TCI refunds $8.7 mil in settlement

Tele-Communications Inc. has agreed to refund $8.7 million to some 4.6 million subscribers to settle overcharge allegations against the cable TV giant stemming from FCC price controls on cable rates.

Under the proposed settlement, TCI customers will receive a one-time $1.90 refund, plus interest, that will be credited to one of the monthly cable bills sent during the first quarter of 1996. The proposal settles 1,983 rate overcharge complaints pending against TCI, the nation’s largest cable multisystem operator.

The settlement allows TCI to move up to four programming networks to a single migrated product tier on each of the TCI franchises. Rates for the migrated product tier will be regulated only until May 15,1997.

By agreeing to the refunds, TCI said it does not admit that it was overcharging its customers for cable service.

Separately, the FCC also announced Oct. 30 that Cablevision Industries has agreed to refund $625,000 to about 400,000 customers to settle overcharge allegations. Most of the customers are in the Columbia, S.C., area.

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