DIRECTV to pay more than $1 million in refunds to Coloradans who were overcharged during Altitude Sports blackout
Consumers will also receive credit for obsolete HD fee
June 3, 2021, (DENVER)—Attorney General Phil Weiser today announced that DIRECTV will refund thousands of Coloradans after charging for Altitude Sports while the channel was unavailable, and for continuing to charge an obsolete fee for high-definition service, even though high-definition television is now a household standard.
“DIRECTV used these fees to take advantage of Coloradans, charging them for services they weren’t getting or were no longer relevant, and only refunding those who noticed and reached out to the company about the issue,” said Weiser. “Consumers should not be penalized for being too busy to wait on hold to demand fair treatment. Today’s settlement remedies the harms caused by DIRECTV’s actions and will provide refunds to consumers.”
In September and October of 2019, DIRECTV consumers in Colorado were unable to watch the Altitude Sports channel because of a contract dispute between the two companies. During the outage, DIRECTV continued to charge Coloradans the full amount of the “Regional Sports Network” fee of $1.89, $7.13, or $8.49, with the maximum amount charged to consumers with zip codes closer to Denver. Although DIRECTV provided credits to its customers who called about the outage, it continued to charge the full fee to everyone else who had the channel, even though they were not receiving part of the service they were still paying for.
In the settlement, DIRECTV agreed to pay more than $1 million to about 204,360 Coloradans who were impacted. The company will give a $5 credit to current customers and mail a $5 check to former customers.
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division also found that DIRECTV has been charging an HD fee since the early 2000s, when high-definition service was a new and superior option. However, high definition is now standard for television viewers and DIRECTV continues to charge an extra $10 per month to some Coloradans.
As part of the settlement, DIRECTV will provide a $1-$3 monthly credit for 27 months to more than 15,000 Coloradans who were unfairly charged the HD fee. The amount of the credit is determined based on the price difference between the customer’s current package and what they would save if they switched to an “All-Included” package, which does not contain a separate fee for HD. Prior to the expiration of the 27-month credit, DIRECTV will contact those affected customers, who will be able to continue the credit as long as they are still being charged a higher price than the comparable All-Included package.
“Charging this unnecessary, outdated fee was unfair to consumers, many of whom were unaware they were paying extra for a service that was now standard part of programming packages,” said Weiser. “We are pleased to ensure Coloradans will receive welcome relief from this unfair payment.”
DIRECTV will contact affected customers in the next 30-60 days with details about the credits.
StopFraudColorado.gov is a website for the Attorney General’s Office’s Consumer Protection Division that is designed to emphasize consumer protection outreach and makes it easier for Coloradans to avoid becoming a victim of fraud, while streamlining the process for filing fraud reports. If you notice any scams, fraud, price gouging, or other attempts to take advantage of Coloradans, contact Stop Fraud Colorado at 800-222-4444 or www.StopFraudColorado.gov.