By Mike Dougherty
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Cable TV customers might be in for a refund now that an anti-trust lawsuit against Comcast has been ordered to jury trial by a judge in Philadelphia.
The suit alleges Comcast set up a monopoly in the Philadelphia area and then over charged for cable once competition left town.
Attorney Barry Barnett says Comcast and other companies even agreed to get out of each other’s way.
“AT&T, for example, had systems in Chicago and Philadelphia and swapped for Comcast’s systems in Chicago.”
He says deals like this lead to price gouging. An expert estimates the total at $875 million in over charges since 2000.
Some claims were dismissed by judge John Paradova, including one which said Comcast bought up smaller companies with plans to create a monopoly.
In a statement, Comcast says they are “gratified at the court’s ruling dismissing several of plaintiff’s claims and look forward to defending the smaller claims that remain and to winning a favorable ruling or verdict on those as well.”
No timetable for the trial has been set.
Should the jury eventually rule in favor of the customers, anyone who has had cable from Comcast since 2000 would be eligible to file a claim and damages would be awarded based on how long the customer was a Comcast subscriber.