Comcast, Time Warner Cable Sued Over Ex-Customer Records

On visits from his corporate superiors at Comcast
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

"I dress the place up to look like a movie studio. I bring all the Winnebagos to the front; I have people pushing sets around, like one of those old Cecil B. DeMille movies. So they come for two days every two, three months, and we look like we're a bustling metropolis, and then we go back to being a regular old business."

Class-action lawsuits have been launched against Comcast and Time Warner Cable alleging the companies collect Social Security numbers, credit card information and other information from customers and retain the data even after cable service is canceled. The plaintiffs say this is a violation of the Cable Communications Policy Act.

The two lawsuits were filed late last week in California federal court. According to the complaint against Comcast, "consumers are unaware that their personally identifiable information is retained indefinitely by Comcast, as Comcast fails to send annual privacy notices informing consumers that Comcast continues to retain their information."

The plaintiffs say that the CCPA requires cable operators to destroy personally identifiable information when it is no longer required for the purpose for which it was collected and that the companies also have privacy disclosure duties.

The lawsuit cites "troubling" issues implicated by the alleged practice, including the risk of identity theft and conversion of personal financial accounts.

Besides CCPA, the proposed class of plaintiffs also asserts violation of California Customer Records Act and breach of implied contract. They are seeking an order that enjoins the cable companies from allegedly unlawful practices as well as liquidated damages. The complaint says the CCPA law allows an individual to collect $100 a day for each day of violation.

TWC declined comment. Comcast hasn't responded yet.


Twitter: @EriqGardner