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
    GD, 26 Jan 2009 @ 8:37pm

    Poor business practice

    My Father moved into my home last February due to terminal illness. He arranged an agreement with DirecTV to provide satellite service. I wasn't involved with any part of it. When he passed away in June, I contacted DirecTV to discontinue service. The rep said I'd have to submit a DEATH CERTIFICATE to make any changes because my name wasn't on the account. I explained that a death certificate has information protected under the Privacy Act and would not be provided. I didn't have time to pursue the matter, so continued paying the bills even though I didn't want the service. Last November I started to receive communications from DirecTV stating that I'd need to take some type of action to prevent service from being discontinued. Since I didn't want the service anyway, I didn't take the action. Service ended on December 16. Since then I have not been able to receive local television broadcasts as I had before the satellite service started. I contacted DirecTV, told them to remove their equipment from my property, let them know they had voluntarily ended the service, and wanted them to return my television to being able to receive local broadcasts. Again, I was told that a death certificate was required. I submitted a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. The response was that they couldn't "service" my television because it's not their equipment, a $100 "deinstallation" fee would be charged, they'd send a box for the return, and that I'd incur charges if I didn't return their equipment within a certain timeframe. I left a message saying I didn't authorize them to send anything to my residence, but they did so anyway. I don't even have an account with his company, yet I've found it to be an unreasonable, bullying company. I hope the authorities investigate this company and either force it to close or change its business practices.

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