DirecTV Pays $13M For Deceptive Ads

DirecTV has agreed to pay $13.25 million to 50 state governments for misleading advertising.

One of the main charges over a two-year inquiry was a promotional deal promising a $29.99 monthly fee for video services. Consumer complaints said the deal actually resulted in doubling of that price to $53.99 or $63.99 a month. In the state of California alone, 1,136 complaints were filed.

DirecTV did not acknowledge any wrongdoing. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Mike White, chairman, president and CEO of DirecTV, said: "We want to be clear, transparent and upfront with our customers in what these deals are when people sign up for our service. It was important that we resolve these issues because we are a high integrity company, and we value our customer service reputation. And frankly, we wanted to get this matter behind us."

As part of the settlement, DirecTV agreed to clearly outline all costs, services offered, length of contracts and terms of cancellations and refunds. White says the company has initiated changes in their marketing and price notifications.

In Connecticut, State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal stated: "DirecTV was anything but direct with consumers, conning them with confusing contracts, deceptive ads and misleading promotions."

"This was classic bait-and-switch, hooking consumers with phony discounts and then hitting them with hidden charges. Consumers thought they were getting a deal only to get clipped. Customers who caught on and canceled were sometimes clobbered with substantial cancellation fees."

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