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DirecTV Faces Government Lawsuit Over Allegations that it Duped Customers into Signing up for Two-Year Service

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DirecTV Faces Government Lawsuit Over Allegations

DirecTV Faces Government Lawsuit Over Allegations


Allegations of a DirecTV deceptive advertising campaign have prompted the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to file a lawsuit against the satellite television provider.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is suing the satellite television company on behalf of the more than 20 million subscribers in the United States who claim that DirecTV deceptively advertised costs of a two-year service promotion, an agency spokesman said Wednesday. Jessica L. Rich, director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection, said the agency is seeking millions of dollars in refunds, according to The New York Times (The Times).

The FTC said that the deal was introduced to consumers as a one-year subscription starting at $19.99 a month, but in reality, a two-year contract was required, with increasing monthly costs and a hefty cancellation fee.

“DirecTV sought to lock customers into longer and more expensive contracts and premium packages that were not adequately disclosed,” Edith Ramirez, chairwoman of the F.T.C., said in a statement viewed by The Times. “It’s a bedrock principle that the key terms of an offer to a consumer must be clear and conspicuous, not hidden in fine print.”

The California-based DirecTV disputed the allegations.

“The F.T.C.’s decision is flat-out wrong, and we will vigorously defend ourselves, for as long as it takes,” Darris Gringeri, vice president for public relations of DirecTV, wrote in an email obtained by The Times. “We go above and beyond to ensure that every new customer receives all the information they need, multiple times, to make informed and intelligent decisions.”

The Times viewed a complaint filed by the FTC in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California that alleges that DirecTV had been misleading subscribers since 2007. The company is accused of failing to clarify that the cost of the service would increase by up to $45 a month in the second year, and that in order for customers to cancel the service before the full two years expired, they would have to pay $480.

In addition, DirecTV allegedly advertised free access to HBO, Showtime and other premium channels for the first three months of service, but did not inform customers that they would be automatically charged for the channels if they didn’t opt out of them within the three-month trial period, The Times reported.

“The company tells consumers to ditch cable and switch to satellite TV to save money,” Ms. Rich said. “DirecTV hid important terms in order to trick consumers into buying its satellite TV packages.” She could not elaborate on the exact total the government was seeking in refunds, saying customer complaints varied greatly, according to The Times.

DirecTV also paid settlements to the FTC in 2005 and 2009 for telemarketing violations totaling $7.6 million, The Times reported.

breakinglawsuitnews.com disclaimer: This article: DirecTV Faces Government Lawsuit Over Allegations that it Duped Customers into Signing up for Two-Year Service was posted on Thursday, March 12th, 2015 at 4:09 pm at breakinglawsuitnews.com and is filed under Fraud Lawsuits, Misleading Information Lawsuits.

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