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News Release

For Immediate Release
December 15, 2010

Contact:
Senior Assistant Attorney General Constance N. Stratton
Consumer Protection & Antitrust Bureau
(603) 271-3643

DIRECTV Settlement
States Announce $13.25 Million Settlement with DIRECTV
DIRECTV Settles Allegations of Deceptive Advertising and Agrees to Change Marketing Practices

Attorney General Michael A. Delaney announced today that DIRECTV will pay $13.25 Million to some states in order to settle consumer protection allegations made against it by New Hampshire and other states, including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the District of Columbia. The Executive Committee of states for the investigation consisted of Tennessee, Texas, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. The states alleged that the satellite TV provider engaged in deceptive and unfair sales practices.

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 when simply 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

Consumer Refunds:

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.

Attorney General Delaney said, "This office intends to continue to work with our counterparts to pursue relief for consumers if a business engages in unfair or deceptive business practices."

Consumers who have a complaint against www.doj.nh.gov/consumer any business may file a complaint electronically by logging onto and clicking on "Filing a Consumer Complaint". Consumers can also call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-888-468-4454 and request that a complaint form be mailed to them.


New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658