FTC says DIRECTV wasn’t so direct about fees and negative options

Share This Page

Have you seen the ads where a popular celebrity touts DIRECTV on his own behalf and as the Painfully Awkward, Overly Paranoid, or Crazy Hairy version of himself? Applying that to a lawsuit just filed by the FTC, there’s DIRECTV – and then there’s Deceptively Advertised DIRECTV.

DIRECTV is one of the biggest names in the business with more than 20 million customers. Through TV, print, direct mail, phone, and online promotions, the company advertises satellite TV packages for as low as $19.99 a month for 12 months. What’s more, DIRECTV said premium channels like HBO and Showtime are “free for 3 months.” But according to the FTC, DIRECTV failed to adequately disclose the true nature of the deal, meaning that consumers got stuck with higher prices and unauthorized charges.

The complaint offers a closer look at how the FTC says DIRECTV’s practices were misleading. For example, DIRECTV touted that eye-catching $19.99 monthly rate for 12 months of service without clearly explaining that: 1) Consumers couldn’t actually sign up for 12 months of service because DIRECTV required them to commit to 24 months; and 2) In the second year, DIRECTV typically hiked up the monthly fee by between 50-70%. Consumers who experienced bill shock at the start of that second year and wanted to cancel faced hefty termination fees.

The FTC also says DIRECTV’s “free for 3 months” premium channel offer was a deceptive negative option promotion. How did it work? DIRECTV typically enrolled consumers in the promotion automatically without clearly stating that unless consumers took the affirmative step of canceling before the end of the three-month period, DIRECTV would bill them extra for it every month. According to the complaint, after the “free” period ended, DIRECTV went ahead and used consumers' credit or debit card information without their consent to charge them for the service. And we’re not talking chump change here. The FTC says the monthly fee for those channels was around $48.

The lawsuit is pending in federal court in California. Meanwhile, here’s something for businesses to note in the pleadings. In addition to alleging that DIRECTV failed to disclose – or failed to adequately disclose – subscription prices and the nature of the premium channel offer, the FTC says the company's online practices violated the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act.  Passed in 2010, ROSCA makes it illegal to charge consumers for goods and services sold through online negative options unless the seller:

  1. clearly and conspicuously discloses all material terms of the transaction before getting the consumer’s billing information;
  2. gets the consumer’s express informed consent before making the charge; and
  3. provides a simple way to stop recurring charges.

This is a case you’ll want to watch.

 

Comments

I was one of the costumers that was ripped-off. Thank you.

One time payment made with ex husbands card while I had three major surgeries turned unto over a $580.00 unauthorized and illegal charge to HIS credit card for my bill....who do I contact ? I have contacted direct TV six times about returning the funds to HIS card and sending me this supposed bill but they just keep charging HIS.....HELP !!!!;

This has been a long standing practice of Direct TV. Anytime you pay with a credit card it is uploaded into their system and kept there. You cannot remove the card unless you offer another card to replace it. They keep the card and if you have final billings they bill directly to it with no warning or authorization. I was a customer for roughly 5-6 years and finally had enough.

They have upped their game. I canceled my service after one and a half years of my bill going up and getting charged for crap that I didn't order and then getting the run around on getting a refund. I changed my credit card,however they contacted Visa and got my new card info and charged me $320.00.

Is it not illegal for VISA to give out private information? Have you filed suit against your VISA company?

dispute the charge with the credit card company. if you lose the first time, do it again and keep doing it. the cc compay will give up and give you the funds back

Close the card. Have another one issued. This is unlawful. Check your banking regulations

Tell your husband to cancel his card and get a new one with a different card number. They will only have the old card number. I did it and it worked.

I am trying to reach the President of Direct T.V…Mr white I have been trying to get a matter resolved with your customer service employees since 8/1..the account # is 4485584..this account is my daughters account in which direct tv debited over 586.72 from my account .. I have spoken with 10 representatives from this company and no one has been able to expedite my funds or resolve the issue.. on 8/1 I called in and spoke with adam ID#7834 who was a resolution specialist who advised me Direct T.V. would provide a full refund and stated the refund would be sent to me within 7-10 days..I was patient I waited ..on the 10th day I called in to be told on the second day the refused to refund the funds..I then spoke with cusyomer service rep mary 100908439 and also sandy 113758 who then advised me they could handle the matter and requested I be patient and wait 5-7 buisness days in which I waited ..I called in on the 7th day and was advised the transaction was not taken care of.. I then was told to wait 72 hrs and was guaranteed the funds would be there..at the end of the 72 time period I called in again and was advised it was still sitting on someones desk awaiting approval .. I was then asked to wait another 72 hrs and this matter would be resolved only to find out this matter is still sitting on someones desk awaiting approval.. I then spoke with a manager who advised me she could get the matter resolved ion 48 hours also guaranteed this matter would be resolved.. only for me to find out the refund is still sitting on someones desk awaiting approval..I then spoke with anoth manager on Wednesday who requested I wait till Friday guaranteed this matter would be resolved..only to find out today that the rep lied to me again..thye are now asking me to be patient and wait till September 2 to get a refund..

