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Attorney General Joins States to Settle Complaints Against DIRECTV
December 16, 2010
Attorney General Janet T. Mills announced today that Maine has joined a $13.25 million multistate agreement with DIRECTV to settle allegations of deceptive and unfair sales practices. Additionally, some consumers who have had problems with DIRECTV may be eligible for a refund directly from the company.
“Consumers everywhere are trying to cut back on expenses. In this economy, every dollar counts, including money families spend on satellite television service,” Attorney General Mills said. “This office has received 120 complaints about this company since 2008. Our office joined with Attorneys General across the country to forge an agreement to change the company’s practices.”
Among the allegations in the multistate investigation were that DIRECTV:
• Did not clearly disclose how much consumers were being charged and the existence of cancellation fees and other terms of the contract;
• 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;
• Misrepresented the availability of sports programming;
• Offered cash back to consumers but instead gave bill credits rather than cash.
As part of the settlement, DIRECTV, while not admitting any wrongdoing, has agreed to clearly disclose all material terms, costs and contractual commitments, as well as the availability of local and sports programming. Additionally, DIRECTV will change its practices with respect to cash reimbursements and cancellations. The company will clearly notify consumers that they will be charged for cancellation or equipment fees at least 10 days before charging the fee.
Maine’s share of the settlement is $185,000, which will is designated for the enforcement of Maine’s consumer laws.
Consumers who signed contracts with DIRECTV on or after January 1, 2007, may file a complaint directly with DIRECTV by June 9, 2011, to be considered for the restitution program. Consumers can complain in one of two ways: on line by going to www.directv.com/ag or by calling 1-800-DIRECTV.
If the complaint cannot be resolved, DIRECTV will inform the consumer that the complaint will be decided by a Claims Administrator and will mail a Claim Form to the consumer. The Claims Administrator will then resolve the dispute between the consumer and DIRECTV.
Consumers who signed contracts with DirecTV on or after January 1, 2007, may file a complaint directly with DirecTV by June 9, 2011, to be considered for the restitution program. Consumers can complain online by going to www.directv.com/ag or by calling 1-800-DirecTV. Consumers can also send in their complaint to the Maine Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division and we will forward your complaint to DirecTV. Send your complaint to Maine Attorney General Consumer Protection Division, 6 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.