Comcast Hit with $9.1M Penalty in Washington State for Bogus Service Protection Plan Billing

Ruling on state attorney general’s 2016 suit, judge also tells cable company to pay back thousands of customers, with interest
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A Washington State judge ruled that Comcast violated consumer protection laws more than 445,000 times, bogusly charging thousands of state cable consumers for a $5.99 plan they didn’t even know they were getting.

Associated Press reports that Judge Timothy Bradshaw ordered Comcast to pay $9.1 million in penalties. The judge also ordered the operator to pay back all the customers it has been ruled to have misled, with 12% interest. That figure could exceed another $3 million.

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who filed the suit in 2016, counted 30,946 Washington Comcast customers who were charged for the service within the span of July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2016, and didn’t even know they were getting it. The AG reported another 18,660 who were allegedly misled about the true cost of the plan.

“Comcast refused to accept responsibility for its egregious conduct that resulted in Washingtonians losing money every month for a product they did not want or request,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Instead of making things right for Washingtonians, Comcast sent an army of corporate lawyers into court to try to avoid accountability.”

For its part, Comcast—a company that reported $86 billion in 2018 revenue—doesn’t seem all that fazed.

“We’re pleased that the court ruled in our favor on several of the Attorney General’s key claims and awarded less than 5% of what he was seeking in damages,” the cable company said in a statement. "The Judge recognized that any issues he did find have since been fully addressed by Comcast through the significant investments we have made in improving the customer experience and consent process, and that throughout Comcast acted in good faith. We will continue to make significant investments in how we serve our customers because it is the right thing to do and are fully committed to our customers in Washington state.”

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