THIS IS THE MOST HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE …LIE AFTER LIE AFTER LIE ..EVERYONE APOLOGIZES AND CONTINUE TO EXPECT YOU TO REMAIN COURTIEOUS TO THEM …THIS MATTER NEEDS TO BE RESOLVED ..

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR ANY ASSITANCE YOU CAN PROVIDE..

[Note: Personally identifiable information omitted]

Was your situation every resolved?

I have experienced a similar situation- ongoing "pending cancelation" since August 28th, 2016 and have also called in 5+ times to get the issue resolved only to be told that the last "case" was closed (I was never contacted to be updated of the decision) and another "case" would need to be reopened - another 7-10 business day wait. Meanwhile I have not received the prepaid boxes to return the equipment and the "supervisor" today informed me that they were not sent to the billing address, which is also the address of service. What? So now I have to wait again for boxes to return equipment that I have not been using since 8/27/16 AND she stated that all of the charges on the account are VALID from their end. WHAT? On top of all of that she was rude, kept interrupting me and raising her voice and when I asked her to please be nice because I am very upset and annoyed at the situation she told me that I was being rude. Wow.

So who can we report this to? Who will help protect us as consumers? How do we make sure that we do not get taken advantage of and stolen from via our payment information used to pay our bill in the past? Someone needs to be held responsible.

I have experienced the same thing on October 3, 2016 has anyone found out who we can get with i am sure there is an Attorney that handles class action lawsuit should be able to do something.

I also have been dealing with him since August 8th hidden bundle fees and they deny it and so does CenturyLink. But you can clearly see on my credit card there was a $70 fee and overcharge for the month of August neither company wants to take the blame. Consumers need to be aware of but hidden bundle fees this should be a lawsuit.

They did the same to me on the same date. I was promised money today and to no avail no money

I'm In With you. Let me know what to do!

I would like to know what is going on with this lawsuit??? I am being doubled now that my first year end!! This is totally a breach of contract!! I never would have signed if the person told me it was going to double the following year!! Now I am being held hostage!! Because they said they would get me on prepayment penalties based on the new price of 89.25 for 12 months!! This is not right!! PLEASE ADVISE!!

Im going threw this same situation now 01/28/17 i would like to know if you ever got threw to someone or if they refunded your money or if your bank was able to dispute the charge and return your money please email me at [deleted].

This company has the worst customer service and they lie so much about what they are going to do just to get you off the line.
I have been calling them to get my billing settled and its all lies. I am so sick of them.

press fraud with your bank or credit card company have cards re issued and they can not do anything also if you used a check with them block them though your bank perm and then if and when they report to credit or collection dispute with the 3 major credit bureau's and thy will remove it make sure to save your chats etc. it is a violation of fcc,fdcpa,cfpb and fraud laws. .

this is very untrue as the amount debited was not over 500 it was around 200. im pretty sure they resolved it as well plz be honest

A simple solution for those who pay through their checking/credit/debit. Don't. Pay via Money Order. That is what I do every month. None of your personal information is out there, you have the copy if needed, and they can't access your accounts. Personally I like the reception. I hate the constant increase and the reruns.

You are not alone. They are asking me to pay for equipment I had already returned to the in the box they sent and the label they sent. Although I made no changes to my service, my bill kept going up. When I inquire as to why, they all they said was that the bill was correct.

We are currently having the same returned equipment scam issue with directv. Sent everything back to them with the provided usps labels in the boxes they sent us via FedEx. Less than two weeks later directv is claiming they never received the returned equipment and will be charging the card they had on file for us. Spent over an hour on the phone with no resolution. Who wants to actually keep sateliite equipment that is of no use to them???!!! Considering the countless other customer complaints on this precise issue, it's glaringly obvious what kind of scam directv is pulling.

track the package and see if hey received it...then file a dispute with your credit card company showing you sent it back and they received it. they have 30 days to answer the dispute, if you lose do it again, you can dispute it up to 3 times, most credit card company's say ok and give you he money.

