Judge blocks Spectrum ads suggesting Windstream customers will be hurt by bankruptcy

A federal bankruptcy judge has issued a temporary restraining order against Charter Communications and its subsidiary Spectrum, saying the cable giant can not use scare tactics to woo customers of Windstream, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late February.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert D. Drain issued the order Tuesday to stop the company from targeting Windstream customers in several states, including Kentucky, with advertisements that imply Windstream will go out of business. The advertisements sent by Charter include the phrases “Windstream’s future is unknown, but Spectrum is here to stay” and “Windstream customers, don’t risk losing your TV and internet service.”

Lawyers for Windstream said the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York did not mean the company will go out of business.

“Despite this reality, Charter commenced a scare-tactic campaign to mislead, deceive and confuse consumers,” Windstream’s lawyers argued in court documents. “Charter disseminated false advertisements directly targeting Windstream’s strongest customer base in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Nebraska and North Carolina.”

Charter and Windstream both offer internet and television services in the Lexington market.

Windstream’s lawyers also allege Charter improperly used Windstream’s logo and colors in the direct mail campaign.

Lawyers for Charter argued in court documents that it did not target Windstream customers and “went to great lengths to restore disconnected (Windstream) customers when they were discovered.” It also said Windstream could not prove it lost money due to the Charter advertising campaign, among other arguments.

Meanwhile, Spectrum announced Tuesday it was opening a second retail store in Lexington at 2312 Sir Barton Way. It’s first retail store is on Nicholasville Road.