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DIRECTV Settles FTC’s ‘Deceptive Practices’ Lawsuit

DIRECTV has settled a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission which charged the satcaster with engaging in deceptive advertising practices, according to Law 360.

The suit, which was filed in federal court in March 2015, said DIRECTV’s discounted 12-month promotional plans failed to disclose they require a two-year contract.The federal agency added that the satcaster did not disclose that a customer might have to pay up to $45 a month more in the second year of the deal.

If the new DIRECTV subscriber tries to cancel before the two-year agreement has expired, he would have to pay up to $480 in early cancellation fees, the FTC noted.

The case was scheduled to go to trial today, but Law 360 said the parties settled “in principle” on Monday. The court scheduled a conference with DIRECTV and the FTC in April to finalize the details of the deal, according to court documents.

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“DIRECTV and the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection have today reached an agreement in principle on the material terms of a settlement, which, if approved by the commission, would resolve all claims in this case,” the court motion stated, according to Law 360. “DIRECTV respectfully requests that the trial be continued. The commission does not oppose this motion.”

The two sides did not disclose any terms of the settlement in principle.

The FTC was seeking a court order that would permanently bar DIRECTV from engaging in illegal conduct as well as a financial penalty that could be used as refunds to the satcaster’s subscribers.

The FTC also said DIRECTV failed to disclose that its offer of three free months of a premium channel, such as HBO or Showtime, required consumers to proactively cancel the channel at the end of the promotional period or else they would be charged in future months.

Two years ago, DIRECTV blasted the FTC’s complaint, saying in a statement that the agency is “flat-out wrong. We will vigorously defend ourselves, for as long as it takes…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”

— Phillip Swann 

About TV Answer Man (1291 Articles)
The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

1 Comment on DIRECTV Settles FTC’s ‘Deceptive Practices’ Lawsuit

  1. Belinda G Milton // April 11, 2018 at 1:06 pm // Reply

    On May 16, 2016 per conversation with Sales Rep/Agent Karen, verbally stated that services would be provided to me, Directv for services, that included: Programming selection, Special offers and services; Ulitmate pkg, HBO,STARZ, SHOWTIME & CINEMAX, Regional Sports Fee, NFL Sunday Ticket Max 2016, $10.00 off 24 mths. $43.00 off 24 mths, 3 mths Free, HBO/STZ, SHOMAX, 2yrs pirce guarantee, and Wirless AT&T internet service, with a Reward Visa gift card for $150.00. I paid the installation fee of $21.30 on 5/16/16. After their services were connected, there was a additional charge for equipment on 5/18/16. Then I found out that they didn’t have AT&T internet service provided in my area, and since there was no service provided in my zipcode area that they would not honor the Reward Visa gift card. I spoke with several Sales Rep/Agents, one promised to supply me with another internet provided, one that told me that I would have to provide my own, and one that finally told me that if he could see on his computer that AT&T did not service my zipcode area, that Karen could see it also. I ask to terminate the contract, and was told that I would have to pay from $400.00 or close to $600.00 for cancellation fees. I ask if my payment date could be changed, because I am disable and would not have money til the second Wednesday of each month and was told that it wasn’t possible. I paid as long as I could, never received the gift card because it required that I have the AT&T services, that they knew they did not provide. I believe that I should be given the Rewards gift card for $150.00 as promised and given back one half of the monies that I paid for the half of services they provided. By law they breached their own contract for services that they clearly knew that they could not provide the total service. After filling a claim with the Consumer Protection Division in Raleigh NC; I received a call from Dustin Shrader, of the President office of AT&T, (208) 914-2563, on March 14, 2018 advising to me that, the balance I owed is $598.33, he can remove the fees for the equipment and late charges from the total bill, leaving me $224.50 to pay Directv/AT&T; and to take the equipment to a UPS location to be returned to their company.” I told Mr. Shreder that I was disabled and couldn’t do that. He then suggested that, “He will send a box, with return labels for me to pack the equipment and return it.” Which, I stated that, will cost me a pick up fee, to contact UPS. I requested that they send a person to remove their dish from my house, and pick up the equipment, then which he replied that, “the dish is considered a part of my property, and they no longer need it and I can have a third party to remove it.” When I asked him if he thought their company was being fair to me as a customer, he stated that, “He is doing what is right, not what is fair, and would send me the box for the return.” I believe that since Directv/AT&T, was already in breach of contract before service was started and they knew it. So, I refuse to let this go without being satisfied and would appreciate your assistance in the matter.

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