By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More than 30,000 Minnesota Comcast Xfinity customers will receive refunds or debt relief as part of a settlement with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

It all stems from a 2018 lawsuit accusing Comcast of overcharging their customers.

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“We view obtaining compliant behavior from industry as our primary goal,” Ellison said.

For the second time in two weeks, Ellison announced a settlement with a telecommunications company. Comcast Xfinity is accused of overcharging consumers for cable TV packages.

“Comcast hid the full price that people had to pay. Comcast promised gift cards as a perk for signing up that they never delivered. Comcast charged customers for equipment and services the customers never signed up for,” Ellison said.

Comcast is required to pay $1.14 million in refunds under the terms of the settlement, and will send claim forms to all eligible customers.

Attorney General Keith Ellison (credit: CBS)

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The company will also wipe out the debt for about 16,000 customers who were charged an early termination fee after they downgraded or cancelled service while in contract. Ellison says those fees were reported to credit agencies, which messed up some customers’ credit, and made it harder for them to afford their lives.

“I think the monetary amount … it’s kind of a beside-the-point situation. What really matters to us, and I think I speak for all of us, is that they are being held accountable, and they have to know that there are consequences when you’re dishonest with your consumer,” former customer Barb Laporte said.

Comcast responded to the settlement with this statement:

While we disagree with the allegations initially made in the lawsuit, which do not reflect our policies and practices, we agreed to settle because we are committed to partnering with Attorney General Ellison and others who share our commitment to improving the experience of our customers in all respects.

The settlement also requires Comcast to change its advertising practices to disclose the full amount customers will be charged for service.

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The announcement comes one week after Ellison announced a settlement in a lawsuit against CenturyLink.

Reg Chapman