Comcast can’t stop surcharge class-action suit from moving forward

Comcast Center headquarters in Philadelphia. Image: Comcast
The suit claims Comcast advertised a price for services, then jacked that price up with surcharges for broadcast TV and regional sports networks.

A federal judge has denied Comcast’s motion to dismiss a class-action suit alleging the cable operator added pay-TV surcharges. 

The suit, filed in October of last year in a Northern California U.S. District Court, accuses Comcast of breach of contract, claiming the operator is advertising a price for services, then jacking that price up with surcharges for broadcast TV and regional sports networks.

“It is plausible to infer from the complaint that, by clicking ‘Submit Your Order,’ [plaintiffs] Adkins and Robertson agreed to pay Comcast’s advertised prices, plus taxes and government-related fees, in exchange for the services Comcast offered them,” Judge Vince Chhabria said, in a ruling obtained by Ars Technica

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“It is also plausible to infer from the complaint that Comcast breached its agreements with the plaintiffs when it sent them bills charging them broadcast TV and/or regional sports fees (alleged to be neither taxes nor government-related fees) in excess of the agreed-upon price, and when it subsequently sought to raise the amount of the fees,” the judge added. 

According to the complaint, Comcast in 2015 sought to raise the broadcast surcharge from $1.50 to $6.50, and the regional sports fee from $1 to $4.50.

Chhabria also disagreed with Comcast’s claim that customers agreed to the surcharges in their subscriber agreement, noting that the language pertains to “permitted fees” and not specifically to surcharges. 

The judge did trim some of the complaint, dismissing the plaintiffs' claim for “breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.”

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