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Lawsuit: Comcast reneged on “lifetime” price promised by rep

A man in Utah has filed a federal lawsuit against cable giant Comcast for raising the price of television, Internet and phone service.

Such price hikes are common across the country, but resident Brian Baker said his case — and possibly that of thousands of other customers in Utah — is unique because a Comcast sales representative explicitly told him in writing that the cost of his “triple play” package would never increase for as long as he lived.

The so-called “lifetime” offer was made to Baker in 2016 as Comcast was feverishly competing against Google Fiber, an attractive upstart TV, internet and phone service that serves Salt Lake City and a limited number of other cities across the country.

Baker says a sales representative told him in person and by phone that he could get premium cable television, broadband internet and phone service at the locked in price of $130 a month — a deeply discounted rate compared to similar service offered by Comcast elsewhere.

The icing on the cake for Baker was the sales rep’s promise that the $130 a month rate was not a promotional price: As long as Baker stayed with Comcast, he was locked in to that price for life.

Baker filed documents with his lawsuit that he says proves he was told the rate was locked in for life. But an examination of the documents by The Desk show Baker may have misinterpreted what the salesman wrote.

A promotional brochure filed with the lawsuit shows a Comcast sales rep named Keith told Baker that the $130 a month rate was a “promotion,” and that his service would go up to $200 a month after the promotion ended.

Keith wrote that the $200 a month rate “should be your price — and this is not a promotional [rate], this is a lifetime price.”

(Photo: Court record)

Additional marketing material filed with the lawsuit said the $120 a month service price was for “three years” with a two-year agreement (Baker paid $130 a month overall because of a TV box fee, the material said). And a service order that accompanied Baker’s legal complaint showed the $130 a month rate “plus taxes and fees,” but no guarantee that the rate was locked in for life.

Baker signed the service contract with his initials “BB,” indicating he read the agreement and understood it to be for three years, not a “lifetime.”

Baker is seeking class action status for his lawsuit.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).