Comcast/Xfinity has settled a 2018 lawsuit filed by the state of Minnesota over allegations it overcharged for cable/broadband service, including by not disclosing fees that boosted the price and charging for services and equipment customers hadn't asked for.
That is according to Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison and a copy of the settlement document, which includes 1.14 million dollars in refunds to 15,600 customers, $160,000 to the AG's office (which can be used for more refunds) and debt relief to another 16,000 for early termination fees, together totalling "millions of dollars," said Ellison.
Comcast has also agreed to better and more prominently display prices in its advertising.
Comcast is not acknowledging the validity of the forgiven debts or that its pricing was deceptive--the agreement "is neither an admission nor a denial."
Specifically, the money is going to:
1. "Minnesota consumers who did not receive their prepaid gift card as promised because Comcast did not record that they had accepted the terms of service between January 1, 2013 through July 1, 2017;
2. "Minnesota consumers who downgraded their cable services or who Comcast cut off from services and who paid an early termination fee between June 1, 2015 and July 1, 2017; and
3. "Minnesota consumers who were charged for a modem after subscribing to a cable package that included internet service but returned the modem within three months without otherwise changing their package between January 1, 2014 through July 1, 2017."
“This settlement will help put money back in Comcast’s customers’ pockets where it should have been in the first place," said Ellison. "Just as importantly, it provides millions of dollars’ worth of debt relief. And we’ve made sure that going forward, Comcast customers will know exactly how much they’ll pay for service before they sign up for it. That should put an end to unpleasant surprises.”
“The settlement with the Minnesota Attorney General reflects our ongoing efforts to improve the customer experience," said Comcast in a statement. "While we disagree with the allegations initially made in the lawsuit – which do not reflect our policies and practices – we agreed to settle because we are committed to partnering with Attorney General Ellison and others who share our commitment to improving the experience of our customers in all respects. We believe this settlement agreement furthers that shared goal.”
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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