DIRECTV to pay $13.25 million for misleading ads, AG says

THIS INFORMATION FROM A NEWS RELEASE SENT TO THE WWAY NEWSCHANNEL 3 NEWSROOM

RALEIGH, NC (NCAG) -- North Carolina, along with 48 other states and the District of Columbia, has won an agreement to get DIRECTV to reform its deceptive advertising and other misleading business practices, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today.

“Luring people with misleading ads and then sticking them with extended contracts and hidden fees is no way to do business,” Cooper said. “Consumers deserve straightforward information so they can make informed choices.”

Cooper and the other attorneys general filed consent judgments today to resolve complaints about unclear advertising by satellite television service and equipment provider DIRECTV, Inc. of California. DIRECTV will pay $13.25 million to the states to settle the allegations, including $605,000 to North Carolina.

People in North Carolina and across the country complained that advertisements for DIRECTV did not disclose the full price they would pay or how long they’d have to sign up for satellite service to receive the promised price. Other consumers reported that they were enrolled in extra contracts if they attempted to replace defective equipment and that sports packages they signed up for were automatically renewed each year, without their consent. Consumers also complained that they were promised cash back for signing up but were instead given credits on their bills.

A total of 960 North Carolina consumers have complained about DIRECTV to Cooper’s office since 2007.

North Carolina consumers who have complaints about the terms contained in their contracts or problems with defective equipment and additional contracts, seasonal sports package renewals, and cash offers that occurred after January 1, 2007 may be eligible for a refund under the settlement if they have an unresolved complaint with Cooper’s office or DIRECTV.

Eligible consumers who have not yet filed a complaint are encouraged to do so by calling the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM, or filling out a complaint form at www.ncdoj.gov . To be eligible for a refund from this agreement, all complaints must be received no later than June 9, 2011.

In 2005, DIRECTV settled with North Carolina and 21 other states to resolve issues surrounding termination fees. Under that agreement, DIRECTV paid $5 million to the participating states.

Today’s settlement requires DIRECTV to make a number of changes to its business practices, including:

· Clearly disclosing all key terms to consumers;

· Replacing leased equipment that is defective at no cost except shipping costs;

· Not entering customers who replace defective equipment into an additional contract;

· Clearly disclosing when a consumer is entering into a contract;

· Clearly notifying consumers before they must pay for seasonal sports packages;

· Clearly disclosing all limitations on the availability of local channels;

· Not misrepresenting the availability of sports programming;

· Not promising cash back if the consumer would actually get a bill credit; and

· Clearly notifying consumers that they will be charged a cancellation or equipment fee at least 10 days before charging the fee.

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DTV is among the worst companies I have ever dealt with. I cannot wait until my contract is over (God knows when that will be since they auto-renew). Where do they get off charging a "convenience fee" for calling them to tell them that their crappy product does not work? They must treat their employees like crap too since they don't have anyone working for them with enough sense not to drill holes in people's roofs. When I signed up I was quoted one price and then after agreeing transferred to some other person that told me the rate was almost twice as much and the last DTV representative I was talking to did not know what he was talking about. He then told me that I already agreed to the contract with the first liar and would have to pay $250 or so to get out of it (mind you I didn't even have service yet). Let's not forget about charging me for "free equipment". Now anytime I try to order pay per view it doesn't work and I get charged anyway. If I call to complain about the charges, or pay per view not working, I have to pay a convenience fee.

they also charge u a "convinience" fee for calling and telling them about their mistake... excuse me, its an inconvinience for me to call, but yet get charged?

What is this convience fee you are speaking of?? I have never ever had to pay a "convience" fee to them for calling in for anything. One month (when I was pregnant and on bed rest) I watched a lot of PPV movies...and I ordered them thru the internet. When I got my bill, I saw that I had been charged twice, so I called them right up, explained the situation to them, and they took off the duplicate charges, and some of the actual charges for movies that I did watch....for me having to call in about a mistake!

Why do people who are too lazy to read the small print, or even take a few extra minutes to make a phone call to ask the questions they want answered always get money in return. I have had Dtv in my house for 7 years, and have never had a problem. In fact, when I did call in to cancel my movie channels that I no longer watch, I got 3 months credited to my bill, and got a $10 monthly credit on my bill. All I had to do was be nice and courteous. Being nice goes a long way. All the "new stuff" that they are now required to disclose is just common knowledge.

Oh, and actually, if you read under the prices on the TV ad or on the print ads they send, it tells you exactly how long the promotion price lasts. Again, all you have to do is read. And Dtv isn't the only company that uses promo rates to lure you in. I recently called ATT to check on their DSL internet prices, and they quoted me very very reasonable prices, then after my 1 year was up, the prices almost tripled, but it required a 2YEAR contract...so I would be forced to pay the triple price for a year, or be forced to pay a cancellation. But, I paid attention to the fine print and the rules, and I am smart, I didn't sign up.

This doesn't seem right. Why don't the customers get this money instead of sending it to Raleigh for poiticians to spend as they please. Direct TV will just raise their rates even more now and I'll cancel my contract. See how government helps.

This company tried to sign me up for a service contract without my consent and I caught them. They tried to say I verbally agreed to it when the service man came out but I made a lier out of him as well since I had a witness. Where is my money?

It said the customers might get money. I agree, the state should not get money but maybe that money is being divided up among people that complained.

I could not be happier that finally a suit is brought against them. It appears they where sued in 2005 for the very same thing they done to me in 2008. Apparently they did not learn their lesson.