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Comcast sued for $100 million in Washington state lawsuit over deceptive practices

Comcast's Philadelphia headquarters as pictured in 2009. The cable giant is being sued for $100 million in a lawsuit that alleges deceptive business practices.
(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

Comcast is being sued for $100 million by Washington state in a lawsuit alleging that the cable giant illegally deceived its customers in order to pad the company’s bottom line.

Washington’s state attorney general on Monday alleged Comcast repeatedly violated Washington’s Consumer Protection Act. The violations include charging improper service call fees, erroneous credit screening practices and misleading 500,000 Comcast customers into paying at least $73 million over the last five years for an ineffective Service Protection Plan.

Though Comcast was informed of the issues a year ago, the company only began making changes shortly before the litigation, according to a statement released by Washington Atty. Gen. Bob Ferguson’s office on Monday.

“This case is a classic example of a big corporation deceiving its customers for financial gain,” Ferguson said in the statement. “I won’t allow Comcast to continue to put profits above customers — and the law.”

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The suit is the first of its kind to take on Comcast’s Service Protection Plan, according to Ferguson’s office.

In addition to seeking more than $74 million in restitution for the Service Protection Plan and service calls, the lawsuit demands that more than 6,000 improper credit checks be removed from credit reports of Comcast customers. The attorney general’s office also seeks up to $2,000 per violation of the Consumer Protection Act and a requirement that Comcast clearly disclose the limits of its Service Protection Plan.

Comcast said it had worked with the attorney general’s office to resolve issues and defended its Service Protection Plan and other company practices.

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“The Service Protection Plan has given those Washington consumers who chose to purchase it great value by completely covering over 99% of their repair calls,” a Comcast representative said in a statement. “We worked with the Attorney General’s office to address every issue they raised, and we made several improvements based on their input. Given that we were committed to continue working collaboratively with the Attorney General’s office, we’re surprised and disappointed that they have instead chosen litigation. We stand behind our products and services and will vigorously defend ourselves.”

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