Comcast hit with $9 million penalty – largest trial award ever for Washington Attorney General

Comcast hit with $9 million penalty – largest trial award ever for Washington Attorney General
© 2019 Cox Media Group.

By: KIRO 7 News Staff

The Washington Attorney General’s Office says thousands of Comcast customers paid for services they did not receive.

A judge agreed and hit the cable giant with a $9 million penalty.

Content Continues Below

Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s Office calls this the largest trial award ever. But what does this mean for you the consumer?

First let’s take a look at what the lawsuit was about. It’s about a five or so dollar charge called the Service Protection Plan.

The Attorney General filed the case back in 2016 and he amended it in 2017. Ferguson argued in part that thousands of Washingtonians were charged for the Service Protection Plans without their permission.

For a monthly fee, customers received protection against charges for service appointments to diagnose and repair installed in-home wiring.

It was ruled today in King County Superior Court that Comcast added the charge to 30,000 customers without their consent. Another 18,000 were not told the true cost of the plan.

“We’re pleased that the Court ruled in our favor on several of the Attorney General’s key claims and awarded less than five percent of what he was seeking in damages,” Comcast spokesman Andy Colley said in a statement. “The Judge recognized that any issues he did find have since been fully addressed by Comcast through the significant investments we have made in improving the customer experience and consent process, and that throughout Comcast acted in good faith.

“We will continue to make significant investments in how we serve our customers because it is the right thing to do and are fully committed to our customers in Washington.”

Ferguson lost the 2016 part of the case against the company. That was about the way those service plans were marketed. The judge also said what Comcast did was not part of its policy.

So what’s next? Over the next couple of months, both sides will try to come up with a number for restitution.

When we find out what it is – and how customers can get their refunds – we will let you know.