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Dish Network settles consumer case with 46 states

The satellite TV firm will pay nearly $6 million to resolve charges that it improperly marketed, promoted and sold its products and services. California is among four states still suing the company.

July 17, 2009|Associated Press

Dish Network Corp. said Thursday that it agreed to pay nearly $6 million to settle charges that it improperly marketed, promoted and sold its products and services.

Although the satellite TV provider isn't admitting any wrongdoing in settling with attorneys general in 46 states, it agreed to pay restitution to affected customers and make fuller disclosures in advertising and written contracts.

State officials say Dish failed to disclose all the terms of service to customers, including rebates, credits and free offers. The states say Dish refused to take responsibility when customers were misled by service resellers and equipment installers.

State officials also accused Dish of charging customers' credit cards and withdrawing money from bank accounts without giving adequate notice and getting proper authorization. They also said Dish didn't tell customers that equipment sold or leased was used or refurbished.

As part of the settlement, Dish agreed to more clearly disclose in ads any restrictions on promotional offers. It also promised to either sell new equipment or tell consumers they're buying used goods. The company also must require retailers that resell its services to comply with the terms of the states' agreement.

Dish will pay restitution to affected consumers who filed complaints from Jan. 1, 2004, to July 9, 2009.

People can also file complaints over the next five months with their state's attorney general, Dish or the Better Business Bureau to qualify, as long as the problem occurred within the last two years.

Englewood, Colo.-based Dish reached a settlement with all states except California, North Carolina, Illinois and Ohio. Those four states, along with the Federal Trade Commission, have sued Dish for alleged violations of a federal telemarketing law and thus aren't part of the settlement.

Dish did agree to comply with Do Not Call and other telemarketing laws as part of the 46-state settlement.

Shares of Dish were up 43 cents, or nearly 3%, to close Thursday at $16.04.

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