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
    Paul Lipscomb, 18 Jun 2008 @ 2:03pm

    Directv - unprofessional fraudsters.

    My advice - get your TV from anybody but Directv and save yourself lots of grief and frustration. Why? Let me explain. I got directv as part of my Verizon bundle last August when I arrived in the US (to work legally with your armed forces). As I came from the UK, directv could not get a credit history on me so demanded that I pay a $200 fee as a guarantee. This fee has then been repaid at a rate of $5/month. It doesn't take a math major to work out that it will take 40 months for them to repay the fee to me. Now the catch...I am moving house and will not be able to get directv at my new rental property (thank goodness) and informed them that I wished to terminate the service in August 2008 (that will be my 12 month contract completed). However, I have just been informed, for the first time, that when my account closes, I will lose the outstanding $135 credit on the initial fee as it has no monetary value! Forget the customer agreement para 5(d) which states that any credit will be repaid on account closure and forget the new customer terms and conditions letter which failed to mention any catches associated with this fee. Who in their right mind would sign up for a 12 month contract that tied you in for 3 years and 4 months (40 months) - probably nobody. Who in their right mind would sign up with directv if they knew how unprofessional and how fraudulent they were? I believe Directv misrepresented and mis-sold their product and are now behaving fraudulently and dishonestly, but don't know what to do about it. By the way the installation was a joke too - the subcontractor didn't show at the appointed time, I was promised $100 credit which they failed to deliver until I argued for over 2 hours on the phone 3 months later. When the sub con did eventually show - only after I had to re-arrange the appointment the following week, he promptly fell over in my rental basement (and is still trying to sue me for damages). Meanwhile his mate did the installation (while one of their 6 year old kids sat in the house waiting) and made a right mess of it, causing actual damage to the property. Professional - just who are they kidding?
    I watch the latest ad on TV for directv - showing a "rival" firms board meeting trying to figure out how to match directv's customer satisfaction statistics when one of them just laughs at the prospect. My guess is that the laughing man is a former customer of directv and he knows that the truth and finds their claim laughable! Or maybe he just knows that to match directv, all his company would need to do is lie, deceive, swindle, act fraudulently, cheat, fudge their satisfaction statistics and treat their customers who dare to challenge them with utter contempt. Take a leaf out of directvs ad campaign - refer a friend to anybody but directv.

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