Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court on Monday, alleging that internet giant Comcast has more than 1.8 million violations of the state's Consumer Protection Act. Violations include misrepresenting the company's Service Protection Plan for customers, "charging customers improper service call fees, and improper credit screening practices," the office wrote in a statement.
According to Ferguson's office, "the company’s own documents reveal a pattern of illegally deceiving their customers to pad their bottom line by tens of millions of dollars."
The lawsuit is the first of its kind in the nation — though the Service Protection Plan is a nationwide program and many of the improper practices are used in all of Comcast’s markets. The Attorney General’s Office brought these issues to Comcast over a year ago, but the company didn’t begin to make changes until recently — on the verge of this litigation.
“This case is a classic example of a big corporation deceiving its customers for financial gain,” Ferguson said. “I won’t allow Comcast to continue to put profits above customers — and the law.”
The lawsuit seeks refunds for about 500,000 Washingtonians who were deceived "into paying at least $73 million in subscription fees over the last five years for a near-worthless 'protection plan'" without knowing the company's "significant limitations," the press release stated.
The attorney general's office claims that they brought their concerns about service issues to Comcast more than a year ago, but the corporation did not take action until they were "on the verge of this litigation" with the state.
The Attorney General's Office now seeks more than $100 million for Comcast's CPA violations.
Comcast representatives told The Seattle Times that they were not aware of the lawsuit before the state's press release came out this morning.
“The Service Protection Plan has given those Washington consumers who chose to purchase it great value by completely covering over 99 percent of their repair calls. We worked with the Attorney General’s office to address every issue they raised, and we made several improvements based on their input,” Beth Hester, Comcast vice president of external affairs in Washington state said in a statement. “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.”