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Judge Dismisses Hidden Cable Modem Fee Lawsuit Against Comcast

Phillip Dampier January 13, 2012 Comcast/Xfinity, Consumer News, Public Policy & Gov't 4 Comments

Motorola cable modem

A California federal judge has thrown out most of a class action lawsuit that charged Comcast with marketing broadband service plans without disclosing extra fees for cable modem equipment.

The head plaintiff, Athanassios Diacakis, claimed Comcast sold Triple Play promotions over the phone and in the media without mentioning customers would also have to pay additional fees to lease a cable modem.  Diacakis accused the cable operator of violating California’s tough false-advertising laws by not fully disclosing all fees and surcharges while explaining the promotion.

U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong disagreed, however, dismissing most of the plaintiffs claims.  The judge didn’t declare Diacakis’ claims untrue, but ruled they were insufficiently documented to proceed to trial.

“The [amended complaint] fails to specify when or where Comcast advertisements were viewed, the content of those advertisements, or which of them in particular Plaintiff relied upon,” Armstrong wrote.

Diacakis is free to submit an amended complaint if he wishes to proceed with his class action case.

Comcast charges customers $7 a month to lease cable modem equipment, but invites customers to purchase their own cable modems to avoid rental fees.  Many customers do just that, choosing from several dozen approved models Comcast will provision for broadband customers.  The cost to purchase cable modem equipment ranges from $50-125 on average, depending on the cable modem selected.  It takes less than two years for purchased cable modems to effectively pay for themselves at Comcast’s current rental rate.

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Recent Comments:

  • Phillip Dampier: That is a relief. I have WH-DVR service here, mostly so I can watch MSNBC Morning Joe and get annoyed by the always mercurial Joe Scarborough, which i...
  • hillary clinton: if you need a set top box on each tv for $7 my price will go up for that also unless I use a roku stick. $7 x $4 is $28 TWC I only use 1 hd box a...
  • James R Curry: It's also worth noting that in Maxx areas, 50/5 is the same price as 15/1 in non-Maxx areas. So without the Charter buy out, you would have eventuall...
  • Ricardo S: The DVR is treated as an umbrella charge. For example: customer wants 4 DVR's so cost would be 4.99 a piece and one 19.99 DVR service fee. Modem cost ...
  • John: My rates went up so I dropped my cable with the intention of signing up for a streaming service. However, dropping cable caused my 50mbs service to g...
  • Phillip Dampier: You missed my point. Many customers prefer a lower price over faster speed. You started with 50/5Mbps. Most TWC customers choose to pay for 15/1Mbps b...
  • Jk: The article is misleading. You compare the price of 15/1 internet to the price of Charter 60? I have 50/5 from a TW non max area, but I'm paying close...
  • Charles Dennett: Regarding the modem, from what I've heard, Charter includes the price of the modem rental in the price of the Internet access. They don't break it ou...
  • Derpson: Interesting, I have only seen 4megabits/sec advertised as the upload speed. They should be forced to show the upload speed in their advertisements, t...
  • Andy: Thought maybe AT&T and Verizon would consolidate all the land lines in the U.S. at one point. With Verizon shedding systems year after year, I gue...
  • Dan: Fun facts: "Maglan" means "ibis" in Hebrew. Ibises probe mud for crustaceans and maggots. FairPoint's operating margins are among the industry's highe...
  • Josh: Why the heck does this need a $50 "activation" or a "service call"? Isn't it just buying a modem that supports it and swapping it out? It was PAAA...

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