The Federal Trade Commission has accused the nation’s largest satellite television provider of deceptively advertising a discounted 12-monthly programming package.
The FTC argues that DirecTV fails to clearly disclose the fact that said package requires a two-year contract. What’s more, the cost of the package increases by as much as $45 per month during the second year. If a deceived customer wants to get out of the contract, it may cost them upwards of $480.
The agency further charges that DirecTV’s offer of free premium channels for three months doesn’t clearly state that users need to proactively cancel the subscription in order to avoid automatic renewal and unwanted charges.
All things considered FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said the satellite provider sought to lock customers into longer and more expensive contracts and premium packages that weren’t adequately disclosed. It’s a fundamental principle that the key terms of an offer to a consumer must be clear and conspicuous, not hidden in fine print, Ramirez added.
The FTC is seeking to permanently bar DirecTV from engaging in such conduct and aims to collect a monetary judgment that would be used to provide refunds to affected customers.
In an e-mailed statement to the Washington Post, a DirecTV spokesperson said the FTC is flat-out wrong and they will vigorously defend themselves for as long as it takes. The spokesperson noted that DirecTV goes above and beyond to ensure that every new customer receives all the information they need, multiple times, to make an informed and intelligent decision.