BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Class action lawsuits are challenging Time Warner Cable's new rental fees for cable modems.
Mark Lands is furious over his latest cable bill. Time Warner Cable has added a new $3.95 charge to lease his cable modem, even though he's had the modem since February. Lands said Time Warner guaranteed no price hikes for two years when he signed his contract.
Lands said, "And they told me, no, if you bundle and you've got an agreed price, your price will stay the same. But then I got my bill three days later, and it went up $3.95."
Several outraged Time Warner Cable customers have class action lawsuits against the cable giant in New York and New Jersey state courts.
Steve Wittels, a lead attorney in the lawsuits, said, "What the company has failed to do is read its own customer agreements. Essentially the customer agreement says, if you are going to have to replace your modem, the company will do it at no charge - that is an exact quote. Time Warner is engaged in a hi-tech fraud with very low-tech methods. They have sent out wholly inadequate notice on a paltry little postcard that most people threw out in the mail."
Time Warner Cable officials tell customers they can avoid the monthly modem fee by buying their own modem, Wittels says that won't work for customers who have bundled digital phone service in with their cable and internet.
"What the company didn't tell you is that if you've got digital phone service, which is what a lot of people have with 'Triple Play,' you can't even use their modem. The companies are not making modems that support the Time Warner service," Wittels said.
Attorneys say when you add up those $3.95 modem charges for all of Time Warner's customers, it amounts to about $500 million a year.
A Time Warner Cable spokesman declined comment on the lawsuits.
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