California Consumers Amend Complaint in Suit Over Spectrum’s ‘Free’ Internet Modems

A trio of Los Angeles County residents suing Charter Communications Inc. (CCI), which provides internet service nationwide under the brand name Spectrum, argue that the company’s modems are falsely advertised as free. Monday’s complaint is second-filed since the case was originally brought in Los Angeles Superior Court in December 2019.

According to the lawsuit, Spectrum sought to entice new consumers by offering “free” internet modems for use by customers in their homes. Prospective customers could either choose professional installation for more than $50 or self-install, advertised as “quick and easy,” the complaint says.

However, the lawsuit argues that modems are not truly free as CCI charges a one-time self-installation “fee” for new customers, even if they use their own modem paired with CCI service, and secondarily requires some customers to travel to a CCI store to collect the modem themselves. “Defendant misrepresents that the ‘fee’ is being paid in exchange for anything of value – a fact which is not apparent at the point of sale,” the filing explains.

The complaint says that CCI intentionally misrepresents the fee to vie with rivals in the competitive market for home internet service. The complaint seeks to certify two California consumer classes, one consisting of new CCI customers who used their own modem and were charged a $9.99 installation fee and the other consisting of customers who picked up modems from a CCI store and were charged a $9.99 fee.

The lawsuit states claims for negligent/intentional misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and for violation of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act and the California Business and Professions Code.

The plaintiffs are represented by Employee Justice Legal Group PC.