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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 2 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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