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Washington state sues Comcast over its 'deceptive' service plan

Engadget Engadget 1/08/2016 Jon Fingas
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Comcast doesn't have a stellar reputation for delivering what you pay for, and Washington state is taking the cable giant to task for that shoddy service... if not quite in the way you expect. It just filed a lawsuit against Comcast demanding more than $100 million over the allegedly "deceptive" nature of the provider's Service Protection Plan. The $5 monthly package ostensibly saves you from technician fees when you ask for a non-essential house call, but the company conveniently didn't tell most customers that the plan doesn't cover cable wiring inside your walls -- you know, the most common wiring there is. Customers reportedly lost "at least" $73 million in wasted subscription fees as a result.

It doesn't end there. The state's Attorney General office is also accusing Comcast of charging customers when they asked for necessary fixes that are supposed to be free (such as faulty cable cards and signal amplifiers). To top it off, Comcast conducted botched credit checks where it either hurt someone's credit (through an unnecessary check) or made them pay a deposit even when they had an exceptional score.

Comcast defends itself by noting that it partnered with the Attorney General's office to "address every issue they raised." It was "committed" to further work, too. However, Washington says it filed the lawsuit because Comcast wasn't acting quickly enough. While officials drew attention to the issues "over a year ago," Comcast waited until just recently to do something about them.

The lawsuit is billed as the first of the kind in the US, and that could have significant repercussions for Comcast. If Washington state emerges victorious, it might encourage other states to act when telecoms tell customers one thing and charge them for another.

Washington State Attorney General

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