back to article US state sues Comcast for $100m in row over 'worthless' repair plans

Washington state is suing Comcast and demanding $100m in damages for allegedly misleading customers. At a press conference on Monday, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson claimed the US cable giant's Service Protection Plan (SPP) had cheated at least 500,000 people out of their money. People who take out the optional $4. …

  1. Sureo

    Weasel words

    Translation: "We're guilty, we're not sorry and we won't be held to account for it."

    1. Ole Juul

      Re: Weasel words

      How about they just have their licence revoked?

  2. Rafael 1

    My Comcast sob story

    TL;DR version: don't trust the chat "analysts". Clueless, and they want to get rid of you as quickly as possible.

    I was a Comcast victim from October 2015 to July 2016. Since I am not a USian I don't have a reliable credit rate (and am not sure how they get this information -- and am not willing to pay to discover my credit rate) I had to pay the $50 security deposit.

    I've returned the modem 3 weeks ago, cancelled the contract via phone (cannot do that by chat) and moved out of the US. My account is still listed as active, and their website tells I must pay $40 tomorrow. I've contacted them via chat twice and had to explain everything again ("Sorry, sir, I don't have access to other chat sessions").

    At the end the "analyst" told me that I should not worry, because I actually had some credit due to unused days. I asked about the security deposit and he told me that I didn't had any on record. When I mentioned that it was paid on the first month he told me that he couldn't verify that on my records. Finally, I asked how would I get the credit and he told me that they would send a check (hello 1970s!) to my address -- when I asked which address he told me that it was the one on the records... in the US.

    I explained again that I had moved out of the US and he suggested me... to visit a Comcast store!

    One more: I told him that the official site told me I owe $40 but he insisted that everything was OK. I asked what would happen if I got charged for late payment and he told me that I could call Comcast and tell them about the chat session. Then I told him that it was strange since he was unable to get transcripts from past chats, how would they locate his promise that everything was OK? Again he suggested me to visit a Comcast store.

    I gave up. I guess I won't see that security deposit again, and am wondering what will happen if I just ignore the bill.

    There is no way to contact them but by calling a 1-800 number or chat. Chat analysts are useless. I don't really want to call. There is no e-mail for support. Any suggestions?

    1. Dadmin

      Re: My Comcast sob story

      Here's my handy Comcrap story, I'm sure you'll appreciate. I had to have them for a time, since there was only one service provider in the area and I thought I'd give them a try. Holy crap these guys could not get it together to get the signal for the Internet to be usable. I think the TV was okay, if you don't mind paying for hundreds of channels that do little more than feed you advertisements. So, they end up deciding to replace 30 year old coax, all on their dime, and do a new run to my demarc that involves several days of work and a trench across my lawn, and a new conduit under the driveway... one month later I dropped their service for a normal ADSL provider. Now, whenever I see those Comcrap douchebags at the local Fry's trying to push their garbage, I ask them "where's the ala carte channels?" That shuts them up quickly and cleanly. I also like to do a "snip snip" with my fingers at them to remind them many people cut their cord and won't be back anytime soon.

      Good luck to you on your travels be they work or pleasure! Comcrap will forget all about the $40, if they're decent people.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: if they're decent people

        That seems to be the whole problem.

    2. mIRCat
      Coat

      Re: My Comcast sob story

      "I've returned the modem 3 weeks ago, cancelled the contract via phone (cannot do that by chat) and moved out of the US." - Rafael 1

      I suppose that's one way to get out of your contract... sounds less painful than gnawing your own arm off as well.

      Darling, get my coat! We're getting away from Comcast no matter the cost.

    3. SinceYouAsked

      Re: My Comcast sob story

      You see, you were expecting some amount of intelligence above a paramecium. But Comcast management has the neuron count of somewhat below a roundworm (302). (Wikipedia needs an update to reflect the "new" species). As such, they can't hire anyone with something like a jellyfish neuron count (5600). So they are basically restricted to pond scum.

      The average intelligence/neuron count in the US is above that, so, outside of Hawaii, Nevada, Mississippi and Alabama, they are forced to go overseas or get funding to set up a call center in those fore mentioned states. (Mississippi's IQ Gaussian curve predicts there are not enough. but could be close.)

      I am sorry you had to experience commercial transactions with lower life forms while living in the US, but the fearless leaders of Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the US Federal Government believes that the life forms ala Comcast and their management need special protection. (Or at least their pocketbooks do (both sides of that equation). If we could only get their neuron count up to something like 11,000, then like a Pond Snail, we could enjoy Comcast employees with butter and garlic.

