Week Adjourned: 4.29.11

Top Class Actions

DIRECTTV in Direct Line of Fire over alleged dodgy business practices. A lawsuit by DIRECT TV customers who were illegally charged “early cancellation penalties”—fees of up to $480—has been granted “class action” status by a California court, potentially leading to millions of dollars in refunds. 

FYI—DIRECTTV is the largest satellite TV provider in the US with over 16 million customers. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that even a portion of that number of plaintiffs could translate to a rather large settlement.

The suit, filed in September 2008, was certified April 22, 2011, on behalf of DIRECTTV customers who were charged a cancellation penalty when they cancelled service. DIRECTTV applied its unlawful penalty provision to all of its customers including, in some cases, customers who terminated because the satellite equipment stopped working or they were no longer able to receive service when they moved.

In other cases DIRECTV would unilaterally extend a consumer’s “programming commitment” by a year or two if malfunctioning equipment needed to be replaced or the customer decided to upgrade receivers and then charge the fee if the customer stopped service after that. In some cases, according to the suit, DIRECTTV took the fees from their customers’ bank or credit card accounts without their permission. 

Did any of this happen to you? 

Top Settlements

Insured now Assured. Here’s a happy ending to a rather nasty insurance scam. National Western has agreed to pay more than $17 million to settle a class action lawsuit it faced over allegations that it targeted senior citizens—unfairly.

Short version—the suit alleged that National Western set up an unlawful group annuity policy that was issued through an out-of-state group created by National Western, and that the Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 4.29.11”