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U.S. Federal Trade Commission.U.S. Federal Trade Commission. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/NLJ.)

In an 11-page complaint filed in federal court, the Federal Trade Commission accused DirecTV, the nation’s largest satellite television provider, of deceptive advertising March 11.

The FTC alleged the satellite giant failed to clearly disclose that an introductory 12-month rate actually required a two-year subscription contract—with a 50 percent to 70 percent rate hike in the second year—and an early termination fee for those who sought to escape it.

Further, the agency alleged that another of DirecTV’s introductory offers—three free months of premium channels, including HBO and Showtime—constituted a negative option continuity plan with significant latent charges. Failing to adequately disclose that consumers needed to affirmatively cancel the introductory offer before it expired in order to avoid those charges, the FTC alleged, violated the FTC Act.

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