Cable Companies Under Fire For Service

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Cable Companies Under Fire For Service

Mon Jun 09, 2008 @ 10:48AM PST

Posted by Eriq Gardner

Tvset The past week hasn't been too kind to cable companies. A couple of heavies, Time Warner and Comcast, are now under attack for the services they provide to customers, the promises they make, and shoddy customer care.

First, the city of Los Angeles has announced it is suing Time Warner for tens of millions of dollars for engaging in "unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business acts and practices and deceptive advertising."

According to the lawsuit, Time Warner customers have received bad service and were billed for services they did not receive. The cable company allegedly promoted a guaranteed price package for a cart of channels and then removed some, including Animal Planet and Turner Classic Movies, unless subscribers paid a premium. The city also says that quality of cable delivery was "intermittent and inferior."

Meanwhile, Comcast is being sued in Illinois county court for promising customers "unfettered access to the Internet" and then cutting off cable internet service due to peer-to-peer file sharing breaches. The complaint contends that the company engages in geographical discrimination, sometimes slowing down an entire neighborhood's access to the Internet due to a particular user's file-sharing, and that the company "never disclosed to their subscribers or potential subscribers that they blocked, delayed, slowed, or otherwise impeded Internet access."

Cable companies have signaled an increased willingness to do something about entertainment piracy in the past year, and one can expect more class actions like this one to come.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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