Cable companies traditionally raise rates every year that a person subscribes through a company, and there are a ton of different fees listed when households get their bill every month. With that in mind, it can be kind-of difficult to keep tabs on what you are paying for, and some customers are suing cable giant Comcast because the company is not transparent about the charges that are getting tacked on to their bills every month.
The lawsuit was filed last week in US District Court in Northern California and features eight plaintiffs from various states, including California, Washington, New Jersey, Illinois, Colorado, Florida, and Ohio. The document notes that Comcast has continually engaged in a "massive scheme" of false advertising with its users. The complaint says that subscribers are sucked in by seemingly low costs and then inexplicable fees are added. These fees include the "Broadcast TV Fee" and the "Regional Sports Fee," which allows Comcast to make an additional billion dollars every year. While Comcast has said these fees help to cover the price increases for Broadcast TV and sports channels, those fees are not included in the listed price. Even more so, after Comcast "invented" the fees, those fees have increased every single year.
For example, the Broadcast TV fee was only $1.50 when it first was added. After price increases happened every 6-12 months thereafter, the fees are $6.50 a month. The sports fee started as a $1.00 charge and has now increased to $4.50. The bigger problem is that these fees can change whenever Comcast wants them to change---even if people are locked into specific one or two-year contracts with the company at a fixed rate.
The complaint, which can be viewed online here, basically summarizes all of the problems, as well, noting that employees will go so far as to lie about why the fees are on the bill.
First, Comcast conceals and misrepresents the fees in its advertising and in its communications with prospective customers. Second, Comcast commits billing fraud by subtracting the invented fees from the top-line service price in its bills and instead hiding and disguising the charges elsewhere in the bill. Third, to any customers who question Comcast about the bogus charges, 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 news comes just a short time after Comcast said it would be introducing another brand new fee, this one called a "Voice Technology Fee" which would cost users an additional $2. We'll see if the company that has been voted "The Worst Company in America" will continue pushing forward with the fees with this lawsuit looming. Although we don't know how this lawsuit will pan out, we don't expect it to change the customer service all that much.