Comcast fails to get hidden fee class-action suit thrown out of court

A class-action complaint against Comcast can move forward after a federal judge rejected a Comcast motion to dismiss it.

The lawsuit, filed in October 2016 in US District Court in Northern California, accuses Comcast of falsely advertising low prices and then using poorly disclosed fees to increase the amount paid by cable TV customers. Those fees are the “Broadcast TV Fee,” which had increased from $1.50 a month to $6.50 since 2014, and the “Regional Sports Fee” that rose from $1 to $4.50 since 2015.

These fees are not included in the advertised prices, so customers end up paying higher prices than the ones they are led to believe they will pay, the lawsuit said. When customers question Comcast reps about the fees, “Comcast staff and agents explicitly lie by stating that the Broadcast TV Fee and the Regional Sports Fee are government-related fees or taxes over which Comcast has no control,” the complaint said.

Comcast filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that its order submission process could not have created a contract and that customers agreed to pay the fees in the “Subscriber Agreement” and “Minimum Term Agreement.” But US District Court Judge Vince Chhabria disputed Comcast’s reasoning and wrote that the class-action plaintiffs have made plausible claims.

Chhabria wrote yesterday in his order: