OLYMPIA -- More Washington residents complained to the state Attorney General's Office about DIRECTV than any other business in 2009.
As a result the AG's office filed a lawsuit Monday against the nation's largest satellite TV company for unfair sales practices.
The lawsuit, which came after a yearlong investigation, alleges California-based DIRECTV wooed new viewers with ads offering low prices while hiding many fees and charges, planned rate changes and automatic renewals.
"The minuscule 5.5 point fine print at the bottom of a DIRECTV advertisement is enough to give someone a migraine," said Attorney General Rob McKenna. "Even if consumers used a magnifying glass, they still wouldn't discover that the 'good deal' they were promised came with potential expensive pitfalls."
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DIRECTV's contracts "are so one-sided as to grossly favor defendants. The contracts limit the customer's rights and remedies and impose numerous, sometimes undisclosed fees, while at the same time maintaining defendants' flexibility to alter any terms and conditions," the state's complaint states.
The Attorney General's Office is asking the court to compel DIRECTV to change its business practices, impose civil penalties and provide restitution for consumers.
Washington residents filed more than 700 complaints against DIRECTV since 2006, including 375 this year.
For more information about the lawsuit, visit http://atg.wa.gov/uploadedFiles/Home/News/Press_Releases/2009/DIRECTVComplaint2009-12-14.pdf.