Attorney General announces $5.9 million settlement with DISH Network

Jackson, MS–Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that DISH Network, L.L.C. will pay $5,991,000 to settle consumer protection allegations with attorneys general in 46 states.

Mississippi is expected to receive $125,000 of the total settlement for attorneys fees and other costs of investigation and litigation and/or for future public protection purposes such as consumer protection education and litigation. The states alleged the satellite TV provider and its third-party retailers engaged in deceptive and unfair sales practices. The company denied any wrongdoing.

In addition to the $5.9 million, DISH Network agreed to pay restitution to consumers and to enter into an agreement that limits how it can market services in the future. Restitution for consumers will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

We encourage consumers who qualify for restitution to file a claim with our office or directly with DISH before December 14, 2009, said Attorney General Jim Hood. Consumers can access our offices complaint form online under the consumer tab at www.agjimhood.com . Consumers may also request a complaint form by contacting our office at
1-800-281-4418.

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.

Mississippi reached this settlement as part of a multistate investigation which included:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, 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.

CONSUMER REFUNDS:

The company will offer restitution to eligible consumers who filed complaints with the Attorney Generals Office or with DISH Network between January 1, 2004 and July 9, 2009. In addition, consumers who file complaints with the Attorney Generals Office or DISH Network within the next 150 days may be eligible for restitution if the conduct occurred within the past two 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.

For additional information regarding refunds, please contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney Generals Office at 601-359-4230 or 1-800-281-4418.

Hood Press Release
7/21/9