DIRECTV settlement

December 17, 2010 • Local News

The Consumer Protection Division with Attorney General Gary King’s office announced Wednesday that New Mexico is among 49 states and the District of Columbia named in a $13.25 million settlement with satellite giant DIRECTV over deceptive advertising allegations. New Mexico will be allotted $185,000.

Since Jan. 1, 2007, the attorney general’s office CPD has received 262 complaints. According to a statement released by the attorney general’s office, common complaints include “service price is two to three times higher than advertised price; monthly credits have to be accessed online in order for consumers to receive discounts of any kind; consumers in rural New Mexico claim they are unable to get specific channels or [auth] services that were advertised and purchased; and cancellation procedure is not what was agreed upon by consumer.”

The settlement, announced Tuesday, will require DIRECTV to “clearly disclose all material terms to consumers; replace defective leased equipment at no cost except shipping fees; will not require the consumer to enter into an additional contract when simply replacing defective equipment; clearly disclose when a consumer is entering into a contract; clearly notify consumers before a consumer is obligated to pay for a seasonal sports package; not misrepresent availability of sports programming; not represent that a consumer receive ‘cash back’ if the consumer would actually get a ‘bill credit;’ and clearly notify consumers they will be charged a cancellation or equipment fee at least 10 days before charging the fee.”

In a statement released Tuesday by DIRECTV, the company seemed satisfied with the terms and conditions of the settlement.

“DIRECTV has worked hand-in-hand with the Attorneys General to formalize many of the customer improvements we have made over the past few years and are pleased to have come to this agreement,” said Mike White, chairman, president and CEO of DIRECTV. “DIRECTV is committed to always operating with the highest standards of integrity and will move forward with continued dedication to providing the best video experience possible for our customers.”

Those who qualify for the settlement include customers who forwarded their unresolved complaints to DIRECTV or the New Mexico attorney general’s office “involving conduct addressed in the settlement occurring after Jan. 1, 2007.”

In addition “to be considered for the restitution program, consumers must file a complaint with DIRECTV or the New Mexico attorney general’s office by June 9, 2011.”

Customers who cannot resolve their complaints with DIRECTV will be redirected to a claims administrator, who will work as a mediator between customers and DIRECTV after a formal complaint form is filled out. Forms will be provided to customers by mail.

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