The complaint for this class action alleges that Comcast Corporation offered some Utah customers “lifetime” subscription rates, but is now going back on that promise and increasing their rates.
The class for this action is all individuals who, within the statute of limitations, entered into a “lifetime” contract with Comcast on which Comcast reneged.
Comcast, under the name Xfinity, offers cable, voice, and Internet services throughout the state of Utah as well as in other locations in the US.
The promise for “lifetime” rates seems to have originated in a period of intense competition with Google’s high-speed, fiber optic data service. In 2016, the complaint says, Google ran “an aggressive and public marketing campaign” in certain cities. Salt Lake City was one of these, with Google salespeople going door-to-door to sign up customers.
In response, Comcast began to send out its own salespeople and offer “lifetime” contracts. The complaint suggests that as many as 20% of Comcast’s more than 200,000 contracts in Utah may be these “lifetime” contracts.
Plaintiff Brian Baker found a flyer for this “lifetime” service at his door on July 11, 2016. The salesperson who left it had written, “Brian, you are under a promotional program—scheduled to go up $60 to over $200 total…” It referenced a price on the flyer of $120 for Comcast’s Extreme Triple Play and added, “This should be your price—and this is not a promotional—this is a lifetime price.” Also, at the bottom of the price list, the salesperson wrote, “(these are not promotional prices—no yearly increases)[.]”
Baker called the salesperson and said he was interested. The salesperson came over the same day and he signed the Service Order the salesperson presented to him. The fine print included the sentence, “The services ordered are subject to the terms and condition on this order, on the reverse side of this order, and in Comcast’s Agreement for Residential Services terms as provided to me at installation or otherwise.”
A few days later, a technician installed new equipment, but did not provide or even refer to any Agreement for Residential Services. Baker is therefore not sure if the terms at the time included an arbitration clause or class action waiver, but if they did, the complaint claims they are null and void.
Comcast has recently been reneging on the “lifetime” rates. Those who complained, the complaint says, “were told by Comcast employees or representatives that Comcast’s ‘lifetime’ plan does not exist in spite of the previous representations by its sales staff and in spite of the numerous written contracts with the ‘lifetime’ language prominently displayed.”
Plaintiff Baker’s bill has gone up by $10 per month; others’ bills have gone up by as much as $50.