“Ghandi is a great comparison,” said Gene in an email we quoted in a story about DirecTV DRM.
He said he’s a victim of DirecTV DRM and had just started Theft by DRM.
Now, “A lawsuit filed this week by Washington state against DirecTV could have a secondary purpose,” says MSNBC.
“It could serve as a textbook for consumers on tricks companies play to take their money.”
It was filed by Washington attorney general Rob McKenna who in an interview with msnbc.com said that the firm has “left few deceptive tactics unused.”
It’s “amazing, the wide variety of ways they’ve taken advantage of their customers,” he’s qu0ted as stating, also saying he’d received 375 consumer complaints about DirecTV this year — “more than any other company”. And another 59 arrived in the 24 hours after the lawsuit was filed, he said.
However, “We always strive to provide 100 percent customer satisfaction but, to put it in perspective, we are talking about less than one percent of our customer base in the entire state,” says a DirectTV statement. “The vast majority of our customers in Washington, and the U.S. for that matter, understand our lease agreement and are happy with our overall service. We are disappointed that the state elected to file a lawsuit. We believe their allegations lack merit, and we are confident the court will agree with us.”
The Washington suit “lays out a laundry list of other practices that the Attorney General’s Office says are unfair,” says the Kitsap Peninusla Business Journal, among themAmong them >>>
- Rebate terms: In order to obtain a promotional rate, customers sometimes have to submit a rebate. Customers who submit the rebate form after installation may be charged full price for their service for up to two months. Those who fail to return the rebate within 60 days of an order are charged the full price indefinitely – even if DIRECTV failed to adequately inform them of the need to mail the form.
- Use of the term “Free”: The Company advertises “free” installation and upgrades such as an HD receiver, DVR receiver or premium channels such as HBO and Starzz. In fact, customers may be required to pay monthly fees for the equipment. The premium channels are offered as a free trial that automatically converts into a paid subscription.
- Contract extensions: DIRECTV not only requires customers to agree to an extended contract at the beginning of service, but attempts to extend those terms even further. The company extends the length of contracts when customers require equipment repairs, upgrade equipment or move.
- Financing: DIRECTV fails to disclose that the company’s least expensive package of $29.99 per month is only available to customers who meet certain financing conditions and agree to have the costs automatically charged or debited.
- Cancellation fees: DIRECTV offers customers a $5.99 monthly “Protection Plan” to cover equipment repairs. Customers who weren’t even aware they are paying for the plan have been unfairly charged a $10 fee to cancel their enrollment.
- Retention of funds: Prior to selling programming, DIRECTV asks for a customer’s Social Security number in order to perform a credit check. Customers who refuse to provide the number or whose credit is deemed insufficient are required to pay a $200-$300 deposit to obtain service. Those who cancel service prior to the end of their contract lose part of the deposit and may also be charged cancellation fees.
“The Attorney General’s Office is asking the court to compel DIRECTV to change its business practices, impose civil penalties and provide restitution for consumers,” the story states.
“If you feel you’ve been treated unfairly by DirecTV, contact your state attorney general immediately. If a case is filed in your state, those with complaints on file will be the first in line to receive restitution should the states prevail. If you are considering DirecTV — or any pay TV service — read this complaint carefully. (PDF) All the pay TV services have conjured up complicated trial offers, tricky rebates and so on. The DirecTV lawsuit is an excellent summation of the kinds of things to watch for.”
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Kitsap Peninusla Business Journal – Attorney General sues DIRECTV for “unconscionable” sales practices, December 21, 2009
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