Miami Sues DirecTV, Says Ads Mislead Consumers

Miami-Dade County’s consumer cops are suing DirecTV, after receiving over 300 complaints from customers over the company’s pricing. According to the county’s Consumer Services Department, DirecTV’s ads led customers to believe they’d get a satellite package for $34.99 a month, but actual charges went as high as $65.99.

The Miami Herald reports that DirecTV is being charged under Miami-Dade’s uniform trade practices law.

The agency says DIRECTV buried additional fees in small print in service agreements with customers. For example, it cited a $5 charge for a second receiver; a $19.95 fee for complex installation, handling and delivery; $6 per month for DVR service; and $10 a month for HD access. But the company’s offers of free installation in up to four rooms and free HD DVR receiver upgrades didn’t include information about these fees.

In addition, the suit says customers who thought they were signing a one-year contract based on ads that offered to lock in a price for a full year were actually signing two-year contracts.

The agency is also going after DirecTV for the kind of fine-print disclaimers that somehow seem to make their way into too many contracts, including “eligibility for local channels based on service address. Programs not delivered in HD in all markets,” and “Blackout restrictions and other conditions apply.”

Miami-Dade sues DIRECTV – Business [MiamiHerald.com]