December 21, 2018 06:24 PM
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson announced Friday that she has filed a lawsuit against Comcast Corporation/Xfinity, alleging the company has charged customers more than it promised for cable television packages, charged for unordered equipment and services and has not delivered prepaid Visa cards promised in its promotions.
The lawsuit filed in Hennepin County seeks restitution, injunctive relief and civil penalties, according to a release from Swanson's office.
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Jill Hornbacher, the director of external communications for Comcast, Twin Cities Region, issued a statement saying the facts do not support the lawsuit filed, and the attorney general's office has ignored the company's efforts to work together to address concerns.
"We're committed to our customers in Minnesota, and it's important to us to make sure customers completely understand the products and services they order," the statement read. "We fully disclose all charges, fees and promotional requirements.
"The facts do not support the Minnesota Attorney General's allegations and we'd like nothing more than to work collaboratively with the Minnesota Attorney General's Office; however, they've raised complaints about matters that date back several years and have largely ignored our efforts to work together to address them."
Swanson claims cord-cutting is behind Comcast's deceptive billing practices. Below are the number of TV subscribers Comcast has lost in quarters 2 and 3 of 2018 as well as the number of high-speed internet customers Comcast added during the same time frame.
According to the release from the attorney general's office, the lawsuit states the company quotes a base price to some consumers as their monthly price, then adds an array of undisclosed fees the release claims can add 30 percent or more to the monthly bill - a practice that has also been criticized by some consumer advocates.
According to the release, the lawsuit accuses the company of creating the fees "on its own initiative and increasing them at their own whims." It also alleges the company charged equipment rental fees to some customers who understood the cost of the equipment was included in the monthly amount they were quoted.
The release also states the lawsuit alleges the company "charged some people for services or equipment they did not order or declined to purchase, such as adding services, home security, protection plans, or modems and other equipment to customers' bills without authorization."
It goes on to allege the company promised some consumers prepaid Visa cards of up to $200 or more if they remained in contract and up-to-date on their monthly payments for 90 days in good standing.
However, it claims those gift cards were not delivered to "thousands of Minnesota customers."
Updated: December 21, 2018 06:24 PM
Created: December 21, 2018 11:36 AM
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