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Washington State Files $100M Lawsuit against Comcast for Consumer Deception
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Summary: Washington state is suing cable-television giant Comcast for deceiving nearly 500,000 consumers. 

Feeling cheated by the cable company is as American as apple pie. It’s something that nearly everyone has experienced but most just assume there isn’t anything to be done about it. However, that consumer sentiment may be changing in Washington state.

  
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Washington’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson said that his office filed a lawsuit against mega-media giant Comcast on Monday. Washington alleges that Comcast violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act over 1.8 million times, and that it cheated customers through a falsely-advertised repair program and credit checks.

“This case is a classic example of a big corporation systemically deceiving Washington state consumers and putting profits above those customers and the law,” Ferguson said.

The Seattle Times said that Washington wants Philadelphia-based Comcast to pony up $100 million, which would barely make a dent in the company which earns almost $74.5 billion in revenues a year. The amount would reimburse nearly 500,000 Washington Comcast customers who were swindled over the past five years.

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The lawsuit focuses on three things. One is a Comcast service plan that offered equipment and wiring related repairs. The now-discontinued plan cost $4.99/a month and was billed as “comprehensive.” However, Washington state said that Comcast did not honor its plan, instead charging customers for issues and telling them that the $4.99/a month fee only covered the technician’s house visit.

The second part of the case alleges that Comcast informed consumers that all Comcast equipment repairs would be covered by the company, when in fact, Comcast charged thousands of people for those repairs.



The third component of the lawsuit said that Comcast requires new customers to undergo a credit check unless they pay a deposit. The lawsuit said that in many cases, Comcast ran the checks anyway, even when people opted out. Comcast also charged the deposit fee on customers who underwent a credit check and passed with a high score.

Ferguson declined to discuss Comcast’s competitors, which are just as hated by consumers. He stated that his office did not comment on investigations until they reached a certain level.

The Seattle Times said that Comcast declined to comment on the specific allegations of the lawsuit, but they expressed disappointment that the Attorney General sued them.

“Given that we were committed to continue working collaboratively with the Attorney General’s office, we’re surprised and disappointed that they have instead chosen litigation. We stand behind our products and services and will vigorously defend ourselves,” Beth Hester, Comcast vice president of external affairs in Washington state, said.

Ferguson said that although his office had been working with Comcast for a year on improvements, he was ultimately not satisfied with their changes and that they had defrauded so many of the state’s consumers.

Do you think Comcast will change their practices in other states? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: The Seattle Times

Photo courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter



 

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