Charter Communications Shells Out $174 Million in Consumer Fraud Settlement
If you’ve ever stared at a computer screen waiting for a web page to load while also sitting on hold with someone from your internet service provider’s customer service team, then you’re well acquainted with how aggravating connectivity problems can be. A recent case out of New York is a good example of the power that state prosecutors have to go after telecom companies that don’t live up to their promises to customers.
The New York Attorney General’s office announced late last year that Charter Communications had agreed to pay more than $174 million to settle consumer fraud charges. The company—and parent Spectrum Management Holding Company—was accused of failing to give customers the internet speed and reliability it promised.
“This settlement should serve as a wakeup call to any company serving New York consumers: fulfill your promises, or pay the price,” then acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood in a statement announcing the agreement. “Not only is this the largest-ever consumer payout by an internet service provider, returning tens of millions of dollars to New Yorkers who were ripped off and providing additional streaming and premium channels as restitution – but it also sets a new standard for how internet providers should fairly market their services.”
Underwood’s office originally sued Charter in 2017, alleging that the company aggressively marketed fast internet speeds—and charged customers more as a result—without delivering on the claims. The company also engaged in “hardball tactics” with Netflix and other streaming service providers, which led to customers experiencing frozen screens, buffering, and other quality issues, according to prosecutors.
Some 700,000 Charter customers are getting refunds totaling $62.5 million under the terms of the settlement. Another 2.2 million customers will get free streaming services and access to premium channels as a result of the deal.
The settlement also requires Charter to make a range of changes to the services the company offers customers. That includes doubling internet speeds and performing regular tests to ensure the faster connections. In advertising, Charter is obligated to describe internet speeds as “wired” and to make clear that wireless speeds may vary based on specific factors.
How a Consumer Law Attorney Can Help You
If you or a loved one has been victimized by consumer fraud, you have the legal right to seek compensation from those responsible. An experienced consumer law attorney can help you explore your options for making fraudsters liable.
That includes potentially starting or joining a consumer class action lawsuit. These lawsuits are typically brought by one or a small group of people, seeking to sue on behalf of a wide range of people who have all been defrauded. They allow fraud victims to leverage their claims and share the burden of bringing the suit.
At Glancy Prongay & Murray, our consumer law attorneys have been representing people for more than two and a half decades. We have a strong track record of success in these cases. Call us at (310) 201-9150 or contact us online to speak with an attorney today.