DirecTV Charged With Extortion In Class Action Suit

from the shouldn't-you-have-proof-of-a-crime-before-you-demand-money? dept

We've written about DirecTV's questionable legal strategy a few times in the past. After getting their hands on the customer lists of some companies that were selling smart card readers, DirecTV sent legal nastygrams to everyone on those lists, accusing them of stealing DirecTV signals. This ignored, of course, the fact that those card readers have other (legitimate purposes). While it's likely that many people did use them for illegally accessing satellite TV signals, DirecTV had no specific proof, other than their name on a customer list. On top of that, the letter made it clear that as long as people paid up $3,500, they wouldn't get sued. In a lot of ways, it's difficult to distinguish that from extortion, and so a group of those accused by DirecTV have filed a class action lawsuit against the company for these actions. DirecTV claims the suit has no merit and that it will be thrown out (as similar cases in the state of California have been).

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  1. identicon
    Robert Dodson, 13 Feb 2008 @ 5:14pm

    Lease fee for owned equipment

    I recently upgraded to HD Directv. The first installer was to provide a free receiver but did not have the receiver I wanted (an HR20) and didn't have the antenna install listed on his work order. I canceled that install. I found a receiver on e-bay, and paid for it myself. The second installer still didn't have an antenna install on his work order (after I called Directv and specifically complained about the first installer not having one), but he had the antenna with him and managed to get the situation straighted out with Directv by phone so it could be installed using my HR20 receiver. On the next billing, the lease fee showed up. In my pre-install call to Directv to determine what my upgrade would be, the representative clearly stated that my old billing would only change by the DVR fee and the HD access fee - period. I confirmed that a second time. No mention of the lease fee. I did not sign anything that mentioned a lease fee and I never paid a lease fee prior to the "upgrade". If Directv doesn't waive my lease fee (in discussion with them at present), I will most certainly be in contact with Mr. Tamblyn relative to a class action. This is not only a hidden fee but it was not described and was excluded in the verbal contract I made with Directv. The 2 year contract was mentioned, and I accepted that under the terms verbally described since I planned to continue as a Directv customer anyway. However, from the above discussions, this smacks of the early cancellation fee charged by Sirius satellite radio and I feel without a written, signed contract both are meaningless. Film manufactures used to have a disclosure on their packages that a purchaser agreed to the fact that film deteriorates over time through the purchase, and therefore they weren't liable. That "contract" was broken in court and proved to be worthless. Directv may have un intentionally started a firestorm with their "lease" agreement.

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