Thursday, December 23, 2010
Mississippi, other states announce $13.25 million settlement with DIRECTV
Attorney General Jim Hood and the attorneys general of 48 other states announce DIRECTV will pay $13.25 million to settle consumer protection allegations.
The states alleged that the satellite TV provider engaged in deceptive and unfair sales practices.
The State of Mississippi will receive $185,000 of the total settlement.
In addition to the $13.25 million, DIRECTV also agreed to pay restitution to consumers and to alter its business practices in the future. The states received complaints that DIRECTV:
• Did not clearly disclose to consumers the price that the consumer would be charged and the commitment term that the consumer would be required to keep DIRECTV services;
• Did not clearly disclose to consumers limitations on getting a certain price for DIRECTV;
• Enrolled consumers in additional contracts or contract terms without clearly disclosing the terms to the consumer;
• Enrolled consumers in additional contracts when replacing defective equipment;
• Did not clearly disclose to consumers that they would automatically renew a seasonal sports package; and
• Offered cash back to consumers when the consumer would actually receive bill credits.
The settlement requires DIRECTV to:
• Clearly disclose all material terms to consumers;
• Replace leased equipment that is defective at no cost except shipping costs;
• Not require the consumer to enter into an additional contract whensimply replacing defective equipment;
• Clearly disclose when a consumer is entering into a contract;
• Clearly notify consumers before a consumer is obligated to pay for a seasonal sports package;
• Clearly disclose all limitations on the availability of local channels;
• Not misrepresent the availability of sports programming;
• Not represent that a consumer would get cash back if the consumer would actually get a bill credit; and
• Clearly notify consumers that they will be charged a cancellation or equipment fee at least 10 days before charging the fee.
Unresolved complaints sent to DIRECTV or the attorney general that involve conduct addressed in the settlement and occurred after January 1, 2007 are eligible for the restitution program. Additionally, consumers can file a complaint with DIRECTV or the attorney general by June 9, 2011 to be considered for the restitution program as long as the complaint is about activity that occurred after January 1, 2007.
DIRECTV will attempt to resolve the complaints with consumers. If the complaint cannot be resolved, DIRECTV shall inform the consumer that the complaint can be resolved by a claims administrator and mail a claim form to the consumer.
The claims administrator will then resolve the dispute between the consumer and DIRECTV.
Copies of the complaint form and more information can be found at www.agjimhood.com. For additional information, consumers may visit www.directv.com/ag or call 1-800-DIRECTV or the Attorney Generals’s Office at 1-800-281-4418 or 601-359-4230.
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