Time Warner Cable Targeted in Kansas Lawsuit

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Requiring consumers to rent a cable box to view premium services violates antitrust laws, according to a potential class action lawsuit filed in Kansas City, Kansas against Time Warner Cable.

The suit, filed by consumer Matthew Meeds on behalf of all the company’s Kansas consumers, asserts that the box and the premium channels are priced and sold as different products. Selling premium services contingent on the rental of a set-top converter represents an “illegal tying arrangement” resulting in an impermissible restraint of trade, according to the suit.

The action was filed Aug. 12 in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas.

The suit also faults the operator for Web site information that either does not mention CableCARDS, which allow the transmission of cable channels to the TV without an external box; or states that CableCARDs have “limitations” which makes rental set-tops preferable.

The operator's policy also violates the Kansas Consumer Protection Act, according to the suit. That law, among other things, prevents transactions crafted to the benefit of a supplier.

The suit asks the court to determine the amount of damages if the suit is successful.

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