LOS ANGELES (CN) – After Time Warner acquired Adelphia in 2006, it defrauded its Los Angeles customers, billed them for services it did not provide, falsely promised to charge the same rates as before, and offered cable TV and Internet service “so intermittent and inferior in quality that it was not much better than no service at all,” the State of California claims in Superior Court.
The complaint centers on Time Warner’s 2006 acquisition of “most cable television and Internet services in the City of Los Angeles.”
Time Warner’s cable subscribership in Los Angeles increased from 120,000 to 600,000 “virtually overnight” in August 2006, after it bought Adelphia and entered “a complex asset-swapping transaction” with Comcast, the complaint states.
The state claims that in connection with those deals, Time Warner committed “unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business acts and practices and deceptive advertising for the purpose of retaining existing cable television and Internet subscribers and attracting new such subscribers”.
The scorching complaint claims, among other things, that Time Warner “falsely billed subscribers for cable television and/or Internet service that was so intermittent and inferior in quality that it was not much better than no service at all”.
It continues: “As a result of Defendants’ unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business acts and deceptive advertising, consumers paid more for cable television services than they were led to believe they would have to pay; experienced excessive service outages; spent hours on the telephone before reaching a customer service representative; sometimes were never able to reach a customer service representative; had their livelihoods affected by Internet outages and poor Internet services; and were deprived of access to news, entertainment and sports for which they had paid.”
The state demands “equitable relief and civil penalties to punish, deter and prevent Defendants’ unlawful unfair and fraudulent business acts and practices and deceptive advertising.” It demands additional penalties for every elderly or disabled person who was affected.