Seattle-area telecommunications provider Wave will pay $900,000 to more than 23,000 customers across Washington, Oregon, and California for failing to disclose taxes and fees in bills and advertising.
Wave did not show the full amount of taxes and fees until purchase confirmation emails, and used deceptive advertising for flat-rate cable packages, according to an investigation by the Washington Attorney General’s Office.
Wave negotiated a settlement with the state as part of a consent decree. The investigation into Wave is part of Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s Honest Fees Initiative that led to CenturyLink paying $6.1 million in 2019; Frontier paying $900,000 last year; and Charter Communications paying nearly $1 million last year. Comcast also paid a $9.1 million fine in 2019 for violating Washington state’s Consumer Protection Act.
Wave is also now required to submit compliance reports to the AG’s office, and disclose all taxes and fees during online purchases and in its advertising.
Wave did not clearly disclose all taxes and fees to customers. Our Honest Fees Initiative encourages you to check your bills. If you believe they contain hidden fees, file a complaint with our office here: https://t.co/mnNrxGRM7p Read more about Wave: https://t.co/w87OQQnTpU pic.twitter.com/WAzyvVZ1CT
— Washington State Attorney General (@AGOWA) March 11, 2021
The settlement affects Wave subscribers who used Wave from January 2016 to mid-2018. Wave will send bill credits to customers. Those who are no longer Wave customers are encouraged to contact the AG’s office.
“Wave told customers they would pay one price, and then turned around and billed them a higher price,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Nobody likes hidden fees. The extra money that comes out of the consumer’s pocket every month adds up. Moreover, businesses deserve a level playing field. When shopping for services, Washingtonians must be able to make informed choices by comparing actual prices.”
Wave declined to comment. The company serves more than 455,000 residential and business customers.
Wave was acquired by TPG Capital and combined with RCN Telecom Services in a $2.36 billion deal in 2018. Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners said in November that it will acquire Astound Broadband, which operates Wave, from TPG Capital for $8.1 billion.
Editor’s note: Wave Business is a GeekWire sponsor.