Comcast is the most-hated brand in the US, and its slippery marketing tactics and bullshit charges are well known to the entire Western world. But nothing ever gets done, because Comcast is (mostly) a monopoly and people love internet more than they hate Comcast.
But as it happens, the government can (and should!) deal with monopolists that abuse their power, especially by bare-faced lying to customers. That’s exactly what Washington state has done: it has filed a $100 million lawsuit against Comcast for “engaging in a pattern of deceptive practices” that ended up costing customers tens of millions of dollars.
There’s many, many things that I think Comcast could be sued for, but this lawsuit focuses on one thing in particular: Comcast’s Service Protection Plan, a $5-a-month plan that supposedly covers all Comcast technician visits.
An investigation by the Washington Attorney General’s Office discovered that Comcast reps would tell customers that inside wiring was covered, for example, but then would charge customers for any inside wiring during a service call. They also found that when Comcast equipment (say, a rental modem) failed, customers would still be charged for the technician visit, in violation of the “Comcast Guarantee.”
Oh, and as the cherry on the cake, the investigation also found “thousands of instances of improper credit screening by Comcast, unnecessarily impacting the credit reports of those customers.” Thanks, Comcast.
In all, the lawsuit is seeking:
“• 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;
• Removal of 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
• That Comcast 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.”
Godspeed, Washington Attorney General, and may the Force be with you.