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Cable giant Comcast has agreed to a $50 million settlement in a class action that accused the company of overcharging its cable TV subscribers.
This case has been bouncing around in court for over 10 years now with plaintiffs alleging that Comcast had monopolized the cable-TV market in Philadelphia and unfairly raised prices. Reuters reports that the suit once covered more than 2 million subscribers, but the settlement reached on Tuesday covers just over 800,000.
What are the details of this Comcast settlement, and when will current and former subscribers see a dime of it?
Preliminary Settlement Still Needs Approval
Plaintiffs in this massive Comcast class action submitted a motion for preliminary approval of the class action settlement to Pennsylvania federal court on Tuesday, which is a necessary step before this initial agreement can go forward. The agreement, which will be evaluated by a federal judge, provides:
Approximately two-thirds the $50 million settlement is set to be provided as services. To that end, Comcast has agreed to the following options for current subscribers:
U.S. District Court Judge John R. Padova can always reject this preliminary settlement, and courts can be distrustful of great-sounding deals coming out of giant corporations.
Settlement Despite U.S. Supreme Court Case
While Reuters reports that the proposed settlement will still cover past and present subscribers in Philadelphia and four nearby counties, the case was more than twice the size two years ago.
In March 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that the class of 2 million former and present Comcast subscribers in this overcharging suit had been improperly lumped together. While many of the Comcast customers who signed on to the lawsuit had similar gripes about the company's practices, the High Court didn't feel they had enough in common to be considered a class.
Although it may have taken more than a decade, some 800,000 Pennsylvania cable TV subscribers may soon receive compensation if the settlement goes through.