Washington State Dings|Comcast for $100 Million

     SEATTLE (CN) — Washington state sued Comcast for $100 million on Monday, claiming that “deception formed the core of Comcast’s Service Protection Plan sales pitch,” and it wants the money refunded.
     The state accused Comcast of violating its Consumer Protection Act “over 1.8 million times through unfair and deceptive acts and practices relating to its Service Protection Plan, service call fees it charges consumers, and deposits it obtained from consumers.”
     The case is Wednesday’s top download for Courthouse News.
     According to the lawsuit in King County Superior Court: “Approximately 500,000 Washington customers subscribed to the SPP in the past five years and Washington subscribers paid at least $73 million to Comcast for the plan during those years.”
     Though Comcast calls its protection plan “comprehensive,” it is far narrower than advertised, the attorney general says.
     For instance, “although Comcast claimed the SPP covers all service calls related to customer-owned equipment, it does not cover any actual repairs relating to customer equipment. It simply covers the technician visiting the customer’s house and declaring that the customer’s equipment is broken,” the state says.
     Nor does the plan, which costs $4.99 a month, cover wiring inside customers’ homes, though the company advertises that it does, according to the attorney general.
     “This case is a classic example of a big corporation systematically deceiving Washington state consumers and putting profits above those consumers,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson told The Associated Press.
     According to the complaint, Comcast collected deposits of $50 to $150 from more than 6,000 Washington customers to avoid a credit check, but did credit checks anyway, resulting in “hard hits” that reduced their credit ratings, despite their paying the deposits.
     Comcast said it was “surprised and disappointed” by the lawsuit.
     “We stand behind our products and services and will vigorously defend ourselves,” the company said in a statement.
     The attorney general seeks restitution, an injunction and penalties for deceptive trade and unfair business practices.

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