Last week, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that the State of Minnesota had reached a settlement with Comcast/Xfinity to the tune of $1.14 million. The settlement was reached over Comcasts business practices which included adding services and equipment customers had not asked for, for overcharging customers, and failing to follow through on promotional promises like providing prepaid gift cards. Approximately 15,600 Minnesota Comcast customers will receive refunds, and another 16,000 Minnesotans will get debt relief as part of the settlement. In addition, Comcast is required to change its advertising practices to fully disclose pricing to customers. The lawsuit was originally filed by the attorney generals office in December 2018.
Part of being able to afford your life means knowing the full cost of what youre getting, getting what you were promised, not being overcharged for things you didnt ask for, and not being unfairly charged to get rid of things you didnt ask for. But when people signed up for Comcast, thats what happened to them, Attorney General Ellison said in a January 15 news release.
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This settlement will help put money back in Comcasts customers pockets where it should have been in the first place. Just as importantly, it provides millions of dollars worth of debt relief. And weve made sure that going forward, Comcast customers will know exactly how much theyll pay for service before they sign up for it. That should put an end to unpleasant surprises, added Attorney General Ellison.
Terms of the settlement include refunds to:
- Customers who did not receive prepaid gift cards as promised by Comcast
- Customers who downgraded their cable services or who Comcast terminated who were then charged an early termination fee between June 1, 2015 and July 1, 2017
- Customers who were charged for a modem along with a cable package but who returned the modem within three months without changing their package between January 1, 2014 and July 1, 2017
Comcast must also pay $160,000 to the attorney generals office to provide refunds to consumers. Consumers must file a claim with the attorney general to receive a refund for being overcharged by Comcast. In addition, Comcast has to clear any debt for about 16,000 customers for customers charged an early termination fee during the course of their contract. Comcast has to notify the credit bureaus that the debts have been satisfied. And, finally, Comcast must clearly detail the full price customers will pay for their cable services, including the base fee and any additional fees.
Cord Cutters News shared an emailed statement from Comcast, following the announcement by the Minnesota Attorney General, denying the allegations, but agreeing to comply with the terms of the settlement.
Todays settlement with the Minnesota Attorney General reflects our ongoing efforts to improve the customer experience, Comcast said in an emailed statement. While we disagree with the allegations initially made in the lawsuit-which do not reflect our policies and practices-we agreed to settle because we are committed to partnering with Attorney General Ellison and others who share our commitment to improving the experience of our customers in all respects. We believe this settlement agreement furthers that shared goal.
Is it any wonder that so many people are walking away from traditional, linear TV and gravitating toward streaming services? This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that a large cable company has been less than transparent with its fees or business practices. People are tired of being the victims to companies like Comcast. They may still rely on them for internet service, but Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and other streaming services are very clear about what they charge and what the customer gets in return. There are no smoke and mirrors. Bravo to the Minnesota Attorney General for sticking up for Minnesota consumers. It is just a shame that a lawsuit was necessary to get Comcast to do the right thing.