Attorney General Mayes Announces $13 Million Settlement with Cox Communications for Disguising Price Increases as Routine Fees

Attorney General Kris Mayes announced last week that her office had secured a settlement with Cox Communications for more than $13 million, resolving an investigation and lawsuit alleging the telecommunications company failed to adequately disclose additional fees to customers.

The settlement includes a $10 million payment to the State and $3,042,494 distributed by Cox to current and former customers who signed up for television services between January 2017 and March 2021.

Attorney General Mayes’ lawsuit alleged that Cox deceived Arizonans who purchased television services to enter long-term contracts through promises of a “price lock guarantee” and other fixed-pricing “deals.”

“As Attorney General and a former utilities regulator, I have always fought to ensure that consumers are provided clear and accurate information about the services they receive,” said Attorney General Kris Mayes. “This substantial settlement holds Cox accountable for years of deceptive charges and false promises. We’re sending a clear message that businesses must fairly and honestly disclose all fees and honor the guarantees that they make to Arizonans.”

Between January 2014 and March 2021, Cox reserved the ability to regularly raise the bills of price-locked customers through increases in company-imposed fees. The telecommunications company allegedly failed to fully explain these fees, known as the Broadcast Surcharge Fee (“BSF”) and Regional Sports Surcharge (“RSS”), as well as its telephone-related Carrier Cost Recovery Fee (“CCRF”), to Arizonans.

By disguising price increases as fees, Cox routinely raised the bills of customers who thought they had secured a locked-in price.

The lawsuit also alleged that Cox’s advertising, billing statements, and representations relating to CCRF charges associated with its long-distance telephone services deceived Arizonans because Cox falsely implied that the CCRF charge was a tax or government fee by listing the fee alongside government taxes, fees, and surcharges.

Cox will distribute the payments required by this settlement as account credits to eligible customers who still have active Cox accounts at the time the credit is issued and electronic funds transfers to eligible consumers who no longer have active Cox accounts.

All eligible Cox customers will be directly contacted by and paid by Cox, so there is no need for consumers to take further action. For more information about consumer eligibility for payments, consumers may visit

In addition to the payments, Cox is required to:

  • Accurately and clearly disclose any and all material terms or conditions to consumers at the time of sale;
  • Refrain from imposing any unilateral pricing increases on its residential customers in Term Agreements if Cox advertised that those customers would have “locked,” “set,” “guaranteed,” or other otherwise fixed monthly pricing;
  • Continue to offer plans to new and existing customers that do not include the BSF, RSS, or CCRF surcharges; and
  • Ensure that its Product and Pricing Guide is easily found and accessible to consumers on the Cox website (