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Comcast Allegedly Enrolled Customers in Useless Program without Their Consent
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Summary: Washington has expanded its $100 million lawsuit against Comcast. 

The state of Washington is suing communications giant, Comcast, for allegedly enrolling customers into a usless service protection plan that they had never agreed to.

  
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According to The Philly Voice, the $100 million lawsuit was filed last summer and is being expanded this week. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson amended the complaint after finding new evidence that Comcast had violated the Consumer Protection Act.

Comcast was sued for allegedly enrolling hundreds of thousands of Washington state customers into a service protection plan using deceptive means from 2011 to 2015. The plan, the Service Protection Plan, was designed to reduce the cost of plans, but phone calls showed that Comcast enrolled customers without their consent.

In some of the phone calls, Comcast told customers that SPP was free, but the company charged them $6 after the first month. Comcast also allegedly enrolled people in the plan even if they explicitly said “no.”

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Furthermore, customers were told the SPP plan was “comprehensive” but it did not include things such as wall wiring, which makes up the majority of customer repairs. Essentially, the $6/a month program only covered a technician telling people that their equipment was broken.

According to the Washington attorney general, Comcast garnered $73 million with their scheme. The Attorney General said that they had amended their lawsuit after the communications giant admitted they had deleted phone recordings that were supposed to be used in the state’s investigation.



“This new evidence makes clear that Comcast’s conduct is even more egregious than we first realized,” Ferguson said. “The extent of their deception is shocking, and I will hold them accountable for their treatment of Washington consumers.”

Comcast released a statement to Engadget that they did not commit a wrongdoing and that the SPP covered nearly all repair charges.

The aforementioned lawsuit only covers Washington state, but Forbes notes that Comcast is one of the dominant internet providers in the country.

“Though the current lawsuit only covers Washington state, Comcast is the dominant internet provider across much of the United States, suggesting that a broader investigation would uncover similar behavior elsewhere,” Forbes wrote. “It also casts further doubt on Comcast’s promises to put customer interests first, even in the absence of Net Neutrality rules requiring them to.”

This month, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai led the agency to repeal net neutrality, a move critics said could lead to internet companies hiking up prices or choosing what content to show consumers.

On December 20, Comcast announced it was giving employees $1,000 bonuses to celebrate the end of net neutrality. When asked by the press if it would vow to not charge customers more for fast internet, the company declined to comment.

What do you think of Comcast? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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