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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dish Network, Hawaii settle deceptive practices charges


By DEBORAH YAO
AP Business Writer

Dish Network Corp. said Thursday 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 isnít admitting any wrongdoing in settling with attorneys generals in 46 states, including Hawaii, 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 that Dish refused to take responsibility when customers were misled by service resellers and equipment installers.
State officials also accused Dish of charging customersí credit cards and withdrawing money from bank accounts without giving adequate notice and getting proper authorization. They also said Dish didnít tell customers that equipment sold or leased were 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 theyíre buying used goods. The company also must require retailers that resell its services to comply with the terms of the statesí agreement.
Dish will pay restitution to affected consumers who filed complaints between Jan. 1, 2004, and July 9, 2009. People can also file complaints over the next five months with their stateís attorney general, Dish or Better Business Bureau to qualify, as long as the problem occurred within the past two years.
Englewood, Colo.-based Dish reached a settlement with all states except California, North Carolina, Illinois and Ohio. Those four states did not accept the settlement terms and their legal claims against Dish are pending.
Shares of Dish were up 36 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $15.97 in afternoon trading Thursday.