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Comcast sues DirecTV over NFL ads

Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Illinois against DirecTV, the nation’s largest satellite provider, alleging deceptive advertising in claiming that DirecTV subscribers are going to watch “free” football this season. They called DirecTV “a serial false advertiser,” which some people will probably take with a grain of salt, not least because Comcast has been accused of underhanded dealings with consumers themselves.

Here’s the main complaint from Comcast against DirecTV, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter. (The bolding and underlining were made by Comcast, not us.)

“This is a false advertising case against a serial false advertiser. In the wake of the recent resolution of the NFL’s labor dispute, defendant DIRECTV has launched a multi-million-dollar multimedia advertising campaign, baiting consumers with the claim that DIRECTV’s popular NFL Sunday Ticket service — which ordinarily costs hundreds of dollars per year — is currently available for “free” or at “no extra charge.” Unfortunately for consumers the claim of “free” is an outright lie. As none of the ads disclose, the offer is not for free NFL Sunday Ticket service – the offer requires a two-year contract with hefty termination fees for early cancellation, with the NFL Sunday Ticket service automatically renewing in the second year at full price. DIRECTV has gone to great lengths to conceal this fact from consumers. Many of its ads, especially those aired on the radio, simply omit this critical fact altogether while DIRECTV’s television and Internet ads employ a carefully crafted scheme of purported disclaimers that were intentionally designed to deceive as many consumers as possible.”

Comcast is seeking DirecTV’s profits resulting from allegedly misleading misrepresentations, exemplary and punitive damages, legal costs, and an injunction. DirecTV, meanwhile, responded to the lawsuit by saying, “We believe that Comcast’s complaint is completely without merit and plan to defend ourselves vigorously.”

Surprisingly Comcast did not point out that satellite dishes on people’s houses looks kind of low rent.

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