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November 20, 2012 Eric Tuchmann General Counsel American Arbitration Association 1633 Broadway, 10TH FLOOR New

York, NY 10019-6708 Re: Nathan Friedman v. Comcast, Case No: 16 420 00601 12. Dear Mr. Tuchmann: I wish to bring to your attention an unsettling experience I had representing a client who, in accord with his Comcast Agreement for Residential Services (Comcast Agreement), attempted to use the American Arbitration Associations (AAA) consumer arbitration procedures. With the understanding that the Comcast Agreement requires Comcast to pay all arbitration filing fees and arbitrators costs and expenses, my client, Nate Friedman, filed an appropriate claim with the AAA, and in accord with the Comcast Agreement, requested that Comcast advance the initial filing fees and costs. To our disappointment, Comcast has refused to pay the fees required. Equally disappointing, however, has been the AAAs tepid response to Comcasts failure to pay. According to the AAA, if my client does not advance the fees that should have been paid by Comcast, than the AAA will close the file. This response is so weak and so contrary to the spirit and construction of the AAAs own Supplementary Rules for Consumer Related Disputes, that any further failure to take immediate and decisive action against Comcast threatens to undermine the fairness and integrity of consumer arbitration and the AAA itself. Factual Backgrond Nate Friedman was a student at the University of Virginia. Upon the conclusion of his studies, he terminated his cable service with Comcast, returned the cable box and moved to the District of Columbia to commence a new job. Unfortunately, Comcast failed to properly note the return of his cable box. Despite repeated efforts to correct this error, Comcast ultimately placed Nates account in collection, reported his account delinquent to credit agencies and hired a collection agency to collect on a purported debt of $432.23, or the cost of the unreturned equipment. When further efforts with both the collection agency and Comcast failed to resolve the issue, Nate consulted an attorney. Pursuant to Section 13 of the Binding Arbitration provisions of the Comcast Agreement our office initiated an arbitration proceeding pursuant to the terms of the Agreement by opening a case with the American Arbitration Association - Case Filing Services, 1101 2401 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 410, Washington, D.C. 20037

P 202.293.4175 | F 202.318.0395 |

Laurel Oak Road, Suite 100, Voorhees, NJ 08043, 877-493-4185, under the Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association AAA. The complaint sought damages under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the DC Consumer Protection Procedures Act (D.C. Code 28-3901 through 28-3912 (CPPA), and Virginia Unfair and Deceptive Practices Act (Va Code Ann. 59.1-196 through 59.1-207). In addition to statutory damages under the FDCPA, the CPPA permits the recovery of punitive damages, treble damages and attorneys fees. Virginias unfair and deceptive trade act provisions similarly provide for treble damages and attorneys fees. With the complaint amounts exceeding the jurisdictional limits of the small claims court, as well as the comfort of the Comcast promise to advance all arbitration filing fees, Nate availed himself of the mandatory arbitration provisions of the Comcast Agreement. See Friedman v. Comcast, Case No. 16 420 00601 12. Attached hereto as Exhibit A The Comcast Agreement Arbitration Clause Section 13(h) of the Comcast Agreement details in bold type that COMCAST WILL ADVANCE ALL ARBITRATION FILING FEES AND ARBITRATORS COSTS AND EXPENSES UPON YOUR WRITTEN REQUEST GIVEN PRIOR TO THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE ARBITRATION. The full text of the Comcast Agreement and Section 13(h) is available on line at: In addition, the AAAs Supplementary Rules for Consumer Related Disputes limits the fees to be paid by consumers in consumer disputes such as this. Although not easy to locate, the schedule of fees can be found on the AAAs website: oop=1557603836055693&_afrWindowMode=0&_afrWindowId=12wa2f7cic_1#%40%3 F_afrWindowId%3D12wa2f7cic_1%26_afrLoop%3D1557603836055693%26doc%3DA DRSTG_015806%26_afrWindowMode%3D0%26_adf.ctrl-state%3D12wa2f7cic_53 The AAAs Administration of the Instant Claim On October 26, 2012, the AAA notified Comcast of the Nates Demand for Arbitration, noting that a material term of the Comcast Agreement was the provision requiring arbitration by the American Arbitration Association. The AAA also noted that this action fit under the AAAs Supplementary Procedures for Consumer-Related Disputes, and pursuant to Section C-8 of Consumer Rules Fee Schedule, Comcast was required to pay $1025 to AAA. See Exhibit B (attached hereto). Comcast had until November 9, 2012 to pay the filing fees. Quite remarkably, however, the AAAs letter also states if full payment of the fees is not made the AAA may decline to administer this matter. Further, in a statement that would appear to be completely contrary to the terms of the Comcast Agreement and the

