Santa Clara, CA: A consumer fraud class action lawsuit has been filed against Comcast alleging it charges leasing fees to subscribers for cable box modems the consumers personally own.
Filed in Florida federal court, the suit claims that plaintiffs Jon McDougal and David Fiessinger Jr. were billed for fees that they did not owe to Comcast Corp., including cable box leasing fees. The named plaintiffs seek to represent a class of tens of thousands of consumers who were similarly billed fees they didn’t owe Comcast. The suit alleges Comcast has violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
“The billing for these fees is immoral, fraudulent, oppressive, inappropriate and not contemplated by any express or implied agreement between plaintiff and defendant,” the complaint states.
“Plaintiffs contend that Comcast has no right to collect a ‘lease’ on property that it does not own,” the complaint states. “The same problem would be if Comcast tried to collect a ‘lease’ on the houses and cars plaintiffs own or if, for example, Comcast tried to have plaintiffs pay for roof repair at Comcast’s corporate headquarters in Philadelphia.”
The plaintiffs are seeking restitution and disgorgement of Comcast’s related revenues, punitive damages, costs and attorneys’ fees, a summation of which they estimate will total at least $5 million, according to the complaint. Additionally, the complaint asks that Comcast be enjoined from continuing the practices and that it be ordered to engage in a corrective advertising campaign.
The consumers are represented by John B. Patterson and Adam M. Balkan of Balkan & Patterson LLP, Cullin O’Brien of Cullin O’Brien Law PA and Brian Smith of Smith & Vanture LLP.
The case is McDougal et al. v. Comcast Corp., case number 9:16-cv-81906, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.