DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that Lone Tree-based DISH Network has agreed to pay $5.99 million to 46 states to settle allegations the satellite television provider and its third-party retailers engaged in unfair and deceptive sales practices. Colorado will receive $125,000 from the multistate settlement.
Also as part of the settlement, DISH Network has agreed to pay restitution to customers and has agreed to limit how it will market its services. Though DISH Network agreed to participate in the settlement, it has denied any wrongdoing.
The settlement resolves the states’ allegations 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 No Call laws;
- Failed to disclose the complete 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 substantially different; and,
- Charged customer credit cards and debited bank accounts without providing adequate notice and obtaining appropriate authorization.
Colorado and twelve other states entered into an assurance of voluntary compliance with DISH Network in 2003 regarding similar deceptive practices the company had engaged in. Since that time, The Office of the Attorney General had communicated with DISH Network about the number of consumer complaints that have been filed against the company. In particular, this office and the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau were receiving a high number of complaints from consumers saying they were not aware of many of the terms and conditions of the satellite-service package they had bought. The consumers also complained that DISH Network had charged their credit cards for termination fees and failure to return equipment without adequate notice.
DISH Network’s willingness to enter into the latest settlement, which requires several specific pre-sale disclosures and 10-days advance notice before charging a customer’s credit card, convinced the Attorney General that this was a good deal for Colorado consumers.
Tennessee led the multistate investigation along with Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Washington. The following states participated in the settlement: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
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DISH Network will offer restitution to eligible consumers who filed complaints with the Office of the Attorney General or with DISH Network between Jan. 1, 2004 and July 9, 2009. Additionally, consumers who file complaints with DISH Network, the Better Business Bureau or the Office of the Attorney General within the next 150 days could be eligible for restitution if they were victimized within the past two years. Consumers who are not satisfied with the company’s offer of restitution can file a claim to be judged 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 submitted via e-mail at CEO@dishnetwork.com.