Charter Communications, Inc. and Spectrum Management Holding Company LLC are the defendants in a proposed class action removed to federal court in California.
The plaintiff behind the 30-page lawsuit alleges the companies have for years defrauded and misled consumers with regard to the speeds of Spectrum’s residential internet service. According to the complaint, Charter and Spectrum knew they could not possibly deliver the internet speeds promised to consumers yet continued to claim their speeds could reach more than 200 megabits per second. Worse, the defendants also falsely promised proposed class members that they could receive residential internet services without signing contracts, the suit claims.
The suit pegs the defendants’ apparent inability to hold up their end of the bargain on the companies’ insufficient infrastructure, lower-quality modems and routers, and the general overcrowding of Spectrum networks. Rather than admit to customers that they could not provide “blazing-fast” internet speeds, Charter and Spectrum instead continue to advertise internet speeds they can in no way deliver, the lawsuit claims.
“[The defendants] know their advertisements and related statements are false and misleading, and they know they are omitting material information from their representations that would impact consumers' evaluations and purchasing decisions,” the case charges.
All told, the lawsuit claims Charter and Spectrum are aware that consumers will never “reliably achieve” the promised internet speeds, and that most consumers will simply never, at any point, achieve the speeds that are advertised. According to the case, the advertised Spectrum internet speeds are “based on the maximum potential forwiredinternet connections” typically used in environments that are much different from those in which consumers usually utilize the defendants’ internet services. This caveat—that potential Spectrum internet speeds are advertised based on those achieved by a subset of consumers who operate on wired, and not Wi-Fi, connections—is never disclosed in the defendants’ advertising or marketing.
From the lawsuit:
“[The defendants] also intentionally do not disclose that their wireless services are functionally incapable of providing the advertised speeds to consumers in a typical Internet usage environment, and that any consumers who are using a wireless device (e.g., smartphone, tablet, laptop computer) will never come close to achieving the advertised speeds under most conditions and will typically top-out at less than half of the promised Internet speeds.”