Washington State Sues Comcast for Its ‘Near-Worthless’ Protection Plan

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This is the first lawsuit to seek refunds for hundreds of thousands of Comcast's cable customers, but the state's attorney general alleges the company uses the same deceptive practices nationwide.

Alleging 1.8 million violations of that state’s Consumer Protection Act, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced his office is suing Comcast for some $100 million, pursuing refunds for more than 400,000 Washington residents.

According to a press release, Ferguson’s office states that Comcast sold people a protection plan that was “near-worthless.” The plan was supposed to cover Comcast repairs to wiring inside a home, but it didn’t include wires that are inside the walls — which constitutes nearly all the wiring in a house.

In addition, according to the release:

The AGO investigation uncovered that Comcast misrepresents the limitations of several other elements of the plan, including its coverage of service calls related to consumer-owned equipment and the repair of cable jumpers, connectors and splitters.

While Comcast claims that these restrictions are in the plan’s terms and conditions, Comcast does not provide those terms and conditions to its customers, does not require customers to approve them nor do they tell customers that these additional terms and conditions exist. A customer must proactively search Comcast’s website to find these terms and conditions.

The release further says that Comcast has been charging people for service calls that should have been free under the company’s Customer Guarantee.

Finally, Ferguson’s office says more than 6,000 people had problems with Comcast improperly running credit checks. Either the people paid a fee they shouldn’t have had to pay, or a credit check was run when it shouldn’t have been — taking a toll on the customer’s credit score.

Ferguson is seeking $73 million in restitution to pay back people who subscribed to the service plan, money to refund people who were charged but shouldn’t have been, and payment of other fines, as well as a commitment by Comcast to clear up customer credit records that were improperly affected, and mandates that the company better disclose the terms of its plans.

What’s your experience with your cable company? Have you looked at the details of your service plan? Let us know in comments below on our Facebook page.

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