LOS ANGELES – Time Warner Cable will issue credits to customers valued at nearly $17 million to settle a consumer protection lawsuit stemming from allegations that the company used misleading advertising practices to entice customers to pay for high-speed internet services that it could not deliver, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced Thursday.
The vast majority of the money — which is the largest ever secured by the District Attorney’s Office in such a lawsuit — will be returned to customers within 60 days through automatic credits on their monthly cable/internet bills from Spectrum, the parent company of Time Warner Cable after a May 2016 merger.
The company’s internet customers in California will also be offered a free month of an entertainment streaming package, Spectrum Choice, valued at about $40, while those who are cable TV subscribers will be offered three free months of Showtime, valued at $45, if they don’t already subscribe to it, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
A few customers who both were issued outdated modems and paid for higher internet speeds will be eligible to receive about $180 in credit, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The company — which did not admit or deny fault under the settlement – – also agreed to pay $1.9 million that will be split evenly between the district attorney’s offices from Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego counties, which filed the consumer protection lawsuit.
The district attorneys alleged in the lawsuit that Time Warner advertised and marketed internet services to its customers in California that overstated the speeds it could deliver.
Lacey called the settlement a “warning to all companies in California that deceptive practices are bad for consumers and bad for business.”
“We, as prosecutors, demand that all service providers — large and small — live up to their claims and fairly market their products,” the district attorney said. “When they don’t, my office will take legal action to protect consumers.”