Comcast: Washington AG’s suit a ‘profound mischaracterization’

Comcast (Flickr user Mike Mozart)
Image: Mike Mozart/Flickr

Comcast has asked a superior court in Washington state to dismiss a $100 million suit filed against it in August by the state Attorney General, alleging improper profiteering off of consumer protection plans. 

“The complaint consistently ignores the evidence the Attorney General gathered during a multi-year investigation, repeatedly misstates the true facts, and – most pertinent to this motion – fails to identify any unfair or deceptive conduct even on the facts as alleged,” Comcast said in its motion, which was filed last week in King County Superior Court.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in August that Comcast "grossly misrepresented" a service protection plan that charges subscribers $4.99 a month to insure premises cables are in working order. 

Ferguson's office sued Comcast for $100 million, alleging that 500,000 of the state's consumers have been impacted by 1.8 million individual violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act.

“The complaint offers little more than speculation about hypothetical billing errors that the Attorney General does not allege have actually occurred,” Comcast said in its filing. “And even if those errors did occur, they would at most amount to isolated breaches of contract, not unfair or deceptive practices warranting a $3.6 billion legal complaint by the state’s Attorney General.”

Announcing the suit in August, Ferguson said Comcast's own customer service scripts prove the company overstated the coverage provided by the Service Protection Plan. 

He said that in many cases, Comcast charged customers for wireline maintenance, despite the fact that they were paying for the service protection. In other instances, the attorney general alleges, Comcast refused to abide by the terms of the service protection plan agreement. 

The attorney general also says that Washington State Comcast subscribers have paid $73 million for the Service Protection Plan since January 2011.

"This was systematic, over a period of years in which they set about to induce Washington state consumers — hundreds and hundreds of thousands of them — to put their hard-earned dollars for a product that was not what Comcast promised. That's not OK," Ferguson said. 

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