EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- DirecTV Group Inc., the biggest US satellite-television provider, agreed to pay more than $5 million to settle a 22-state probe of the company's marketing and advertising, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said.
DirecTV, based in El Segundo, Calif., agreed to reform its advertising and marketing policies, Spitzer said yesterday in a statement posted on his website. In addition to the $5 million, the company will pay restitution to consumers who complained about cancellation policies and fees, the statement said.
DirecTV agreed to ''clearly inform" customers about fees and monthly charges that were in ''small unreadable print" and that modified offers or locked customers into contracts, Spitzer said.
The accord is one of several reached with Spitzer this year over consumer marketing claims. Sony BMG Music Entertainment paid $10 million in July to settle allegations it bribed radio station programmers to get airplay for its artists; Warner Music Group Corp. reached a similar pact for $5 million. Spitzer also settled a suit with Simon Property Group Inc. for $125,000 that accused the company of illegally deducting value from its gift cards when customers didn't use them before a deadline.
Bob Marsocci, a spokesman for DirecTV, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. DirecTV shares rose 3 cents to $13.77 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.
Besides New York, states that joined the investigation and are participating in the settlement are: Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and West Virginia.