Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s $100 million lawsuit against cable giant Comcast cleared a legal hurdle when King County Superior Court Judge Timothy A. Bradshaw ruled on Dec. 23 that the suit may move forward.
“The court correctly rejected Comcast’s attempt to evade responsibility for deceiving its customers,” Ferguson said. “Washington consumers deserve their day in court.”
The suit, filed Aug. 1, accuses Comcast of more than 1.8 million violations of the state’s Consumer Protection Act, including misrepresenting the scope of its service protection plan, charging customers improper service call fees and improper credit screening practices. The lawsuit also accuses Comcast of violating the Consumer Protection Act to all of its nearly 1.2 million Washington subscribers due to its deceptive “Comcast Guarantee.”
Ferguson claims Comcast’s own documents reveal a pattern of illegally deceiving their customers to “pad their bottom line by tens of millions of dollars.”
The trial is currently set to begin July 31.
The lawsuit is the first of its kind in the nation – though the service protection plan is a nationwide program and many of the improper practices are used in all of Comcast’s markets. The Attorney General’s Office brought these issues to Comcast more than a year ago, but the company didn’t begin to make changes until recently on the verge of this litigation.
“This case is a classic example of a big corporation deceiving its customers for financial gain,” Ferguson said. “I won’t allow Comcast to continue to put profits above customers, and the law.”
The lawsuit seeks more than $73 million in restitution to pay back service protection plan subscriber payments; full restitution for all service calls that applied an improper resolution code, estimated to be at least $1 million; removing improper credit checks from the credit reports of more than 6,000 customers; up to $2,000 per violation of the Consumer Protection Act; and broad injunctive relief, including requiring Comcast to clearly disclose the limitations of its service protection plan in advertising and through its representatives, correct improper service codes that should not be chargeable and implement a compliance procedure for improper customer credit checks.
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