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Attorney General Settles With DIRECTV

CONTACT: Crystal Baldwin, Consumer Assistance Program, (802) 656-3183

December 23, 2010

The Vermont Attorney General’s Office has entered into a Judgment with DIRECTV that will result in consumer refunds and a payment of $185,000.00 to the State of Vermont. Because DIRECTV made attractive offers that did not indicate that consumers would have to extend their contracts and be subjected to cancellation fees or additional costs, it will now have to offer refunds to Vermonter consumers. “Businesses that fail to fully disclose all the terms of their offers will have to pay consumers as well as the State,” said Attorney General William H. Sorrell. “DIRECTV’s customers will now get money back, full disclosure of all programming and pricing, and better service.”

Over the last three years, the Vermont Attorney General’s Office has received more than 300 complaints about DIRECTV. The Judgment creates a third party neutral Claims Administrator for resolving consumer complaints if consumers are unable to resolve their claims with DIRECTV. The Judgment also settles allegations that the satellite TV provider and its third-party retailers engaged in unfair and deceptive sales practices in its advertising and contracting. DIRECTV is required to change its business practices and provide full disclosure of the requirements of its advertising promotions and rebates, the costs of equipment fees and leasing, and the availability and costs of its programming services and cancellations. Under the settlement filed today in the Washington Superior Court, Vermont will receive $185,000 out of the total $13.25 million payment to 49 states and the District of Columbia.

CONSUMER REFUNDS

Consumers with unresolved complaints that were filed with the Attorney General’s Office or with DIRECTV after January 1, 2007, are eligible for refunds and resolution of their complaints. Consumers can also file complaints with DIRECTV or the Attorney General’s Office by June 9, 2011, to be considered for the restitution program, if the complaint is about activity that occurred after January 1, 2007. DIRECTV will first attempt to resolve the complaint with the consumer. If the complaint cannot be resolved, DIRECTV will send the consumer a Claim Form for the Claims Administrator to resolve the dispute between the consumer and DIRECTV. For information about filing for a refund, contact the Vermont Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program at: 802-656-3183 or toll free in Vermont at 800-649-2424, or by email at consumer@uvm.edu A copy of the form to request a Refund is also available at the Attorney General’s consumer website: www.uvm.edu/consumer

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