In Santa Monica, California, consumers have filed a complaint with the Los Angeles Superior Court requesting that the courts stop DIRECTV from pulling early cancellation penalty fees out of bank accounts or charging them to credit cards without the consumer’s knowledge.
Fees up of to $480 are being withdrawn from customer accounts without their permission, the injunction claims. Consumer accounts have been overdrawn by the action, while others have experienced bounced checks and over the limit fees. As a result, credit reports may have been harmed. The injunction hopes to stop the withdrawal of funds from current and previous DIRECTV customers until a court can determine if the action is lawful.
The company charges an early cancellation penalty for customers who terminate their agreements before the term commitment period has been met. This period is typically 18 to 24 months. The charge applies to anyone who cancels service during this period of time, no matter what the cancellation reason is. Harvey Rosenfield who is the founder of nonprofit Consumer Watchdog and Litigation Director Pamela Pressley are heading the case on behalf of consumers. They claim that customers have no notice of the early cancellation penalty prior to their accounts being charged. Jennifer Steinberg, another attorney working the case calls the actions of the company “unauthorized seizure of people’s money” and claims the company has refused to stop collecting fees like this.
Numerous people across the country have filed similar cases in regards to the cancellation charges applied to customer accounts without prior warning and without the ability to dispute the charge. In most cases, the customers did not know of the charge until the funds were already taken from their accounts.
DIRECTV has sought to block the state case, since another federal case is currently heard. Last July, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Emilie H. Elias permitted the federal case to proceed. That case has been delayed at DIRECTV’s behest.