Comcast Lawsuit: Everything You Need to Know
Comcast is a large cable television company providing cable TV, broadband Internet, and landline telephone under the brand name Xfinity. Part of Comcast Corporation, the company has been particularly successful in lobbying its interests, which allowed it to secure monopoly power despite inefficient governance and utter customer dissatisfaction.
Namely, according to 2004 and 2007 surveys by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), Comcast had the worst customer satisfaction rating of all other companies and government agencies in the United States. ACSI report noted that customer satisfaction continued to decrease (7% annual decrease) along with a 12% increase in the revenues of the company.
The Consumerist that ran readers polls to name the most hated company in America showed the same sentiments towards Comcast. The website gave the “Worst Company in America” award to Comcast twice, in 2010 and 2014.
The customers are so disappointed with Comcast services and the lack of reaction to the complaints that they have even set up a dedicated website where clients are invited to “share their nightmare.” Many dissatisfied customers would like to protect their rights in court, but the well-thought-out Customer Agreement and lack of legal knowledge make many refrain from filing a lawsuit. What is more, some advocates discouraged from suing Comcast, saying that Comcast can afford many lawyers, and a dispute will be too expensive for an individual to handle.
Still, suing Compact is not only possible but also easy. You will find everything you need to know about Comcast lawsuits in this article.
Can you file a lawsuit against Comcast?
The Comcast Agreement for Residential Services clearly states that any disputes involving a customer and the company should be resolved through individual arbitration. This means that all the customers that agree to the agreement and do not opt-out of arbitration cannot sue Comcast in court.
If they still do, like in the case of Kristian v. Comcast Corp., where the subscriber sued the company for inflating the service prices, Comcast invokes the arbitration agreement and moves to compel arbitration in response to the claims filed against it. The corporation has successfully won many such cases proving that:
- it sends Agreements to all the customers as part of its business practice
- “any dispute” falls within the scope of the arbitration provision, which is clearly stated in the Agreement
- a customer cannot fail to notice or understand any of the arbitration clauses, as they are clearly written and generously presented in bold and capital letters
- a customer is given a clear alternative and the right to opt out of the arbitration clause.
Comcast does provide the right to opt out, saying that if you do not agree to have your disputes with Comcast arbitrated. You should inform them of your wish in writing within 30 days of first Xfinity service activation choosing of the two options:
- visiting www.xfinity.com/arbitrationoptout and filling out the provided form
- writing by mail to Comcast 1701 John F Kennedy Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19103-2838, ATTN: Legal Department/Arbitration
If you opt out in time, you will have the right to file a class-action lawsuit against Comcast, but you will unlikely find many other customers who were just as attentive and farsighted.
Another alternative to arbitration is provided with the right to sue in small claims court, granted in the Agreement. There are only two limitations to small claim lawsuits the Agreement mentions:
- the claim should not be aggregated with the claim of any other person;
- the amount in controversy should be within the jurisdiction of the small claims court.
Thus, you can sue Comcast only if you opt out of arbitration within 30 days using the mentioned channels or if you file a small claims lawsuit. DoNotPay can help with suing Comcast in the small claims court. Download the free iOS app or use it directly in your web browser, and the app will guide you through the entire process, saving you a lot of time and alleviating confusion.
What you need to know about class-action and small-claims lawsuits against Comcast
A class-action lawsuit is a lawsuit filed by a “class” of plaintiffs – people negatively affected by the same harmful or otherwise unlawful action of a Defendant. Class actions may be filed by hundreds or even thousands of people and, thus, are common practice in cases over defective products, employment-related issues, stockholder claims, and unfair business practices.
Class-action lawsuits are very convenient for protecting customer rights for a number of reasons:
- People can share the expenses and delegate a representative rather than going to the court themselves;
- All the people who may be impacted by the same case are sent a Notice of Class Action, which automatically makes them belong to the class too. This helps to protect the rights of all affected customers event if they have not been aware they have been suing the company. As a result, the business is compelled to change the practices.
Since the vast majority of Comcast customers automatically accept the individual arbitration clause when receiving the Customer Agreement, the corporation is protected against a class-action lawsuit. Still, you can sue Comcast in small claims court.
Small claims court offers a simple and cost-effective way to settle disputes over a limited amount of money (between $5,000 and $10,000; find information about small claims court limits for your state here). Trials in small claims courts are less formal, and individuals don’t need to hire attorneys to represent their rights.
DoNotPay reduces suing Comcast in a small claims court to several simple steps:
- Download DoNotPay’s free app for the iPhone or use it in your web browser,
- Make sure your claims qualify for a small case court (the claim is within a dollar limit and seeks monetary relief, not a specific action from Compact),
- DoNotPay generates a demand letter to Comcast and fills out the correct forms to submit to your state’s small claims court. Your task is only to send them!
- Show up to your court date against Comcast and use DoNotPay’s prompts to speak in court.
Notable Comcast lawsuits
Paying the Thieves’ Bills
Elizabeth O’Neil filed a putative class action against Comcast, accusing it of improper protection of her personal information.
O’Neil used Xfinity wireless internet at home. In November 2017, she was notified that her Xfinity account was charged for several cell phones shipped to various addresses in the U.S. – a purchase she never knew about. Obviously, O’Neil’s personal and payment information had been stolen. The lack of any security measures allowed identity thieves to access her accounts and purchase cell phones.
The U.S. District Court ruled O’Neil to bring the claims in individual arbitration in accordance with the subscriber agreement she signed.
Do you remember signing the contract?
