Comcast continues aggressive bill at will tactics against customers, Minnesota attorney general says

by Steve Blum • ,

Comcast deceived thousands of customers in Minnesota, according to a complaint filed last month by the state’s attorney general’s office. It’s a familiar story: customers are lured in by impossibly low prices that aren’t honored, and by additional fees for services that customers didn’t order and that no one thought to mention.

According to a story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune by Torey Van Oot, a major problem is that Comcast’s phone representatives – who don’t have a sterling reputation to begin with – can’t be trusted…

The complaint outlines practices and communications that state prosecutors say put Comcast afoul of Minnesota’s consumer protection laws against deception and fraud. Those actions include quoting a fixed price and then charging another, much higher rate and signing consumers up for new services or products without their permission.

Those hikes often come in the form of added fees that [then-attorney general Lori Swanson] said can boost a customer’s quoted package price by upward of 30 percent…

Barbara Laporte saw her bill jump from $107 to $143 a month between 2016 and 2018, even though she thought she was signing up for a fixed two-year rate. During one 2016 customer service call released by Swanson’s office, a representative repeatedly assures Laporte that she will receive the lower price of $107.38, even “after taxes and equipment.”

Comcast’s response was typical. Instead of addressing the corporate practices and policy at the root of the problem, the company issued a general denial and oiled squeaky wheels by addressing a few of the individual complaints.

Since the lawsuit was filed, Swanson was replaced as attorney general by former congressman Keith Ellison. All mention of the case, including the original press release, has disappeared from the attorney general office’s website. Presumably, the case will be pursued, despite the changing of the guard, but that’s yet to be confirmed.