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Comcast has found itself on the receiving end of a $100 million consumer protection lawsuit by the state of Washington, for allegedly misleading 500,000 Washington consumers and deceiving them into paying at least $73 million in subscription fees over the last five years for a “near-worthless protection plan” without disclosing its significant limitations.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson briefed the media about the lawsuit this afternoon, saying that the nation’s biggest cable company incurred in more than 1.8 million individual violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act.
At the heart of the issue is Compact’s $4.99 a month Service Protection Plan. This plan covers the cost of all service calls, including those related to inside wiring, and customer-owned hardware connected to Comcast services. But according to Ferguson, Comcast did not appropriately disclose that the plan does not cover repairs to any 'wall-fished' wiring—wiring inside a wall—which constitutes the vast majority of wiring inside homes.
The Attorney General’s office also found that when customers reached out to Comcast, 75% percent of the time, Comcast representatives told these customers the plan covered all inside wiring. The lawsuit also claims Comcast consistently and intentionally charged customers for work that should have been covered by this $5 monthly fee.
In addition, the state also accuses Comcast of credit check violations. New customers are subject to a credit check when signing up, but can pay a deposit to forgo a check. Apparently, in many cases Comcast ran the check even when people opted out, or improperly collected deposits from customers with high credit scores.