DirecTV settles with WA, other states for $14.3M

LOS ANGELES – Satellite TV provider DirecTV Inc. says it has settled a consumer protection dispute with prosecutors in 50 states that solidifies how it tells customers about cancellation fees and other contract terms.

El Segundo-based DirecTV said Tuesday it will also pay $14.25 million to the states to cover legal and investigation costs and fund consumer protection programs. The company will pay $1 million to Washington state.

The Washington state attorney general's office says about 2,000 state residents have complained to it about DirecTV in recent years. State Attorney General Rob McKenna says under the settlement, "DirecTV agrees to disclosures that will help consumers know exactly what they're signing up for so that there are no painful surprises."

DirecTV agreed upon a way of clearly telling customers that they must pay a $20-per-month fee for the time remaining on a 24-month contract if they cancel it. The company also agreed to follow a specific policy on informing consumers about fees they must pay if they don't return leased equipment.