DENVER — Thursday afternoon, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced DIRECTV will refund customers in Colorado who were overcharged for Altitude Sports while the channel was unavailable from September-October 2019.
>Video above is from a 9NEWS story that aired in November 2019 about Altitude filing a lawsuit against Comcast.
In a news release, Weiser said the company was also charging customers an "obsolete fee for high-definition service" when high definition service is 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.”
DIRECTV consumers in Colorado were unable to get Altitude Sports for two months due to a contract dispute between the two companies in 2019, Weiser said. It was during this time, according to Weiser, that DIRECTV continued to charge Coloradans the full amount of the "Regional Sports Network" fee with the maximum amount charged to consumers with zip codes closer to Denver.
DIRECTV did provide credits to customers who called about the outage but continued to charge the full fee to everyone else who had the channel, even though they were not getting part of the service, Weiser said in the release.
In the settlement, DIRECTV has agreed to pay more than $1 million to about 204,360 Coloradans who were impacted, according to Weiser.
The company will give a $5 credit to current customers and mail a $5 check to former customers, Weiser said. DIRECTV will also provide a $1-$3 monthly credit to more than 15,000 customers in Colorado who were unfairly charged the high-definition fee. This credit will be issued each month for 27 months.
According to Weiser, 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 the high-definition fee.
“Charging this unnecessary, outdated fee was unfair to consumers, many of whom were unaware they were paying extra for a service that was now standard part of programming packages,” said Weiser.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 over the next 30-60 days with details about the credits, Weiser said.
“While we’ve reached a compromise in favor of our customers, we strongly disagree with the basis of the challenge,” a DIRECTV spokesman said about the settlement.
The spokesman added that DIRECTV never violated the Colorado Consumer Protection Act and the settlement with the Attorney General also reflects that.
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