      Write if off, and just make it a good story going forward. (They said the same thing in Nero's reign.)

  3. NotBob

    "We stand behind our products"

    Like a sleazy used car salesman who knows not to stand in front of a car with dodgy brakes?

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    A mere fine?

    No restitution for customers? No jail time for the board? If you or I did this, we would face both these penalties in addition to a fine, but being a corporation, they basically get a slap on the hands and get away with it. Corporate fraud is approved somewhere and ultimately, it's the C-Suite and the board that's responsible. Maybe if jail time were an option for the upper manglement, this would become a thing of the past.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: A mere fine?

      It's the U.S.

      Consumers getting refunds from fraud is a very rare thing. It's often treated as some kind of commie conspiracy.

      Beside, people can just sue! With the money they don't have. For what little money they will receive.

    2. ma1010
      Go

      Re: A mere fine?

      You are so RIGHT! And handing penalties out to big bosses is so rare. In California, back in the 70's, there was a tomato processing plant that dumped tomato peels into the river every year. As part of cleaning up the air and water, that was outlawed. The company just paid the fine because it was cheaper than fixing the problem. So they changed the law to where the company would be fined AND the president would be put in jail. By next season, the new equipment was installed, and no more peels were dumped in the river.

      Unfortunately, that sort of law enforcement is about as rare as rocking horse crap. Comcast and AT&T pretty much have a license to lie, cheat, and steal. I hope Washington State is just the beginning of some pushback against these bastards.

  5. Efros

    Corporations

    need their CEOs to be responsible for their actions. You break the law badly enough we have a rather fetching orange jump suit for you to wear for the next few years, while we garnish your pension and confiscate your mansion to compensate your victims.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Corporations

      Weren't corporations "people" just some years ago? Can we just jail them? :-)

  6. Mystic Megabyte
    WTF?

    Bastards

    Crikey! This makes British Telecom look like amateurs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Megaphone

      Re: Bastards

      You obviously havent had any major run-ins with BT.

      I came home from a weeks holiday to find my phone cut off - the bill had arrived on my doorstep literally as I left for the airport, the "Red Letter" was date stamped the day after, and the cut off letter the day after that.

      Cue 18 months of refusing to pay the reconnection fee - which cost them more than it cost me, because although they cut the voice line, the internet still worked, so I had it free for 18 months!!

      For your further enlightenment.

      BTOR are the people who run the infrastructure,

      They charge BT Retail ~£8 per month for your line rental, BTR charge you £18.

      They charge £60 +VAT for a new phone line, BTR charge you from £180.

      BTOR dont charge for call connection/termination, BTR charge you ~30p per call.

      BTOR charge calls by the second, BTR round UP to the minute.

      Still think their are amateurs??

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bastards

        Not sure where you get your prices:

        BTOR dont charge for call connection/termination, BTR charge you ~30p per call.

        (OpenReach are a cable company, not an Telco, so the 1st part is irrelevant) "Set-up fee – 19p set-up fee applies to all chargeable calls."

        "They charge £60 +VAT for a new phone line, BTR charge you from £180."....

        "If you're just ordering a BT phone package, you may have to pay a connection charge but we'll let you know when you order. There's a £50 fee for activating an existing line that's provided by BT or another provider. And it's £65 for installing a new line. (This is an online special offer as it's normally £130.)"

        Oddly, you under quoted for your Line rental though, that's £18.99

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Boffin

          Re: Bastards

          Sorry, my bad BTWholesale run the infrastructure, BTOR install and maintain it; BTR is the consumer division. Please blame my sinus infection.

          When a 3rd party buys internet/phone access, they dont buy it from BTR, they buy from BTW, who dont charge call connection or termination charges, BTR add them on.

          Ré line install, so they currently have an offer on, the price for a new LINE is normally £130 + £50 activation = £180. Even with the offer, it is £65 + £50 = £115

          (Plus the mystery connection fee)

          When I got my new line installed (by BTOR) via a 3rd party, I paid £50 + vat total. There was another charge, but that was because I was having Fibre installed at the same time.

          With BTR there is also an 18 month minimum contract for a new line, I have a rolling 1 month contract.

          Yeah, and I forgot the BT "annual" line rental price increase is now every 9-10 months, and the price had gone up AGAIN. I pay £13, and that hasnt risen in 3 or 4 years.

