The Vermont Attorney General’s Office and DirecTV have reached a resolution over its deceptive practices towards customers, Attorney General William Sorrell announced today.
According to a recent news release, under the terms of the settlement, DirecTV customers in Vermont will receive refunds, and DirecTV will make a payment of $185,000 to the state.
“DirecTV’s offers did not make clear that customers would have to extend contracts and be subjected to cancellation fees or additional costs”, the Attorney General’s Office said.
The settlement calls for creation of a neutral claims administrator for resolving consumer complaints if customers cannot reach resolution with DirecTV itself.
In addition, the agreement settles allegations that the satellite TV provider “engaged in unfair and deceptive sales practices in its advertising and contracting,” the news release said.
“DirecTV must change its business practices and provide full disclosure of the requirements of its promotions and rebates, of the costs of equipment fees and leasing and of the availability and costs of programming services and cancellations”, the Attorney General’s Office said.
The settlement has been filed in Washington Superior Court. The state is receiving $185,000 out of a total $13.25 million payment to 49 states and the District of Columbia, the news release said.
What consumers ought to know:
Consumers with unresolved complaints that were filed with the Attorney General’s Office or with DirecTV after Jan. 1, 2007 are eligible for refunds and resolution of their complaints.
Consumers can also file complaints with DirecTV or the Attorney General’s Office by June 9, 2011, to be considered for the restitution program, if the complaint is about activity that occurred after Jan. 1, 2007.
DirecTV will first attempt to resolve the complaint with the consumer. If the complaint cannot be resolved, the company will send the consumer a claim form for the claims administrator to resolve the dispute between the consumer and DirecTV.
Financial gurus in the stock market are speculating that recent controversy about DirecTV having to pay $14 million to 50 states in America may adversely affect its market share in the stock market.
A two-year investigation into the subscription policies of the satellite company revealed that DirecTV was indulging in unethical business practices to drive profits. Thousands of customers across America reported that they were extremely disappointed by the satellite provider’s deceptive advertisements and hidden cancellation charges that the company did not give them any hints about. The result was a lawsuit with DirecTV asked to pay about $14 million as damages across 50 states.
A cursory look reveals that DirecTV’s market share growth has been quite strong so far. Its quarterly results for the third quarter of 2010 have been quite impressive and the company is gaining ground on new customers. Given the high brand recognition that the company has and its burgeoning subscriber base, it seems that the satellite provider has been doing quite well so far.
However, the recent lawsuit about the satellite provider’s malpractices and violation of consumer practices has led experts to predict that this controversy may hamper the market share growth of the company. Although $14 million is quite a small price to pay for the company given its total assets, the ruling can have a disastrous effect on the company’s reputation and brand image. This can have a domino effect on its shares in the stock market.
Given the present scenario, not all is well with the company and it remains to be seen how significant an effect this might have on the satellite provider’s market value.
Every business needs strong customer base to sustain in the competition and to grow further. And to retain customers, business houses follow various means. Some concentrate on improving the quality of their products/services to woo customers, while others may try to bring down the product’s price so that more number of customers can afford those. You may also find several companies who have won the hearts of their customers through efficient and prompt customer care services.
Although the main objective is to satisfy the customer and increase the customer base, different organizations follow different maneuvers. However, as you already know it, everything is not neat and clean in the business world. While many organizations follow different practices to retain their customers, there are several others who choose wrong and unethical way to do it. Let’s have a look at it.
Customer Retention Malpractices are quite common in today’s business world. It often happens that to retain customers, organizations violate business ethics. For example, as a customer when you are unsatisfied with a product or services, you call up the customer care cell and express your willingness to discontinue the service; they will simply not let you do it. They would offer you huge credits and discounts so that you don’t go away.
In recent time, it has been noticed that DirecTV follows the same malpractice. When any customer is dissatisfied with DirecTV’s services or package rates and wants to move to other satellite TV providers, customer care cell just won’t let the customers go away. DirecTV wrongfully lure the customers with huge discounts and credits so that they stay with them. It is a completely unethical activity that leads to price discrimination among the customers.
So who are the sufferers? Certainly and unfortunately, it’s the customer. You never know that whether the price that you are paying for the services are justified or not. You might be paying higher amount than many others. It’s your hard-earned money that is going in waste, only because you aren’t bargaining with the company. And it is a shocker for any customer. You can’t blame a customer if s/he loses faith on the organization, which follows these malpractices.
So, it is the high time you become aware of these unethical activities and raise your voice when you come to see it. Say a big ‘No’ to Customer Retention Malpractices – play your role, as a customer, to keep this business world a clean one.
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