if you were an Optimum or Suddenlink Communications internet and/or television customer who paid a “Network Enhancement Fee,” a “Network Access Surcharge,” a “Broadcast Station Programming Surcharge,” and/or a “Sports Programming Surcharge,” you may be eligible to receive a cash payment. You must file a claim form by September 5, 2023, to receive a cash payment.
WHAT IS THIS CASE ABOUT?
Consumers filed a class action lawsuit saying that Altice USA, Inc. violated state consumer protection laws when it advertised and promised a particular flat monthly rate for its broadband internet and television services under its Optimum and Suddenlink Communications brands but then charged customers certain additional fees. Specifically, the consumers who filed the lawsuit argue that internet customers were charged a Network Enhancement Fee or Network Access Surcharge, and TV customers were charged a Broadcast Station Programming Surcharge and/or a Sports Programming Surcharge. The plaintiffs say that these fees were inadequately disclosed and improperly raised customers’ rates, even during promised fixed-rate promotional periods or contracts. The defendants in the case (Altice, Cebridge Telecom CA, LLC d/b/a Suddenlink Communications and Optimum, and CSC Holdings, LLC d/b/a Optimum) deny any liability or wrongdoing. The court has not decided the case or whether the plaintiffs or the defendants are right.
WHO IS INCLUDED?
If you received an email notice of this settlement, Altice’s records indicate you likely are a Class Member who is eligible for a cash payment under the Settlement. You are eligible if you subscribed to Optimum or Suddenlink broadband Internet service and/or television service between July 27, 2018 and May 5, 2023 and paid a Network Fee and/or a TV Fee.
WHAT DOES THE SETTLEMENT PROVIDE?
If approved by the court, the Settlement releases the claims of all Class Members related to the lawsuit and Class Members acknowledge that Altice can continue to charge and adjust the amounts of the Network Fee and TV Fees going forward. In exchange, the defendants will establish a Settlement Fund valued in the amount of up to $15,000,000 (depending upon the number of valid claims filed). Class Members who file valid claims will receive one of the following amounts:
- If you paid a Network Fee and a TV Fee during the Class Period and are a current customer of Defendants you shall receive $27.50;
- If you paid a Network Fee and a TV Fee during the Class Period and are a former customer of Defendants you shall receive $20.00;
- If you paid a TV Fee only during the Class Period and are a current customer of Defendants you shall receive $15.00;
- If you paid a Network Fee only during the Class Period and are a current customer of Defendants you shall receive $12.50;
- If you paid either a Network Fee or TV Fee during the Class Period and are a former customer of Defendants you shall receive $10.00.
These amounts will be decreased on a pro-rata basis if the Settlement Fund is not sufficient to pay all claims after deducting any court-approved amounts for the cost of settlement administration (up to $1,300,000), attorneys’ fees and costs, and incentive awards to the class representatives. The deadline to submit a claim is September 5, 2023.
YOUR OTHER OPTIONS
If you don’t want to make a claim, and don’t want to be bound by the settlement and any judgment in this case, you must send a written request to exclude yourself from the settlement, postmarked no later than September 25, 2023. If you exclude yourself, you won’t get a payment through this settlement. If you don’t exclude yourself, you may object to the settlement or to the requests for incentive awards to the named Plaintiffs and for an award of fees and costs to the attorneys representing the Class. The detailed Long Form Notice, available at www.OptimumSuddenlinkFeeSettlement.com, explains how to exclude yourself or object. The Court will hold a hearing in the case— Seale et al. v. Altice USA, Inc. et al, Docket No. MER-L-618-23, in the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey, Mercer County in Trenton, New Jersey—on October 13, 2023 at 9:30 A.M., to consider whether to approve: (1) the settlement; (2) attorneys’ fees and costs not to exceed 33.33% (i.e., $4,999,500); and (3) incentive awards totaling $80,000 for the eight class representatives who represented the Class in this case (i.e., $10,000 each). You may appear at the hearing, but you don’t have to. The Court has appointed attorneys (called “Class Counsel”) to represent the Class. These attorneys are listed in the detailed Long Form Notice. You may hire your own attorney to appear for you, but you will have to pay that attorney.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
For more information, visit www.OptimumSuddenlinkFeeSettlement.com or call 1-833-549-9657