On Thursday Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson
amended his lawsuit
against Comcast to include "new evidence revealing even more
conduct than previously alleged," according to a statement from
office which filed
a more than one-hundred-million-dollar lawsuit against the
cable TV and
Internet giant in King County Superior Court in August of 2016.
alleges Comcast misrepresented
the scope of its Service Protection Plan (SPP) as part of more than 1.8
violations of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act (CPA).
More than half
a million Washingtonians
subscribed to the SPP since 2011, paying at least $73 million to
the service plan from 2011 through the end of 2015.
A sample of
recorded calls between SPP
subscribers and Comcast representatives obtained by the Attorney
Office reveal that Comcast may have signed up more than half of all SPP
subscribers without their consent. Comcast allegedly deceived consumers
mentioning the SPP, telling them the SPP plan was “free” when they
when in fact, Comcast would automatically charge them every month after
evidence makes clear that
Comcast’s conduct is even more egregious than we first realized,”
said. “The extent of their deception is shocking, and I will hold them
accountable for their treatment of Washington consumers.”
claims sample of customer
calls reveals 'massive deception'
In May 2017,
King County Superior Court
Judge Timothy Bradshaw ordered Comcast to provide the Attorney
with “telephone calls that exist in which [Comcast] sold the SPP to
consumers.” In response to the court order, Comcast turned over to the
General’s Office recordings of calls between Comcast and 1,500
consumers whom Comcast signed up for the SPP.
General’s Office analyzed a
random sample of recorded sales calls between Comcast and 150
not even mention the SPP
to nearly half the sample," says the AG office statement. "Additional
consumers in the sample explicitly rejected the SPP, but Comcast signed
anyway. Consequently, Comcast enrolled more than half of these
without their consent."
Comcast actually mentioned the SPP
on the sales call before signing consumers up for the SPP, Comcast
engage in deception. Comcast deceptively failed to disclose the SPP was
monthly recurring charge to 20 percent of the Washingtonians in the
Rather, Comcast often told subscribers the SPP was added for “free” to
account, says the Ferguson statement.
evidence expands original $100
million-plus lawsuit, Comcast says claims are not factual
original 2016 lawsuit asserts
Comcast violated the CPA to all of its nearly 1.2 million subscribers
Washington state. The lawsuit is the first of its kind in the nation —
the SPP is a nationwide program.
When filing his
lawsuit, Ferguson announced
he is seeking full restitution for the $73 million paid by SPP
Washington state. He announced he is also seeking penalties for
the CPA for a total of more and $100 million to hold Comcast
CPA allows a penalty of up to $2,000 per violation.
released a statement to the news media saying the company strongly
disagrees with Ferguson's claims and further that the claims are "based
on flawed methodology and assumptions" and that Mr. Ferguson's news
conference on the matter "misrepresnted the facts."