NEW YORK, NY- New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is taking legal action against Charter Communications, claiming the cable and internet provider failed to deliver on promised internet speeds and reliability.
The lawsuit alleges that claims Charter's subsidiary, Spectrum, (previously known as Time Warner Cable) failed to address network problems that led to slower-than-promised speeds.
At a news conference in Manhattan, Schneiderman accused the company of “ripping off” customers who in some cases paid a premium for higher speed service, which was actually 85 % slower than promised.
“That’s like buying a car which you believed to have a 300 horsepower engine, and driving off the lot with a vehicle puttering along with only 42 horsepower under the hood,” Schneiderman said.
Moreover, Schneiderman not only accused the company “bad performance”, but also operating under “a business plan built on deceit.”
Further, the lawsuit alleges internal e-mails reviewed by his office, reveal that “company executives refused to spend money to improve their process, which they knew was providing "sub-par service”, and accuses the firm of going so far as to “manipulate” a speed test to fool the FCC in to thinking it was delivering the speeds it promised.
“This demonstrates an ongoing plan of deception at the corporate level,” Schneiderman said.
This was not the first time that Schneiderman expressed concern that the company was not delivering what it promised.
Following Connecticut based Charter’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable in 2016, Schneiderman fired a warning shot last summer, by asking Charter to fix service problems which were at the root of what he today said were “thousands” consumer complaints dating back to 2012.
At the time, Schneiderman office concluded that the actual service delivered to customers was “abysmal”, that some of the company's claims about Wi-Fi were technically impossible, and that “Time Warner Cable has earned the miserable reputation it enjoys among consumers,” in a harshly worded letter to the CEO of Charter.
On Wednesday, Schneiderman said with no improvements made after the acquisition by Charter, the company’s motto should be “new name, same fraud.”
The lawsuit seeks compensation for customers.
Charter released this statement:
We are disappointed the NY Attorney General chose to file this lawsuit regarding Time Warner Cable’s broadband speed advertisements that occurred prior to Charter’s merger. Charter made significant commitments to NY State as part of our merger with Time Warner Cable in areas of network investment, broadband deployment and offerings, customer service and jobs. In addition, Charter was among the highest rated broadband providers in the 2016 FCC Broadband Report. Charter has already made substantial investments in the interest of upgrading the Time Warner Cable systems and delivering the best possible experience to customers. We will continue to invest in our business and deliver the highest quality services to our customers while we defend against these allegations involving Time Warner Cable practices.