Same thing happening with us, except the return box or "recovery package" simply hasn't arrived. Three times we've called to request it, and three times its failed to show up. On the 3rd time, they said they'd overnight it. So I asked for the tracking number. They said it'd be 48 hours before it "populated." How can it take longer to generate a tracking number than for the package to arrive? Of course, they've already charged us a fee for failure to return the equipment. Oh, and the customer service reps say they don't know the mailing address after we offered to return it at our own expense. They are crooks.

The same thing has happened to me. Is there any legal action we can take?

I returned my equipment in the box they sent to me...it included a reciever and 3 genies and they charged me over $140 on my credit card for the 3 genies claiming they never recieved them! But they got the reciever that was shipped in the same box! This is just one of MANY outragious unauthorized charges ive been billed through their company.

I was one of the customers ripped off

How do I add my NE to this dirt bag tv lawsuit

Contact your STATE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION in your home state. They will give anyone the information on the DTV lawsuit.

My apologies for this, RDI marketing in Milford Ohio is one who will lie to the consumers. I worked there. They would not let us discloses credit checks being done so they could get the sale.

They did this to me as well. How did you get this started

I had DirecTV installed after being offered by phone the bundle price of $250 for TV/home phone/cell phone. Specified charges for TV were $50/month and $35 installation--NOTHING ELSE, included taxes. TV special included 235 channels, NFL Network, and HBO, etc. for 3 months. Four days later I received a bill for $207 for TV ONLY. After 7 phone calls (during which I was disconnected 3 times, transferred 6 times (only after long useless conversations with original customer service who were unwilling or unable to help and reluctant to provide a supervisor), promised a call back from customer service (never happened), and over 3 hours of my time (sometimes on hold for 20 minutes only to have line go "click"--gone.) After transfers to wrong people I finally got the correct Customer Loyalty person who told me I could only get $50/month if NFL not included (I told her I mentioned at least 5 times to the original agent that I DIDN"T WANT NFL, but they insisted it was included and FREE). I said this is bait and switch and the Attorney General in CA and FTC would be interested. I agreed to eliminate NFL in the interest of expediency. They claim my bill is now the $85 promised ($50/month and $35 installation) BUT I DON'T BELIEVE IT. Can't wait to see my phone bills and go through all this again. I kept telling them "I was only paying $59/ month for DISH--why would I have switched unless the quoted price was cheaper?" I also know they record all conversations and asked them to go back and review what was said--they stated "We can't do that. They are used for something else." Whatever...moral of story: Get everything detailed and write it down (better yet--YOU record it if possible), check your bills, don't give up even when they put you on hold, disconnect you, transfer you to improper dept., promise a call back that never comes. All these TV companies are a HUGE ripoff--maybe give up on TV and read more books! (The only thing I would actually miss is the local news.)

I have had that exact thing happen I just cancelled HBO and STARZ because they were charging it past the 3 months and I tried to cancel the whole service after the 12 months and was told I couldn't since I had the 2 year contract, so I am counting my days to cancel since the monthly premium has just become too much for me.

I'm in the same boat but one of the reps from Direct TV told me that I could "freeze" the account for 6 month's out of the last 12 and that way I would get out of at least 6 months of the payments, whether he was feeding me crap, I'm not sure as I've just started the fight with them over it. But regardless, I'm sure I'll be cancelling and going with local antenna channels and hulu before I'll let them gouge me for another 12 months, I've just so had it with cable and internet lie's. For me, I'm so waiting for the day that they have to pay everyone back for the early cancelation and being over charged and hope they get a fat fine for what they've done.

Normally the 6 months is added to the end of your contract.

