News Releases

February 20, 2020: District Attorney Jackie Lacey Announces Historic $18.8 Million Settlement with Time Warner Cable Over Internet Speeds

Contact: 
Ricardo Santiago, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey today announced a historic $18.8 million settlement with Time Warner Cable LLC on behalf of more than 170,000 consumers throughout California who paid for internet speeds they did not receive.

It is the largest direct restitution order ever secured by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in a consumer protection lawsuit. The vast majority of the money will be returned to consumers through automatic credits on their monthly cable/internet bills from Spectrum, the parent company of Time Warner Cable, following a May 2016 merger.

“This historic settlement serves as a warning to all companies in California that deceptive practices are bad for consumers and bad for business,” District Attorney Lacey said. “We as prosecutors demand that all service providers – large and small – live up to their claims and fairly market their products. When they don’t, my office will take legal action to protect consumers.”

The lawsuit, filed by the District Attorneys of Los Angeles, San Diego and Riverside counties in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleged unlawful business practices. Specifically, prosecutors accused Time Warner Cable of using misleading advertising practices to lure consumers to pay for high-speed internet services the company could not deliver, beginning in 2013.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Gregory Keosian signed the stipulated final judgment between prosecutors and Time Warner Cable on Feb. 14, 2020.

Under the settlement, $16.9 million in restitution will be distributed directly to eligible customers, based on the type of service they purchased from Time Warner Cable.

Some customers were issued outdated modems, making it impossible for them to receive the higher bandwidth they purchased. Others paid for higher internet speeds that Time Warner’s infrastructure could not deliver. They are eligible to receive approximately $90 in a one-time credit on their cable/internet bills. A few consumers who both were issued outdated modems and paid for higher internet speeds will be eligible to receive approximately $180 in credit. Spectrum must automatically issue credits to all eligible consumers within 60 days.

In addition, all Time Warner Cable internet customers in California will be offered one of two free services. Those who are cable TV subscribers will be offered three free months of Showtime, if they do not already subscribe to Showtime, valued at $45. Customers with only internet services will be offered one free month of an entertainment streaming package, Spectrum Choice, valued at approximately $40. The total value of these free service offers will depend on how many people sign up.

Time Warner Cable also agreed to pay $1.9 million to the three prosecuting agencies in the case to cover costs associated with the investigation and prosecution of this and future consumer protection cases. The amount will be split evenly among the three agencies.

As a result of this lawsuit, Time Warner Cable also agreed to a prohibition on advertising internet speeds it knows or should know it cannot consistently deliver during peak hours. The company also is required to ensure that its customers are issued equipment that can actually deliver advertised speeds.

Time Warner Cable cooperated in the investigation and resolution of this case but did not admit liability.

Deputy District Attorneys Stanley P. Williams, Hoon Chun, Jessie McGrath and Steven Wang of the Consumer Protection Division handled the case on behalf of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.