For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: December 15, 2010

DIRECTV Settles with States: Pays Restitution to Consumers

(Boise) - Idahoans who experienced problems with their DIRECTV service may be eligible to receive restitution under the terms of a settlement agreement reached today, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. DIRECTV entered into a comprehensive settlement agreement with 49 states and the District of Columbia to resolve allegations of deceptive advertising and other unlawful business practices. The agreement also requires DIRECTV to change how it does business and to pay $13.25 million to the states.

“In 2009, satellite and cable television complaints held the second position on my office’s ‘Top Ten Consumer Complaint List,’” Attorney General Wasden said. “This settlement helps address what has become a significant issue to Idaho consumers.”

To qualify for restitution, consumers’ complaints must involve conduct that occurred after January 1, 2007, and that is addressed in the settlement agreement. Examples include:

  • Failure to disclose clearly its prices and commitment terms;
  • Failure to disclose clearly its promotional prices;
  • Signing up consumers for contract terms without clearly disclosing the terms to the consumer;
  • Extending consumers’ contracts without their consent; and
  • Failure to disclose that consumers’ rebates were bill credits that consumers had to sign up for on DIRECTV’s website.

To be considered for restitution, consumers must file a complaint with DIRECTV or with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by June 9, 2011. Complaint forms are available here or by calling (208) 334-2424.

DIRECTV will work with the consumer directly to reach a resolution. Click here for additional information about the settlement and restitution procedure, including the appeal process.

Idaho and other states previously settled with DIRECTV in 2005, but ongoing problems with the satellite company led the Attorney General’s Office to notify DIRECTV in early 2010, that the office believed DIRECTV had violated the 2005 agreement. Today’s agreement builds on the previous settlement by addressing additional concerns that the states raised during their investigation. This includes requiring DIRECTV to monitor the activities of its third-party retailers and to take corrective action when necessary. The agreement also requires DIRECTV to:

  • Inform consumers about the terms of its offers;
  • Replace any defective leased equipment at no cost, excluding shipping costs;
  • Allow consumers to replace any defective equipment without entering into an additional contract;
  • Inform consumers when they are entering into contracts;
  • Inform consumers about the availability of local channels;
  • Inform consumers about its bill credit offer; and
  • Inform consumers at least 10 days ahead of time that it will charge consumers a cancellation or equipment fee.

DIRECTV did not admit any wrongdoing. Idaho will receive $185,000 to cover the costs it incurred during its investigation of DIRECTV.

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