* DirecTV to pay $14.25 million to 50 states -company
* Violated consumer practices with ads, contracts -AG
* Shares down 1.4 pct
(Adds DirecTV comment, updates share price)
By Liana B. Baker
NEW YORK, Dec 15 DirecTV Group DTV.O will pay
$14.25 million to all 50 states after a two-year investigation
showed the satellite provider violated consumer practices with
hidden fees and misleading advertisements.
"This was classic bait and switch -- hooking consumers with
phony discounts and then hitting them with hidden charges,"
said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in a
statement on Wednesday.
Thousands of consumers have filed complaints against
DirecTV in different states concerning the provider's
cancellation fees, deceptive advertising and the availability
of sports packages.
DirecTV spokesman Darris Gringeri said the attorneys
general were sensationalizing the announcement.
"The fact is, we were implementing the majority of these
improvements long before the AGs even brought this to our
attention," Gringeri said.
DirecTV is one of many companies that have been
investigated by state officials over subscription policies.
In 2007, AOL Inc AOL.N paid $3 million to 48 states and
the District of Columbia, after consumers complained that the
Internet company was making it difficult to close accounts.
In October, legal officials in five states said they were
investigating Sirius XM Radio Inc's (SIRI.O) billing practices.
Shares of DirecTV were trading 1.4 percent lower at $39.67
on the Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Liana B. Baker, editing by Gerald E. McCormick
and Matthew Lewis)