Washington AG Sues DirecTV (1 Viewer)

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Scott Greczkowski

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Washington AG sues DirecTV over contracts

McKenna calls binding pacts confusing, misleading

Jim Camden jimc@spokesman.com

OLYMPIA – Customers of the nation’s largest satellite television service are being lured into long contracts they don’t understand with fees they don’t know they must pay, Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna contends in a lawsuit filed Monday.

But a spokesman for the company, DirecTV, said the company is “disappointed” the suit was filed and predicted it won’t stand up in court.

Read the rest at Washington AG sues DirecTV over contracts | Spokesman.com | Dec 14, 2009
 

Scott Greczkowski

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I think part of the problem is people are not signing anything. Thats where I see a lot of confusion.
 

stonecold

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I will lay some of hte blame on Direct Sales aka Directv in house Sales department. I think like all sales departments they conviently forget to mention they have to apply for there rebate to get promo pricing or that 34.99 only include one reciver with out taxes.

Stonecold hates the sales department, most of my calls that get esclated to me are over this mess.
 

yorktown

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It's that way at a lot of companies. The sales people say whatever they want then they blame other departments for not giving them enough information.
 

cfb

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just another read what your signing problem

I think the problem is giving people something to sign while saying "Sign here, this says you accept the installation", and theres stuff about a $500 early termination charge on it thats not highlighted.
 

Scott Greczkowski

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Or issues where you have defective equipment replaced and when the replacement equipment is activated instead of being activated as replacement equipment its activated as new equipment, triggering a new 2 year commitment.

I can see that happening, as it happened to ME.
 

gadgtfreek

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I hope the courts finally make Directv act responsibly.

I think the problem is giving people something to sign while saying "Sign here, this says you accept the installation", and theres stuff about a $500 early termination charge on it thats not highlighted.

Or issues where you have defective equipment replaced and when the replacement equipment is activated instead of being activated as replacement equipment its activated as new equipment, triggering a new 2 year commitment.

I can see that happening, as it happened to ME.

All comments right on point!
 

stonecold

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Or issues where you have defective equipment replaced and when the replacement equipment is activated instead of being activated as replacement equipment its activated as new equipment, triggering a new 2 year commitment.

I can see that happening, as it happened to ME.

But that was not intentional so it not a valid arugment.

It was tech csr stupidity but it was not some evil master plan by Directv to screw you over.


1. is just a bo bo

2. is something you can sue over.
 

stonecold

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No one reads the fine print online. I know at least with online order you see the Terms of service before we finish the order.

Tele sales and other i have no clue as I cant stand those bozos.

There is no basis for the claim. Is Directv perfect hell no. Does directv have a policy that says screw the customer NO . Do mistakes happen where customer is not completely infomred leading to misunderstanding yes.
 

cfb

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I guess we know why you're not a lawyer now. Obscuring a significant fee and then trying to collect it from customers who unwittingly accepted it is a very valid claim.

Once again, why not just tell people when they call to sign up "You do know there is a two year commitment where once you accept the installation you cant cancel the service without paying a pro rated $480 termination fee"?

Answering my own question, its because then lots of people wouldnt sign up for the service.

Since the omission is intentional and designed to improve sales rates, directv has to accept that a fair percentage of customers will be upset when they find out.

I'm also 99% sure that if you asked Santa if this whole routine was right, he'd say "Ho Ho Ho...NO!" ;)
 

Scott Greczkowski

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But that was not intentional so it not a valid arugment.

It was tech csr stupidity but it was not some evil master plan by Directv to screw you over.


1. is just a bo bo

2. is something you can sue over.
But its happening to a lot of people, so you can sue over it. DirecTV needs to fix their system.
 

gadgtfreek

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End of the day, Directv has a problem and they should fix it. How many people have wrongly paid the fee and never known any different???

This happens every year or so, when a class action suit ends up making a company more responsible. I hope it works for D*.
 

meStevo

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Just recently used movers connection, very quickly and easily set it up and no commitment was mentioned (I knew there was one, and didn't care). During the install, had them also upgrade me to a HDDVR in the bedroom that had an R15 in it (decided on the spot) and the installer had me talk to a phone rep who mostly was just confirming, taking my billing info for the box fee and then went into a schpiel about the commitment.

Problem being the schpiel should have been there both times, they're inconsistent, and they need to find a way to fix it.

Don't see why they couldn't setup a system that is automated, explains whatever, and you press a key acknowledging the commitment. It's noted on the account automatically and a paper and email version are sent to you. Remove the human element if that's the problem. Let a rep set everything up for them, and let them know they will receiver an automated call about the terms or they can call a number and listen proactively, and the install will not happen unless this is complete. Have the recording list a paraphrased version of the terms approved by a 3rd party watchdog group or something, with the option to listen to everything in all it's gory detail.

I think there's room for improvement, but I don't think there's room for successful litigation over it, and even then we'd just get a free preview or PPV out of it.

I don't buy that if people knew about the initial commitment they wouldn't sign up for service. I think it's pretty absurd to suggest they do this intentionally as well.
 

Rangers484

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If a company continuously makes the same "mistake" in their favor (activating replacement equipment as new and starting a new commitment period) it becomes a general business practice.

They can be sued whether it is intentional or not because they are responsible for training and monitoring of their employees who are making this "mistake".

During the course of discovery, after the suit is filed, you can be sure the plaintiff attorneys will be looking for the series of emails being sent among the executives talking about this common "mistake" their CSRs make all of the time. When they find it that's when the punitive instructions will come into play because it is no longer an unintentional mistake.
 

vurbano

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The install should never take place without an agreement signed before hand. BUT, D* knows darn well that if they send the paperwork to consumers a few days ahead of time that 50% of their potential customers would decline after reading just how unfair it is. So what do they do? they install. The installer gets you to sign off on the install and a week later an agreement comes in the mail that you are somehow already bound too? What a crock of CRAP. If that agreement isnt present before the install then it should have NO weight.
 

meStevo

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The install should never take place without an agreement signed before hand. BUT, D* knows darn well that if they send the paperwork to consumers a few days ahead of time that 50% of their potential customers would decline after reading just how unfair it is. So what do they do? they install. The installer gets you to sign off on the install and a week later an agreement comes in the mail that you are somehow already bound too? What a crock of CRAP. If that agreement isnt present before the install then it should have NO weight.

Only .05% of new customers would disconnect if they had the ETF fee on large red letters next to the 'sign me' box.

See I can make up numbers for my argument too.

No need to be overdramatic, we all agree the process should be improved so hopefully that is the end result, whether they win or lose.
 

dishcomm

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There needs to be a cleansing of sorts in the satellite sales business.
Too often very important details are left out,sometimes deliberately by sales people.
QUite frankly this all lands on the lap of the field personnel.
I ma sick and tired of reselling. This takes up valuable time. Fortunately I have excellent custoimer service skills. I have been succesful at calming irate customers.
However I should not have to do this. I am not getting paid sales comission.
Both D* and E* need to crack thew whip on third party sales as well as internal.
D*'s fees are excessive. Their sneaky method of re upping people for another 24 months when it is D*'s equipment that is faulty is an outrage.
I side with the State of Washington on this.
 
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