member of Congress toll-free by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 1-866-338-1015, 1-866-220-0044, or 1-877-851-6437 and asking for your member of Congress.

Canada: You can find your member of Parliament using your postal code from the Parliament of Canada website.  You can call the Parliament Information Service toll-free at 1-866-599-4999 and ask to be connected to your MP’s office.

6.  Participate in our Call to Action campaigns, which focus direct action on various providers and issues.  These include writing letters, making phone calls, and occasional public protests.

Our broadband standing is a critical piece of our transition to an increasingly digital economy.  Better broadband brings better jobs, innovation, and improvements to education, health care, and our lives in general. We cannot have better broadband if a handful of companies establish a duopoly with high prices for limited service.  We support increased competition, appropriate regulation, and an Internet free from provider restrictions and limits.

A Sample Letter to Elected Officials

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We last updated this page March 28, 2011 at 11:18am ET.

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