spirit of the AAAs own Consumer Rules, the AAA informed Nate that if Comcast failed to pay the required fees, Nate had the option to do so, thereby allowing [the AAA] to proceed with the administration of this case. To date, Comcast has refused to pay the arbitration fees it was required to pay. On November 13 the AAA informed the parties that [s]hould [Comcast] not comply with our request to adhere to our policy regarding consumer claims, we may decline to administer any other consumer disputes involving this business and request that the business remove the AAA name from its arbitration clause so that there is no confusion to the public regarding our decision. In the same breath, however, the AAA again inquired whether Nate would advance the $1025 to allow the proceeding to continue. In the event fees remained unpaid by either party, the AAA made clear it would close the case and send a letter to both parties indicating that the case had to close because the business did not pay the AAA fees. See Exhibit C (attached hereto). The AAAs Need to Strongly Repudiate Comcast Comcasts failure to pay the arbitration filing fees certainly goes to the unfairness and duplicity of the promises Comcast makes in the Comcast Agreement. But what is equally disturbing about this matter is the AAAs meek response to Comcasts failure to pay. For one, there can be no doubt Comcasts failure to pay violates Comcasts own promise to pay the filing fees of any claim that utilizes the services of the AAA. Second, Comcasts failure to pay, violates the AAAs own due process requirements for the administration of consumer claims. By failing to even minimally enforce the Supplementary Rules for Consumer Related Disputes and the limitation of filing fees incorporated within those terms, AAA has undermined the credibility of its own promises to consumers. The AAAs mere suggestion to Comcast that if it fails to pay the fees then the AAA will consider removing Comcast from its arbitration list is simply not enough. The inconclusiveness of this statement lets Comcast unilaterally determine the scope of its arbitration clause. The AAAs escape clause gives Comcast every incentive to do nothing. By not paying the fees, there is no arbitration proceeding. The consumer can be forced into arbitration, only to find that the process itself is completely illusory. Comcasts position in this case, and the AAAs response to the Comcasts failure to pay the necessary filing fees seriously diminishes the integrity of arbitration and the AAA itself. The AAA cannot be an administrator of consumer claims and simply shrug its shoulder when the very terms of the arbitration contract it is entrusted with administering are simply ignored. By merely suggesting it may decline to hear future Comcast claims, rather than definitively stating it will not be complicit in administering an arbitration provision Comcast has no intent to follow, makes a mockery of the AAA, the consumer arbitration rules and the purported fairness of arbitration proceedings. In short, the AAA should publicly reject Comcasts failure to pay filing fees it promised to pay in the Comcast Agreement and affirmatively demand Comcast remove the AAA from its arbitration provisions.

Your attention to this matter is greatly appreciated. Should you require any additional details, please do not hesitate to contact me. Sincerely,

Philip Friedman


Richard Naimark, Senior VP AAA Richard Cordray, CFPB Senator Al Franken Senator Barbara Mikulski Rep. Hank Johnson Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren Ellen Taverna, NACA Christine Hines, Public Citizen Julia Duncun, American Association for Justice Ed Mierzwinski, US PIRG Paul Bland, Public Justice