Comcast Corp. has agreed to pay $50 million in cash and services to settle a 10-year-old class-action lawsuit that alleged the cable operator overcharged customers in the Philadelphia region, according to court documents.
In a filing in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, Comcast said it did not agree with the plaintiffs' assertions of fact and law but would agree to the proposed payments, pending approval by U.S. Judge John R. Padova.
Reuters first reported the settlement.
The first version of the suit was filed in 2003 by a group of Comcast customers who thought the cable giant was misusing its dominant position in the Philadelphia area and other markets. The case eventually was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which failed to certify the class.
The latest version of the suit led to the proposed settlement, which covers customers in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, and Bucks Counties.
Under the proposed settlement agreement, Comcast will provide $16.67 million in cash, as well as services valued at $33.33 million.
The settlement class would be current customers in those five counties or those who subscribed between Jan. 1, 2003, and Dec. 31, 2008, for video programming beyond basic cable. Customers certified to be in the class can have a one-time credit of $15 on their bill or one of these options:
Six free pay-per-view movies (an estimated $35.94 value).
Four months of free upgrade in Internet service for customers who subscribe to Xfinity high-speed Internet service. Four months free upgrade in Internet service from Performance Level to Blast! service (an estimated $40 value), or one free month upgrade from Blast! service to Extreme 105 service (an estimated $38 value).
Two free months of the Movie Channel (an estimated $43.90 value).
Current subscribers who do not choose on their claim form either the $15 bill credit or one of the options will automatically get two free months of the Movie Channel. Class members who are former subscribers will be entitled, upon submission of a valid claim form, to payment of $15 cash. The settlement agreement spells out how customers will be notified.