October 21, 2010
Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster said today he has notified DISH Network they are violating a July 2009 Assurance of Voluntary Compliance agreement by ceasing transmission of Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports Kansas City, FX, and the National Geographic Channel to Missouri subscribers.
"Whether they are watching our undefeated Mizzou Tigers roll through the Big 12 or watching Shark Hunters on Expedition Great White, these stations are important pieces in a consumers' TV choices. Our job is to stand up for Missouri consumers."
Koster said many DISH subscribers entered into service contracts believing these channels would be provided for the duration of their contract commitment and would not have done so had they know that would not be the case. Koster said DISH Network's costs of providing service have decreased as a result of not providing FOX programming, but subscribers' monthly rates have not changed.
"Essentially, subscribers are paying for the cost of receiving Fox programming when they are not," Koster said, "and DISH Network is being unjustly enriched by engaging in this unfair practice."
In a letter to the company, Koster asked DISH to notify subscribers that they may cancel their service without paying a cancellation fee and that customers be given a credit refund in the same proportion that the company's cost of providing service has decreased.
Koster said although the company has made efforts to provide alternative channels, subscribers may not want those channels or may not consider them to have the same value as FOX.
"DISH's efforts to provide restitution in the form of alternative channels is insufficient and doesn't alter the fact that they are in violation of Missouri law and the 2009 agreement," Koster said.