DirecTV pays $13 million for its deceptive practices
Has DirecTV lured you into a bad deal and left you high and dry? You may be in luck.
Attorney General Brown announced that DirecTV has agreed to pay $13.25 million to settle allegations of misleading sales and marketing practices. The multi-state settlement comes after 1,136 complaints received by the California Attorney General office alone. DirecTV’s many misdeeds include:
- Conning customers into signing extended contracts by disguising them as boilerplate service documents during routine repair calls.
- Failing to deliver promised channels and programming.
- Changing the terms of promotions through “introductory pricing.” Most notoriously, DirecTV offered a two year deal at $29.99 a month but failed to disclose that the second year would be at regular price ($53.99 to $63.99 a month). And if you wanted to get out of this deceptive “two year” deal? You were slammed with an early termination fee.
Now for the good stuff. What are you, the consumer, going to get from this settlement? Here’s the nitty gritty:
First, the agreement requires DirecTV to take several measures to improve its service to consumers. DirecTV must clearly state all costs, services offered, length of contracts, terms of cancellations, and refunds. This is the minimum we would expect from any reputable company.
A little better: some swindled consumers may be eligible for a refund. The California Attorney General’s office is currently reviewing consumer complaints back to 2007. If you believe you were misled by DirecTV you have until June 9th to file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office and get your slice of the settlement. California residents can file a complaint by clicking this link.
Although we’re happy to see DirecTV get their hand slapped, many believe that the settlement doesn’t go far enough. Specifically, the consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, who is in the process of suing DirecTV, was caught off guard by the sudden settlement. They contest that the settlement gives DirecTV too much control over the confusing claims process and doesn’t guarantee a monetary remedy to affected consumers. In contrast, Consumer Watchdog’s lawsuit seeks refunds for all consumers that had early termination fees wrongly debited from their bank accounts or credit cards.
Consumer Watchdog intends to proceed with their class action lawsuit and we here at UCAN couldn’t be more pleased. If you have an issue with DirecTV or any other telecommunications company, let our Fraud Squad know. You can file a consumer complaint on our website by clicking this link.