The FTC has launched a civil case against Comcast that accuses the company of deceiving consumers into believing its cable TV service is free when it is not.
The FTC alleges that the cable giant deceived consumers into thinking that its TV service was free by promising that it would not charge for additional channels and content.
The suit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
Comcast, in its own complaint, said that it was not misleading consumers.
“The plaintiffs claim that Comcast failed to adequately explain the nature and extent of its cable television program obligations and, in addition, did not inform consumers that the Commission had not made any determination that it owed fees or other obligations to cable operators for the use of its network of television stations and related programming,” Comcast said in the complaint.
Comcast’s complaint says that it also did not notify consumers that it may have to refund them fees for the Comcast TV service, but that it did notify them in the form of a cancellation notice.
Comcast said it has not received any settlement offers.
Comcast has a history of suing consumers over cable service and broadband internet service.
In a recent case against the company, a federal judge found that Comcast’s cable TV network is not subject to the Communications Act’s definition of “common carrier,” meaning that Comcast is not required to offer a separate set of services to consumers.
The judge also ruled that Comcast had violated antitrust laws by failing to sell the Comcast Sports Network and other services at a competitive price.
Comcast filed its lawsuit in December, saying that it had not been obligated to provide additional services in the way that it promised, and that the Comcast cable TV program was not “free.”
The suit says that Comcast misled consumers into purchasing its cable service at a “discount” price, and has charged them fees that have exceeded what it was legally required to pay for cable services.
Comcast told the court that it paid the fees for services that Comcast would have charged if the Commission hadn’t ordered it to pay those fees.
The lawsuit also alleges that cable companies were not providing their cable television networks and other content at a price that consumers would have paid for it, and are not offering a level playing field to competitors that they were legally required under the Communications Acts to provide.