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Suit Claims Comcast Overcharged Millions

February 6, 1996

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Cable television provider Comcast Corp. was accused Monday of overcharging its customers a few pennies each month and pocketing the millions of dollars in change.

The complaint filed Monday in federal court in Tallahasse claims the company has collected more than the 5 percent franchise fee it is allowed to charge customers.

``They have kind of bled their customers pretty severely for a long time, certainly in the tens of millions and maybe more than a hundred million dollars,″ said Jim Smith, a former Florida attorney general and one of the lawyers who filed the complaint.

Comcast spokeswoman Connie Scholz said Monday the company had not seen the suit and could not comment.

The suit seeks class-action status to represent the company’s 3.5 million customers nationwide in 15 states. It was filed on behalf of Russell Owens of Leon County, Fla., and Robert Johns of Perry, Fla.

The overcharge amounts to pennies a month for each customer, the complaint says. It claims the company included the franchise fee and the federal regulatory fee when it calculates the franchise fee charge.

In an example included in the suit, the franchise fee was $1.17 on a $23.44 monthly bill. The complaint claims the fee should have been $1.11, or six cents less.

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