AG: DIRECTV complaints skyrocket

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by JESSE JONES / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on January 12, 2010 at 1:18 PM

Andreas Benson has had a relationship with DIRECTV for more than a decade, so breaking up is hard to do.

It all started when he bought a replacement receiver after his old one quit working.

"They said nothing would change in my bill. My service didn't get any better, so I decided to get rid of them," he said.

After dropping DIRECTV after 11 years, the company hit Andreas with a $180 early termination fee, saying when he bought the receiver in May, it required a new 18-month agreement to activate it.

But there's not a signed agreement in his receipt or anywhere else.

"Nothing about continuing the contract. Their service department said nothing about continuing the contract. When I bought it from Circuit City, they said nothing about continuing the contract," he said.

He fought with the company for months and they even put him in collections.

Jesse Jones: "Are they ever going to get that $180 from you?"

Andreas Benson: "No."

Attorney General Rob McKenna says his office has seen hundreds of similar complaints against DIRECTV. He filed this lawsuit against the company in December claiming deceptive business practices, including failing to adequately disclose early cancellation fees.

"DIRECTV has preserved its position as the number one company that people are complaining about in America," said McKenna.

Before the lawsuit, the AG had more than 700 complaints filed against DIRECTV since 2006. Since filing suit on December 14, 465 more have come in and the number continues to grow.

"We usually see an uptick in complaints about a company when we go public with a lawsuit or a settlement, but I've never seen this kind of volume before," he said.

When McKenna told me about the lawsuit, I asked viewers who had problems with the satellite television provider to contact the Attorney General, then call me. That's exactly what Andreas did.

Jesse Jones: "You heard back from DIRECTV? What did they tell you?"

Andreas Benson: "They took care of the problem, but they didn't take care of it until I got a hold of you and the Attorney General's Office.

In response to the AG's lawsuit, DIRECTV says: "We believe their allegations lack merit, and we are confident the court will agree with us."

Again, if you have a DIRECTV complaint, contact the Attorney General's Office  and then give me a call.

For consumer concerns, e-mail Jesse to getjesse@king5.com or call toll-free 877-51-JESSE. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/GetJesse.

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