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Attorney General's News Release

July 16, 2009

Attorney General Koster obtains $325,000 in settlement with DISH Network

--settlement includes restitution for Missouri consumers--

Jefferson City, Mo.- Attorney General Chris Koster today announced a multi-state settlement with DISH Network that will bring $325,000 to Missouri and restitution to consumers who were misled by the satellite company's sales practices. Missouri was one of five leading states in the national investigation, which found the satellite TV provider and its third-party retailers engaged in deceptive and unfair sales practices. The company denied any wrongdoing.

As part of the settlement, DISH Network has agreed to pay restitution to consumers and to enter into an agreement that limits how it can market services in the future.

Koster said the company will offer restitution to eligible consumers who filed complaints with the Attorney General's Office or with DISH Network between January 1, 2004, and July 9, 2009. In addition, consumers who file complaints with the Attorney General's Office, DISH Network or the Better Business Bureau within the next 150 days may be eligible for restitution if the conduct occurred within the past 2 years. Consumers who are not satisfied with the company's offer of restitution may choose to file a claim to be decided by a third-party claims administrator. Koster said that per the agreement, his office is forwarding complaint information to DISH for their follow-up with consumers.

"My goal is to ensure satellite and cable television services play by the rules and give consumers correct information they need to make sound decisions," Koster said. "This agreement sends a message to all service providers that Missouri intends to enforce its laws for fair business practices and hold companies' feet-to-the-fire when they violate those laws."

Koster said Missouri received 261 complaints from consumers about DISH Network in 2006, when it opened its investigation. Consumers complained the company misrepresented the number of channels they would receive, whether they would receive local channels, and the final amount of their monthly bill. Consumers also complained that they had problems properly using credits and rebates because DISH Network failed to adequately disclose important terms and conditions, or additional fees. Some consumers complained that they were unable to cancel their accounts, and that DISH charged their credit cards or electronically debited their bank accounts without appropriate authorization.

The multi-state settlement resolves the states' allegations including that DISH Network:

  • Refused to accept responsibility for the misconduct of its third-party retailers and installers;
  • Made telemarketing calls to consumers in violation of do-not-call rules;
  • Failed to disclose all terms and conditions of their customer agreements, including the availability of rebates, credits and free offers;
  • Did not disclose that purchased or leased equipment was previously used and/or refurbished;
  • Made reference to competitors' price offers when the goods or services being compared were materially different; and
  • Charged customer credit cards and debited bank accounts without providing adequate notice and obtaining appropriate authorization.

The Attorney General urges Missourians who want to submit a consumer complaint on DISH Network to go online at ago.mo.gov or contact his consumer hotline at 800-392-8222 for a complaint form.



 
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