Van Hollen Announces Multi-State Settlement With DISH Network
By: Attorney General JB Van Hollen
Satellite company stacked up complaints about sales practices
MADISON - DISH Network, L.L.C. has agreed to pay restitution to consumers and to enter into an agreement that limits how it can market services in the future to settle consumer protection allegations with Attorneys General in 46 states. The states alleged the satellite TV provider and its third-party retailers engaged in deceptive and unfair sales practices. The company denied any wrongdoing.
"I am pleased to announce the settlement today and to announce the possibility of consumer restitution for eligible consumers," said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.
In addition to the restitution, DISH Network, L.L.C. will pay the states $5,991,000. Wisconsin will receive $20,000.
The settlement resolves the states' allegations including that DISH Network:
- Refused to accept responsibility for the misconduct of its third-party retailers and installers;
- Made telemarketing calls to consumers in violation of do-not-call rules;
- Failed to disclose all terms and conditions of their customer agreements, including the availability of rebates, credits and free offers;
- Did not disclose that purchased or leased equipment was previously used and/or refurbished;
- Made reference to competitors' price offers when the goods or services being compared were materially different; and
- Charged customer credit cards and debited bank accounts without providing adequate notice and obtaining appropriate authorization.
Tennessee led the multistate investigation along with Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Washington. The following states participated in the settlement: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Unresolved complaints sent to Dish Network or their State Attorney General since January 1, 2004 are eligible for the restitution program. Dish Network will notify consumers that they are eligible for the restitution program by sending a claims notice to those consumers. Additionally, consumers can file a complaint with Dish Network, their state Attorney General, state consumer office, or with the BBB by December 14, 2009 to be considered for the restitution program as long as the complaint is about activity that took place within the last 2 years. Consumers who are not satisfied with the company's offer of restitution may choose to file a claim to be decided by a third-party claims administrator. Questions or complaints regarding the refund process can be addressed to: DISH Network, L.L.C., Dispute Resolution Team, P.O. Box 9040, Littleton, CO 80120 or by e-mail at CEO@dishnetwork.com
Assistant Attorney General Nelle R. Rohlich represented the State.