US government sues “deceptive” DirecTV

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has hit broadcasting giant DirecTV with a writ arguing that the pay-TV operator has deliberately misled millions of subscribers about the costs of viewing its programme line up. The action has started at a Federal Court in San Francisco.

The FTC states that DirecTV “deceptively advertised” an apparent one-year subscription contract but failed to tell consumers that viewers would be committing to a two-year contract. The FTC says a large portion of DirecTV’s subscribers could be affected.

Moreover, the second year was going to be much more expensive for viewers, and that hefty cancellation charges would be levied if subscribers cancelled.

“We require businesses to be truthful and to give consumers the information they need to make informed choices about goods and services,” said Jessica Rich, head of the FTC’s consumer protection bureau. “Companies can’t hide important information from consumers to trick them into buying goods and services — and that’s what we allege DirecTV did.”

DirecTV denies any deception, saying that it has worked hard to make the ordering process as clear as possible, and that either in writing or via a web-based order or verbally if ordered over the phone, all its terms and conditions are explained.

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