BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Dish Network has agreed to pay nearly $6 million to settle lawsuits filed by 46 states, including Alabama, according to Alabama Attorney General Troy King.
The settlement was announced in the following email sent by King to FOX6 News Thursday afternoon.
AG ANNOUNCES $5.9 MILLION SETTLEMENT WITH DISH NETWORK
(MONTGOMERY)-Attorney General Troy King today announced that DISH Network, L.L.C., will pay $5,991,000 to settle consumer protection allegations with attorneys general in 46 states. The states alleged the satellite TV provider and its third-party retailers engaged in deceptive and unfair sales practices. The company denied any wrongdoing.
In addition to the $5.9 million, DISH Network agreed to pay restitution to consumers and to enter into an agreement that limits how it can market services in the future. The amount of restitution to consumers is not yet determined, and will depend upon the particular complaints of individual consumers.
"In addition to providing restitution for past practices, this settlement brings reforms that will protect consumers in the future," said Attorney General King. "This agreement will provide adequate notice and disclosures, which will let consumers make informed decisions and receive better and more honest services."
The 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.
Consumers who have already sent complaints during the eligible time period will be contacted by DISH Network, and need not file a new complaint. These include consumers who have made complaints-which have not yet been resolved and are still pending-to either DISH Network or to the Attorney General's Office, since January 1, 2004. These consumers will be contacted by DISH, either with a claims notice or with a settlement offer. If the consumers are not satisfied with this offer and do not want to accept it, they may choose to file a claim to be decided by a third-party claims administrator. Questions or complaints regarding the refund process can be addressed to: DISH Network, L.L.C., Dispute Resolution Team, P.O. Box 9040, Littleton, CO 80120 or by e-mail at CEO@dishnetwork.com.
Consumers who have not yet made complaints, but whose complaint is about activity during the eligible time period, may still file complaints. New complaints may be filed about activity that occurred during the past two years, before today's settlement date of July 16, 2009. The deadline for filing these new complaints to be considered for restitution is December 14, 2009.