In the case of Strange v. Comcast Corp., Clinton Strange, the Plaintiff, opposed Comcast’s motion to compel arbitration and litigation. The Plaintiff did not consider he entered any arbitration agreement with Comcast, because he did not remember either signing an initial agreement or getting an updated version of it.
However, the court satisfied Comcast’s motion, as Louisiana law does not require an arbitration agreement to be signed. What is more, according to the court ruling, the Plaintiff demonstrated the receipt of the agreement and his consent to it by paying the bill, to which the agreement had been attached, and continuing to use the service.
Success in the small claims court
The story of Wayne, former Comcast customer, begins with never getting a working signal. After multiple visits of Comcast technicians, which made no change to the signal quality, Wayne refused to pay Comcast for the services and canceled the services.
As it turned out later, Comcast continued to expect the payments and marked them as overdue, which damaged Wayne’s credit rate and made him pay more for refinancing his house. Filing the lawsuit to the small claims court, the plaintiff has managed to receive compensation for the original damage plus five percent annual interest and costs.
What small-claims lawsuits you can file against Comcast
As has been noted earlier, small claims courts resolve small monetary issues. Thus, whatever the reason for suing is, you need to establish that you suffered a monetary loss and claim for compensation, which is within the jurisdiction of the small claims courts. In fact, the most common lawsuits against Comcast meet these requirements. Here is what you can sue Comcast for.
Sue Comcast for unreliable services and product failures
The reviews talking about permanent product failures and slow internet are common on the Xfinity forums. Customers face inconveniences about the frequent replacement of boxes and modems that no longer work. Internet or HD channels seem to be not available when they are most anticipated.
If you receive an unreliable service or it takes too long for Comcast technicians to repair the products (cables, modems, security devices, etc.), you can file a claim in small claims court.
Sue Comcast for false advertising
Comcast is notorious for its false advertising and hidden fees practices. In 2017, the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) ruled that Comcast should stop claiming it “delivers the fastest Internet in America.” When they talk customers into subscribing, Comcast sales reps offer gift cards, which are never delivered, or a free first month, which is still charged to your account.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, you have a good case to bring to the court. Thus, remember to document any offer you receive from Comcast and its fraudulent charges.
Sue Comcast for hidden fees and overcharging
Here are some hidden fees Xfinity customers are not aware of until they subscribe to cable or internet services.
|Broadcast TV Fee||$8.00 per month|
|Regional Sports Fee||$6.75 per month|
|Self-Installation Kit||Up to $29.95|
|DVR Service Fee||$10.00 per month|
|HD Technology Fee||$9.95 per month|
|HBO® Subscription||$15.00 per month|
|Starz®, SHOWTIME®, or Cinemax® Subscription||$12.00 each per month|
|Data Overage Fee||$10.00 per 50 GB|
|Late Payment Fee||$10.00|
It is also common for Comcast to charge for service calls and technicians visits after promising not to do so. For example, Tim Davis managed to prove that the charge of $82 for the service call not valid only after providing the recording of the prior call with Comcast, in which he was clearly told he would not be charged for it.
The scope of Comcast’s deceptive trade practices is so great that Attorneys General of Minnesota, Washington state, and Massachusetts sued Comcast for overcharging, charging customers for unordered equipment and services, and failure to deliver the promised Visa gift cards.
Sue Comcast for not disconnecting the service upon your request
If you are dissatisfied with the service, you may request to cancel your subscription. Such a simple move is not really simple with Comcast. First, it might be difficult to make the company accept your appeal. For example, one of the customers recorded a 20-min-long chat with customer support, which refused to disconnect the service despite the customer’s firm request. Second, you risk having your name changed to ‘a**hole’ or ‘dummy’ in emails and customer pages, and bills.
More than that, the company may continue to charge you for the service you no longer get. Some customers are not even aware the company continues to charge them regular fees after service cancellation. Thus, you can be harassed by collectors or have your credit rate damaged. In all these cases, you can protect your rights and get a judgment.
Sue Comcast for property damage
Product installation may cause much damage to your property. The most cited cases are damage to sewage pipes and sprinkler systems by technicians who bury the cables. Technicians were also reported to ruin the yard and break the plants. In some cases, customers find out their outlets no longer work after TV installation, or their TV doesn’t work after the installation of a router.
Damage claims can all be easily handled if you collect the necessary proofs and file a small court lawsuit against Comcast.
What else can DoNotPay help with?
With DoNotPay, you can easily:
- Beat speeding tickets
- Appeal parking tickets
- Sue companies in small claims court
- Get an appointment with the DMV faster
- Cancel any service or subscription
- Set up a virtual credit card so you can sign up for free trials without getting charged when they expire
- Reach a human customer service representative without waiting on hold
|Can you file a lawsuit against Comcast?||You can sue Comcast in small claims court or use individual arbitration.|
|What you need to know about class-action and small-claims lawsuits against Comcast||Class-action courts are more convenient when many customers are affected by the same harmful or unlawful activity, but Comcast’s Customer Agreement makes it protected against a class-action lawsuit.
You can sue Comcast in a small-claims court if certain conditions are met. DoNotPay makes this process much easier.
|Notable Comcast lawsuits||Comcast has managed to compel arbitration in almost all cases, even if plaintiffs sued the company for non-service-related issues (lack of protection of personal information) or did not sign the agreement. A case against Comcast has been won in a small-claims court.|
|What small-claims lawsuits you can file against Comcast||You can sue Comcast for unreliable services, product failures, false advertising, hidden fees and overcharging, harassment, credit damage, and property damage.|
|DoNotPay can also help with other legal matter||DoNotPay can help you sue companies in small-claims court, beat parking and speeding tickets, get an appointment with the DMV faster, contact customer service/|