Charter Communications has responded to a lawsuit over billing surcharges such as fees for broadcast retransmission, claiming its billing methodology is intended to help customers better understand what they’re paying for.
“Charter is committed to offering its customers superior products at a better value, including the fastest base broadband speed and the most HD video,” Charter said in a statement emailed to FierceCable. “Our customer friendly approach includes simplified pricing and packaging with no data caps, no modem fee, no early termination fee and no separate USF fee. We provide simple-to-understand bills and want our customers to understand what they are paying for, including the skyrocketing cost of broadcast channels.”
Charter 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 (PDF).
The suit follows a similar class action complaint levied against Comcast last month.
“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 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.