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Comcast billed customers for services, equipment they didn’t order, new lawsuit claims

Minnesota is the latest state to file charges against the Philadelphia-based telecommunications giant.

The Comcast Center at left, Comcast Technology Center at right and Liberty Place in between.
The Comcast Center at left, Comcast Technology Center at right and Liberty Place in between.Read moreDAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer

Comcast fired back at Minnesota officials on Friday after that state’s attorney general filed a suit alleging that the Philadelphia-based telecommunications giant overcharged thousands of subscribers for cable TV packages and failed to deliver $200 prepaid Visa cards that it promised in its promotions.

Attorney General Lori Swanson alleged that Comcast played “hide the ball” on its true prices and charged for unordered equipment and services. Some of those charges included unauthorized home security systems, service protection plans, and modem fees, Swanson said.

“The facts do not support the Minnesota attorney general’s allegations,” Comcast said in a statement. “They’ve raised complaints about matters that date back several years and have largely ignored our efforts to work together to address them.”

The lawsuit seeks restitution, injunctive relief, and civil penalties. Swanson said it took investigators more than two years to prosecute the case because Comcast refused to cooperate.

Comcast disagreed with that assessment and said, “We’d like nothing more than to work collaboratively with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. Bringing a lawsuit on the eve of the end of the AG’s term is simply not in the best interests of Minnesota consumers.”

Comcast settled with the FCC in 2017 for adding unordered merchandise and services to customer bills.

According to the Associated Press, a trial is underway on a similar suit in Washington state and the company agreed last month to issue $950,000 in refunds to more than 20,000 subscribers in Massachusetts.