Philadelphia Inquirer

Federal Government Sues DirecTV for Alleged Deceptive Ads

Mar 11, 2015  •  Post A Comment

“The Federal Trade Commission sued DirecTV in federal court on Wednesday, claiming deceptive advertising by failing to adequately disclose price hikes in the second year of two-year pay-TV contracts and hundreds of dollars in early cancellation fees,” reports the Philadelphia Inquirer

The article reports: “The satellite TV operator also doesn’t clearly tell subscribers that they have to cancel premium channels when free promotion periods end or they will be charged for the channels, the government claimed in the suit filed in San Francisco.”

The chairperson of the FTC, Edith Ramirez, said in a statement: “It’s a bedrock principle that the key terms of an offer to a consumer must be clear and conspicuous, not hidden in fine print,” the story notes.

Charges for year two on a DirecTV contract could increase $45. And if one wanted to bail out of the service instead in year two, that could cost close to $500, the story says.



  1. It is this kind of behavior that is why I think it’s wrong for big companies to merge. As it is they feel that they can do just about anything they want to separate you from your hard earned dollars, and give you back as little as possible. Allowing them to get bigger is just giving them more power to do as they please.

  2. The home satellite industry began by companies pirating the over the air services from commercial stations and then selling them to consumers without getting permission from the originating stations or compensating them in any way. Their defense was that they were only selling the service in the “white spaces” where over the air television wasn’t available. Now the reality was the service was being sold anywhere and everywhere so the local station protested and after years of legal wrangling the home satellite industry was forced to develop local in local service so that they distributed the same service within an area that was available over the air. Of course the way they package and bundle and undercut each other and cable creates a lot of customer churn so one way to either prevent the churn or cover the costs is to make it expensive to leave the fold but don’t put that information in plain sight. The industry was started by pirates and there are still buccaneers at the helm.

  3. I’ve been a Direct T.V. customer for a year and I’ve been charge for services that was added for free 3 mth trial and because I wasn’t informed that I had to call and cancel the free trail after 3 mths.I was charged.
    Also, when I cancel the VISAT internet service because I wasn’t informed that after so many usage of MH you get charged for going over the usage.They charge me $200 cancelation fee and didn’t come remove there Satellite equipment which is still attached to my house.

  4. This is a big joke. I have had Direct TV for four years now and love it. The HD picture is the best that I have seen from all the services. If you love sports like I do Direct TV is the only way to go.

    All the TV providers run special deals and the price goes up after so many months. That is in the Terms and Conditions. The satellite companies are different from cable because you have to sign up for two years. That is how they make their money back after giving you just about everything free the first year. It is all there in the fine print. People just have to do their research first before signing up. Then use common sense after so long and downgrade to save money. People just have to be adults about this. Everyone wants someone to hold their hand.

    Farlesher Murphy you should be embarrassed about what you wrote above. I am guessing that you work in TV too. So you should know better than most. You say that you were not informed about the price going up after three months. Well it is all there in the agreement. Didn’t you read it before you signed it. If you had questions didn’t you ask. I was confused about a few things too, and I asked questions.

    People have to learn to stop being lazy. Nothing is free. Grow up people and become adults. Take some responsibility and be smart consumers.

  5. Overnight Joe you have an interesting position and I understand what you are saying. However Direct TV is one of the most devious businesses that have developed over the years and I say that from a depth of experience. I work in TV as a Program Director. I have been in the business for over 25 years. And I was a Direct TV subscriber for more than 3 years. During that amount of time I experienced first hand the Direct TV deceptive practices and misleading advertising with insight only one in my position would have.

    I read contracts daily and can assure you Direct was in default of their own contract. When that was pointed out they acted with impunity and arrogance. A key content offering are the Direct TV HD channels. I had two HD sets when I signed up. As time passed and I replaced the two remaining SD sets with HD’s I naturally wanted HD boxes from Direct. They were happy to sell me the boxes for several hundred dollars each or I could sign a new two year contract. I had fulfilled my two year obligation at this point and simply wanted Direct TV to deliver on the promise of providing HD to my HD sets. Their response was to hold HD hostage. Again I state I fulfilled every obligation of the two year agreement. I was one of their premium customers who often purchased movies and other pay per view programming. If nothing else providing the HD boxes made great business sense. It mystifies me they would not work with me.

    You may not share this opinion, but requiring another contract was as deceptive a practice as it gets. Direct promises HD in ads but if you are a subscriber they want a new contract regardless of the fact that you fulfilled all the obligations of your agreement. If nothing else that surely is a form of extortion. In addition when I decided to forego the NFL package it was automatically renewed without my authorization for several hundred dollars. They sell the NFL package by season. Direct TV should be required to notify it will automatically renew that agreement and give the consumer the upfront chance to opt out each season.

    In my opinion Direct TV pushes the legal envelope well beyond an acceptable level and dares anyone to take them on. Good for the FTC. I hope they fry those guys and get them under control.

    • Good to know you’re still out there, Chris. Where did you eventually land?

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