A state court in Philadelphia will be the latest venue to
entertain a challenge of cable late fees, and Comcast Corp. is the target this time.
A local woman angered by a $6.30 late fee filed a potential
class-action suit on behalf of all of the MSO's Philadelphia customers. Attorney
Jeffrey Kodroff said his client was agitated both by the amount and the timing of the late
She was assessed half way through the month, meaning that
she was late paying for product that she hadn't fully consumed; and the fee amounted
to almost 13 percent of her $50-per-month cable bill.
The suit appears unrelated to the rash of class-action
suits, most targeted at Tele-Communications Inc., which have cropped up across the
country. Those were brought by Washington, D.C.-based attorney Philip Friedman, whose
challenge of TCI's fees in Baltimore resulted in an award in excess of $7 million on
behalf of consumers. Friedman also topped the MSO in a Washington, D.C., action, but TCI
is appealing both suits.
Kodroff said he learned of Friedman while researching the
Comcast suit, and he hopes to gain information from Friedman.
Comcast said it does not comment on pending suits. The
company's legal reply is due March 1.
Kodroff said he's received many consumer calls since
the suit was publicized locally.
'It amazes me how angry people are about cable fees,
especially late fees,' he said.
Kodroff added that other consumers have asked him to
research a suit challenging cable's buy-through provisions. Philadelphians don't
want to rent a set-top converter if they have cable-ready sets, he said.