BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Comcast is pushing back its plans to charge customers who exceed data caps days after officials in Baltimore and elsewhere raised concerns the cable giant’s move amounted to price gouging amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Late last month, three Baltimore city councilmembers asked the state to review Comcast’s plan to charge $10 per 50 gigabytes customers use over a 1.2 terabyte threshold, up to $100 per month. The trio, along with the Baltimore Digital Equity Coalition, called it “predatory price gouging.”

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“To add this arbitrary capricious fee in the middle of a pandemic is unacceptable,” Baltimore City Councilman Zeke Cohen said at the time.

On Thursday, a Comcast spokesperson confirmed the company will not charge the fees, which went into effect January 1, until August for customers’ July usage amounts. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the move Wednesday.

The delay applies to Comcast’s entire Northeast region, which includes all or parts of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia.

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“We are providing customers in our Northeast markets with additional time to become familiar with the new plan,” Comcast spokesperson Kristie Fox said in an email. “Customers in these markets now have six months to understand their data usage, and the earliest that the very small percentage of customers who exceed 1.2 TB of data could have any charges due under the plan is August 2021.”

Lower-income customers who use the company’s $9.95/month internet essentials plan will not be subject to overage charges in 2021.

Comcast will also alert customers when they hit 75% of their monthly allotment of data and when they reach the cap, the company said.

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CBS Baltimore Staff