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Cable Provider Accused of Bogus Modem Fees

CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) - A cable company improperly charged monthly modem lease fees to customers who bought Internet modems, a class claims in Federal Court.

Vicki Lucas said she bought a modem from Charter Communications as part of her Internet services agreement on Dec. 15, 2008, and was billed a one-time $49.99 fee the following month for the modem.

In January 2012, however, Charter allegedly sent Lucas a letter stating that its audit revealed that she owed $7 a month for a modem lease.

The Delaware company then told Lucas that it sent the letter in error and that it would not charge her the fee, according to the complaint in the Eastern District of Missouri.

"On her March 1, 2012 billing statement, however, plaintiff was charged the $7 internet modem lease fee for the month of March and an additional $7 for the preceding month, as well as $0.98 in purported internet sales tax," the complaint states. "Plaintiff had never been billed for these items on any previous statement. On each monthly statement thereafter, plaintiff has been billed the $7 modem lease fee plus $0.49 internet sales tax."

Lucas claims Charter has not tried to stop the charges it admits are wrongful.

She seeks to certify a class of all past and current Charter high-speed Internet customers whom Charter improperly charged for lease fees.

Charter must stop collecting the fees and pay punitive damages for violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act and breach of contract, according to the complaint.

The class is represented by Christopher Hoffman of Korein Tillery.

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