More About Comcast’s “VIP List”
We told you last month about the report of a Comcast program that offered, ahem, more attentive customer service to politicians, journalists, and other bigwigs who were given cards to access that system. Comcast denied the program was targeted at influential, saying instead that its employees were empowered to help anybody with an outstanding customer service complaint. “The card is not used to target specific customers or parts of the country … and it does not put people at the front of the line, it’s simply another option to get an issue resolved,” a company official said at the time.
The Washingtonian, however, reports today on the apparent existence of a “VIP list” at the company, uncovered in court documents from a nine-year-old lawsuit.
A suburban Washington Comcast office maintained detailed lists of influential customers, including local government officials, business leaders, and a congressional field office, according to a 2005 lawsuit and a person familiar with the case.
The legal documents show that—as of 2005—Comcast Cablevision of Potomac kept “highly sensitive and confidential lists of subscribers, including targeted lists of hundreds of the best (highest revenue producing), highest profile, or most satisfied customers, known as ‘Platinum,’ ‘VIP’ or ‘Happy Customer’ lists.”
A footnote in Comcast’s legal filings defined these “VIP” subscribers as “customers who may be an elected official, public figure, or other person of importance.”
The company, however, denied the list targeted officials for improved customer service. “Comcast does not and has not offered special service, perks or free upgrades to lawmakers or public officials,” a spokesperson told the publication.
The existence of the list was confirmed by a 2005 lawsuit against a former employee who left Comcast for Verizon. It was among the documents Comcast contended had been wrongfully taken by the employee when she left the company. See Comcast’s filing below.