Mo. AG fights DISH Network over Fox cancellations

By Keith Loria | Oct 23, 2010


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced on Thursday that he has alerted DISH Network that they are allegedly in violation of a 2009 settlement agreement by halting the transmission of certain channels.

In July 2009, the company entered an assurance of voluntary compliance agreement. Its recent stoppage of Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports Kansas City, FX and the National Geographic Channel to Missouri subscribers is allegedly in violation of that agreement.

"Whether they are watching our undefeated Mizzou Tigers roll through the Big 12 or watching Shark Hunters on Expedition Great White, these stations are important pieces in a consumers' TV choices," Koster said. "Our job is to stand up for Missouri consumers."

According to Koster, many DISH subscribers became customers believing these channels would be provided for the duration of their contract. While costs of providing service have decreased for the company, the subscribers' monthly rates have not changed, Koster says.

"Essentially, subscribers are paying for the cost of receiving Fox programming when they are not," Koster said, "and DISH Network is being unjustly enriched by engaging in this unfair practice."

In his letter, Koster asked DISH to notify subscribers that they could cancel their service without fearing a cancellation fee and that customers should be given a credit refund in the same proportion that the company's cost of providing service has decreased.

Even though DISH has provided alternative channels, Koster believes subscribers may not want those channels or may not consider them to have the same value as FOX.

"DISH's efforts to provide restitution in the form of alternative channels is insufficient and doesn't alter the fact that they are in violation of Missouri law and the 2009 agreement," Koster said.

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