TRENTON—New Jersey has entered into a multi-state settlement agreement with satellite dish TV provider DISH Network, LLC, that resolves allegations the company engaged in deceptive and unfair business practices in connection with the marketing, promotion and sale of DISH Network goods and services.
Under terms of the settlement, the Colorado-based DISH Network will pay 46 participating states a total of $5,991,000, according to Attorney General Anne Milgram. New Jersey is expected to receive $125,000. The settlement also provides for injunctive relief and business practices that govern how DISH Network can market its goods and services in the future.
In addition, DISH Network has agreed to pay restitution to eligible consumers who filed complaints with their state’s Attorney General, or with DISH Network itself, between January 1, 2004 and July 9, 2009. Consumers who file complaints with their state’s Attorney General, DISH Network and/or the Better Business Bureau over the next 150 days may also be eligible for restitution, if the conduct occurred within the past two years.
Based in Englewood, Colorado, DISH Network was formally known as EchoStar Satellite LLC.
“This is an important settlement for New Jersey consumers,” said Milgram. “ It provides for restitution to eligible DISH Network customers and requires the company to fully disclose—both in advertising and written contracts – all terms of service, equipment return policies, fees and other important information. New Jersey consumers deserve nothing less than accurate, reliable information about the products they buy or are considering buying.”
Among other issues, the settlement announced last week resolves allegations that DISH Network failed to disclose all terms and conditions of its customer agreements—including the availability of rebates, credits and free offers – and refused to accept responsibility for misrepresentations by its third-party retailers and installers.
Other allegations identified during the investigation include that DISH Network:
• charged customer credit cards and debited bank accounts without providing adequate notice and obtaining appropriate authorization;
• failed to disclose that equipment sold or leased to its customers was previously used and/or refurbished;
• portrayed favorable comparisons with competitors’ pricing offers when the goods or services being compared were materially different.; and
• made telemarketing calls to consumers in violation of do-not-call rules.
Among other things, the settlement provides that DISH Network:
• clearly and conspicuously disclose in any advertisement any limitation on the availability of DISH Network services and any minimum term of service required to receive any offer or benefit;
• not sell to consumers any previously used and/or refurbished goods unless this fact is clearly and conspicuously disclosed prior to sale;
• in any advertisement, clearly and conspicuously disclose any material terms, limitations and conditions associated with obtaining a rebate, credit or other discount and/or offer of free goods or services; and
• require its third-party retailers to advertise, sell and/or install DISH Network goods and services in compliance with terms of the settlement.
Tennessee led the multi-state investigation into DISH Network’s business practices the investigation began in June 2006. In addition to New Jersey and Tennessee, the following states are participating 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 Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Questions 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
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