We all need to call the FTC FEDERAL TRADE COMMISION IT WILL WORK IF WE ALL. CALL

I have a similar situation as often mentioned about Direct TV and AT&T. My "perfect bundle" was to be installed on a Monday and right after the cable technician nailed a satellite on my new home the internet techinician explained to me that the internet I applied for is not strong enough for my house and at the least I need Internet 45 at a higher rate. At the same time the representative on the phone was upselling me to Internet 1000 for $30 more than originally quoted. I was not aware of the different levels and now I'm being sold something at a higher rate that was never mentioned to me before and what choice do I have now that there is a satellite nailed on my roof. I settled for Internet 45 which comes with an installation rate of about $100. I called the next day to dispute the charges and after hours on the phone I get a representative who tells me that there is no way they could have installed Internet 45 because it is not available in my area. I immediately cancelled. In the days after I called and begged for almost 8 hours and got transferred by everyone who said they don't have the power to help me with my request to remove the satellite. And the first supervisor I got was just as helpless as everyone else. She provided me with two websites that she claimed will remove and recycle the satellite and they were both bogus. She ultimately said they are not responsible for satellite because it's on my property. So now they have damaged my roof. I also persued them to come collect their equipment at which they couldn't do and had to process a return box to ship back their equipment. I finally hired a roof repair man to remove it and I left it on the curve until one day someone collected it. Of course it costed to remove it and I'm sure Direct TV will refuse to pay for it after they started billing $481 for an early termination fee. I also got another early termination fee from AT&T for $150 and because their representatives are so incompetent someone created a new account in the same time frame I was canceling which includes a balance of about $60 for installation. I am so frustrated and dumbfounded with this company. The representatives have a tactic to put you on hold for almost 15 minutes or 30 minutes to discourage you from holding and then contradict your situaiton when clearly they are in the wrong only to tell you in the end that there is "nothing they can do" and "I can transfer you to another department". I haven't even been charged but I certainly don't want to let them penalize me for these charges. I have put this claim with Direct TV in their escalation department for the second time again and no one can tell me what happen with the first one. I was told it would take 3 day, I called back and 3 days turned into 7 business days, I called after that and now it's 14 business days and now nothing. No one should have to call their credit card company or get put in collections or make another company give Direct TV money. It's almost two months since this started and there is no resolution.

And business executives wonder why churn, customer turnover, is so high. Simple illegal advertising like this make customers not trust them?

How do I get my name added to the lawsuit list. That is exactly what they did to me!

I want a refund from the and all other Servuce providers that have stolen from us like AT&T, etc.

Directv was bought by AT&T probably around 2015. That's why DIRECTV went downhill and is as frustrating to deal with as AT&T. We're cutting off DIRECTV now, too. Sick of anything owned by AT&T.

This is what happened to me as well, I want my name added to the lawsuit also. I believe I can finally get rid of Direct T.V. in April and I fully intend to do so.

This is happenning to me right now, I want my name added to the lawsuit as well. I can finally relief my stress. Also I can finally get rid of direct T.V.

This is happenning to me right now, I want my name added to the lawsuit as well. I can finally get rid of my stress. Also I can finally get rid of direct T.V.

Same here they took over $600.00 out of my account without permission that they said card was not on file..they are very decieving anything to keep you with them like thry always say if they will lie, theyll steal and exactly what they did. I definately want in on lawset

On November 28, 2016 Direct TV took $500 out my checking account without my authorization for a pass due bill they told me that they stated in their letters that I never received that I gave them permission to withdraw money from my account. Something seriously needs to be handle for this. Why not offer people payment arrangements. It should be illegal for them to keep people banking information to benefit them.i want in on the law suite let's get going. We need to put a stop to Direct TV for going into our account without authorization

I had the same thing happen to me. Directv debited my account for $350 3 times. The first two times I disputed it with directv and my bank. The customer service who handled it at directv continually put me on hold without even telling me I was going to be placed on hold. I spent 15 minutes saying "hello?" Until finally someone came on and said they're still there and put me on hold again. Eventually they came back on and tried to sign me back up with directv. I said no and that I never authorized that payment. Again I was put on hold and eventually they hung up. My bang disputed it twice and on the third time chase debited my account again and told me that directv said they would not refund my money and there was nothing they could do. I don't understand how my bank can authoriZe a debit that I NEVER authorized and allowed the money to be taken out because directv said "no". I argued with my bank for hours that this was a fraudulent charge seeing as I never authorized it and eventually they just became rude and said I'm not getting my money back. Both chase and directv screwed me out of $350 that I don't have. Even if I had the money, it's appalling that this can happen. Is there any way to fight this????

Hey Mrs. JM Burrows, Saw your post. In responding to it. Was wondering if you got your name added to the Law suit list? If so do you have the info? Thanks

DTV charged me fees to set up new service and then denied service. They will not refund the 25.00 that they stole from me. How do I get money back? I would not recommend DTV to ANYONE!

I'm going through something right now with direct I can't even talk. Direct TV is suck from $29.99 to $83.15 from second year they even tell me that gonna happen. $29.99 was way more than that one word disgust.

Pages

Add new comment

Comment Policy

Privacy Act Statement

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system (PDF), and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system (PDF). We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.