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For Immediate Release
December 12, 2005
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

ATTORNEY GENERAL ENTERS SETTLEMENT WITH DIRECTV

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division, along with the offices of 21 other Attorneys General, entered a settlement with DirecTV, Inc., 2230 East Imperial Highway, El Segundo, California regarding its marketing and programming practices. DirecTV offers satellite television programming packages to consumers throughout the United States.

The Attorneys General alleged that DirecTV failed to clearly disclose all of the terms of its programming services to consumers before they were asked to sign long term contracts, including all charges, limitations on the availability of programming such as sports packages or local channels, and the minimum length of the contracts associated with special equipment offers. DirecTV agreed in the settlement to clearly inform consumers of the terms and limitations of its programming services before consumers are asked to sign contracts. DirecTV also agreed to be more responsive to consumers who experience problems installing and activating their satellite television service and to permit consumers who experience problems with installation and program activation to cancel their contracts at no cost.

Consumers with complaints about the terms contained in their contracts, problems with installation, difficulties activating or receiving programming, or termination fees that were charged when they cancelled their service may be eligible to receive restitution under the settlement. To receive restitution consumers must either

(1) have filed complaints in the past with either the Attorneys General or DirecTV concerning these issues or

(2) file complaints with the Attorney Generals or DirecTV within 150 days of the settlement (i.e., on or before May 11, 2006).

DirecTV also agreed to pay a $5 million penalty to the Attorneys General.

“We are pleased that DirecTV has agreed to disclose its contract terms more clearly to consumers and pay restitution to those consumers who were improperly charged fees for cancelling their service or were otherwise harmed,” Curran said. “Consumers must be informed of all of the material terms of a service before they are asked to sign a contract and they must be allowed to cancel their contracts at no cost if the promised service is not delivered.”

The other states that participated in the settlement are Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia. Consumers who wish to file claims for restitution may either write to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, Attn: DirecTV Claims, 200 St. Paul Place, 16th Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21202 or they may file a claim via the Internet on the Attorney General’s website, www.oag.state.md.us. All complaints must be received no later than May 11, 2006.

   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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