Comcast to Refund $700,000 to Customers to Settle Deceptive Advertising Allegations

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by cageymaru, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard as it Gets

    Messages:
    19,725
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Comcast has been ordered to issue refunds to 20,000 of its Massachusetts customers who signed predatory long term contracts with hidden monthly fees that increased rates by 40% during the contract. To get out of the contracts, customers had to pay a $240 early termination fee even if they simply downgraded to a lower tier package. Thus many of Comcast customers ended up with their credit ratings being ruined by the deceptive, illicit, anti-consumer practices Comcast instituted. Terms of the settlement require Comcast to refund and forgive all early termination fees it charged its customer from January 2015 until March 2016. The company also has to forgive all outstanding late fees from the same time period.

    "Comcast stuck too many Massachusetts customers with lengthy, expensive contracts that left many in debt and others with damaged credit," said AG Healey. "Customers have a right to clear information about the products and services they buy. This settlement should encourage the entire cable and telecommunications industry to take a close look at their advertisements and make sure customers are getting a fair offer." The settlement also requires Comcast to change its practices to improve disclosures provided to consumers before they enter long-term contracts. Comcast must disclose the existence of additional fees in all advertisements, and train sales representatives to disclose true monthly service prices to customers before they enter long-term contracts.
     
  2. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    4,391
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2005
    I'm sure Ajit Pai will fix it.
     
  3. vegeta535

    vegeta535 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,954
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    So people are out of hundreds if not thousands of dollars over Comcast illegal predatory actions and is only refunding $35 per person? Now who really still wins here?
     
  4. DNMock

    DNMock Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    399
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    If it was 20,000 people over a couple years, they effectively stole way more then $700,000. Isn't the whole point of the judicial system to ensure that the punishment is high enough to deter the crime?
     
  5. Galvin

    Galvin 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,694
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2002
    This is what happens when you have no competition
     
  6. Nenu

    Nenu [H]ardened

    Messages:
    18,735
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2007
    I'm not seeing compensation being issued.
    If all they have to do is pay back what they took, its worth the risk.
    What is there to stop any company behaving like this?
     
    lostinseganet likes this.
  7. vegeta535

    vegeta535 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,954
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    The people probably can't even get out the contract either still lol.
     
  8. ZiggyDeath

    ZiggyDeath Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    222
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2017
    Do you really need to even ask?

    2-3 years worth of interest or ROI on that money. This could be a whole lot of money pocketed. Enough so that "returning" this money costs them effectively nothing.
    Those with outstanding debt late have their debts cancelled, those who paid out are are out of luck (except those who paid the cancellation free).
    Nothing said in regards to the predatory increases, so they've probably banked that.
    Possibility of selling that debt to collectors - not sure if Michigan requires companies to notify debt collectors that the debt is no longer valid.

    At the end of the line, this kind of fine encourages this behavior.
    Free interest free loans are pretty much the best kind of loan barring not having to return the capital, which would effectively make it not a loan.

    Worst part is is all the people who got their credit ruined.

    If you're budgeting on a limited budget, a 40% negative variance is sufficient to throw wrenches into someone's plan. And if that doesn't faze you, imagine putting that $240 cancellation fee into your 401K, and how it affects the value 20 years from now.
     
  9. NKD

    NKD [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    7,528
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    the lawyers. They always win.
     
  10. vegeta535

    vegeta535 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,954
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    Lawyers and Comcast win.
     
  11. Motley

    Motley 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,452
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2005
    This is why Comcast ends up on the most hated companies in America, right up there with EA. Corporate America really sucks.
     
    Bigshrimp likes this.
  12. dandirk

    dandirk [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,828
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2004
    And yet they still make money hand over fist...
     
  13. MavericK

    MavericK Zero Cool

    Messages:
    28,695
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    In the case of Comcast, it's because often people have no other viable option.
     
    John721 and The Mad Atheist like this.
  14. The Mad Atheist

    The Mad Atheist Gawd

    Messages:
    915
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2018
    Single person pirate IP and share it, get slapped with millions of dollars to pay back......
    Rip off thousands of customers, get slapped on the risk.....
    Seems about right.
     
  15. arnemetis

    arnemetis 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,570
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Easy peasy, each claimant receives whatever the lawyers each got. That'll wake some people up.
     
  16. Jza

    Jza [H]Lite

    Messages:
    87
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    The stuff Comcast and Verizon gets away with and have gotten away with for years boggles my mind. Leeches on society, both are scum.
     
  17. SvenBent

    SvenBent 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,894
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
    its amaxing you can sing a contract that only has obligitaion to one side...

    you have to get thise sercies for 2 years but we can change the price anytime we want...

    ANY change in price should be considered a new contract and up for cancelation
     
  18. Wierdo

    Wierdo [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,776
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Man they don't even need to wait for A-Shit Pai to take out net neutrality before starting to screw people over.
     
  19. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    7,377
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2004
    No, it's to provide high paying jobs for all the Judges and Lawyers.

    Even a simple contract violation, something that shouldn't take more that 30 minutes to present the facts & get a decision, ends up being dragged out for over a year, resulting in 10's of thousands in legal fees. :mad:
     
  20. Advil

    Advil [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,868
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2004
    You can't find a "TRUE" month to month rate anywhere these days.

    Not Comcast, not Frontier. For a lesson in blood pressure management go to Frontier and just TRY to find out what a plan costs if you aren't a new subscriber and your "special deal" time frame is expired. Go ahead. Try.

    What I hate most about this is that it's SO deceptive and unethical that we actually need law to make them stop. And it's stupid they are pushing this to this point.

    The actual cost per month as well as their best guess to current taxes and fees needs to be displayed in plain view next to their "new signup special."
     
  21. joobjoob

    joobjoob Gawd

    Messages:
    544
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    I would ask if anyone got fired but even if somebody did we all know it would be a patsy, not the jerkresponsible.

    We the people have to start breaking up these mega corps.

    All organizations are sociopathic to their own interests amd survival. Bigger the org the more terrible the carnage. We have to stop pretending otherwise.
     
    Bigshrimp and DukenukemX like this.
  22. NeghVar

    NeghVar 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,444
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    As long as profits remain higher than the fines, Comcast has no incentive to cease this behavior. Just include the fines as part of the cost and make the consumers eat it. As long as fines/penalties for bad corporate behavior remain below the profits generated from that bad behavior, there will never be an incentive to cease the bad behavior.

    We need another Theodore Rosevelt. The Trustbuster.

    No law will stop this behavior until the penalties exceed the profits from that behavior. A penalty such as profits from <behavior> + 10%. A penaly that will induce a loss. Not just break even.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018
    Lith1um likes this.
  23. I hope they honestly go out of business one day.
     
  24. $1615 at a 10% total stock market index fund

    Rule of 72 says $17280 over 45 years give or take
     
  25. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

    Messages:
    28,033
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2000
    I'm in Massachusetts and used to have Comcast years ago.

    I switched as soon as FiOS came to town in ~2010, so I don't qualify. I wish they'd give me money for years of pain and suffering though :p
     
  26. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics I don't get it

    Messages:
    13,685
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Well as long as the FTC still allows a generic "plus taxes and fees" add on to advertised prices this still will continue, here's the last bill that I had tv

    So basically increases the cost to me from what they advertise $30.01, the only one that I'll accept out of all of that is the sales tax, everything else are fees that are not mandatory that they collect like sales tax, it's just them passing on cost which should be thrown into the grand total. DVR fee? Lets see advertise all the DVRing you can do with the X1 for this price... then don't charge a fee for the "service", all those other fees? They're not taxes, so they can be put together into the advertised price especially when they ask for my home address before showing me what is available to me.

    Good for Mass. every customer gets back $35... but if they're anything like me $30 x 12 month minimum commitment = way more than $35, so overall they win.
     
  27. YeuEmMaiMai

    YeuEmMaiMai [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    14,364
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Comcast still does this today

    Comcast door to door sales rep. I can give you 60mbit for $39 all in a month for 60mbit
    me: OK sign me up
    *later that day around 6pm*
    Comcast calls up: Your order did not go through, I can give you $54 for 120
    me: what happened to 60mbit for $39 all in?
    Comcast call: The sales person lied to you
    Me OK fine what is the deal?
    Comcast call 150mbit for $54
    Me, OK no BS all in right?
    Comcast call: Yes
    Me: OK sign me up

    So I got to Xfinity's FB home page, make a post, they come back and confirm that the sales guy was correct. They ask me if I want the original plan, I said no, I'll keep this one but I wanted to let you know what I went through to get this all sorted out.

