TV Answer Man, I read that DIRECTV has to give a refund in Colorado for something. Do you know what it is and will we all get refunds? — Tim, Norfolk, Virginia.
Tim, 204,000 current and former DIRECTV subscribers will soon get a $5 refund, but you are not one of them. Let me explain.
In September and October of 2019, DIRECTV stopped carrying the Altitude regional sports channel in Colorado due to a carriage dispute. (The channel carries the regional broadcasts of both the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche.) Although DIRECTV wasn’t carrying Altitude during those two months, the satcaster continued to charge Colorado subscribers a monthly regional sports fee, which ranged from $1.89 a month to $8.49 a month depending upon where the subscriber lived.
On behalf of Colorado residents, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser sued DIRECTV and the state official announced yesterday that DIRECTV has agreed to a settlement which calls for it to give a $5 refund to every current and former subscriber in Colorado who had to pay the 2019 regional sports fee.
“DIRECTV used these fees to take advantage of Coloradans, charging them for services they weren’t getting or were no longer relevant, and only refunding those who noticed and reached out to the company about the issue,” Weiser said in a statement. “Consumers should not be penalized for being too busy to wait on hold to demand fair treatment. Today’s settlement remedies the harms caused by DIRECTV’s actions and will provide refunds to consumers.”
In addition, Weiser said DIRECTV agreed to pay a $1-3 a month credit to more than 15,000 Colorado residents who had been charged a ‘HD fee.’ The satellite service began charging all DIRECTV subscribers a $10 a month HD fee when High-Definition was a novelty two decades ago. However, it continued to require that fee for years even after HDTV became the norm, and Weiser said the fee was “unfair.”
“Charging this unnecessary, outdated fee was unfair to consumers, many of whom were unaware they were paying extra for a service that was now standard part of programming packages,” said Weiser. “We are pleased to ensure Coloradans will receive welcome relief from this unfair payment.”
Again, the credit will only be awarded to those 15,000 Colorado residents. However, it would not be surprising if other states file legal actions against DIRECTV because the HD fee was once required nationwide The TV Answer Man will monitor this situation and report back here if anything changes.
Tim, hope that makes sense. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann