Charter follows Comcast in getting sued for add-on fees

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Charter Communications has been sued in a San Diego state court for false advertising and breach of contract, with the complaint claiming that the MSO is improperly charging fees, such as broadcast and sports TV surcharges, not included in the advertised price.

Charter “and its wholly owned subsidiary Time Warner Cable, Inc. (TWC) is engaging in a massive illegal scheme of falsely advertising and promising its cable television service plans for much lower prices than it actually charges,” said the suit, obtained by The Consumerist.  

Charter reps didn’t immediately respond to FierceCable’s inquiry for comment.

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The suit follows a similar class action complaint levied against Comcast last month. 

RELATED: Comcast faces class-action suit over broadcast and RSN add-on fees

“These deceptive surcharges earn Charter hundreds of millions of dollars each year, accounting for approximately 20 percent of Charter’s total annual profits,” the suit against Charter said. “The surcharges currently stand at $8.75 per month for California subscribers like plaintiff Michael Song, having increased over 400 percent since TWC first introduced the broadcast TV surcharge in March 2014.”

The suit added, “The reality is that Charter invented these surcharges in order to deceive its customers by advertising and promising a lower price while actually charging a higher price.”

The complaint also alleges that Charter is making bogus charges appear as though they’re required by law. Included on that list are such line items as the “Regulatory Recovery Fee,” the “PUC Recovery Fee” and the “State Cost Recovery Fee.”

“TWC imposes surcharges to recover costs of complying with its governmental obligations,” the suit added. 

In October, a group of eight plaintiffs across seven states filed suit against Comcast, alleging that the MSO charged bogus fees to access broadcast and regional sports network channels.

The suit was filed in San Francisco and centers around charges outside Comcast’s advertised price for cable TV services, including the “broadcast TV fee.” Introduced in 2014, that charge tacks on as much as $6.50 to subscribers monthly bill, determined by the amount of broadcast retransmission money Comcast has to pay in a particular market. The suit says this charge amounts to consumer fraud, unfair competition, unjust enrichment and breach of contract. 

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