Ever since DirecTV began running an ad campaign touting that NFL Sunday Ticket is now available at “no extra charge” (huge asterisk), we’ve been hearing complaints from football fans and DirecTV subscribers alike that these ads do their best to hide the fine print of the deal. Now it seems that Comcast has taken up the cause — and taken DirecTV to court.
“Unfortunately for consumers, the claim of ‘free’ is an outright lie,” Comcast writes in the complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
From the Chicago Tribune:
Comcast claims that DirecTV’s strategy is to trap customers into the service, which requires a two-year contract with hefty termination fees and automatically renews itself in the second year. The service usually costs $66.99 per month for five months or $334.95 per month for one season. This information, Comcast claims, is not easily accessible to consumers.
Regarding the lawsuit, a DirecTV rep tells Consumerist, “We believe Comcast’s complaint is completely without merit and plan to defend ourselves vigorously.”
We began receiving reader complaints when these ads first began popping up around the MLB All-Star Game in July. At the time, I contacted DirecTV to ask for a response to irate customers who felt the ads were misleading and that it was unfair for the company to be giving away a service that dedicated subscribers pay more than $300 for.
“It’s common practice for us to change our new customer offer several times throughout the year to make sure we put forth the most attractive offer possible at that given time,” a DirecTV rep told Consumerist at the time. “All new customers get some sort of substantial benefit or discount when they first sign up for our service whether it be free premium channels, free HD, sports packages, discounts on hardware or bill credits. It just changes throughout the year.”
Here is one of the several ads touting the “no extra charge” for Sunday Ticket:
Comcast sues DirecTV over NFL Sunday ticket ads [Chicago Tribune]