    I did provide them with detailed call logs and whom I spoke with so hopefully they will handle it internally. Other than that, install was great, tech was very friendly and did a good job. had issue with neighbor cutting all lines going into the pedestal, Comcast came out and fixed it, get full speed no problem.

    *edit* changed that to this

    I have no problem with the people that I have meet face to face with Comcast, nor any issues with tech support. It is their overly aggressive sales department that I have issues with.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  28. kju1

    kju1 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,032
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    I havent used comcast since 2004 and I never want to have to touch their service EVER again. I think I might even go so far as not having internet to avoid dealing with them.

    That being said this doesnt hurt Comcast one bit. 700k or what they probably collected 2x as much across the country using the same practices. Hell its probably worth the fine and forgiveness just for them to get people away from competitors for a few months. Fines should be based on their net income...otherwise its just going to continue to happen because they can afford to pay the fines and still be profitable.

    I say the same thing about civil fines like speeding tickets. A $100 fine is NOTHING to a rich person but $100 to a min wage worker? That could be a missed rent payment.
     
  29. c3k

    c3k 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,097
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2007
    I would ban them from doing business in the state. Permanently.

    Of course, a lot of politicians would then be out of their walking around money...
     
  30. NeghVar

    NeghVar 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,444
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    If a rich man continued disregarding the traffic laws, the DPS could decide to temporarily revoke his driver's license. The Massachusets AG could not simply revoke Comcast's business license for the state.
     
  31. vegeta535

    vegeta535 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,954
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    To add to that don't speed if you can't pay the fines. That comment is completely irrelevant to this discuss.
     
  32. kju1

    kju1 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,032
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    Hardly...I was making a point about we do not apply our own laws fairly. Person or corporation it doesn't matter which the more money you have the more you can get away with. This fine is NOTHING to them. We should apply our laws fairly. Fairly means that the punishment should be to the same level of impact rich vs poor (for both companies and people). It does nobody any good to say if you break X law you have to pay $1,000 dollars. A big company will shrug and violate the law to make $2000 an call it a win.

    Now if you made that fine 1% of your revenue it impacts big and small equally.
     
    Zarathustra[H] likes this.
  33. luke51087

    luke51087 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,383
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    haha just like spectrum in NY, it will just sit in courts for years and never actually equate to anything
     
  34. triwolf

    triwolf Gawd

    Messages:
    708
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2015
    Most if not all corporations are complete psychopaths that should never be trusted. Too bad there are no real alternatives in the modern day. Recently Wells Fargo got caught doing what our lying Government terms puffery (lying advertising), and their lawyers argued that you should know they are lying, so they are not liable. So where is the common man to go for truth? La-La lollipop land in your own head? What a joke of a world.


    https://boingboing.net/2018/11/12/fool-me-thrice.html

    Wells Fargo: We can't be sued for lying to shareholders because it was obvious we were lying

    Wells Fargo has asked a court to block a shareholder lawsuit that seeks to punish the company for lying when it promised to promptly and completely disclose any new scandals; Wells Fargo claims that the promise was obvious "puffery," a legal concept the FTC has allowed to develop in which companies can be excused for making false claims if it should be obvious that they are lying (as when a company promises that they make "the best-tasting juice in America).

    The lawsuit stems from Wells Fargo's crooked car-loan program that used deceptive tactics to defraud 800,000 customers, ultimately stealing 25,000 of their cars through fraudulent repossessions.
     
  35. triwolf

    triwolf Gawd

    Messages:
    708
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2015
    Doesn't it piss all of you off that companies act like this and you are expected to be 100% honest all the time and get basically nothing for it? Stop using these shit companies and make sure to tell them why, and make them feel inhumane for their evil.
     
  36. triwolf

    triwolf Gawd

    Messages:
    708
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2015
    There is an old saying, The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Anytime the rest of the world would like to stand up for themselves and demand some justice from the courts and Government in this turd world, I'm ready.