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Massachusetts goes after Comcast's Hidden Fees

Comcast forced to pay refunds after its hidden fees hurt customers’ credit

AG: Comcast tricked customers into long-term contracts, then raised bills 40%

Comcast has agreed to pay $700,000 in refunds "and cancel debts for more than 20,000 Massachusetts customers" to settle allegations that it used deceptive advertising to promote long-term cable contracts, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey;[url=][/url] "Comcast stuck too many Massachusetts customers with lengthy, expensive contracts that left many in debt and others with damaged credit," Healey said.

Comcast advertised a $99 lock-in rate "but did not adequately disclose equipment costs and mandatory monthly fees" that would add to monthly bills, and "failed to adequately disclose that the fees could increase while the customer was locked into the long-term contract," the AG investigation found.

As a result, customers entered long-term contracts that they could not afford; the inadequately disclosed fees typically raised customers' bills by 40 percent over the advertised price, the AG said.

"These customers were required to pay early termination fees of up to $240 to cancel long-term contracts, even when they downgraded Comcast services to a more affordable monthly package," the announcement said. 

The settlement requires Comcast to improve the disclosures it makes to customers before they sign long-term contracts. "Comcast must disclose the existence of additional fees in all advertisements, and train sales representatives to disclose true monthly service prices to customers before they enter long-term contracts," the AG's office said.

Companies are required to give customers "clear information about the products and services they buy," Healey said. "This settlement should encourage the entire cable and telecommunications industry to take a close look at their advertisements and make sure customers are getting a fair offer."

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