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Comcast Can't Erode Your Legal Rights With Fine Print
by Karl Bode 04:50PM Friday Sep 07 2007
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Comcast recently changed their TOS to state that customers could no longer sue Comcast or be involved in a class action lawsuit against the company. Instead, the mouseprint indicated that customers would be forced to take part in arbitration, an out-of-court process handled by a company employed by Comcast, who may or may not have your best interests at heart.

As we told you at the time, Comcast did quietly alert customers, allowing users thirty days to opt out of the restriction at this URL. Unfortunately for Comcast, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the class action prohibition is "unconscionable," and therefore cannot be enforced. From the opinion (pdf) issued this week:
"Here, based on the totality of circumstances, we conclude the Comcast class action waiver is unconscionable to the extent it prohibits the subscribers from bringing a class action alleging state law claims based on a violation of the Cable Act’s franchise fee provisions, 47 U.S.C. § 542. Because the class action waiver cannot be severed from the Agreement, the entire arbitration provision is rendered unenforceable."
AT&T recently tried the same thing with fine print in their wireless contracts and was likewise slapped down by the courts.

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