          Oh, and my provider charges 5ppm for 90% of the calls outside of the Premium number lines, even calls to my MiL in China only cost 5ppm to her mobile (charged by the second)

  7. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Is the BOFH at the head of this organization?

  8. JohnyDoe
    Thumb Up

    They are great 2 ME

    I have been using their XFinity Internet service in Chicago for close to an year and they are great so far. I had only 1 outage and I saw the guy rolling with his truck 1h later thru the polls in the alley. Internet came back in 2 hours. I can ever restart my modem thru their mobile phone app, and I have estimate quote on a repair time. I pay like $14.88/m promo for 1year for 12Mb download and 2mb Upload speed. Can you beat that?

    1. PapaD

      Re: They are great 2 ME

      Yes, easily - but then I'm in the UK, where we have competition.

      (though, I currently pay about £45/m for 200mb download, 12mb upload, along with phone and full cable TV package)

  9. adam payne

    "We stand behind our products and services and will vigorously defend ourselves."

    We stand by ripping off our customers and believe it is our right as a business to do so.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow, In America...

    .........calling out a corporation like this is unbelievably rare. Kudos to the WA AG!

    1. 404

      Re: Wow, In America...

      ...pure misdirection - WA AG recently completed a fact-finding tour at the US AG convention in Las Vegas, learned his services were severely undervalued by Comcast lobbyists as compared to other state AG's. Didn't even make the median of 50 states. Embarrassing.

      Political equivalent of penis waving.

  11. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    "Would Kim approve? ... We searched our image library for 'Comcast' and it gave us Mrs Kardashian. Ship it"

    Is this El Reg's wet dream? Or have the Kardashians finally achieved their ultimate goal of permeating all aspects of everyone's lives?

    1. 404
      Flame

      Kim Kardashian is absolutely relevant. Story Time.

      About 12 years ago, I was at work when my girlfriend*, who was having Comcast internet installed in her apartment, called me up all rattled, and wanted advice. A disappointed Comcast installer had just left her place after his 'Comcast Customer Satisfaction Survey' went sour and she demanded he GTFO right the fuck now. Our intrepid married** professional Comcast installer decided that by demonstrating that www.persiankitties.com loaded right up in her browser, he would have something to submit to 'Dear Penthouse Forum'... Fucker... I have the flexibility to schedule my own work so I dropped everything and went over to her apartment to see what i could see. Motherfucker left digital fingerprints all over her computer, even checked his email. Slack-jawed, STUPID, Motherfucker.

      Before I was off the phone, he was no longer an employee of Comcast.

      *Ended up making an honest woman of her.

      **days later, stressed woman stops at daycare where girlfriend works to pick up her child, seems her husband just got fired from Comcast a few days ago because some bitch falsely claimed he made 'sexual advances' to her and how it was so much bullshit and blah blah blah... Small World.

  12. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    A credit check reduces your credit rating?

    Really? So any time you apply for credit, a credit check is carried out and that reduces your credit score? On what planet is that reasonable?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A credit check reduces your credit rating?

      Welcome to a world where every organization (all levels of governement, Commercial, Political parties that are protected by the "Lord Protector" are allowed to collect information, and NO ONE has any criminal responsibility for the validity or safe guarding of that info.

      In the US, all credit agencies have a blank check to do whatever they want, whenever they want, by the votes of the Legislative Branch (Reps and Dems) of the US Government. The major credit agencies contributes 10s to 100s of Millions to Congress to protect themselves. Just another collection racket.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A credit check reduces your credit rating?

      Actually, that is also true in the UK, if you have more than a few credit checks performed in a short space of time, the agencies LOWER your credit rating.

      (I think it is about 4 in a 3 month period, but dont quote me, go check out somewhere like Experian)

  13. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Actual WA State user...

    Had to troubleshoot a Comcast Internet connection for a relative in WA state. Nefilx simply wouldn't stream to their Smart TV with anything more than stops, buffers, and starts. But it worked great on any laptop, PC, or iThingy on the same Internet connection. Turns out Comcast knew it was a embedded Netflix player in the TV and was throttling the bandwidth. Ya see, Netflix competes with Comcast for content (and advertising revenue) so they wanted to make the performance as shitty as possible.

    I ended up buying a Roku - which Comcast thinks is a PC - and that solved the problem.

    I want to say Comcast is an evil company, but that would be giving them too much credit for having intelligence and an actual plan. I think Comcast is more a company filled with incompetent people who are micro-managed to do as little as possible.

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