Looking to get ahead of its customer-service problems, Comcast Corp. says it will make returning equipment more convenient for Xfinity subscribers.

They now can drop off set-top boxes and modems at United Parcel Service stores for free shipment to Comcast. There are 4,400 UPS stores nationwide.

Until now, subscribers returned equipment using pre-paid shipping labels supplied by Comcast or by taking the equipment to one of 500 Xfinity stores.

Subscribers face steep fines if they don't return equipment - which they rent from Comcast - when they cancel, change, or upgrade service.

"This is the first of many," Tom Karinshak, senior vice president of customer service, said Thursday, regarding the planned improvements.

Beset by customer-service woes this year, Comcast has said it would rethink its service operations. The project has added urgency with state and federal regulators reviewing Comcast's proposed $45.2 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc., which also has poor customer-service ratings.

Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer, said recently good customer experience should be Comcast's best product.

Subscribers can take equipment to the UPS stores "as is" - without a box or wrapping - and receive a confirmation slip, Comcast said. Xfinity subscribers can find a UPS store at www.theupsstore.com.