Comcast, one of America’s largest cable TV providers, has been sued multiple times over the years concerning the high-cost and seemingly deceptive nature of its signature Xfinity Cable offerings, which were most recently the subject of a [since settled out-of-court] class-action lawsuit waged against it back in 2016.
Well, the company doesn’t appear to have learned a thing (despite its previous out-of-court settlements amounting to over $700,000) as Comcast was recently served with a whole new lawsuit alleging that it lied to its customers in a bid to hide the actual cost of their cable TV service.
Filed on December 21, 2018 in Hennepin County District Court by former Minnesota Attorney General (AG), Lori Swanson, the lawsuit alleges, among other things, that Comcast representatives “falsely told customers” that the company’s “Regional Sports Network (RSN)” and “Broadcast TV” fees were mandated by the government, and not by Comcast, itself.
Swanson’s office asserted that these fees have not only risen steadily to their current monthly rate of $18.25, but they’re not actually included in the TV provider’s standard advertised rates. In its suit, the office is seeking refunds for “all customers who were harmed” by Comcast’s alleged violations of the Minnesota State’s Prevention of Consumer Fraud Act and Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
In addition, the suit alleges that Comcast overcharged many customers for services they never requested, and promised prepaid Visa gift cards as incentives which the company “did not deliver […] to thousands of Minnesota customers.”
In a response to the suit and its allegations issued to Ars Technica, a Comcast spokesperson noted that “our policy is to be very clear to our customers about the broadcast TV and RSN fees and [tell them] that these are not government-mandated fees,” and added that the fees are not only described correctly on its official website, but they’re also fully disclosed and listed as charges separate from government-imposed taxes and fees on customer’s monthly bills.
The rep conceded, however, noting that sometimes “Employees may go off script and incorrectly characterize things, but that is not in line with our policy because [the broadcast TV and sports charges] are not government-mandated fees.”
Although Comcast ultimately failed to explain how so many of its employees apparently made the exact same mistake of incorrectly ‘characterizing things’ — and instead doubled-down on the defense, not only suggesting that other cable companies were charging Broadcast TV and RSN fees long before it was, but that the fees “reflect the increasing amount we need to pay for broadcast and sports” programming.
The company says it plans to fight the lawsuit brought by Swanson’s office.