Back in August of 2016, Comcast was named in a lawsuit alleging that the cable company had deceived hundreds of thousands of subscribers in Washington state into paying $73 million in fees over the past five years for a “protection plan” that they didn’t need. That would have been bad enough, but in an amended complaint this week, the attorney general alleges that “Comcast may have signed up more than half of all SPP subscribers without their consent.”
In theory, the Service Protection Plan protects customers against fees for service visits from Comcast representatives. In actuality, if you read the fine print, you’ll discover that the $6 a month plan doesn’t cover in-home wiring, repair of equipment, installation of new outlets or replacement of wiring destroyed in a natural disaster.
With such a limited scope in terms of what the plan covers, you can see why Comcast was (allegedly) forced to sneak customers on to the program. Here’s a segment of the amended complaint that highlights the severity of the claims:
Many of the supposed “sales” of the SPP by Comcast never occurred. Rather, Comcast deceptively added the SPP to many of its Washington customers’ accounts without their knowledge or consent. On many occasions, the SPP was not even mentioned by Comcast to the customer on the telephone call where the SPP sale allegedly occurred. On other occasions, the customer was offered the SPP and refused it, yet Comcast deceptively added the SPP to the customer’s account. These types of deceptive practices occurred in over 50% of a random sample of SPP enrollments reviewed by the State.
According to the complaint, even when Comcast did disclose that it was signing customers up for the SPP, it would tell them that there was no recurring charge (which was false). And regardless of whether or not they knew they would be paying for the SPP, customers were often given false or misleading information about what it actually covered. In a statement, Washington AG Bob Ferguson said that “the extent of [Comcast’s] deception is shocking.”
I imagine this won’t do much to change anyone’s opinion on Comcast being the most hated company in America.