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
    Alex, 24 Apr 2008 @ 9:19am

    Contract non-disclosure

    If there are any law firms out there that want to take this one as a class action, please contact me. Recently, I filed a complaint with BBB about DirecTV's secretive contract disclosures. There are utterly thousands more out there just like me who would sign on to this. In summary, DirecTV binds everyone who gets their service to a two year contract without a signature. This is a unilateral binding and is illegal. When I asked them to provide a copy of a document with my signature they couldn't do it, because according to them, sending you something arbitrary in the mail is good enough. Nonsense. They have no paper trail. Ask any other company with a contract this length and they will send it to you.
    Here is DirecTV's response regarding its so called contracts: "We advised you of the commitment at the time the equipment was ordered and when the equipment was activated on 01/06/2007. We also noted the commitment on the order confirmation we mailed to you. The commitment and early cancellation fee are detailed in the Customer Agreement at and we sent a copy of the agreement with your first bill. DIRECTV does not require a signature to complete this agreement. New copies were sent any time the agreement changed..." Notice the absence of any bilateral agreement here. You can't just shove something this big down consumer's throats without an agreement.
    They don't even keep a record of sending you any of this stuff. This is a slam dunk case in court. How a company this large can get away with this for so long I have no idea. When I signed up with Dish, they give you a carbon copy of a SIGNATURE with whatever it is you agreed or didn't agree to. I never signed anything of the sort with DIRECTV. These guys are toast.

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